Rehearsing how I want events to play out, reviewing conversations I had that day, thinking through what I want to tell someone tomorrow... I never thought my nighttime routine of thinking would become a problem.
I suppose thinking wasn't the problem... overthinking... that's what took my peace.
Suddenly, picturing the worst possible outcome and how I would handle it was a terrible anxiety-producing habit of mine. It was routine at night when my head hit the pillow. I would start to think about one event in my life until my mind snowballed it into incorporating all of my fears, doubts and shameful moments into one.
Overthinking robbed me of sleep, and the lack of sleep robbed me of my ability to think clearly. I was creating problems that didn't even exist and exaggerating the problems that did.
It took me many months to figure out that my overthinking had to go - and then it took many more months to actually learn how to control it.
Today, when I'm overthinking at night, I will first acknowledge what I'm doing, "Ellen, these are fears of yours, not your reality. You are overthinking this and creating anxiety that doesn't need to exist. Plus, you are not solving anything thinking up worst-case scenarios."
If I can't quiet my mind after another minute or two, I get up. Immediately. Sometimes just a drink of water can snap my mind back into reality. Other times, I will journal, meditate or even go sleep on the couch.
Taking action is the key to shaking my mind free from overthinking. Plus, acknowledging what I'm doing - and knowing now how much it does not help solve anything.
Rehearsing events, reviewing events, exaggerating events... this does nothing for your peace of mind. Regain control by learning to stop your overactive mind.
I find the most inspiration in hearing other people's stories and how they have overcome challenges in their lives. This is why I love interviewing leaders and entrepreneurs for my Minute Motivation series.
Here are some of the stories I've shared on-air recently.
Full interview with Malcolm Lemmons.
Full interview with Rebecca Linder.
Full interview with Josh Carin.