Massage: More Than Just Relaxing
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that full-body massage relieved pain and increased mobility in patients with arthritis in their knees. Therapeutic touch has also been shown to decrease pain and increase the quality of life for fibromyalgia patients. Not just those getting a massage see benefits, either: Giving a massage also offers positive improvements to personal well-being.
The benefits of physical touch
Awareness Is The Beginning Of Change
Before you can begin to address or cope with your habit of overthinking, you need to learn to be aware of it when it’s happening. Any time you find yourself doubting or feeling stressed or anxious, step back and look at the situation and how you’re responding. In that moment of awareness is the seed of the change you want to make.
Is Your Worry Solvable
Productive, solvable worries are those you can take action on right away. For example, if youre worried about your bills, you could call your creditors to see about flexible payment options. Unproductive, unsolvable worries are those for which there is no corresponding action. What if I get cancer someday? or What if my kid gets into an accident?
If the worry is solvable, start brainstorming. Make a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. Try not to get too hung up on finding the perfect solution. Focus on the things you have the power to change, rather than the circumstances or realities beyond your control. After youve evaluated your options, make a plan of action. Once you have a plan and start doing something about the problem, youll feel much less anxious.
If the worry is not solvable, accept the uncertainty. If youre a chronic worrier, the vast majority of your anxious thoughts probably fall in this camp. Worrying is often a way we try to predict what the future has in store-a way to prevent unpleasant surprises and control the outcome. The problem is, it doesnt work. Thinking about all the things that could go wrong doesnt make life any more predictable. Focusing on worst-case scenarios will only keep you from enjoying the good things you have in the present. To stop worrying, tackle your need for certainty and immediate answers.
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Tips To Manage Anxiety And Stress
Try these when you’re feeling anxious or stressed:
Fitness Tips: Stay Healthy, Manage Stress
For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity , or a combination of the two.
- 5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
- Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It’s better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
- Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
- Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many people find its more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
- Recruit an exercise buddy. It’s often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
- Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.
If you are the parent of a college-aged child with an anxiety disorder, here are some tips to help with managing his or her anxiety.
How Does It Differ From Other Meditation Styles
All meditation styles and practices overlap and build on each other. Their basic foundation is the same: to bring the practitioner insight and introspection.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate, however, the various types of meditation can enhance particular qualities. Based on your personality and needs, one type of meditation may be more useful to you than the other. The 9 types of meditation are:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Loving kindness meditation
- Visualization meditation
Focused meditation, specifically, is the practice of focusing on one single object for the duration of the practice. How this differs from other meditation styles is that it gives the practitioner something tangible to do: focus. Its almost like giving your mind an action to performlisten to this sound, repeat these words, watch this flame, etc. This is also one of the reasons why this particular meditation style is great for beginners!
One of the biggest challenges in any meditation practice is that the mind gets carried away and we lose ourselves to random thoughts. This obstacle is actually a style of meditation in and of itself called Vipassana. However, in focused meditation, we give the mind something to do so that its not simply left to its own devices. This type of meditation is beneficial for beginners and for practitioners who prefer some structure and guidance to their meditations.
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Return To The Present
As mentioned above, when were overthinking, we are either ruminating about the past or worrying about the future, which means that we are not in the present moment.
Another technique to help you stop overthinking and relieve anxiety is to practice returning to the present moment.
The easiest way to return to the present moment is to practice deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.Heres a simple meditation exercise to get you started.
- Find a quiet place
Focus On Your Breathing
When youre overthinking, shifting your focus to your breathing can be a powerful tool.
Sit down in a quiet place. Close your eyes and put your hand over your chest. Take deep breaths in through your nose and exhale out through your mouth. If this doesnt work, try the box breathing technique, which focuses your concentration and acts as a stress reliever.
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Ways Anxiety Causes Overthinking
An effect of any type of anxiety is overthinking everything. There are common themes to the way anxiety causes overthinking. Perhaps this generic list will remind you of specific racing thoughts you experience and help you realize that you’re not alone in overthinking everything because of anxiety.
- Obsessing over what we should say/should have said/did say/didn’t say
- Worrying incessantly about who we are and how we are measuring up to the world
- Creating fearful what-if scenarios about things that could go wrong for ourselves, loved ones, and the world
- Wild, imagined results of our own wild, imagined faults and incompetencies
- Fear of having a panic attack in public and possibly thinking that you can’t leave home because of it
- Worrying about a multitude of obsessive thoughts, sometimes scary ones and thinking about them constantly
- Thinking — overthinking — a tumbling chain of worries, vague thoughts, and specific thoughts
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Maybe youre overthinking this.
Does that sound familiar? All of us can overthink at times, and some of us are more prone to it than others.
Overthinking can take many forms: endlessly deliberating when making a decision , attempting to read minds, trying to predict the future, reading into the smallest of detailsthe list goes on. But all types of overthinking have one thing in commontheres very little benefit from the time and effort spent thinking. In fact, there are major downsides to spending too much time with our thoughts, as you may know from personal experience.
Some common costs of overthinking:
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Schedule Time For Reflection
Stewing on your problems for long periods of time isnt productive, but brief reflection can be helpful. Thinking about how you could do things differently or recognizing potential pitfalls to your plan could help you perform better in the future.
Incorporate 20 minutes of thinking time into your daily schedule. During that time period, let yourself worry, ruminate, or mull over whatever you want.
When your time is up, move on to something else. And, when you start overthinking things outside of your scheduled time, simply remind yourself that youll need to wait until your thinking time to address those issues in your mind.
Understand What Motivates Your Worry
Have you ever wondered why you overthink and worry so much?
If you take the time to think about it, there might be some underlying causes as to why you struggle so much with excessive worry.
Its not easy to face your fears, but its also not easy to face what might be causing those fears. Find some time and a safe space where you can really look inside yourself to better understand your motivations, so you can take control of them and possibly get the help you need to get rid of them.
Its not always easy to take back your freedom from fear, but its not impossible.
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Schedule Time To Overthink And Worry
As silly as it sounds, setting aside time to overthink and worry gives ourselves permission to live in the present. We are ultimately saying to ourselves I will give this situation attention, but it isnt right now. Also, set a timer and then you have a start and stop time! I dont recommend this before bed.
Keep The Focus On Problem
Dwelling on your problems isnt helpfulbut looking for solutions is. If its something you have some control over, consider how you can prevent the problem, or challenge yourself to identify five potential solutions.
If its something you have no control overlike a natural disasterthink about the strategies you can use to cope with it. Focus on the things you can control, like your attitude and effort.
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Strategy #: Crank The Tunes
When anxiety kicks in, it can be hard to think about anything else. So, turning on your favorite song or playlist can help move your mind along. Just like any other creative endeavor you enjoy, music taps into another part of your brain the part of your brain overthinking wont be able to if youre listening to and swaying with the music.
Learning To Be Mindful
Worrying is wanting to predict the future. It involves negative thoughts about things that might and might not happen.
– They’ll not like me in the interview they’ll not give me the job.
– I haven’t heard back from other employers. How long will I be unemployed?
These thoughts are energy-draining and distressing. They could happen to anyone under stress. But when you reach the point where your thoughts and worrying are preventing you from doing what you want to do from living your life to the fullest then you should take action.
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How To Practice Focused Meditation
Here are six tips to help you practice focused meditation. Based on your availability and interest, these tips may change and evolve. Thats the point: to create a structured practice that caters to your needs.
1. Find a Comfortable Seat
As with any meditation practice, comfort is truly key. The physical body responds to meditation practice by alerting you to whether it is comfortable and supported or stressed out and in pain. This is best observed in practitioners who tend to slouch and lose the tall, supported spine that is essential to meditation practice.
A simple rule in meditative sitting is to ensure that your hips are higher than your knees. Therefore, choosing to sit in a chair instead of on the floor may be a smart decision or perhaps propping yourself up on a cushion. For meditation techniques overall, it does not matter how you sit. All that matters is that you are supported and comfortable sitting for some time.
2. Choose Your Object of Focus
Every meditation training session is going to be different because no single day is the same for any one person. Therefore, experienced meditators know that choosing an object is more about listening to what you need at this time versus following any doctrine or rule.
3. Set Your Desired Time or Go With the Flow
Likewise, if you have the time, you can also listen to your body and come out of your meditation when you feel its right to do so. This is often a beautiful practice of listening and tuning in.
What Do We Mean By Overthinking
It’s natural to worry about an event like an exam or a driving test. Being nervous shows you care about the outcome. Once the event is over, anxious thoughts usually disappear.
Overthinking is when you continue to worry. You may think you are just problem-solving, but it’s actually far less helpful than your brain would have you believe. Rather than using your thoughts to improve your life, you can get stuck in a vicious cycle of anxiety.
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Strategy #: Observe Your Thoughts
Many people dont realize or practice the notion that you are an observer of your thoughts. Instead, they think they are their thoughts, which leads to overthinking and anxiety. However, its crucial that you take a step back and observe your thoughts rather than take them for facts. Were all responsible for crummy thoughts, but that doesnt mean were crummy people. Realizing that you are not your thoughts can help ease your anxiety.
Two Types Of Overthinking
Overthinking often involves ruminating about the past and worrying about the future.
Overthinking isnt the same as healthy problem-solving. Problem-solving consists of thinking about a difficult situation when necessary. Overthinking, on the other hand, involves dwelling on the problem.
Overthinking is also different from self-reflection. Self-reflection can be healthy as it involves learning and gaining perspective about yourself in regard to the situation at hand. It is also purposeful. Overthinking, however, is thinking about everything you dont have control over, and then dwelling on how bad you feel about it. It does not help develop any insight into the situation.
The amount of time you spend in deep thought doesnt really matter, though. If any amount of time is spent actually learning from previous behavior and coming up with creative solutions, then it is productive. But time spent overthinking wont enhance your life at all, regardless of whether it’s 10 minutes or 10 hours.
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Pick A Grounding Statement
Inevitably when you get into bed at night after doing all of these tasks, your mind is going to spring into action as it usually does.
You havent failed. Youve done nothing wrong. Your mind is in the habit of worrying when you get into bed. You are building a new habit of worrying at a different place and time.
As your mind adjusts to this new routine, its important to have a plan to deal with any thoughts that come up. A grounding statement can be really helpful. Its a single sentence that you can repeat anytime your mind starts to worry or give reasons why this solution wont work.
Ill give a few examples, but its important that the statement is personal to you.
I dont need to have all of the answers, problems are solved one step at a time
Im not going to forget anything. I set aside time to write down all of my concerns
Its OK to rest, I will be able to tackle everything I need to tomorrow