What are ways to control overthinking & worrying? My mind constantly wonders into deep & sad thoughts to the point I break down
I can relate to what you say. I also struggled with overthinking and worrying in my life. It wasn’t until I really started to look into myself and meditate that my mind was able to get to a point where I stopped worrying and overthinking.
I will try to give you some tips and a new perspective.
You ask how you can “control” overthinking and worrying. I read some other replies in this thread, suggesting you should distract yourself by engaging in different activities. Whilst I’m a firm believer in exercise and healthy living, and that a good health routine undoubtedly can have a positive impact on your mental health, merely distracting your mind by implementing different techniques or engaging in various hobbies will not help you in the long run. You want a permanent solution, don’t you? Only a permanent solution is of value.
Up to this point you have believed it should somehow be possible to control the mind. This is a misbelief. Instead, give up your wish to control your mind. There is no way to successfully control your mind. In fact, trying to control it will only make it worse. Maybe you can try to calm yourself down momentarily, but in the long run you will only make it worse, adding to the burden. Instead, what you need to do is to release the thoughts and the worries from your mind.
So, instead of controlling your mind, do the opposite. Allow your thoughts and worries to race freely within you. You can do this whilst laying down. Just let it happen, and don’t try to resist it. Give up the futile battle trying to stop them. This will be painful and uncomfortable in the beginning, but don’t let that deter you. Make this a routine any time strong emotions come up.
As you allow your negative minds, they will lose their momentum because you will no longer feed them by resisting or trying to control them. The vicious cycle of overthinking and worries will gradually slow down. The more you allow them, the less fear you will have, and the less you will subconsciously resist them. Since it was that resistance that made you suffer, you will start to feel better.
It is also important to recognize that we worry because we are afraid of something. People who worry a lot tend to have very high standards for themselves and/or their life. They want to do something that is meaningful and live a good life, and they are constantly afraid of not living up to these standards and ideals. This internal struggle makes it very difficult to live a good life.
As you implement the aforementioned method to allow your thoughts and worries, it also beneficial to reflect on what standards and ideals you hold in your mind and start to give these up.
Wait a minute… Give up my standards and ideals? That sounds crazy! No, it’s not crazy. It is the best thing you can do for yourself in this situation because giving those up will lead to acceptance of your entire being, the goods and the bads of yourself. A relief and calmness will settle in your chest as this happens. You will be less afraid of failing, and will be more active.
Now, you can start to realize true joy and meaning, which is a state of being beyond the thoughts and worries. However, there will still be more work to do.
The power of meditation
While the aforementioned allowing technique is a good start, and gives you an understanding of the mechanisms of the worrying and overthinking mind, meditation is what will really make you progress. I particularly recommend a meditation where they teach you to look within and actively cleanse your mind, or ‘throw away’ your negative minds.
As you meditate, you will start to discover your true mind which is hidden underneath all those thoughts and worries. This mind is naturally free from worries and thoughts. When you uncover this true mind, you will begin to see that every occasion, every challenge in life, is an opportunity to let go and grow from within. Everything thus becomes joyful and happy. Gratitude becomes natural and as you recognize the synergies and joys of living together with other people of the world.
I have practiced meditation for almost 10 years now. I have kept a journal from time to time in my life. When I read this journal and look back on the things I worried about around the time I started to meditate it’s just ridiculous. I can’t believe how I let myself be occupied with such nonsense. Nothing of that makes any sense to me anymore, let alone worry me. My mind is now at peace. I have become a better version of myself and my life is joyful and happy. I can’t recommend meditation enough.
Check out the video below, it explains this in a beautiful way.