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Self-Improvement

5 Ways to Stop Over-Thinking Everything

Overthinking is an easy trap to fall into.  And once you start, it can be difficult to resist.  You start thinking about the worst-case scenarios or the what might happen.  It becomes a way to deal with the uncertainty in life.  But it isn’t always a beneficial way.  So how can you stop overthinking about things?

What is overthinking?

Some degree of overthinking is natural.  When something goes wrong, we think about what happened.  We wonder if we should have done something different.  That inner monologue assesses the situation and wonders at what would have been needed for a different outcome.  Then we move on to the next thing.

However, the problem can come when we get trapped in overthinking.  We spend all of our time talking over what has happened.  We find it difficult to move past what has happened for fear of repeating it.  The mind repeats things like:

  • I wish I didn’t speak up in that meeting, everyone thinks I’m an idiot
  • I shouldn’t have gone in for this new job, I was happier in my old one
  • My parents were right when they said I’d never do anything in life

Things can also deteriorate into negative and even catastrophic predictions of the future.  You start to dread the next meeting because you think you are going to make a worse idiot of yourself.  You fear the chance of a promotion in case you hate the new job even more.  Not only do you think about whatmight have been, but you start to fear what will happen.

Why it can be dangerous

Overthinking isn’t just a problem or a bad habit, it can be dangerous to your wellbeing.  For example, research has shown that if you dwell too much on shortcomings and mistakes, you increase the risk of mental health problems.  And it can be a vicious circle.  As your mental health deteriorates, you overthink more.  Health declines more and overthinking continues to worsen.

People who have overthinking problems also have a tendency to experience serious emotional distress.  To cope with this, they turn to unhealthy coping strategies.  This might be overeating or alcohol.  It can also affect other areas of life such as the inability to sleep well, concentrate or get stuff done.

5 ways to stop overthinking

Understanding overthinking and why it can be dangerous is important.  Then you are ready to start looking at ways to stop overthinking

Don’t compare yourself to others

Many of us suffer from comparison issues.  We look at other people and compare ourselves to them.  Then we feel inadequate in some way.  According to Psychology Today we ‘determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others’.  And in an age of instant gratification with the internet and social media, this problem is one that is growing.  We can instantly see what others have done, their progress or success.  And we can compare ourselves and our perceived failings.

Instead look at your own strengths and best qualities and see them for what they are.  Don’t look at others for comparison.  Admire what they have achieved but recognise what you too have done.

Read about the subject and use what you read

There’s a lot of helpful information out there to help with overthinking and combating it.  Make use of this information to help you build a way to deal with your tendency.  Worry and doubt are both self-inflicted,but you can learn to deal with both.

Reading some of the great thought leaders can be ideal for this.  Whether they are business thinkers, philosophersor religious leaders or lifestyle thought leaders, these people all have something to say.  And the more you read, the more you train your brain to accept what they say.

Forget plan B and stick with plan A

One of the most common traits when you are prone to overthinking is having a backup plan.  While there are situations where this is needed, there is also the habit of working on Plan B and ignoring Plan A.  You need to refocus your attention on Plan A, the big goals, the main plan.  Overthinkers are often over planners as well.  And they spend too much time planning and making backup plans.  But not enough time actually following through on those plans.  So, forget Plan B, C or D and focus on Plan A.

Focus on active problem solving

When you overthink, you analyse things in your mind in different ways.  You run through scenarios and situations.  You worry about the ‘what if’s’ and the ‘maybes’.  The key to working around this is to look to adopt an activeproblem solving approach.  This means not dwelling on those maybes and instead just dealing with what is.  How can you learn from this situation?  What might you do differently in the future?  Don’t look at why it happened but how you can stop it repeating.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a skill that you can learn.  It is where you focus on the here and now.  You train your brain to stop with those maybes and what ifs and instead enjoy the what is.  Be more aware of the here and now.  It does take some work but can be a great tool to overcome overthinking.

Start moving again

One of the biggest problems that people face when they develop an overthinking mindset is that they can end up with paralysis.  You don’t want to make a decision because you have analysed it too much.  You can’t see a path for worrying about what can go wrong.  By focusing just on obstacles, you don’t take action.  This is also a repetitive cycle that means you are going nowhere.

On the other hand, by using these five steps to help move your mindset, you can move your life.  You can start heading in the right direction.  You can stop with the overthinking, the endless analysing.  And instead, you can get where you want to go with your life with confidence.

Raman is the Founder of Enigma Insider. Raman is an extremely motivated and dedicated individual. Raman has been educating himself on self development whilst he was working in Hong Kong and Dubai. Raman returned back to the United Kingdom and is currently working full time as a Human Rights Lawyer.

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Self-Improvement

Dark Psychology – Never Be Manipulated Again

Do you feel that someone in your life is taking advantage of your goodwill with manipulation and lies? Or do you just want to be prepared against deception and brainwashing? Dark psychology covers a range of human behaviours that are damaging to the mental and emotional health of others. This article aims to help you identify the traits associated with dark psychology, protecting you against manipulation and more.

The evil dwelling amongst humankind has become an increasingly popular fascination amongst the mainstream, with true crime documentaries such as “Making a Murderer” and “The Staircase” making up some of the most-viewed series on Netflix. The ever-growing obsession with true crime can be somewhat baffling, but it is a popular belief among psychologists that one of the main reasons we watch so much true crime is because it helps us to feel prepared. We have never been so aware of the darker sides of the human psyche, and we naturally want to prevent becoming a victim to one ourselves.

Unlike most animals, humans have shown a tendency to sometimes lean into behaviours that are both self-destructive or destructive to our own kind. As well as the more obvious homicidal and violent behaviours, we are also very capable of lying, cheating and stealing, amongst other spiteful and hurtful behaviours. Psychologists have grappled with where these tendencies and behaviours come from, studying dark psychology and defining a Dark Triad that helps identify potentially destructive characteristics. One of the most significant ways you can protect yourself from being targeted by harmful behaviours is to dig deeper into dark psychology and learn how to identify and avoid Dark Triad traits.

What is Dark Psychology?

Simply put, dark psychology is the psychological study of those who victimise others. There are certain more insidious impulses lurking within the human psyche, and dark psychology is the pursuit of defining these impulses and seeking a further understanding of them. Dark psychology includes a range of behaviours that differ in severity, not only encompassing psychopathic behaviours, but more common behaviours such as gas-lighting and manipulation too. So, what are the most destructive human behaviours noted in dark psychology? The truth is, you may have experienced a few of these first hand.

• Lying
• Stealing
• Craving violence
• Cheating
• Bullying
• Gambling

Taking some time to learn about and understand the traits of dark psychology can help you stay as safe as possible from destructive behaviours and avoid those that may attempt to prey on you. Those more likely to engage in these destructive behaviours are those who display a range of specific personality traits. Psychologists have identified three traits that are intrinsically connected to toxic behaviour, these are referred to as the “Dark Triad”.

The Dark Triad traits

The Dark Triad refers to three specific personality traits that are most often connected to toxic behaviour. These traits are narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy – so, what exactly do they mean?

Narcissism takes its name from the myth of Narcissus, the man who drowned in his own reflection. Standard characteristics of narcissism include boasting, selfishness, arrogance, a lack of empathy and being overly sensitive to criticism.
Machiavellianism takes its name from the 16th century figure Machiavelli who was seen to endorse the dark arts of deception and cunning in the realm of diplomacy. Typical characteristics of Machiavellianism include a lack of morals, lack of empathy, manipulation and pursuit of self-interests.
Psychopathy is the presence of psychopathic traits such as lack of remorse and empathy, manipulation, volatility and antisocial behaviour, however the presence of psychopathic traits does not mean a person is a psychopath.

How Dark Triad traits can impact relationships

Whether in the workplace or a relationship, those displaying a selection of Dark Triad traits can quickly become toxic, having an emotional and mental impact on those around them. Many of the people that display these traits can be prone to bursts of anger and aggression, which may be characterised by them raising their voice, appearing flushed and irate or just being passive aggressive. If you begin to notice any of these warning signs, it is natural to feel threatened and seek safety, which adds to the toxic atmosphere and can make permanent emotional damage in a relationship. Frequent bursts of anger can often spill over into bullying, characterised by unnecessary criticism, belittling and rumour-spreading. Or another common behaviour: Manipulation.

Manipulation is found in relationships and the workplace more often than you might think, and you yourself may have been made victim to manipulation without fully realising it. Manipulation occurs when, instead of using the plethora of positive ways to influence someone, a person turns to their Machiavellian tendencies and uses deception and coercion. It can be hard to spot a manipulator due to the fact that they work hard to cover their tracks, however there are some tell-tale signs. These signs include excusing hurtful behaviour, adapting their personality to get something out of others, and not taking no for an answer. Manipulation can be exceptionally hard to address once it has started, especially on a personal level without the help of a professional psychologist. However, there are certain ways that will ensure you are protected against manipulation in the future.

5 ways to ensure you are never manipulated

When possible, avoid getting too close to a person who displays the Dark Triad traits.

Although manipulators and toxic people can often find a way to sneak into someone’s life unnoticed, it is important for self-preservation to avoid getting close to someone who is displaying characteristics of the Dark Triad. Trust your gut and don’t give someone the benefit of the doubt, you may be saving yourself a lot of emotional exhaustion and pain in the long run.

Stay emotionally detached from a person displaying the Dark Triad traits.

This is not an easy feat for anyone, especially due to the fact that you can often get too close to someone before they begin manipulating you. However, if you begin to notice them having a disregard for your emotions or wellbeing it is best to create an emotional distance between you both. Creating a barrier of detachment between you and the person in question will make it harder for any of their emotional manipulation to stick.

Confront a manipulator about their behaviour.

Approach this one with caution, as you do not want to further aggravate someone, especially if they are already angry. However, many manipulators are so used to getting people to do what they want, that it could be helpful for them to hear someone say “no” – as much as they could make you feel bad about it. By calling out a manipulator on their behaviour, you can have the peace of mind that you stuck up for yourself.

Keep a log of your conversations.

This will only be a necessary precaution for if you are already within the clutches of a manipulator. It is common for manipulators to lie about things that they have said or twist their original words to fit a new agenda, and they can be so adamant that they trick you into thinking you are going crazy. Don’t let someone deceive you into thinking you did something wrong. Keeping a log of each conversation after it happens means that you can be absolutely certain that you are being manipulated, and ready to take further steps to put a stop to it.

Don’t give them what they want.

Manipulators can lay intricate traps full of interrogation, confusion and blame to get you precisely where they need you to be. Rising to their behaviour can often be exactly what they want, don’t interact with any comments or behaviour that feel even slightly toxic. Hopefully, if you give the manipulator the cold shoulder they may eventually leave you alone.

Dealing with manipulative or toxic people is never easy and can have a serious impact on your emotional and physical wellbeing. So often people fall into the hands of a manipulator as they can be extremely hard to spot before it is too late. Yet, bearing in mind the Dark Triad and trusting your gut with people who make you feel uncomfortable can help you avoid ever getting too close to someone who could hurt you.

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Self-Improvement

Self-Concept Theory – Who Am I

The term self-concept, in a more general sense, is usually used in reference to how a person recognises and considers themselves. It is the awareness you have of yourself – but how exactly is this self-image created, and how does it develop as we age? The self-concept theory is a branch of psychology that considers how such self-awareness is established and developed. This article explores the self-concept theory, and how you can use it to make improvements to yourself.

What is the Self-Concept theory?

Psychologists have spent centuries studying how humans came to have such a sophisticated sense of self, but also how our self-concept shapes the interactions we have throughout our lives.

Our self-concept includes all of the aspects, such as our abilities, unique characteristics and behaviours that make up the mental picture of who we think we are. Your self-concept may include attributes like being a good friend or being particularly determined. Of course, these attributes, and our sense of self, will no doubt evolve over time. This process begins when we are younger and we naturally experiment with different identity markers and try out different styles of behaviour. Then as we get older, we grow a far more precise and fixed perception of who we are, especially as we find out what we like and what we don’t like.

The different areas that make up our idea of who we are can be divided into three components.

The three components of self-concept

According to the self-concept theory, the question “who am I?” can be answered in three parts.

1. Self-image

This is how you physically see yourself. However, self-image merges the physical characteristics you see in yourself with the personality traits and social roles you view yourself to have too. For this reason, self-image is not the same as reality. This is how some individuals get to have a more grandiose perception of their self-image, while others may perceive themselves to have lots of flaws that are not visible to others.

2. Self-esteem

Self-esteem is how a person values themselves. This component of the self can be impacted by a number of external factors, including the response we get from those around us, and how we feel we compare to others. For instance, it is generally regarded in psychology that gaining a positive response from someone will help us develop positive self-esteem. Whereas being made to feel less than others will impact our self-esteem negatively.

3. Ideal self

The ideal self is the version of ourselves that we wish we could live up to, maybe the best we could possibly be. The ideal self is usually unattainable, although we still continue to strive for it.

How to transform your self-concept

Self-concept can often be the source of our unhappiness, discontent and destruction. However, our self-concept is something that is completely changeable, and we can partake in behaviours and thoughtS that will actively transform our self-concept for the better. This process can be characterised by four key sections: building self-confidence, gaining self-worth, developing a healthy self-image and striving for a better ideal self.

Building self-confidence:

Maintaining a solid and consistent level of self-confidence is an important part of navigating life and whatever it may throw at you. Having low self-confidence can leave us constantly doubting ourselves, and not having the self-assurance necessary to grow and achieve our goals. Maintaining a healthier level of self-confidence can help us go through life with more conviction and less indecision.

The key to nurturing your self-confidence is not allowing external forces to define you. Make efforts to tap into your true self-confidence within, that sense of “knowing yourself” that is buried deep into the psyche. Self-confidence should not be wholeheartedly dependent on how others perceive you, it is a part of you and you should embrace it. Take a good look at the parts of yourself that are good, the parts you like, or the skills you have mastered. These should be areas where you feel self-confidence, and with practice, you can apply the same amount of assurance to the areas that you feel less confident.

Gaining self-worth:

Self-worth is intrinsically linked to our self-esteem. If our self-esteem is low, we will no doubt have a much lower opinion of our worth. We can develop better self-worth by having more understanding of ourselves and our actions, taking some steps to love ourselves more, and accepting ourselves for who we are. With a solid self-worth, your life can transform for the better.

To understand yourself better, you can begin by questioning the value you already place on yourself and what influences it. Try asking yourself how you would feel about yourself if everything you owned and loved was to suddenly disappear. If it was just you, no possessions, family or friends – what would you have that is of value? This question can be truly telling of someone’s self-worth and may show you where you need to make improvements.

Once you know the areas you could improve your self-worth, a great place to start is by considering the abilities you have, and the things that you are very good at. Always make sure that the things you consider to be strengths are considered strengths by your own measure, not the measure of someone else.

Developing a healthy self-image:

Your self-image will have been developing and changing throughout your life, and could have been affected by every interaction and experience you have had. Self-image is not fixed, it can be changed over time. The aim is to partake in activities and thoughts that will help you to nurture and grow a much more positive and healthy self-image.

When it comes to growing a healthier self-image, there are a plethora of exercises online, all focusing on slowly developing a more accurate idea of yourself. It can often be the case that exploring who you really are is much like peeling back layers of an onion, gradually finding a more clear concept of who you are. Similar to the process of boosting self-worth, you can work towards a healthier self-image by considering the personal qualities and strengths that make you, you.

Striving for a better ideal self:

Your ideal self is usually what you are constantly striving for, and you can be unnecessarily harsh on yourself by not embodying it. However, more often than not we have ideas of an ideal self that are not serving us as well as they should be, so we should consider creating a different and healthier carnation of the ideal self.

When considering who you would like to become, begin by identifying those who you admire, and question why exactly you admire them. Which qualities of those you admire would you like to personally adopt yourself? However, this process is not about striving to become a different person, but rather identifying the qualities that you want to possess.

The next step for a healthier ideal self is to always consider how your ideal self would act or react in specific situations. For instance, if your ideal self is patient, then consider how a patient person would react to certain mistakes, or how they would control conflict. These thoughts can form a stepping stone to becoming more like your ideal self.

Self-concept is an often under-used tool in our arsenal, and harnessing it for good can help us go from strength to strength. However, as the previous points have shown, it is no simple and instantaneous process. It takes time and consideration to grow a greater understanding of yourself and build up an opinion of yourself that will help you sail through the pitfalls of life. Despite the time it takes, the comfort a healthy self-concept will provide you with makes it worth the time and effort. Unlike many psychological matters, transforming your self-awareness will not cost any money, so you can begin on your path to a transformed self-concept simply by setting daily or weekly objectives and giving yourself a pat on the back for your progress.

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Meditation

Control Your Subconscious Mind – 5 Changes You Can Make Today

We will be looking at 5 changes that you can make today in order to control your subconscious mind. This will help to achieve everything you truly desire, whether this is about your dream job or it may be something as simple as you wanting to be happy.

Two-thirds of the population believes a myth that has been propagated for over a century: that we use only 10 percent of our brains. However, what we do know is that our subconscious mind runs and controls almost everything that we do.

What Is Your Subconscious Mind?

All thought generated in the mind consists of your conscious and subconscious. Your conscious mind is your objective or thinking mind. It has no memory and it can only hold one thought at a time.

The subconscious mind is a powerful secondary system which runs everything in your life. This is a data bank of everything which consists of your beliefs, experiences, memories and skills. Whenever you have ever had an idea, an emotion or a memory from the past, this is the communication from your subconscious mind to the conscious mind.

“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality” — Earl Nightingale

Your subconscious mind processes everything and it would only pass the information which is relevant for you at that moment in time. Your conscious mind, is the means in which the subconscious receives its information. Your mind works to create or bring into the physical world your “truth” or “reality” based on your individual beliefs, perceptions and experiences.

What Happens When You Have A Thought?

When you have a thought, it is first analysed by your conscious mind. The conscious mind then attaches an emotion to the thought based on its interpretation. This then establishes a belief and is stored into the subconscious mind as “your truth”.

This “truth” can then be recalled and assessed in the future by the conscious mind to support or discredit future thoughts by the conscious mind.

For example, when you are lying in bed late at night and hear something go “bump”, if you let your thoughts and imagination wander to all the horrible things that might happen, then your subconscious will throw up the feelings, emotions, and memories of past events that you’ve associated with those thoughts. It is your subconscious’s way of protecting you and preparing you for fight or flight in those situations. On the other hand, if you consciously tell yourself and direct your focus to more rational, calming thoughts, then the feelings will subside or disappear.

Now, lets look at how to control your subconscious mind.

1. Observe Your Thoughts

In order to control your subconscious mind, it is important to first observe your thought process and see which thoughts are generating an emotional response within you. You must imminently try and stop negatives thoughts as they appear and not allow them to become subjective by giving them a feeling.

It is possible that empowering your subconscious mind with negative thoughts, can have a very dangerous,  harmful affect on your mind. The subconscious mind will begin to work against you. This includes emotions and thoughts relating to revenge, envy and blame. These thoughts will train the subconscious mind to either take comments very personally, constantly compare yourself to others or  blaming others for difficulties within your life.

Whereas with positive thoughts, the opposite will occur. You should permeate the feeling and repeat the thoughts within your mind and your subconscious mind will get to work bringing the means and resources to maintain that feeling.

2. Ask Yourself Quality Questions

Asking yourself good/challenging questions allows your subconscious mind to make connections and gives your mind something to do. It is also important to focus on the question itself which will make a big difference.

If you were to ask yourself “how can I stop feeling tired all the time?”, this would constitute a negative question and the focus of the question is that you are feeling tired and therefore the resulting thoughts and feelings will reflect this focus.

If you were to however ask yourself “How can I re-energise myself this week?”,  the focus is positive and is focused on re-energising. By including a specific time frame you are also setting nice manageable parameters for your subconscious to adhere to.

3. Understand The Importance of Affirmations

Saying positive affirmations to yourself is a great way to control your subconscious mind. A consistent habit of positive “self-talk” will eventually work its way into your subconscious, allowing these thoughts to take over. The same way in which negative self-talk can put you down or attract negative thoughts throughout your day, positive affirmations will attract positive thoughts into your subconscious.

The subconscious mind plays a big role in how we behave and experience reality. If you want to have more control over your life, you need to learn to acknowledge this rather than fear it.

It is important that you come up with your own affirmations or to read affirmations which invoke a positive emotional response. Affirmations must contain positive words, they should be in the present tense (even if you are still not there yet) and it has to be relevant to a specific situation allowing you to think about the things you wish to achieve.

Once you have come up with a set of affirmations, you need to use them daily (as a minimum) in order for them to be effective. Saying your affirmations at night until you drift off has been very powerful as it reaches the subconscious mind more readily. Being able to take an affirmation into the sleep state will continue to influence the subconscious mind during your sleep.

4. Create A Vision Board

A vision board is a powerful tool which allows you to manifest your life’s desires. This is a board consisting of a collage of pictures and words which represent what you are going to achieve or what you wish to achieve. This works exceptionally well if you have made your vision board with more than just pictures but also by connecting emotions to your visions.

In the same way that you would set up your goals for the future, the vision board will allow you to subconsciously increase the desire to achieve that goal. Without a strong desire, you will settle for less. This is why most people are not living their dreams. This would also include thinking about what sounds, smells and sights are associated with a particular aspect of your visions. It is also very important to envision yourself having already achieved your vision.

The Vision Board should also be placed in a location where you are likely to see it first thing in the morning and the last thing before you go to sleep.

One of the biggest benefits from having a vision board is that there are no restrictions and the sky is the limit. You can be, do or have anything that you want to. You are not bound by the restrictions of your physical world and you are free to think and want whatever you wish. The ability to have the power to wish for anything will make you unleash your inner greatness.

5. Identify Your Resistance

When your subconscious mind holds you back from pursuing something that you love or something you know you deserve, it  is because you are holding a conflicting belief about it.

It is important that you identify with what this resistance is and question why you are holding yourself back from it. You may believe that you are not ready for the job or you do not meet the exact criteria that the employers are looking for. It is at this stage that you are becoming a barrier to your own progression. By attaching these emotions, you are training your subconscious mind to become a barrier and a resistance to moving forward as these fears relating to self-worth will continue to arise at every opportunity given.

Conclusion

We have to learn to program our subconscious mind so we can block out the negative thoughts in order to encourage the acceptance of positive affirmations. We are able to achieve mental and emotional stability by casting aside our ego and opening ourselves to wonders which we can achieve by embracing our subconscious mind.

I would like to end with sharing a poem which I read every morning that has helped me in the past with my career and has continued to motivate me daily. The name of the poem is Invictus by William Ernest Henley.

“Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be. 

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance.

I have not winced nor cried aloud. 

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears.

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll. 

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul”

This poem was also very important to Nelson Mandela during his time in prison. Whenever Mandela lost courage or felt like giving up, he would recite this poem and it would give him what he needed to keep going.

Comment below and let me know which of these changes you have made and what result it has made to your daily life or in achieving what you desire.

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