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Melli O'Brien



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How We Let Go of Overthinking

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

So today I'm going to share with you a

three step process to help you become

free of the habit of overthinking so

that you can unlock your ability to

navigate daily life with more mental

clarity, wisdom, and inner strength.

So the first step is to

recognize unhelpful thought

patterns when they arise.

So there's certain patterns

that are, uh, quite prominent

in this habit of overthinking.

The two of them, are

ruminating and worrying.

So ruminating often

involves replaying the past.

So perhaps it's regrets or

mistakes that have been made.

It might involve really

harsh self-judgment.

So it sounds a little bit like

these kinds of thoughts, you know?

Um, well, I shouldn't have

said that stupid comment today.

I made an idiot of myself.

Or it might sound like, Oh, my

teachers at school always told

me I wouldn't get far in life.

I guess they were right.

Um, or, you know, I can't

believe I left my old job.

That was the dumbest thing I've ever done.

I had one chance to be

happy and I blew it.

So those kinds of thoughts

are rumination thoughts.

And then worrying thoughts involves

the mind casting into the future and

imagining things that could go wrong.

So it often involves these, like what if

scenarios or catastrophizing about the

worst thing that could possibly happen?

It might sound like this kind of thought.

My relationship probably

won't last much longer.

He's going to find someone better or

she's going to find someone better

and I'm going to end up alone.

Or it might be, what if I lose my job?

I don't know if I'm performing that well,

so I might be on the verge of being fired.

I won't be able to pay rent.

What will I do?

Um, or it might be like, you know

what, if my kids aren't there for

me, when I'm old, I'll probably just

end up in a nursing home, miserable.


If any of these sounds familiar,

you know, it's because rumination

and worry are very, very common.

They're also very rarely

constructive or helpful.

They tend to just clutter our minds and

cause a lot of psychological suffering.

So step two, once you recognize that

you've been stuck in rumination or

worry is to ask yourself, is this

actually helping me to solve something

or take empowered action right now?


And step three is to choose

a more empowering option.

There is a difference between taking

time out to constructively solve a

problem, or make a plan and simply

ruminating or worrying about it.

So constructive problem solving or

planning is where you take time to

just think clearly about the different

options and possibilities and then,

if possible, you make a decision.

After that, you can just leave it.

Rumination and worry is when you're just

tossing around a problem in your head

without any true intention to solve it.

That's painful.

So one empowering way forward

is, could be this constructive

problem solving or planning.

And the other option, if the

problem doesn't actually need to

be solved immediately, you can

just let it go and put your focus

on something more nourishing.

So by letting go of overthinking,

you'll be able to think more

clearly and maintain inner peace.

You can take action on the

things that matter, let go of

the things that don't and be more

present to enjoy your daily life.

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