THE BLOG
07/11/2013 08:23 am ET | Updated Sep 10, 2013

8 Ways to Cure Over-Thinking and Regain Your Happiness

Let's face it -- over-thinking leaves you drained. It robs you of your peace and poise of mind. It's mental exhaustion on the level of running a marathon every day. It's a mind-numbing habit that keeps you stuck from leading a happy, healthy life. And who doesn't want to be happier? Here are eight proven strategies to help you kick the over-thinking habit.

Stop! Enough!

The next time your monkey mind begins to produce a drama worthy of an Oscar, silently shout: "Stop! Enough!" Change the channel to something peaceful.

Visualization

Train your mind through visualization techniques. When your monkey mind gloms on to something from the past it wants to relive or gets its hooks into a future scenario, replace what your monkey mind wants to watch with something you want to watch. Visualize a happy memory or simply allow your mind to sink into its happy place. For me, my happy place is sitting in my beach chair with my toes wrapped in warm sand, a good book, and the sound of the Atlantic ocean as waves greet the shore.

Just Breathe

Turn your attention and focus on our breath. Focus on your inhales and exhales. Slow your breathing down. Take deeper breaths. Relax your jaw. Unclench your fists. Just Breathe.

Go For A Walk

Lace up your walking shoes and grab your iPod with your favorite uplifting playlists. Get out of your head, move your body. Swing your arms. Do a few lunges. Walk it out. Focus on each step. Pay attention to the way your foot makes contact with the pavement. Tune in to the movement of your body and not the replay of last week's argument.

Journal

Sometimes, yesterday's problems or tomorrow's worries just want to be heard. Take a few minutes when you wake to simply write them down. I have found journaling to be especially effective for my own monkey mind. I keep a small journal with me (I have one that fits in my purse) and I've made an agreement with my monkey mind. If the complaint or drama even has the inkling of being persistent, I write it down. As a response, monkey mind goes quiet. Once written, the need to be heard has been met. No need to revisit.

Engage In Your Favorite Hobby

Over-thinking is not productive. In fact, it's in cahoots with procrastination and making excuses. Over-thinking produces no results and offers no solutions. Switch gears and do something you enjoy!

  • Read
  • Crochet
  • Knit
  • Hike
  • Bike
  • Paint
  • Garden
  • Workout
  • Dance
  • Sing
  • Play

Be Mindful

Whatever you decide to do, engage your full attention on that activity.

  • Be mindful of each word your read.
  • Be mindful of each stitch you crochet or knit.
  • Be mindful of the sights and sounds as you hike or bike.
  • Be mindful of the texture of your paint and the colors you're using.
  • Be mindful of the scents of the flowers in your garden.
  • Be mindful of each rep as you do sit-ups, push-ups, squats, and lunges.
  • Be mindful of each dance step.
  • Be mindful of each note as you sing.
  • Be mindful when you're goofing off and playing in the sandbox with your kids.

Keep your focus on whatever it is you're doing. It will help prevent your monkey mind from wandering.

Be Present

Over-thinking is all about dredging up the past and/or borrowing trouble from the future. The best cure for over-thinking is to simply be present. Be here right now.

I'd love to hear what works for you!

Want more? Check out the 21 Day Affirmation Challenge!

For more by Peggy Nolan, click here.

For more on happiness, click here.