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Mindful Thinking to Manage Overthinking

Mental Wellness for Women

By Andrea Landry-Brown, CPRS

On my own, I set the tone as I respect that my needs are important.

Women are the backbone of society. Think about it… we have all heard the saying, ‘behind every great man there is a great woman’ because it’s true! That woman is either his mother, his wife, his girlfriend or significant other. She is the woman who is encouraging him, goading him, pushing him, and enforcing his beliefs.

Well, that woman had to learn how to be strong for herself so that she could exude that mentality onto someone else. As women, we are taught to secure our homes and prepare a welcoming environment for families. This security requires massive planning, social skills, and spontaneity. This weight women carry can cause her to over process every single thought that enters her mind (overthinking). She is consistently juggling the following:

 Service to her higher power.

 The needs want, and desires of her family.

 The needs of her job.

 Her special needs.

Overthinking comes about when all these thoughts become jumbled and twisted. What this means is, she begins to obsess over these thoughts and they, in turn, overwhelm her sense of time, relevance and demeanor. Let’s take each section and give an example of overthinking:

Service to Higher Power “Did I pray today? Was it long enough? If I don’t go to church, will everyone look down on me?”

Family Needs “What type of shoes for (insert family member here) do I buy? Did I get the right coffee? What am I cooking for dinner? Who doesn’t like what foods?”

Job Needs “That report is due by 2 pm. Did I put all the information in? Do I email the report, hand delivers, or special messenger? How am I getting to work (public transportation, car, walking)?

Her Needs “I need a break. Do I have time for a break? What do I have to get for myself?”

Let’s face it, ladies… we all know those are some very brief examples of how insane our thoughts can get when we begin to put our ‘overthinking’ in overdrive! So, how do you get to a point when you can manage your thinking without going into ‘hyperdrive’ with overthinking? Consider these methods:

 Make a list of your priorities, giving yourself a designated time to reach that goal.

 Give yourself permission to adjust the times as needed. Sometimes life happens and you are not able to stay on specific time targets.

 When you feel your thoughts racing, write them all down, no matter how random or unusual they may seem. Set that paper aside for approximately 10 mins. In that 10 min break, BREATHE! Even if that breathing means to stare out the window and observe nature, listening to a couple of your favorite songs, or a light meditation grounding exercise. After you breathe, prioritize those thoughts, and turn the relevant ones into action.

These methods help to reassure yourself that you matter, you are important, and you value your mental wellness. Now, go to a mirror and give yourself a big hug… you deserve it!