How to stay positive when you’re an over thinker

For me, finding the positive can sometimes be difficult. If a bad thought pops into my head or something bad happens to me, I am 100% guilty of concentrating on it more than I should. I find it really hard to switch off. In the past, I’ve found it really hard to swipe out negativity and concentrate on only positivity. But after turning 20 the other month, a thought came to me.
“In 10 years time, when you’re 30, what do you want to look back and see?”
And this is when I thought to myself… actually, I don’t want to see someone who was insecure, who spent too much time worrying, who concentrated on bad things, who lived a life of misery.
I feel like its embedded into me to worry. I feel like its just part of me and my personality to overthink EVERYTHING. It’s not a great trait to have, which is why I want to make some changes. After a rocky couple of weeks, I’ve figured I need to make some dramatic changes to my life in order to live a happier, more positive life.

Don’t get me wrong, my life isn’t 100% miserable and negative 24/7. I’ve just read back what I’ve written for my intro and it sounds like I lead a horrible life! That’s not true. I don’t want you to think I’m suffering on a day to day basis, I actually have a lot to be happy about. I am surrounded by my wonderful family, wonderful friends, a wonderful boyfriend and I have a lot to be grateful for. I don’t want this to sound like I’m moaning or being ungrateful for all the things I have been blessed with. I just sometimes concentrate on the little negative aspects of my life, which in turn sends me on a downward spiral to self pity and a little whirlwind of emotion. I want to be happy in every aspect of my life (just like everyone).

So if you can relate to anything or everything I’ve said just now, read on. Cause shits about to get REAL HELPFUL (even if I do say so myself).
Okay here goes, 5 ways to trash the negative thoughts, distract you from overthinking and step onto the yellow brick road leading to happiness city. (Like how I just used a ‘Wizard of Oz’ reference there?)

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Delete negative influences on social media

First stop, social media. The absolute ruler of our lives. What we spend hours a day on. (Omg, so the new function on an iPhone is ‘screen time’. This swanky little function monitors how much time you spend on your phone. It also breaks up which apps you spend the most time on. This morning, a notification pops up that reads: ‘This week, you spent an average of 3hrs 38mins on your phone every day’. THREE HOURS THIRTY EIGHT MINUTES?!?!? That is so fricking long. Have you got this on your phone? If so, whats your average? Is mine really bad?) So yeah, social media. My top tip would be to go through your most used apps (mine are Instagram and Twitter) and delete anyone and anything negative. Whether its people who make you feel insecure or an influencer who you’re constantly comparing yourself to, get rid. I went through my Instagram earlier this year and unfollowed over 400 people… it honestly felt so good. It kinda felt like a weight off my shoulders. And the funny thing is, I couldn’t name you one person I unfollowed. They were never important to me in the first place, but I still saw them every day as I aimlessly scrolled through my Insta feed and compared my life to theirs. Unnecessary.

Make plans with people you love

Now this one is key for those of you who overthink (like me). Whenever I can feel myself at the top of the downward spiral, I will text one of my close friends or a family member and ask them to make plans. Even if its a plan the next month, it’ll still give you something different to concentrate on and look forward to. Here is a picture of me at a place called Kirkstall Abbey. (Its a really cool place to visit if you’re around the Leeds area.) This was actually a plan that I made in advance when I was feeling down. Its nice to look at this picture and see how happy I am, it reminds me that although when I initially planned to go here, I was in a bad headspace, but when I got there I was peak happy.

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List all the good things in your life

Grab a pen, grab some paper and list galore. Writing stuff down puts things into perspective. Sometimes things can seem big in your head but when you write them down, you realise they’re not that much of a big deal. If you’re an ‘overexaggerater’ (I think I just made that word up…or is it a word? If you know, let me know) like me, laying in a bed of self pity can sometimes feel like the best thing to do. If feeling sorry for yourself was an olympic sport, I reckon I’d be reigning champion. But its really really important to look at the bigger picture. Think about whats really getting you down and if its really that important enough to concentrate on and put you in a negative mood.

Pin point what exactly is going wrong

Linking closely to the point above, figuring out exactly what your problem is, is great. This is sometimes difficult to work out on your own, so maybe get in touch with a friend or family member you trust and talk about it with them. They’ll look at it with a fresh pair of eyes and make you feel better about the situation. (Make sure its someone you trust though, whatever is bothering you is probably something confidential). Or, if you don’t want to talk to anyone, writing stuff down is good. Sitting down and listing all the good things in your life and all the bad things, can make you realise that life isn’t actually that bad. Of course, for some people, the bad will outweigh the good. But personally, for the OTT person that I am, I normally realise that I’ve been concentrating on the bad stuff too much.

How can you change?

Once you’ve worked out whats going wrong in your life and what it is thats making you unhappy, you’ll be able to change it. Nothing in this world is set in stone. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, or if you are having to do something without a choice in the matter, theres probably an end date in sight. Nothing lasts forever, so whatever it is thats getting you down will be resolved sooner or later, trust me.
Remember to remember who you are, what you enjoy, who makes you happy and concentrate on that. Every cloud has a sliver lining (my Grandma’s favourite quote), so if bad things happen to you, remember that they’re happening for a reason. That reason is probably to mould you into a stronger, better person in the long run.

I hope this post has helped some of you. For me, the internet has changed my life in such a positive way, mainly because it makes me realise that I’m not alone. That no matter how weird or wonderful my situation is, there is someone out there that has felt or is feeling the same way. And thats what I hope I can do for some of you, to make you think “praise the Lord, I’m not the only one”.
I am only a message away for everyone reading this. If you ever want to chat, just drop me a ‘hi’ or ‘can we chat?’ and I’m always happy to.

Love always,

Leah x

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