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How I Cope-Up With Overthinking (& Grief)


01 Aug 2021 . 5 mins : thoughts . Comments
#thoughts #emotions #self-help #self-awareness #meditation

In this write-up, we will discuss a simple and effective technique that I learnt while meditating on the Medito app. It’s a wonderful app for guided meditation, however, we can talk about it sometime later.

I start with the background, or as I like to call it the purpose. It is an optional section and can be skipped if you are in a hurry. Though, I feel techniques and habits need strong beliefs to sustain through thin and thick. Hence, I recommend investing your precious time there as well. Adding to that, I’d be thankful to you for reading since I’ve wanted to share this for a long.


The Purpose

I’m very susceptible to overthinking. Now, when overthinking gets mingled with events of grief, it gets difficult for me. On the contrary, I’m blessed that there aren’t many “critical” problems that I face in my life regularly. The downside of this issue-free life? Well, the occasional griefs stick with me for too long.

The last major setback in my life was my breakup (almost a year back) and I’m, in some way, still dealing with it. I’ve suffered from waking up every day for months to find myself getting sunk into an overthinking loop - the pain of the breakup, negative comparison to the person being chosen over me, the rejection, etc.

In this loop, I saw months fly by. Sometimes I was angry, then the next moment I was sad, then hopeful; a roller-coaster of emotions. All of it was fueled by overthinking. The past baggage used to catch up to me at unexpected times - just making me feel lost, sunk, and resorting to sleeping to pass through it.

I had to do something about it! Definitely! I couldn’t keep going on with a fear in my mind that a gloomy mood is running behind me. It’ll catch up to me anytime and then I’ll be a statue - still and lost in thoughts. That’s when I started trying different methods and, what I see as total serendipity, stumbled upon the useful technique in the Medito app.


The Technique

The technique has two parts: one that I follow while meditating and the other I follow through the day. Both are similar in practice, only that one requires more involvement. There are days when I don’t feel like meditating and skip, and that’s when the other part comes in handy.

While Meditating

With closed eyes, I follow the below steps to not get involved in passing thoughts.

  1. Imagine we are looking out onto a road through the window of a house.
  2. Every thought is a vehicle passing by on the road.
  3. Now, when a new vehicle passes we quickly label it - good, bad, or neutral. This has to be quick even if it means being inaccurate in labelling the thought.
  4. Repeat the same for every thought that we don’t want to get involved with.

Through Day

While working or just living through the day, many times I face thoughts that try to pull us in their spiral. It is at these times, I find the below steps useful.

  1. Notice the thought and do not fear or try to shut it away.
  2. Label it as good, bad, or neutral. Do it as quickly as possible, accuracy is of insignificance.
  3. Inhale and exhale deeply.
  4. Voila! The thought passes by without us getting caught in it.

The Impact

First of all, I confess that I suck at following this technique. There are times when I let myself roam in my thoughts, the grief catches up to me and I sink, or I enjoy being lost in overthinking - connecting dots and passing time. That is one of the reasons why I decided to write about it - to get clarity and imbibe it in my lifestyle.

Talking about the technique, it felt no more than a gimmick to me initially. I used to ponder - how can such a simple technique help me with overthinking and grief! Luckily, I had no other option but to stick and try until I was sure it’s a hoax. Guess what! It wasn’t.

In the beginning, the technique took a lot of deliberate effort to practice. I would indulge in the thought while labelling them and had to remind myself to get out. Or I would forget to remind and just keep going! Though with continuous practice, I found that I had to put less effort each following day and I was having better days. So, I persisted and continued.

Now, after a couple of months of following the technique, I do have thoughts of grief. However, the good part is, with minimal effort, I’m able to get out of them. I let them pass almost naturally without indulging in them - especially if the thoughts are negative. I do let myself slip in overthinking good moments 😉 (not that it’s a good habit I’m proud of).


Me

Your typical geek; Shivam can be found toiling hard through books (away from library) to find what she means by her actions :wink: Hard at work, and harder at drunk dancing, he loves to find ways to increase his productivity so he can invest time elsewhere. When he does get some time, and is in the mood, he writes few lines of code and some lines of rhymes :facepunch: