April 18, 2024

Overcoming Overthinking

Have you ever been so stressed out that all you're doing is thinking about how stressed out you are? You might find yourself overthinking and ruminating about everything—from how much work you have to do, or an event that feels out of your control, or why your friend didn't return your call. When we're overwhelmed by our emotions or physical symptoms, we naturally want to figure out what's going on inside our brains. But too often, this leads us down a slippery slope of over-analyzing every little thing until we can't think clearly anymore.

What is overthinking?

Overthinking is the process of thinking too much about something. It can be helpful to think things through, but it's also possible to overdo it. There are several types of ruminating thoughts that people experience:

●    Worrying about what could go wrong in the future

●    Dwelling on past regrets or mistakes

●    Thinking about all the things you need to do today or tomorrow (and feeling overwhelmed)

Why do we overthink?

You may be asking yourself, "Why do I overthink?" The answer is simple: it's a natural defense mechanism. When you're feeling stressed or uncomfortable about something in your life, it's natural for your brain to start thinking about other things in an attempt to avoid dealing with the source of that stress or discomfort.

In some cases, this can be helpful--for example, if someone says something offensive or hurtful to us during an argument we can use our ability to think abstractly as a way of getting away from them and preventing further conflict (and hopefully not resorting to physical violence). However, sometimes we take our ability too far and end up avoiding making decisions at all because we don't want any potential negative outcomes associated with those decisions!

Relabeling, Reattributing, Refocusing and Revaluing

Relabeling:

In the Relabeling step, the basic idea is: call a ruminating thought what it really is. You can begin to understand that the feeling is just a false alarm, with little or no basis in reality. By doing this you can assertively relabel it so that your body and mind don't have to react as strongly next time.

It is important to remember that just Relabeling these thoughts and urges won't make them go away. Trying to force these thoughts to go away can actually make things worse because we often aren't in control of our thoughts-they may very likely be controlled by biological causes. You can learn to resist urges by labeling them as they arise, so that you understand the thoughts are not really true.

Reattributing:

Reattributing is explaining that our brain can get stuck in gear on a thought which is beyond our control. Understanding how your brain works helps you to better understand why these thoughts get stuck.

Refocusing:

In Refocusing, you learn to shift your attention away from overthinking and focus it on something else. You can try delaying your response to an unwanted thought by using the 15 minute rule- wait at least 15 minutes before you act on an unwanted thought. This could be anything from getting reassurance from someone else about your thought to letting your thoughts go wild. During this time you can do another behavior~any pleasant, constructive behavior will do. After the set period has lapsed, reassess how you feel and if the thought is still as strong.

Revaluing:

You can't always make the thought go away, but neither do you need to pay attention to it. You can learn to go on to the next behavior. Constantly trying to reassure yourself will only continue the cycle and make the thoughts & anxiety stronger.

We can learn to think differently and get out of the cycle of rumination.

●    In the realm of mental health, the burden of overthinking and ruminating thoughts can be overwhelming, stifling our ability to lead fulfilling lives. Despite the numerous therapeutic approaches available, clinical trials and studies using ketamine therapy have proven to be highly effective. The therapy offers hope and relief to those battling the incessant loops of negative thoughts, presenting a new avenue for individuals to regain control over their minds and rediscover peace.

●    Although not yet FDA approved, studies have shown that by modulating glutamate receptors in the brain, ketamine stimulates the growth of new neural connections, facilitating a rewiring of thought patterns and enhancing mood regulation. While traditional therapies can be effective, when used in conjunction with ketamine therapy, a person is much more likely to make progress on alleviating overthinking and ruminating thoughts. By creating a dissociative state, ketamine therapy allows individuals to detach from their habitual patterns of rumination and gain perspective on their thoughts and emotions. Think of it as a zoomed out view of your stress or problems. Once we see the bigger picture, it is often much easier to not let the thought be so consuming. This altered state of consciousness serves as a catalyst for transformative introspection, helping individuals process and integrate their experiences in healthier ways.

To Sum it Up...

Overcoming overthinking is a journey that requires patience, self-compassion, and a willingness to challenge our habitual thought patterns. While it may seem daunting at times, the benefits of breaking free from the grips of overthinking are immeasurable. By cultivating mindfulness, practicing self-care, and seeking support from professionals or loved ones, we can gradually gain control over our thoughts and reclaim our mental well-being. Remember, overcoming overthinking is not about eliminating thoughts altogether, but rather about developing a healthier relationship with our minds. It's about acknowledging that we have the power to choose which thoughts we engage with and finding a sense of peace in the present moment. With determination and practice, we can embark on a path towards a more balanced, resilient, and fulfilling life, free from the shackles of overthinking.

Disclaimer

This blog is not medical advice or therapeutic advice but general knowledge to help you get the most out of your experiences with psychedelic therapy. At-home psychedelic therapy sessions with generic ketamine may be prescribed "off-label" for suitable candidates as an alternative pathway. Over the last two decades, research suggests that ketamine may be able to safely and effectively improve many treatment-resistant conditions. A form of ketamine, Esketamine (Spravato), is an FDA-approved medication for depression. Spravato treatments are only available in-person in our office. Our at-home programs include therapeutic guidance, safety protocols, breathwork, virtual treatment preparation and 1-on-1 integration coaching to get the most out of your sessions.