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3 Mind-Body Techniques To Deal With Overthinking

Briana Mosquera is the founder of wellness brands, Tu Vida Revolution and Sacred Spaces. After life changing events which took her from New York to Spain her mission became to support fellow trailblazers and cycle breakers.

 
Executive Contributor Briana Mosquera

How would you view yourself if overthinking did not make you feel overwhelmed and mentally exhausted? What if you could stop ruminating before it begins? Clarity and a calmer state of mind can be gained with techniques that do not involve creating SMART goals or journaling. Instead, applying mindful practices using movement, intentional use of tension, and frequencies. Even so, for the busy modern-day individual who seeks practical, easy-to-apply information, the holistic and integrative approach shared will awaken a new relationship between how you use your mind-body connection to emotionally cope with the stress of overthinking.


A woman is sitting on the sofa.

The neuroscience of overthinking

We don’t realize that we unknowingly associate the habit of overthinking with the skill of problem-solving. It’s totally valid to confuse these two actions as being the same, when our brain functions actually promote overthinking in order to achieve a solution. Before we move any further, let’s take a step back to get the full picture of what's happening in our minds.


Dopamine, the reward and motivation chemical, begins the loop of overthinking in its attempt to offer the brain a reward. Adrenaline is then produced, where you may notice yourself feeling fired up to problem-solve. The loop of overthinking intensifies with all the new options possible and releases serotonin, our feel-good mood-regulating hormone.


When brain functions pass their initial intention of finding a solution and rewarding the brain, we may notice a physical shift in our mood. This is due to, serotonin becoming blocked, and cortisol, our steroid hormone, unleashing our stress response. This is a pivotal moment to take note of how stress begins to show up in the body.


Looking inward

Use this article to pause and offer yourself an introspective moment to reflect on the last time you found yourself stressed and ruminating. Did you first think about your inability to make a decision? Maybe all you could hear and focus on was your critical inner voice, which judged you for being stuck.


Regardless of your response, our critical perception and inner voice creates tension in the body, which can uncover unhelpful behavior and belief patterns. Taking the time to notice your tension, how it feels in the body, and the type of support needed provides a form of well-rounded healing. A new level of self-awareness and self-compassion toward stress is build and physical

and mental blocks can be physiologically shifted. Ultimately regulating your nervous system and creating healthier coping styles to manage moments of overthinking.


Internal Family Systems (IFS) and overthinking

Internal Family Systems is an evidence-based psychotherapy approach that offers simple but powerful tools and is uniquely tailored to your individual internal system. It’s a framework used with my clients, and I would love to share its perspective with you.


If we were to view overthinking from an IFS standpoint as a character or part, what would the role of our overthinking be? To avoid or minimize discomfort, to protect you, or to feel in control? Whichever the answer is for you, we can assume that overthinking's ultimate goal is to get you back to feeling safe within your uncertain circumstances. Our survival mechanisms may have subconsciously interpreted the feelings of uncertainty as a threat. This internal association is based on your background, life experiences, and how you've learned to cope with distressful situations.


When we apply the perspective of IFS toward understanding our overthinking, it creates a new relationship that promotes self-acceptance and compassion. You begin to view overthinking as a part who has created an unhelpful function to help you survive instead of an annoying behavior.


If we take a step back and look at our fast pace world we can acknowledge how disconnected we are from our body, distracted by our phones, the next task on the to-do list, and the demands from our professional life. Yet we have not learned how to effectively check in to notice the information our body tries to deliver. When we explore our overthinking using IFS and

Mind-Body techniques give your logical mind a break to form new connections about your unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. An inward journey that would not be possible with logical reasoning.


3 simple mind-body techniques for overthinking

Let's begin to reconnect with your physical awareness. Through a body observation, bottom-up approach that can stop rumination before it begins as you become conscious of the internal sensations linked to stress.


The tips offered are just a few integrative and holistic ways to work through the mental, emotional, and physical impacts of overthinking. There is also your life experiences, background, and overall lifestyle to take into account, but let’s start with practical, easy-to-apply tips for the busy, modern-day individual.


1. Movement

Overthinking lowers your creativity levels, and attempting to access your blocked creativity, to effectively problem-solve, actually creates more activity in the prefrontal cortex, aka more overthinking... Yikes. SO, we want to do the exact opposite and slow down our executive functioning with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.


Tip: Add daily movement into your routine: hiking, an indoor 10-minute cardio session, a fitness class, or a walk to your favorite café and/or around the mall. Get active on your own, or invite a friend! While moving, notice how your tension is released and how this release feels.


2. A magical frequency

The neurons that make up our brain communicate with the rest of our body through electrical signals, which means we can access a specific frequency to help us regulate our emotions.


Tip: I suggest starting or ending your day by listening to 432 Hz to help with managing the stress from overthinking. As you listen to this frequency, feel free to incorporate affirmations. Keep in mind that affirmations are language that validates your current state and is natural to how you speak. As you listen to this frequency and affirm also take into account what sensations you notice.


3. Empowerment by tension

Provide a space for your emotions to be intentionally felt and moved through with Progressive Muscle Movement. A technique that brings awareness to everything you are holding onto and guides your body toward softening into the physical resistance.


Tip: When you catch yourself overthinking or trying to stay busy as a way of distracting yourself from the turbulent thoughts, give this 10-minute progressive muscle movement session a try.


You are always supported

If you are feeling called to understand the function of your overthinking and the subconscious narratives impacting how you make decisions and show up for yourself, book a complimentary Reconnection Call. As a team, we'll work toward moving through this internal block in a safe and supportive space. Where you’ll walk away with mindful self-compassion exercises and a game plan that promotes further inner growth.


If you are not quite ready to chat, I recommend checking out my journal, Clarity. Specifically designed to help you begin understanding your thoughts, emotions, and mind-body awareness at your own pace. While identifying a new function for the “part” (emotion or thought) observed and creating a new way of operating.


Look forward to connecting and feel free to reach out with bit-size questions at brimosqueracoaching@gmail.com


Exploring and challenging negative belief patterns will be further dissected in the session. Week of Feb. 5th. Art = creativity, cognitive diffusion = clarity


Week of Feb 12th. Music, listening to 432 Hz is a low cost


Week of Feb 19th. Somatic movement. For progressive muscle movement, click here.


Week of Feb 26th. A week of integration. Pick a practice you enjoyed this past month to continue practicing.


What happens in the body, and how does overthinking influence/impact?

Less creative, overthinking blocks part of your brain where problem solving is initiated based on takeaways from past problems. If the problem we face is unlike ones of the past we do not have a reference to go by and give us clarity. When this area is also deactivated we are less likely to think of a creative way to solve our problems.


Connection btw cortisol and overthinking

Spiegel added that when we overthink and stress ourselves out, our bodies produce cortisol, the stress hormone. Over time, that constant release of cortisol can be depleting and cause burnout. that stress hormone we talked about earlier — increases your appetite along with your motivation to eat


One study from the University of Michigan found that 73% of adults between the ages of 25 and 35 overthink, as do 52% of 45- to 55-year-olds.


Dopamine= reward and motivation = promotes the notion of problem-solving, hence initiates the loop in an effort to reward the brain


Adrenaline = feel good, mood regulator = wanting to solve the problem, released as a source of energy, and you become pumpe


Serotonin = satisfaction, happiness and optimism, The mind loop is augmented by serotonin as new options are emerging, when the loop produces no effects or solutions, Cortisol = stress hormone, causes stress response and unhealthy rumination is brought on by this.


 

Briana Mosquera, Holistic and Integrative Therapist and Life Coach

Briana Mosquera is the founder of wellness brands, Tu Vida Revolution and Sacred Spaces. After life changing events which took her from New York to Spain her mission became to support fellow trailblazers and cycle breakers. Guiding them through a combination of therapeutic modalities, breath work and somatic experiencing to courageously face their fears in pursuit of fulfilling their new normal. Briana is passionate about women empowerment initiatives and destigmatizing one’s interest in emotional care and personal development.

 

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