Impact of negative thoughtsWhen we spend too much time thinking negatively, it can have a serious impact on our mental wellbeing, which in turn can lead to physical symptoms such as stress, anxiety and, ultimately, depression. Ongoing stress, if not treated, can cause serious health problems, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and diabetes, to name a few. So, it’s really important that we recognise negative thinking at an early stage and take action.
Work life balanceWhen we break down how much time we spend at work compared to our private life, this adds up to a considerable chunk of our week.
Average time spent during a week: at work – 40 hours; personal time – 79 hours; sleep – 49 hours
Now take into consideration that we don’t just think about our jobs when we're at work and that these thoughts also spill over into our personal time. If you’re being honest with yourself, how many of those 79 hours do you spend thinking about your job?
Sadly, many of us have recurring, negative thoughts on a daily basis. Maybe you worry that you’re inadequate at work, fearful of losing your job, or afraid of what colleagues think about you.
Ways to stop overthinkingFortunately, there are ways we can get on top of our thought process. Although we are still likely to have a similar number of thoughts per day, we can, however, choose to change the kind of thoughts we have.
1. Quiet timeTake time out from everything and spend some time on your own, even if it’s just for half an hour every day. It’s so important that we empty our minds from time to time in order to reduce stress and feel calmer. Relaxation techniques and meditation offer simple ways to clear your mind and help you unwind, especially before bedtime so that you have a restful sleep that isn’t interrupted by dreams concerning your job.
Another option is to put pen to paper and let your thoughts spill out. This can be extremely therapeutic and can help you deal with negative or unwanted thoughts.
2. Stop comparingIt’s easy to see the positives in everyone else and not in ourselves but this can be damaging to our mental health if done on a regular basis. Remember that everyone has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. You may well excel at a task that a colleague is not capable of completing.
Social media is often a root cause of us comparing ourselves to others. If possible, try not to follow or have work colleagues as friends on your social accounts as this can create more negative thoughts about your job which could take over your personal time.