Overthinking

DAILY DOSE OF DEEN: Help those who are less fortunate instead of being jealous of those we think are more fortunate

اَعُوْذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيْمِ
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمن الرَّحِيْمِ

Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaathu everyone!

Overthinking is something everyone has done. Some (i.e., me) more than others. A lot of our struggles are in our heads. We think about how things would be different if certain things hadn’t happened. We think about the future and start to worry about it. We think about so many things and our minds are not meant to take it.

I will be honest with you. I used to overthink a lot and when I mean a lot. I mean A LOT. I couldn’t sleep at night because all I used to think about was how I could possibly change the past (I came to the conclusion that I can’t so why worry about it?). Now obviously it is a lot easier said than done to just stop overthinking.

Our minds are not built to tolerate overthinking. Certain things we can never understand and will never be able to understand because it is beyond our mental capacity. Some things will only ever be known to Allah (سبحانه وتعالي). By overthinking we are actually in essence questioning Allah (سبحانه وتعالي)’s judgement. However, we need to understand that whatever is going to happen will always come to pass. No matter what. There is nothing you or I can do to stop it. When it comes to the past you can’t change it. Ever. So why bother even wasting valuable time thinking about it? Our time on this planet is very miniscule and we should use it to the best of our ability to better our hereafter and not waste time worrying about what ifs.

Sometimes we overthink about things and question about how it is possible for us to even deal with it. But it is written in the Quran that we will not be tested beyond our capabilities. Every hardship that is given to us Allah (سبحانه وتعالي) knows that we can handle it.

لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا

Allah (سبحانه وتعالي) does not burden a sould beyond that it can bear
– Quran [2:286]

So here are my three top tips to stop overthinking.

Pray five times a day sincerely

Now obviously this is going to seem like an obvious one, but it is the most important thing that we should do. Nowadays people see Muslims that pray five times a day as someone who is pious, but that is not the case. Praying five times a day is the bare minimum for someone as a Muslim. It is an obligatory act upon every sane Muslim man and woman.

I hear people say that they pray, but they don’t feel at peace. Often the reason behind that is the lack of concentration. If you are one of those people that pray just for the sake of it instead of praying because you feel calm, then try thinking about the words that you are reciting. Clear your minds of every other thought and focus on your conversation with your Creator. As you pray focus on the meaning behind your words and let your worries and troubles leave you. We should always understand that salah is a gift to us. Allah (سبحانه وتعالي) does not need us to worship them but salah is a gift from Allah (سبحانه وتعالي) to help us forget all of this world’s difficulties

Schedule a worry time

This is going to sound extremely stupid, but it worked for me and it still does to this day. My siblings are going to read this and laugh at me, but it did help me a lot. What is a worry time? Worry time is a set time of day where you let every single thought and every single worry come into your head. You sit there and you think about everything you want to worry about, and you don’t stop yourself for the full length of your worry time. The purpose behind this worry time is that during the day if you ever feel your mind begin to wonder on to things that you do not want to think about then just stop and tell yourself you will think about it in your worry time.

This sounds extremely stupid but over time it works. It might take a few weeks, but eventually you will become so accustomed to not overthinking about things that it will become a second nature to you to push your bad thoughts aside. So, when you first start this your worry time could last a whole hour but over time cut it down and down until maybe you only need a few minutes a day to worry about things. Sometimes you will find that by the time you reach your scheduled worry time the thing you were going to be worried about does it even need to be worried about because that problem has been fixed. Your worry time should always be at the same time each and every day, so be consistent.

Realise that Allah (سبحانه وتعالي) is the only one you need

A lot of our problems revolve around others. Often, we think about the wrongs people have done to us and we cannot stop thinking about why so-and-so would do that to you. However, at the end of the day we should always realise that the only person we need to please is Allah (سبحانه وتعالي). As long as we live our lives according to an Islamic manner, we should not worry about what others think about us. We can never know what is truly in someone’s heart and it is not up to us to speak bad about people that do. Surely, we have done bad things as well and if we cannot forgive people how can we expect Allah (سبحانه وتعالي) to forgive us?

These tips are some of many different methods of dealing with overthinking. Overthinking is unnecessary and useless. It wastes valuable time and is something that everyone should learn to tackle. We are not in control of what happens to us, but Allah (سبحانه وتعالي) is the best of planners so as long as we realise that everything that occurs is all in Allah (سبحانه وتعالي)’s Plan, the better it will be for all of us.

Sources / Further Reading

English

Quran Translation – Kanz ul Iman

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