Welcome back to another mental health wellness guide. Huw Devonald here, your companion on the journey towards a more mindful and tranquil mind. As a crisis support enthusiast, empathy leader, and positivity promoter based in the city of Glasgow, I understand the hustle and bustle of modern life and the toll it can take on our mental well-being. Today, I’m here to delve into the intricate world of overthinking and share with you some invaluable insights on how to put a stop to the relentless spiral of rumination that can often grip us.


We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Those moments when the mind seems to have a mind of its own, churning thoughts, scenarios, and worries in an endless loop. It’s as if we’re trapped in a whirlwind of our own making, unable to escape the clutches of overthinking. But fear not, for I’m here to shed light on this common struggle and equip you with strategies that can help regain control over your thoughts.


Understanding Overthinking – Huw Devonalds ‘Carousel’ Analogy


In the ‘ Huw Devonald Carousel’ analogy, I invite you to envision the carousel as a representation of overthinking – a ride that gains speed, blurring the line between introspection and rumination. And just as someone longs for calm outside the carousel, an overthinker yearns for respite from the relentless spin of thoughts.


Imagine stepping onto this carousel – a gentle start, like dipping your toes into a calm stream. At first, the horses move slowly, inviting contemplation and introspection. It’s like a serene stroll through the park of your thoughts. You take your seat, intrigued by the ideas and reflections that unfold.


But as time passes, something shifts. The carousel gains momentum, and the horses begin to prance a bit more energetically. Soon, they’re galloping, and the scenery blurs into a whirl of colour and movement. You’re no longer a spectator; you’re caught in the midst of the ride.


Each horse represents a different concern, a scenario, or a question that needs answering. They circle around you, almost like a playful dance of the mind. You find yourself hopping from one horse to another, each carrying you deeper into a labyrinth of thoughts. The joyful music that once filled the air now transforms into a whirlwind of noise.


As the carousel spins faster, you catch glimpses of the outside world – the present moment, serene and still. You itch to step off, to feel the solid ground beneath your feet, but the ride has a momentum of its own. The horses keep spinning, and you feel trapped within the cycle.


The Overthinker’s Traits


Now, let’s explore the traits that may make you more susceptible to the clutches of overthinking. 


Anxiety: When anxiety tightens its grip, the mind often spirals into overdrive, generating an incessant stream of thoughts that feed our worries.


Need for Control: The craving for control can drive us to meticulously ponder every possible outcome, trapping us in a cycle of endless rumination.


Perfectionism: Setting unrealistically high standards can leave us dissecting every moment when we feel we’ve fallen short, amplifying our tendency to overthink.


Negative Thinking: A pessimistic mindset can easily become a breeding ground for overthinking, as negative thoughts loop and escalate.


The Overthinking-Health Connection


It’s crucial to recognise that the repercussions of overthinking aren’t confined to our mental state alone. The delicate equilibrium of our mental health can be disrupted, leading to feelings of depression and heightened anxiety. The chemical orchestra in our brain can lose harmony, as excessive overthinking prompts the release of cortisol—the infamous stress hormone. This hormonal dance can throw off the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for our happiness.


Furthermore, overthinking can blur the lines between real stress and hypothetical scenarios. This imbalance impairs our emotional regulation, memories, and even our appetite, which might veer towards extremes. It’s a profound reminder of the mind-body connection that we often underestimate.


Huw Devonald’s Strategies for Overcoming Overthinking


Now, let’s shift our focus towards practical strategies that can help break free from the overthinking cycle. These methods, when applied with consistency and dedication, can pave the path towards a calmer and more present existence.


Embrace Mindfulness: The power of mindfulness cannot be understated. Engaging in regular meditation, such as concentration meditation, can help redirect our focus from the past and future towards the present. Through this practice, we can re-train our minds to transcend the shackles of overthinking.


5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Grounding: A brilliant technique to divert our attention from negative thoughts is the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 grounding exercise. Engage your senses—sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste—to anchor yourself in the here and now, breaking the chains of rumination.


Distract Yourself: Sometimes, a change of scenery is all we need. Engage in activities that captivate your senses, whether it’s a leisurely walk or diving into a gripping book. Allocating a designated “worry time” each day can also confine overthinking to a specific period, granting your mind some well-deserved respite.


Challenge Negative Thoughts: When a negative thought emerges, intercept it with a series of probing questions. Explore the evidence for and against its validity, consider alternative perspectives, and replace it with a more constructive thought. By disarming negative thoughts, we weaken the grip of overthinking.


Release the Past: The past is etched in stone; its moments are unalterable. Recognize the futility of dwelling on past mistakes and embrace the wisdom of letting go. Mindfulness can aid in this endeavour, helping us focus on the present and the possibilities it holds.


Huw’s Concluding Thoughts


In the grand tapestry of life, overthinking is a thread we all weave at some point. Yet, armed with these strategies, you hold the power to reframe your mental landscape. I urge you to embark on this journey of self-discovery and transformation. Embrace mindfulness, challenge your thoughts, and liberate yourself from the clutches of overthinking. Remember, the past does not define you, and the future is yours to shape.


In your pursuit of a tranquil mind, may these insights serve as your compass, guiding you through the maze of thoughts. Share your experiences and triumphs with me, for together, we can illuminate the path towards a more mindful and purposeful existence.


Until we meet again on this voyage of self-mastery,




Huw Devonald.