Do you find yourself constantly worrying about things, with your mind racing all the time? This is what we refer to as overthinking. Overthinking has become a widespread issue, leading to stress, anxiety, and decreased productivity. When you overthink, you get trapped in a loop of negative thoughts. However, there’s a way to break this vicious cycle—Japanese techniques. Japanese culture offers a treasure trove of wisdom and techniques to combat this mental health problem, potentially helping to stop overthinking. Here’s everything you need to know about these techniques and how they work.
At the heart of the Kaizen philosophy lies the idea of continuous improvement through small, incremental changes. By breaking down overwhelming tasks into manageable steps and focusing on gradual progress, you can alleviate the pressure of perfectionism and reduce the urge to overthink.
This is a well-known Japanese term. Ikigai, often described as one’s “reason for being,” is the intersection of what one loves, what one is good at, what the world needs, and what one can be paid for. By identifying and aligning with your Ikigai, you can find clarity in your life’s purpose and direction, freeing yourself from the cycle of overthinking.
Kintsugi is the Japanese technique that teaches us to celebrate our flaws, urging us to embrace imperfections instead of chasing an impossible ideal. Vishakha Sodhani, a certified psychologist, says, “By embracing your flaws and learning from setbacks, you can overcome the fear of failure and cultivate a mindset of acceptance and growth.”
According to a study published by Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, this practise has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, and enhance overall well-being. All of this is what Shirin-Yoku is all about! Shirin-Yoku, or forest bathing, involves immersing oneself in nature and mindfully experiencing the sights, sounds, and sensations of the forest. Spending time in nature is known to improve mental health.
Zazen is a meditative discipline that is typically the primary practise of the Zen Buddhist tradition. It involves sitting quietly and observing the thoughts that arise without judgment or attachment. “Through regular meditation, you can train your mind to become less reactive to intrusive thoughts, allowing yourself to detach from the grip of overthinking and experience inner peace,” explains Sodhani.
“Yugen is a concept that refers to awareness of the profound mystery and beauty of the universe, beyond what can be expressed in words,” avers Sodhani, By cultivating a sense of Yugen, you can develop a deeper appreciation for the present moment and let go of the need to analyse your future, which causes you to overthink constantly.
Mono no aware is the bittersweet awareness of the impermanence of all things, helping you develop a deep sense of empathy and appreciation for the fleeting moments of beauty in life. Practise mindfulness and presence in each moment to incorporate mono no aware into your life. It can develop greater compassion, reducing the risk of overthinking again and again.
Wabi-sabi is the Japanese aesthetic philosophy that finds beauty in impermanence, imperfection, and simplicity. By embracing the wabi-sabi mindset, individuals can learn to let go of unrealistic standards and find contentment in the natural flow of life, reducing the tendency to overthink.
“Shoganai is a Japanese phrase that conveys acceptance of circumstances beyond one’s control,” says Sodhani. In other words, it means ‘it is what it is’ and all you need is to accept it. By embracing the principle of Shoganai, individuals can let go of constant worry and ruminate over things they cannot change, finding peace in surrendering to the flow of life.
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Try following these techniques and say goodbye to overthinking!