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How to stop your brain from overthinking?

Is there a way to stop your brain from chattering non-stop and being in constant dialogue with yourself!?! :))


Blah Blah Blah… Blah Blah Blah… The brains of highly sensitive people never stop! This is a very common problem among very sensitive people.

“My brain doesn’t give me a minute’s respite! » or “Where is the “stop” button! » or “And here I am again overanalyzing. ".

Does this mean anything to you, these little refrains that we sing to ourselves? We would like, at least from time to time, for our thoughts to simply take a break... even a little one... just to let us breathe.


If you smile and nod your head... we understand each other.

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Le penseur de Rodin - Paris

Sometimes it can be incredibly frustrating and overwhelming, because all this thinking is exhausting. But it actually makes a lot of sense. One of the main characteristics of high sensitivity is “depth of information processing”. And here we are! This means we are thinking at a very deep level. Really ? ;) Yes, we take all the information we absorb from our environment, and we dive into our thoughts about any situation. Whether it's others, our own actions, our beliefs and values, or even just a comment we heard, or a look that was given to us, and here we go! Suffice to say that, apart from locking ourselves up alone in a padded room, without windows and without even a piece of furniture, we have little chance of stopping the permanent dialogue which buzzes in our heads. And even if we succeeded in this feat, we would have even more questions about our presence in this room! 🙂 It’s like saying that it is practically impossible.

Not so fast! We are not going to let ourselves be defeated like this, we have resources, don't we? Full of resources and imagination!


But yet imagine this scenario, a typical highly sensitive scenario.


You have a meeting with your boss about a project you've been working on tirelessly. Your boss listens to you but remains completely stoic, no reaction either positive or negative. (This can be very disturbing for someone who is highly sensitive!) Noticing that you get no feedback from him during the meeting, no questions, it's you who starts asking yourself. “Are my explanations clear? Is it what I am telling him that upsets him? Maybe he's in a bad mood?” You finish your presentation, even though by the end, you definitely feel confused, and shaken by your boss's silence. It didn't take much for your brain to fly. And there you go: “Why did he look at me like that? I probably didn't explain my point of view well. I bet he thought I was criticizing him, but that wasn't the case. I was just trying to highlight the complexity of the project. Did he think I was trying to make him understand that the project was too complex? Wouldn't he have told me if he thought I was wrong? If he wants me to approach things differently, why didn't he tell me? Does he feel like I'm letting everyone down on this project? Did he have a bad impression? This will surely have a serious impact on my evaluation at the end of the year. And there you have it, all my hard work went down the drain!”


“Boohoo… Poor me!”


Does this sound familiar? No judgment! We are all victims of our brain which can go adrift in a quarter of a second. As much as we can be pleasant, caring, conscientious and hard-working people, when we have an interaction with anyone, our antennas can very quickly go on alert. From a little grin, a slightly too prolonged silence, a stare into space, we immediately fall into a spiral of hypotheses, and imagine the worst-case scenario in no time.


Why? Because we are sensitive. Our nervous system, in particular, is ultra sensitive. At the slightest problem, at the slightest danger, it goes into alert.


But there is a silver lining – finally! ;)

Hypersensitivity is an innate (largely genetic) trait that is explained by the different functioning of 3 specific genes. Now these three distinct sets of genes play a role that affects our brain and nervous system. Highly sensitive people may have some or all of these genetic differences, which also explains the sensitivity scale of each highly sensitive person.

These specificities could be linked to human evolution due to the increased benefit from experiences that highly sensitive people can have, and from the cues they can detect. Let me explain.

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Because sensitive people (and animals!) have the ability to detect signals that less sensitive people do not see or see less than they do, they have a wiser and more attentive approach in new or unusual situations. They pick up on environmental cues and recognize things that others cannot. This allows them to make smarter and more careful decisions than less sensitive people. So even if it comes at a high cost, our overstimulation, sensitivity is a great asset for ourselves and for the human species in general.

Having in a group or community, people who are sensitive and attentive to subtle changes, whether related to the weather or the mood of the people around them, can help resolve problems early on.


I would go even further and say that because in recent years we have seen a rapid increase in the number of children born with high sensitivity, in my opinion this is a sign that the human race is progressing towards a superior state. The ability to absorb much greater amounts of sensory input represents an evolutionary leap for our species. That’s my own point of view. Don’t come at me!


But coming back to our brain which is always in 'power on' mode, although historically we think this has probably served humans well to raise the alarm in the face of danger, today there is not much of real danger. In fact, there are, but they are elsewhere. Our nervous system, not always knowing what type of danger we are facing, then reacts in panic mode “fight, flight, freeze” to protect us from any threat. It’s because it detects signals that maybe everything isn’t right (“maybe” being the key word) that it reacts immediately. This reaction can send us into panic mode. This is frustrating, because when this happens, we can't even think clearly. This happens when our higher-level thought processes become blocked as our bodies go into survival mode. Seriously, who thinks when they are in immediate danger? Nobody ! It's instinctive... you don't have to think very hard to fight back, run away or play dead, right?

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How to stop your brain from overthinking?

What can we do in these situations where our brain is racing but there is no tiger behind us? A simple solution, too simple at first glance... I ask deep breathing to come into play. I know, I know, it may seem too simplistic, but all the research proves it, taking deep breaths that reach our diaphragm activates the body's parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is the system that physiologically reassures our body of our safety. To put it simply, it is the balance of the sympathetic nervous system that plays superhero to get us out of a bad situation! So when we feel reactive and panicked, reconnecting with our body through deep breathing can help us recognize that everything is okay. And yes, deep breathing is the simplest tool that does exactly that, it makes us understand that we are not in danger, and it stops our brain from overthinking?!


So the next time you feel overwhelmed, upset, and your thoughts and worries turn into an ugly black hole, I invite you to breathe consciously:


Inhale for a count of 4,

Hold your breath for a count of 2,

Exhale slowly for a count of 4,

Hold for 2.

Repeat 10 times!


Give yourself this break. You deserve it and so does your brain!


Take good care of your sensitive self!





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