How To Stop Overthinking
Are you searching for answers on how to stop overthinking? Keep reading as I’ve researched some of the best ideas, as well as provided you with my own personal outlook on this all too common problem.
Overthinkers tend to spend a lot of time going over what happened in the past, and making assumptions about the future.
They beat themselves up over what they could have done, and wished they’d hadn’t.
They also think about all the worst case scenarios in a situation, and constantly replay images of negative events from the past.
This could be an accident, or something negative someone said. This type of obsessive thinking can soon get out of control, making everything out of proportion.
A near miss in the car at a road junction or roundabout could easily trigger a phobia of driving past that area, if you let overthinking stop you.
Thinking is a good thing if used in problem solving, but not the destructive negative thoughts that hold you back.
Overthinking can quickly become a habit if you let it. You may not even be aware of the way your thoughts are making you obsess over things.
So how can you stop overthinking?
Next time you find a negative thought stuck in your head write it down on a piece of paper. Challenge it by asking yourself what is the worst that could happen if this thought became real.
Chances are you’re exaggerating a perceived outcome far more than you realize. Worrying that the flight you’re taking will crash is a good example. Flying is unbelievably safe, but once you start focusing on a negative thought you can develop a phobia.
Break the habit of overthinking
The cycle of thinking too much can be broken once you become aware of it. Like any other habit you can replace it with a new one.
It can take around 30 days to form a new habit, but changing how you think is more complex.
You have to break through negative belief systems, replacing them with positive ones. Using affirmations is a good way to do this.
Instead of thinking about all the things that can go wrong, think about all the things that can go right.
You’ll immediately raise your level of vibration, and draw positive energy towards you
Start making this a daily habit, and as soon as you find yourself overthinking about something, write it down on paper.
noting down your fears and anxieties for a particular situation straight away puts them in perspective.
You can see how irrational many of them are when you step back and look at them written down on paper.
For every feared outcome write a positive one next to it. For example you worry that you won’t have enough money to pay the rent. Your obsessive overthinking has you believing you’ll be living on the streets.
Is this because you fear losing your job? Or maybe you are looking so far into the future and worry about the rising cost of living.
Calm your mind
We all have hundreds of random thoughts passing through our minds at any one time, and some of them are negative, reliving past experiences, or living future events
If you are an overthinker, this can be a hundred times worse
Meditation is a great way to calm your thoughts, and break the cycle of obsessive thinking.
Anyone can meditate, and you don’t need special equipment, or pay for expensive classes to teach you how. You can find many guided meditations online to get you started.
If you’re short on time, or find it impossible to focus on meditation as your thoughts are all over the place, there is a solution I highly recommend as it’s working for me.
Zen12 is a very modern way to meditate, and eliminates the need to spend hours practicing. Though meditation is easy, it takes time to be able to enter the zone and experience all the benefits of meditation.
Mindfulness is very similar to meditation and is focused around being aware of the present moment in time.
Have you noticed when you become so absorbed in something you forget the time. This is being mindful. It’s impossible for the brain to focus on more than one thing at a time.
A great way to practice mindfulness is coloring. It’s not only very creative and relaxing, but it will stop all those obsessive thoughts in your head.
Challenge your negative thoughts
If you find yourself unable to stop worrying over what might happen. Challenge these thoughts.
Decide what is the worst possible outcome and find a solution. Look online for people with similar fears, and their outcomes.
Being an overthinker myself, I frequently do this. You’d be surprised how redirecting your energy into problem solving can calm you down.
You’re taking your focus off the worry, and on to how you can cope with a situation if the worst happened.
Much of what we fear and worry about never happens anyway, but being mentally prepared for the worst possible outcome will stop you fretting.
Set aside a time for reflection
My mum was a compulsive worrier, and I used to joke with her that she should set aside a time in her day just for worrying! Having a great sense of humour she found this very funny!
But seriously, this is something you can do to, but make sure this is constructive thinking. Don’t spend this time fretting.
Reflecting on your life and goals is a good thing. Just half an hour a day or less is fine. A good time to do this is at the beginning or end of your day.
Avoid the company of other overthinkers!
Discussing problems and analyzing things with a fellow overthinker can be very destructive, even if that person is your best friend.
You’ll both end up finding reasons not to do something, and you may even find yourself feeling very depressed and discouraged.
Don’t break up friendships over it though! Just avoid discussing anything you’re worried or anxious about.
Focus the conversation on them and their life instead. Keep it light and don’t be tempted to start ruminating on the past.
If you want someone to confide in, or bounce ideas off, find a mentor or someone with a positive mindset.
Stop over analyzing
One of the best ways to stop progress is by being too analytical. This can seriously hold you back, and cause you to miss out on opportunities.
Self doubt is a big cause of this. Fearing you’re not ready or qualified enough to do something is a common trait of overthinkers.
The only way to overcome this is to just do it anyway. You may surprise yourself with the outcome!
This can also be a good way to boost your self esteem as a lot of the time you’ll discover new opportunities and successful outcomes.
Avoid watching too much news on tv
I like keeping up with current affairs, and watch the BBC news daily. However it can be quite negative at times, with the media exaggerating a lot of it. Recently it would have been easy to think World war 3 was about to happen, especially if you’re prone to overthinking.
If you want to stop the barrage of negative thoughts, and calm your mind opt for light entertainment programs. Getting involved in a tv drama or comedy for an hour or so will take your mind off any worries.
To quote the words from Bhudda “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
I hope this article has inspired you with ideas on how to stop overthinking. You will always find something to worry about if it’s in your nature to do so, but following any of these tips will stop you overthinking for a while.
If you can break the cycle and stop this destructive habit you’ll feel more at peace and much calmer:)
Wishing you heath and happiness always:)