How to stop overthinking? – Overthinking is one of the most annoying behaviors that we can constantly be involved in. Similar to anxiety, it causes us to constantly think and worry about thoughts and actions that do not deserve it. And when there really is something to thoroughly analyze, we tend to blow it so much out of proportion that it’s not even funny anymore. It becomes a living nightmare, and can even lead to depression.
But to make the case even worse, overthinking also annoys other people and pushes them away from you. When you change your decision a hundred times a day, your obsessive behavior drives you nuts, but others as well.
Just like with anxiety, I used to spend a lot of time overthinking. Not only I would say something and then think of all the thousand ways in which my words could be perceived incorrectly by other people, but I would also be afraid to speak up for the the very same reason. What if I say or do something stupid and then get fired for it? It would get completely out of hand, and I would suffer from it. No matter what I say or do, in my head, it could go horribly wrong.
So how to stop overthinking? To help me with the problem, I have found a number of things that really changed the game for me. As a result, I want to share them with you, and I hope that they can benefit you just as much as they benefit me.
Just like with any other problem, the first real way to get rid of it is to understand that you have a problem.
While overthinking in certain cases may seem like a totally “normal” thing to you, most of the time it isn’t. And if you have troubles understanding when you are engaged in this behavior, ask your friends to help you notice it. It’s easily visible to others.
Alternatively, you can get a daily journal and begin to write your thoughts down. This way you will be more aware of those times when you’re doing it again.
2. See the bigger picture
One thing that has really helped me understand how to stop overthinking, was to learn to see the bigger picture.
First of all, you have to be aware of the fact that overthinking is a problem. The majority of your thoughts and actions singled out will not have a major impact on your life. Don’t look only at the direct consequences, but try to see the problem in a bigger context. If I eat this piece of cake now, will it really make me fat? If I am this one time 5 minutes late, will it really get me fired? – These are not life-threatening, and you need to know this at all times.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many of our past experiences have shaped who we are today. Certain events in our life have set a standard for us that we believe is true for all of the consequent events in future. In other words, we believe that the past shapes our future.
But this is not the case. Many people suffer and have all kinds of limiting beliefs due to negative events that have happened to them in the past. And because of that, a thought that is completely harmless to one person may cause another one to be extremely anxious. Overthinking then becomes one of the consequences.
Don’t allow your past to govern your life now. Don’t let your past control who you are today and who you will become tomorrow. The past is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift. Your overthinking about the future based on the past is incorrect and unnecessary.
3. Physical exercise
Want to know how to stop overthinking? Start exercising!
While it is a lot about the mind, it’s not all about the mind. When I wake up, my thoughts are rushing, and it’s really hard to stop them. Solution – I go to the gym first thing in the morning.
Physical exercise decreases the levels of stress, helps us get rid of toxins and releases that energy that we may be using to overthink. If you want to be physically and mentally fit, exercise is a must.
4. Set a timeframe
One of the most effective tools against overthinking that I have found is to set a timeframe.
For example, something is exceptionally important and you know you must give it some thought. Then do it, but only for the next 5 minutes. When the 5 minutes of thorough analysis are up, you let the thought go and you never return to it again. It’s a simple as that and super effective.
5. Avoid talking to others about it
I know that sometimes when I would be overthinking, I would also seek someone else to talk to about it. Yes, at certain moments it is better to ask someone else for their opinion. And you would think that this would solve your problem, but unfortunately, this is almost never the case for an overthinker. Once you are left on your own again, you will return back to overthinking, except now you have a set of new opinions and thoughts from another person, and you will use them to sink yourself deeper into the obsessive hole.
If you feel that the problem has reached its logical end, don’t bring it up with others. There’s no point in doing that. In the worst case, you may have another overthinker overthinking together with you. Like attracts like. 🙂
In order to learn how to stop overthinking, I highly recommend meditation. Meditation is that one thing that can really increase our overall awareness, which is something that people who tend to overthink, lack.
There are thousands of different types of meditation techniques out there. Honestly, any meditation type will be beneficial. Just start with 5 minutes a day, and then gradually build it up. With time, you will feel its positive effects.
You also might want to check out this post that I wrote a while ago. It talks about all the different things celebrities do for stress relief and to become happier.
I hope it helps.
Thank you for stopping by and good luck!