Constant worrying and overthinking can lead to mental health and well-being issues. Here are some easy ways to stop overthinking every time.
You’ll be a problem-solver if you are an overthinker. You keep having problems, such as a work dilemma or health concern. And you can’t help but dwell on them, trying to find a solution or meaning. The thoughts keep going round and round, but the solutions never seem to come.
Some people have a tendency to overthink situations every once in a while. Others are constantly bombarded by thoughts. Chronic overthinkers replay conversations from yesterday, second-guess every move they make, and envision disastrous outcomes every day.
Overthinking can lead to more than just words. Their minds are like a movie, where they replay distressing scenes or imagine their car going off-road.
Destructive Thought Patterns
Overthinking can lead to two destructive thought patterns: ruminating or incessant worrying.
Ruminating is a way to dwell on the past. These thoughts may include:
- These were not the right words to say at yesterday’s meeting. Everyone must think that I am an idiot.
- I should have stayed at the last job. I would be happier than where I am right now.
- I was not taught confidence by my parents. My insecurity has always been a hindrance to my success.
Persistent worrying involves into negative thoughts–often catastrophic–predictions about the future. These thoughts may include:
- Tomorrow, I will be embarrassed by myself when I present that presentation. I know that I will forget everything I was supposed to say.
- All other people will be promoted before me.
- We won’t have enough money to travel, I know this. We won’t be able to enjoy much.
It can be difficult to change your negative thought patterns, just like any other habit. With consistent practice, however, it is possible to train your brain differently. Here are 13 methods to stop thinking too much about everything.
12 Simple Ways To Stop Overthinking
1. Notice When You’re Stuck in Your Head
Overthinking can lead to a vicious cycle that is so common you don’t even realize you are doing it. You can start to pay attention to how you think in order for you become more aware.
Recognize that you are not productive if you keep replaying the same events over and over or worrying about things you cannot control. Positive thinking is only useful when it leads you to positive action.
2. Focus on Problem-Solving
It’s not helpful to dwell on your problems. But, it is useful to look for solutions. You can either try to prevent it from happening or you can challenge yourself to find five possible solutions.
You can think of strategies to deal with situations that you don’t have control over, such as natural disasters. You can focus on what you can control such as your attitude and efforts.
3. Challenge your Thoughts
Negative thoughts can easily get out of control. Be aware that negative thoughts can easily get out of control.
Be aware that emotions can interfere with your ability look at situations objectively. Look at the evidence. How much evidence can you provide to support your belief? What evidence can you provide to prove that your belief is false?
4. Schedule Time for Reflection
It’s not productive to dwell on your problems for too long. However, a brief reflection can help you get out of your rut. You can improve your performance by focusing on how you could have done things differently or acknowledging potential pitfalls in your plan.
Include 20 minutes of “thinking” time in your daily routine. You can worry, ruminate or mull over anything during that 20-minute period.
Move on when your time is up. If you find yourself pondering over things beyond your time frame, you can remind yourself that you will need to wait until your “thinking” time to address them.
5. Learn Mindfulness Skills
When you live in the moment, it’s impossible not to think about yesterday or worry about tomorrow. Mindfulness can help you be more present in the now.
Mindfulness is like any other skill. However, with practice it can become less stressful. You can learn mindfulness skills through books, videos, apps, courses and books.
It is a mistake to tell yourself that you should stop thinking about it. You will make it more likely that a thought will keep coming up in your mind if you don’t try to stop it from happening.
You can change the activity that you do to alter your brain’s channel. Engage in conversation about a different topic, exercise, or take on a task that distracts. You can stop the negative thoughts by doing something else.
7. Recognize automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)
ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) are knee-jerk negative reactions, often involving fear or anger.
It is possible to identify and resolve your ANTs. Keep a log of your thoughts, and then work actively to make them change:
- Keep a journal to record your anxiety and mood.
- Look at the details and consider why this situation is so troubling.
- Try to understand what emotions are causing you distress and then try to find the truth about it.
- You might consider a different approach to your original idea. Instead of saying “This is going be an epic fail,” you might try “I’m trying my best span>.”
8. Acknowledge your Successes
Stop overthinking when you get caught up in it. Instead, grab your notebook or favorite note-taking app and pull out your phone. Note down the five most important things you’ve done in the last week, and what your role was in them.
These do not have to be big accomplishments. Perhaps you kept to your coffee budget or cleaned out your car. It might surprise you how small things can add up, whether you view it on paper or screen.
9. Distract yourself into happiness.
Sometimes, it can be helpful to have positive, happy and healthy distractions. You can get away from your problems by dancing, meditation, exercising, knitting, painting, or learning an instrument.
10. Stay in Present
Are you not ready to commit to a meditation practice? You don’t have to meditate every day. There are many other ways you can ground yourself in the moment.
These are some ideas:
- Turn off your phone or computer for a set amount of time every day.
- Take the time to eat mindfully. Find the joy in every bite. Focus on the sensations of the food in your mouth.
- Even if you only have to walk around the block, get outside. Keep track of everything you see and note any sounds or smells you notice.
11. Take a Look at Other Perspectives
Sometimes it is necessary to step outside your normal perspective in order to quieten your thoughts. Your life experiences, values and assumptions influence how you view the world. You can see the world from a different perspective and help you to get through the noise.
Write down the thoughts that are swirling in your head. Each one might be valid. Perhaps you are worried about a trip coming up because you know it will be a disaster. Is that what is going to happen? How much proof can you provide to support that claim?
12. Take Action
You might find yourself repeating the same thoughts over and over because you haven’t taken any concrete steps to address a particular situation.
Are you constantly thinking about the person you envy? Don’t let it ruin your day. Let your feelings guide you to make better decisions.
Next time the green-eyed monster visits, take action and write down some ways that you can reach your goals. This will help you get out of your head and allow you to channel your energy into action.
Overthinking can happen to anyone. If you have a system to deal with it, you can at most ward off any negative, anxious, or stressful thinking and make it useful, productive, effective, and efficient. You have to go through it all alone. You can seek outside help from a trained therapist Dr. Neha Mehta to help you work through your thoughts and change your mind.