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Overthinking: Why We Do it and How to Stop it

www.chicute.com on Oct 25th 2020

Thinking and worrying is something we all do and a natural part of being human. But when we do it to much, it can be a become an issue. I know that I"m not the only one that has struggled with overthinking things. So today I wanted to share some strategies I’ve used on how to stop overthinking and worrying.

Your thoughts are a powerful thing. They’re are the seed that becomes your reality, and that’s a great thing if you’re planting good thoughts. But if they’re negative thoughts and thinking too much about them.. that’s not good at all, especially when you start going down a wormhole of contemplation and rumination.

Overthinking and Why We Do It

The last few months I’ve had a little more time on my hands. This is great considering my life was pretty hectic before – juggling work, my blog, family and an active social life. But with that extra time, I noticed I began overthinking things a whole lot more.

Instead of considering all the things that could go right, I would ruminate about all the things that could go wrong. I would let fear overcome me and second-guess my decisions. This became tiring and paralyzing to the point it was difficult to for me to make any choices at all.

Oddly enough, overthinking and worrying allowed me feel like I was control of something that I had no control over. When I mulled over every possible outcome I felt in charge, even though it became emotionally draining.

Overthinking became my method of handling stressful situations and it got to a point where my day would vanish into thin air because I couldn’t stop thinking about what was bothering me.

I knew that overthinking hadn’t always been a problem for me. And if I have developed a habit of overthinking, I could certainly unlearn this habit as well.

So over the last few weeks I’ve been working on pulling myself out of spiral of overthinking and here are some tips that I’ve learned that have helped me.

How to Stop Overthinking Everything

6 Strategies on How to Stop Overthinking and Worrying

1. Awareness is the first step

Take a moment to pay attention to the way you think. Before you figure out how to stop overthinking, you’ll need to learn to be aware of it when it’s happening.

Any time you find yourself doubting or feeling stressed or anxious, step back and look at the situation and how you’re responding. In that moment of awareness is the seed of the change you want to make.

2. Challenge your negative thoughts

In many cases, overthinking is caused by the emotion of fear of dealing with the unknown. Learn to recognize this and challenge these thoughts. When you focus on all the negative things that may happen, it’s easy to become paralyzed with indecision.

Instead of creating scenarios of what could go wrong, trying to visualize all the things that can go right and keep those thoughts present and up front. Try the focus on active problem-solving. Ask yourself what you can do about your situation and the good that can come out of it.

3. Put things into perspective.

It’s easy for your mind to make problems look bigger and more negative than they really are. The next time you catch yourself making a mountain out of a molehill, ask yourself how much this thought will matter in five years. Or, for that matter, next month. Just asking this simple question and changing up the time frame, you can help shut down overthinking.

4. Set time limits for your worrying

By setting aside a set amount of time for your worrying, you won’t end up spending the whole day doing it. The next time you catch yourself overthinking or worrying, set a timer for 15 minutes. Flush out all your thoughts in that time, and then move on with the rest of your day.

This tip has been particularly effective for me. I find it’s a good balance that allows me to spend a set about of time trying to deal with my issues, then move on from it so I’m not dwelling on my thoughts.

5. Practice mindfulness and being present

Try living in present moment of your everyday life, rather spending it in past or a possible future. One method I use to bring myself to the present is having a moment of mindfulness.

How I do this is find a comfortable space and take 1-2 minutes to focus fully on what is going on around me. I go through each of my senses, taking a moment feel, hear, sense, smell and see what’s going on around me. This helps me bring me to the present and help me to refocus my thoughts.

6. Keep yourself occupied

Another method that’s helpful for how to stop overthinking is immersing yourself in an activity you enjoy, or trying a new activity all together. Some of my go-to methods are:

  • Working out
  • Going for a walk with my dog
  • Trying out a new recipe in the kitchen
  • Reading a book
  • Listening to a podcast
Hope this post was helpful for you!

And if you have any tips you’d like to share on how to stop overthinking and relax,

please share them in the comments below! I’d love to hear them!