Overthinking is when you think too much. When you ponder over the same things again and again. It usually might be about a negative event that has occurred in your past. It’s like drowning in an endless loop where you’re only surrounded by those thoughts that waste your time, drain your energy, and prevents you from doing things and making progress in your life. Instead of looking for a solution and taking an initiative we keep thinking and cannot get it out of our minds. This is because our overthinking brain cannot translate these thoughts into positive actions or outcomes and thus, we face stress and anxiety.
Signs that you’re overthinking
- You start believing your assumptions.
- You spend too much time thinking about things that are not under your control.
- You spend a lot of time thinking about the meaning hidden behind an event that occurred or certain things somebody said.
- You are starting to lose or have already lost your focus.
- You need all the information to make up your mind.
- You spend more time pondering rather than doing something productive.
- You always expect the worst to happen.
- You even get worried when you don’t get a quick response.
- You constantly fear failure.
- You repeatedly relive your mistakes and replay embarrassing moments in your head.
- You don’t get enough sleep.
- You experience extreme fatigue.
How to stop overthinking?
Here are some ways through which you can put an end to those thoughts that put a strain on your brain
Make a journal
Grab a pen and jot down all your thoughts on a sheet of paper. Now try to think about the ones that are valid and strike out the ones which you don’t have any proof of. This way you will feel lighter and negative thoughts will no longer be present. Maintain this journal and repeat this every time you overthink.
Become aware of your thoughts
Before you try to fix your problem of overthinking you need to become aware of when it takes place. You are the observer, creator, and choice maker of your thoughts. Notice any emotions and feelings that you feel inside. Pause and feel each emotion. Make a note of all your physical sensations. Finally, as a choice maker, you may choose to let all the negativity out of your mind rather than allowing it to sink in.
Focus on things that you can control
When you’re caught up in a situation where you can’t stop thinking try to take a minute and examine things that are under your control. This is how you shift your focus from things you can’t control to things you can control.
Widen your perspective
The next time you catch yourself making a mountain out of a molehill ask yourself how long will it matter? If it won’t matter to you in ten years then you should not even spend ten minutes of your life thinking about it. Widening your perspective will snap you out of that unpleasant situation and allow you to focus on something that would matter to you.
If you feel your thoughts are trying to overpower you, then it’s better to divert your attention using positive, happy, and healthy alternatives. Keep yourself occupied because overthinking is the biggest cause of your unhappiness. Even a five-minute walk in the park can help to create a calming effect.
Let go of the past and live in the moment
Overthinkers often focus on the past, by thinking of the “what ifs” and “should haves” to a point that they feel exhausted. There is a need to acknowledge that your past cannot be changed but that you can make changes in your present, by letting go of the past. Living in the moment is the real key to stop overthinking.
“A crowded mind leaves no space for a peaceful heart.” Practicing mindfulness has been shown to reduce overthinking. It doesn’t attempt to suppress or cut down disturbing thoughts. It rather trains the mind to accept the thoughts, without judging them and let them come and go. You will be able to organize, prioritize, scrutinize efficiently everything that is going on in your head.
We all want our lives to be extraordinary and we desire everything around us to be perfect. Being ambitious is great but aiming for perfection is always impractical and unrealistic. Regardless of this, make sure that your tomorrow is better than your yesterday.
Once you discover the way to stop overthinking and live in the moment, you’ll be happier, more rested, and have a positive influence on those around you.
Article by: Savannah Chandok Worker on Mental Health Issues and student of Psychology