Over-thinkers are plagued by distressing thoughts. Their inability to get out of their own heads leaves them in a state of constant anguish.
While everyone over-thinks things once in a while, some of us just can’t get over that. Their inner monologue includes two destructive thought patterns -ruminating and worrying.
Overthinking leads to serious emotional distress. To escape that distress, over-thinkers resort to unhealthy coping strategies, such as alcohol or food.
Here are six ways to stop overthinking everything:
Notice When You’re Thinking Too Much
Awareness is the first step in putting an end to overthinking. Start paying attention to the way you think. When you notice you’re replaying events in your mind over and over, or worrying about things you can’t control, acknowledge that your thoughts aren’t productive.
Challenge Your Thoughts
It’s easy to get carried away with negative thoughts. So before you conclude that calling in sick is going to get you fired, or that forgetting one deadline is going to cause you to become homeless, acknowledge that your thoughts may be exaggeratedly negative.
It is important to recognize and replace thinking errors before they work you up into a complete frenzy.
Focus On Active Problem-Solving
Dwelling on your problems isn’t helpful–but looking for solutions is. Ask yourself what steps you can take to learn from a mistake or to avoid a future problem. Instead of asking why did this happen? Ask yourself what can I do about it?
Schedule Time For Reflection
A brief reflection on your problems can be helpful. Incorporate 20 minutes of “thinking time” into your daily schedule. During that time, let yourself worry, ruminate, or mull over whatever you want. Then, when your time is up, move onto something more productive. When you notice yourself overthinking things outside of your scheduled time, remind yourself that you’ll think about that later.
It’s impossible to rehash yesterday or worry about tomorrow when you’re living in the present. Commit to becoming more aware of the here and now and live in the present. Just like any other skill, mindfulness takes practice, but over time, it can decrease overthinking.
Channelise Your Mind Into Something Productive
Telling yourself to stop thinking about something can backfire. The more you try to avoid the thought from entering your brain, the more likely it is to keep popping up.
Busying yourself with an activity is the best way to change the channel. Exercise, engage in conversation on a completely different subject or get working on a project that will distract your mind from the barrage of negative thoughts.
These simple, yet effective habits can help one to keep their overthinking under control and lead a healthier and happier life.