Your thoughts become your reality. Whatever you have in mind constantly is what you’ll experience in life. This is something that the most successful people of the world realize and the only difference between them and everybody else is that they’ve learned to harness the power of thoughts to help them achieve. That’s great news for those who want to know how to stop overthinking. You were not born an over thinker all humans have patterns to their behavior. These patterns develop over time based on life experiences. And just as patterns are learned, they may be unlearned. The key is to identify what is causing you to overthink, then take decisive action to change your mindset. But that may be easier said than done.
What Is Overthinking?
The classic definition is, to think about something or some matter too much or for too long. Though it is human nature to think things through when making a decision or evaluating a condition, it becomes overthinking when you cannot get out of your head. It occurs to all of us at a few points in our lives. We all experience events that cause us concern or stress. But many can’t seem to turn their worries off. They are concerned about the future, making catastrophic predictions about unlikely events that have not happened still. They ruminate about the past, beating themselves up about ‘will have’ and ‘can have’. They fret over what others can think of them or allow negative self-talk to build up in their minds. Overthinking a tough decision you have got to make can also cause issues. Replaying all the choices in your head may lead to paralysis by analysis. You are scared to take the wrong action, so you take no action at all. However, making the wrong decision is better than making no decision. Whether you are a chronic overthinker or want to make a tough decision, you have possibly experienced sleepless nights when your brain just will not turn off. Overthinking can raise symptoms of depression, elevate your stress levels, and cloud your judgment.
Why Do I Overthink?
Before you can learn how to stop overthinking, you must ask the question, “Why do I overthink?” Frequently overthinking is a byproduct of depression or anxiety. If this is the case, you need to treat your depression or anxiety to decrease overthinking. You can discover that overthinking only materializes your insecurities. If overthinking isn’t a symptom of deeper emotional problems, it can frequently be addressed by changing mindsets and thoughts.
Effects Of Overthinking
To understand this one, we have to know what thinking does. Your ideas create emotions. No matter if it is grief, anger, or fear. These are sensations that are produced by thoughts. Anxious people are overthinkers. They’ve created so many possible scenarios in their minds about what is going to occur next, that they’re constantly plagued by anxiety. Worrying about the future prevents you from being in the current moment. Too much anxiety can get you exhausted and miserable. It may even lead to suicidal ideations and suicide itself. Yes, you can think yourself to death.
While anxiety comes from worrying about the future, depression is a consequence of being stuck in the past. Obviously, there’s more to depression if you look at it as a disorder and sickness and easily thinking about past events over and over again makes you miserable. Few people carry around the heavy cross of the past each moment of their life. Every day they remind themselves of the things that occurred and the things that can have gone differently.
What if? But hey, whatever you do, the past can’t be changed.
It is best to take the lessons generated by your life experiences with you to make great decisions in the future. However, worrying about those experiences is absolutely unnecessary. Such as depression, and anxiety can lead to suicidal thoughts and thus suicide itself.
Have you experienced that you need to go to sleep but your active mind is withholding you from doing so?
Even when the body is tired your mind can be wide awake. What people frequently do is forcing themselves to go to sleep. But that will never work because falling asleep is a mechanism that the mind can’t control. An overthinking mind particularly one that’s worrying about the fact that you cannot fall asleep can cause insomnia. This is a potentially dangerous condition because sleep is important for your well-being and functioning during the day. Insomnia frequently goes hand in hand with anxiety and depression. A common symptom is waking up around 4 a.m. and can’t go back to sleep, even when you only had about 4-5 hours of sleep. When it comes to sleep, your mind wants to be completely relaxed and unaware that you’re entering sleep mode. Then, it will just continue to force sleep on you without any results.
Overthinking can result in you not making decisions. Maybe you’ve too many thoughts, or you’ve an idea about a thousand scenarios about how you’ll make a wrong decision. Before beginning a business, a YouTube channel, a blog, or asking out a girl. There is always a reason to not act. Yes, your business can fail. So can your blog and YouTube channel. And yes, the girl can turn you down. But if you don’t go for it, you accept a guaranteed failure. Still, so many people rather take ‘No’ in exchange for certainty than that they select uncertainty to obtain a ‘Yes’. They’re paralyzed by their thoughts.
How to Stop Overthinking
Obsessive overthinking is different for everybody, so it is vital to know your anxiety triggers. It aids to cultivate a deeper level of awareness of your overthinking, asking questions about why and when it happens.
Begin paying closer attention to your thought procedures, and notice when you are thinking in an unproductive way. Note down what you are thinking, and the form it takes.
For instance, are you replaying a recent conversation on a loop, analyzing it for your failures? Otherwise, are you picturing future disaster scenarios in your imagination? Furthermore, write what you think instigated the overthinking. Was it something to do with a social interaction? Uncertainty? Going to a new environment?
Your notes will quickly help you pick out exact triggers for your anxiety. This provides you ammunition for challenging the underlying beliefs via reflection or journal work. In time, you’ll be able to preempt triggers before they cause a serious episode of overthinking, intervening with few of the further techniques listed below. Finally, the hope is that the triggers would become less powerful because you understand their origins and know-how to fight back in your mind.
One of the perfect ways to stop overthinking is to harness new practical ways of dealing with challenges of life.
Get a wider perspective
When something is bothering you, ask yourself will this matter in a year? How about a month? How about some weeks? Frequently, you will discover that it won’t even matter a day from now. Things change and so do perspectives. This could certainly help you relax.
Make time-limited decisions
For instance, you give yourself 5 minutes to decide whether you’re going to do chores at home or go to the gym. Meanwhile, you take 30 minutes to decide if you want to make that presentation work or just attend a large social event.
Take breaks throughout the day
Reduced overall worry levels by taking regular breaks to do calming things (for example 10 minutes of meditation, 30 mins of reading a fiction book, or 20 minutes of walking in the park).
Minimize overwhelming input
It is also helpful to set time limits on things such as working with emails, reading social media, etc. If your triggers are of sensory overload, give yourself 15 minutes 4 times a day for these tasks, but no more.
Use Positive Affirmations
Affirmations are statements that aid you overcome negative thoughts. They’re especially useful if you need to learn how to stop overthinking at night or want to set yourself up for the best day first thing in the morning.
Here are some good affirmations for anxiety:
- I have the power to decide what I think about. My thoughts do not control me.
- Right now, I release all my obsessive thoughts.
- I refuse to let my imagination show me disastrous visuals.
- I live in the present and appreciate the beauty of what is happening now.
- I am more than my negative thoughts. I can and will be happy
You can also design your own positive daily affirmations. There are no set rules for the form they must take. Furthermore, try saying them into the mirror, looking straight into your own eyes. And smile, if it feels natural.
Be Patient and Live in The Now
Learning how to stop worrying and overthinking also involves cultivating ways of best living in the present moment. Firstly, do not let yourself be held hostage by vague fears about what could happen to you. Instead, confront the toughest question. What is the worst that could happen? It most certainly won’t be as bad as you think. Furthermore, you will usually find you have the resources to deal with the worst-case scenario. Secondly, use techniques that anchor you in the present moment like hypnosis for anxiety. When you are overthinking, slow down physically. Try to notice each movement of your muscles and everything about you. Your brain will slow in response. You may also try narrating the present in your head to pull yourself back to the present.
Notice When You Are Thinking Too Much
Awareness is the 1st step in putting an end to overthinking. Give attention to the way you are thinking. When you notice yourself replaying events in your mind over and over, or worrying about things you cannot control, acknowledge that your thoughts are not productive.
Challenge Your Thoughts
It is simple to get carried away with negative thoughts. Before you conclude that calling in sick will get you fired, accept that your thoughts can be exaggeratedly negative. Learn to replace and recognize thinking errors before they work you into a complete frenzy.
Keep the Focus on Active Problem Solving
Dwelling on your issues is not helpful, but looking for solutions is. Ask yourself what steps you can take to learn from a mistake or avoid a future issue. Rather than asking why something happened, ask yourself what you can do about it.
Schedule Time for Reflection
Stewing on issues for long periods is not productive, but brief reflection can be helpful. Thinking about how you can do things differently or recognizing potential pitfalls to a plan, for instance, can aid you to do best in the future. Incorporate 20 minutes of thinking time into your daily schedule. During this time, allow yourself to mull, worry, or ruminate over whatever you want. Then, when the time is up, move onto something further productive. When you notice yourself overthinking things outside of your scheduled time, remind yourself that you will think about it later.
It is impossible to rehash yesterday or concern about tomorrow when you are living in the present. Commit to being more aware. Mindfulness takes practice such as any other skill, but over time, it can reduce overthinking.
Change the Channel
Telling yourself to stop thinking can backfire. The further you try to avoid the thought from entering your brain, the more it’s going to keep popping up. Busying yourself with an activity is the perfect way to change the channel. Exercise, engage in conversation on a fully different subject, or get working on a project that will distract your mind from a barrage of negative thoughts.