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How To Deal With Overthinking: 10 Tips To Follow

Here are ten simple ways to stop overthinking.
by Rob Gillham | Jan 4 2023

Mental health issues can often be caused by constant worry and overthinking. Overthinking can be relieved by methods such as deep breathing, meditation, self-compassion, and asking for help from a healthcare professional.

When you are alone with your thoughts, do you immediately start wondering if you forgot to send that thank-you email or if you overestimated your chances?

Do you recognize this? The human experience includes worrying and overthinking, but when left unchecked, they can have a negative impact on your well-being. Some mental health conditions may even worsen as a result of dwelling on the same thoughts, according to research from 2021.

So what’s a person who overthinks supposed to do? You can move in the right direction by following these tips.

Overthinking: What Is It?

Exactly as it sounds, overthinking refers to thinking about something too much or for too long. When you’re looking for a job or competing with coworkers for a promotion, it’s easy to spend a lot of time considering cover letters, applications, and interviews instead of relaxing and paying more attention to your current job or family.

Overthinking: Why You Should Stop

The Journal of Abnormal Psychology reported in 2013 that thinking too much about your problems, mistakes, or shortcomings can put your health at risk. The reduction of overthinking can reduce stress, improve sleep, and enhance career prospects.

The level of stress you experience at work can have a significant impact on your productivity. You can improve your motivation, focus on short- and long-term goals, and interact with your colleagues more effectively by getting rid of stress.

The way people complete individual tasks and make big decisions often feel more controlled when people are relaxed. Overthinking can also prevent you from falling asleep at night. Sleeping better has many of the same benefits as lowering stress levels, including improving mood, motivation, and focus.

Take action to improve your career instead of delaying or avoiding asking for a raise, promotion, or additional training due to overthinking.

How To Deal With Overthinking

Change begins with awareness.

Before you can address or cope with your habit of overthinking, you need to learn to recognize it when it occurs. When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, step back and assess the situation and how you’re responding.

There is a seed of change in that moment of awareness.

Instead of thinking about what could go wrong, think about what could go right.

A single emotion is often responsible for overthinking: fear. It’s easy to become paralyzed by all the negative things that could happen. The next time you feel yourself spiraling in that direction, stop.

Instead of focussing on what could go wrong, keep in mind what can go right and maintain those thoughts in your mind.

Make yourself happy by distracting yourself.

Occasionally, it’s helpful to distract yourself with positive, happy alternatives. The act of meditating, dancing, exercising, learning an instrument, knitting, drawing, or painting can help you distance yourself from the issues.

Consider the bigger picture.

There is always a temptation to make things bigger and more negative than they need to be. When you catch yourself making a mountain out of a molehill, ask yourself how much it will matter five years from now.

Or next month, for that matter. You can stop overthinking by changing up the time frame, just by asking this simple question.

Don’t wait for perfection.

There’s a lot at stake here. We can stop waiting for perfection right now if we are waiting for it.

In spite of being ambitious, striving for perfection can be unrealistic, impractical, and debilitating. “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress,” should be your mantra as soon as you start thinking “This needs to be perfect.”

Fear can be changed by changing your perspective.

Whether you’re afraid because you’ve failed before, or overgeneralizing another failure, remember that just because something didn’t work out before doesn’t mean it will every time. Each opportunity is a new beginning, a chance to start over.

Make use of a timer.

Set boundaries for yourself. Spend five minutes thinking, worrying, and analyzing. Spend 10 minutes with a pen and paper, writing down everything that worries you, stresses you, or gives you anxiety.

Feel free to let it rip. You should throw the paper away after the 10 minutes are up and move on to something more enjoyable.

Accept the fact that you cannot predict the future.

It is impossible to predict the future; all we have is the present. You are robbing yourself of your present moment if you spend it worrying about the future.

It is simply unproductive to spend time thinking about the future. Don’t waste that time on things that don’t bring you joy instead.

Give it your best shot.

Overthinking is often caused by a sense of not being good enough-not smart enough, hardworking enough, or dedicated enough. Accept your best effort and know that, while success may depend on some things you cannot control, you’ve done what you could.

Gratitude is important.

It is impossible to have a regretful thought and a grateful thought at the same time, so why not spend the time positively? You should make a list of things you are grateful for each morning and each evening.

Share your gratitude lists with your gratitude buddy so you have a witness to your good fortune.

Take a step back and look at how you’re responding

When you respond to your thoughts in a particular way, you can sometimes find yourself stuck in a cycle of rumination, or repetitive thinking. A person’s mental health can be negatively affected by ruminating.

Next time you find yourself running things over in your head, take note of how it affects your mood. Feeling irritated, nervous, or guilty? Why do you think the way you do? What is your primary emotion?

The key to changing your mindset is self-awareness.

Make someone’s day by doing something nice for them

You can put things in perspective by trying to ease the load of another person. Consider ways to help someone going through a difficult time.

Are you looking for some child care for a friend who is going through a divorce? Is it possible for you to pick up groceries for your sick neighbor?

Keeping negative thoughts at bay can be as simple as realizing you can make someone’s day better. Furthermore, it gives you something productive to focus on instead of a never-ending stream of thoughts.

Recognize your accomplishments

Take out your notebook or your favorite note-taking app on your phone when you’re overthinking. List five things that went well over the past week and your role in them.

There is no need for these to be huge accomplishments. It might have been as simple as sticking to your coffee budget or cleaning out your car this week. You might be surprised to see how these little things add up when you look at it on paper or on screen.

You can refer back to this list whenever your thoughts spiral out of control.

Take into account other perspectives

It is sometimes necessary to step outside your usual perspective in order to quiet your thoughts. The way you see the world is shaped by the experiences, values, and assumptions you have in your life. You can work through some of the noise by viewing things from a different perspective.

Write down some of the thoughts that are swirling around in your head. Investigate each one to see if it is valid. You might be stressed over an upcoming trip because you just know it will be a disaster. Is that really what’s going to happen? Do you have any proof to support that claim?

Take action

When you don’t take any concrete action about a certain situation, you may repeat the same thoughts repeatedly.

You can’t stop thinking about someone you envy? Make better decisions based on your feelings instead of allowing it to ruin your day.

Whenever you encounter the green-eyed monster, be proactive and write down ways you can reach your goals. You’ll be able to channel your energy into taking action and getting out of your head.

Don’t be afraid to face your fears

There will always be some things beyond your control. Overthinking can be curbed by learning to accept this. A

ccording to a study published in 2018, accepting negative thoughts and fears can improve psychological health.

It won’t happen overnight, and it’s easier said than done. Consider small opportunities where you can confront the situations you worry about frequently.

It might be standing up to a bossy co-worker or taking that solo day trip you’ve been dreaming about.

How To Overcome Overthinking And Other Life Issues

It is possible for anyone to overthink. If you have a great system for dealing with it, you can at least turn some of the negative, anxious, stressful thoughts into something useful, productive, and efficient.

Click here to learn how to deal with stress, and here to learn how to boost your short-term 

 

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