Everyone overthinks now and then.
However, an overthinking person is constantly bombarded by a barrage of thoughts.
Chronic overthinkers imagine disastrous outcomes all day, second-guess every decision they make, and rehash just about every conversation they have ever had.
Overthinking involves more than just words—many also tend to conjure disastrous scenarios and images in their minds.
While overthinking and worrying are considered a part of the human experience, severe overthinking can dramatically affect your overall well-being and health.
According to a 2013 study, dwelling on the same thoughts may increase the risk of developing certain mental health conditions.
If you want to be kind to your mind and keep certain mental health conditions at bay, below are some good reads you should look into:
- Boost Your Mental and Physical Health with These Self-Care Tips
- The Enticing Health Benefits of Positive Thinking
- How to Set Healthy Boundaries: Your No BS Guide
- How to Stop Negative Thoughts for Good
- Intrusive Thoughts: Why You Have Them and How to Stop Them for Good
Overthinking: How to Stop It for Good
If you tend to worry too much and overthink, below are some easy and effective ways to stop overthinking for good.
Embrace Your Fears
There will always be things that are out of your control.
Accepting this fact can go a long way toward stopping overthinking for good.
Understandably, this is easier said than done, and it’s not something you can achieve overnight.
However, you can begin embracing your fears by finding small opportunities where you can control and deal with the situations you constantly worry about.
Often, it’s not as bad and dire as you think.
Confronting your fears puts you in a position to look at the situation differently.
If you dwell on your past mistakes, you will find it hard to let go of anything that is bothering you or causing you to overthink.
You will not get anywhere if you constantly beat yourself up over something you did a week ago, a day ago, or even years ago.
Focus on self-compassion to avoid getting stuck and overwhelmed by unwanted and undesirable thoughts.
You can practice self-compassion by:
- Taking note of a stressful thought that’s bothering you
- Paying attention to the emotions and your physical responses
- Acknowledging that your feelings are valid at the moment
- Use a phrase or affirmation that speaks to you (“I accept myself as I am” or “I am enough”)
Additional reads that can help you develop self-compassion and self-love:
- The 30-Day Self-Love Challenge
- Self-Love Ideas You Should Try This 2022
- Self-Love: Why Is It Crucial to Your Happiness
- How to Practice Self-Love in the Time of COVID-19
- Tangible Ways to Practice Self-Love
In most cases, you might have the same thoughts repeatedly because you are not taking any actions to deal with the situation.
For instance, if you can’t stop thinking about someone you envy, do something about it rather than just allowing it to ruin your day.
The next time the green-eyed monster visits you, stay on top of the situation by jotting down ways to reach your goals.
This will not only help you channel your energy into positive actions, but it also helps you deal with the situation so you don’t overthink it.
Consider the Viewpoints of Others
Sometimes, quieting your thoughts requires stepping out of your typical perspective and perceptions.
Your life values, assumptions, and experiences can shape how you view the world.
Looking at things more positively can also help you work through some of the noise.
Learn to master the art of thinking positively with these helpful reads:
- Change Your Life with These Positive Thinking Exercises
- How to Attract Positive Energy: Top Tips to Keep in Mind
- The Enticing Health Benefits of Positive Thinking
Stay in the Present Moment
If you have the tendency to overthink and think of the same thought repeatedly or if you have the tendency to dwell in the past and focus on your past mistakes, staying in the moment can be your very powerful ally.
If you want to stay in the present moment, below are some of the most effective ways you can stay grounded:
- Go outside. Take a walk outside, even for just a few minutes. Even a quick walk around your block would suffice. Take inventory of the amazing sights and sounds you encounter along the way and note any sounds or smells you experience.
- Eat mindfully. Treat yourself to one of your favorite meals. Find the joy in each bite and focus on how the food smells, tastes, and feels in your mouth.
- Unplug. Shut off your computers or turn off your mobile phones for a designated amount of time daily and focus on a helpful activity instead.
Acknowledge Your Successes
When overthinking, you can stop the pattern by taking out your notebook or note-taking app.
Jot/list down at least five things that have gone your way the past week and the role you played to make it happen.
They don’t necessarily have to be massive accomplishments.
Even something as small as being able to clean your room or sticking to the weekly budget you have set would do.
Reviewing your list, you will be amazed at how they all add up.
When you overthink and your thoughts spiral, refer back to your list to appreciate your accomplishments.
Recognize Automated Negative Thinking
Automated negative thoughts (ANTs) refer to negative thoughts that involve anger or fear.
To tackle ANTs, keep the following basics in mind:
Determine and work through those automated negative thoughts by recording your thoughts and working actively to change them:
- Use a notebook and take note of any situation that’s giving you anxiety. Take note of the thoughts that change your mood and any negative thoughts that come to you automatically.
- As you explore the details, analyze why the situation is causing you to think negatively.
- Break down any emotions you are experiencing and determine what you tell yourself about the situation.
- Think of an alternative to negative thought. For instance, rather than thinking, “I am going to fail big time,” try something like, “I am doing my best and hoping for the best outcome.”
Do Something Nice for Someone Else
Doing something nice for someone else will not only help ease your burden, it can also help you put things in their proper perspective.
If you find yourself overthinking or bombarded with negative thoughts, think of ways you can be of service to others who are also going through trying times.
Do you have a friend who can use a few hours of help with childcare while she deals with her divorce?
Can you do the groceries for a sick neighbor?
Knowing you have the power to make other people’s day better will help distract you from your negative thoughts.
More importantly, it can also give you something to focus on rather than dealing with a never-ending stream of unwanted and negative thoughts.
The enticing benefits of meditation have been proven and are hard to miss.
Adopting a meditation practice is also an effective and evidence-backed way to clear your mind, remove negative chatter, and turn your attention inward.
Not sure how to get started with your meditation practice? The following read can help:
- Guided Meditation to Achieve Self-Love
- Mindful Meditation for Kids: Basics, Benefits, and Expert Tips
- Activate the Law of Attraction with This Powerful Meditation Guide
Take a Deep Breath
You have probably encountered this sage advice countless times.
Why? Because this works.
So the next time you find yourself tossing and turning, close your eyes and breathe deeply.
Here’s a good way to use a breathing exercise to calm your thoughts and yourself down:
Look for a comfortable place to sit and relax.
Place one hand on your heart and the other hand across your belly.
Inhale and exhale through your nose and pay close attention to how your chest and stomach move as you breathe.
Try doing this breathing exercise at least three to five times daily for at least five minutes.
Or you can turn to this breathing exercise whenever you are bombarded with racing and negative thoughts.
While overthinking is common, knowing you are not powerless against it is reassuring. You also don’t have to go about it alone. If you deem it fit, don’t think twice about getting professional and expert help from a qualified therapist. They can help you effectively deal with the situation, so you don’t have to go through it alone.