This article has everything you need to know about how to deal with overthinking.
Do you ever spend so much time discussing the pros and cons of a situation that you forget to take action? Perhaps you find yourself replaying a monologue so often in your mind that you think you were really talking to another person.
If this is the case, you may be an overthinker. We all get in over our heads from time to time, but chronic overthinking hinders real problem solving, which is why it’s important to learn new techniques to get out of your head and back into the present.
How To Deal With Overthinking:
1. Keep the big picture in mind:
When you reflect, you tend to get wrapped up in the minutiae. While you may learn something new by thinking about these topics, it’s wiser to take a step back and consider the bigger picture. If you have a crush on someone, you may wonder about their every word or facial expression, but analyzing every encounter for distinctive details may prevent you from recognizing what’s really going on.
Do you get the feeling that your loved one is really interested in you? Or are you looking for subtle clues because you feel something for him? Stop over-thinking every little thing by being realistic about a broader acquaintance.
2. Take small, proactive steps toward a solution.
When you break down big challenges into small steps, they become less intimidating. You may find yourself over-thinking a situation that seems too serious for you and not knowing what to do about it. If you are unhappy with your job, you may obsess over every aspect of it that you don’t like. However, this won’t do you any good in the long run.
Instead, find the first step you can take, such as taking online classes in your spare time or starting an additional business that you can turn into a full-time job.
3. Practice being in the present moment.
To develop this habit, practice mindfulness. When thinking excessively, you are either repeating something from the past or trying to predict all the potential consequences of something in the future. If you can manage to focus your attention on what is really going on around you, you can be more aware of your thoughts.
Using all your senses to experience what is happening in the present moment is a great exercise for practicing mindfulness. Try observing at least one object that you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel around you.
4. When you start to think too much, distract yourself.
Do something enjoyable and stimulating. When your thoughts are racing, sometimes you need to take a break and occupy yourself with something else. It can be anything as long as it distracts you from what’s bothering you-some people love to color or do puzzles, others prefer a walk or exercise. Just pick something that makes you happy.
If you enjoy gardening, go outside and remove weeds or replant a plant that has become dense.
If you like to be active, go for a run, swim a few laps, or practice free throws in soccer.
5. Write your ideas down on paper.
Try writing down your ideas for 10 minutes each day. Writing in a journal can provide relief from excessive thinking. Writing helps organize your thoughts so they are less cluttered and overwhelming in your head. Writing can also help you get to the bottom of what’s bothering you, making it easier to find a solution or recognize that it’s time to let it go.
After keeping a journal for a while, review your entries and look for patterns in your thoughts. Consider how these patterns affect your perception of yourself, your relationships, and the world.
If you have trouble with this, try writing down your critical thoughts in the form of sentences like “you” instead of “I.” This can help you recognize how harmful your critical inner voice can be if you see something like: “You are incredibly terrible at your job.” Think about your response to each of these “you” type statements, such as: “You always try very hard.”
6. Set a time for yourself to worry each day.
Tell yourself that outside of this time you must not worry. Designate a time on your calendar for worrying (1)—it can be as little as 15-20 minutes to think about everything that’s on your mind.
Then, throughout the day, write down anything that triggers anxiety. Tell yourself that you can’t think about it until a certain amount of time has passed. This way, you won’t spend all day thinking about one problem, especially if it’s something that can be solved in a few minutes.
Just remember not to schedule your worry time too close to bedtime, or you won’t be able to get rid of those thoughts before you fall asleep.
7. Share your feelings with a friend.
Speaking your thoughts out loud can help you process them. If you are having trouble getting beyond your ideas, confide in someone you trust, such as a family member or friend. Talk about your problems and why you think you keep having these thoughts.
When you’re done, take a step back and let that person speak–they may have some good advice for you that will help you calm down.
8. Treat problems as opportunities.
Instead of dwelling on the problem, look for alternative solutions. If you find yourself thinking about all the possible flaws in a given scenario or worrying about every aspect of the choice you face, try reframing your thoughts. Focus on being proactive—how can you solve a problem or learn from it that will help you in the future?
This small change can help you feel stronger rather than overwhelmed.
It can also help you distinguish between how you feel about a problem and what you can do to solve it.
9. Identify what is causing the excessive thinking.
Identifying the pattern can help you break it. The next time you start overthinking, stop and trace your thoughts backward to find out what triggered the pattern. You will likely notice that it has some similarities to what causes you to overthink. Once you’ve identified these factors, you’ll be able to notice when you’re more susceptible to excessive thinking, making it easier to stop it before it starts.
For example, when you are nervous before a difficult conversation, you may discover that you are overthinking it. In this situation, it can be helpful to write down what you want to talk about and schedule that conversation.
10. Think positively about yourself.
Instead of berating yourself, stand up for yourself. Excessive thinking can occur when you are angry with yourself for a mistake you made. Perhaps your thoughts have taken on the tone of someone who has criticized you harshly in the past. Instead of repeating your failures, make a habit of replacing negative self-talk (2) with something positive.
For example, when you make a mistake at work, you might say to yourself, “I keep doing things wrong. I don’t even deserve this job.” Instead, think: “They hired me because they saw promising qualities in me, not because I am flawless.” I’ve earned my place and I’m willing to learn from my mistakes. “
11. Don’t let fear of failure or disappointment keep you from taking action.
Consider whether excessive thinking is a type of procrastination. Perhaps you have to consider every aspect of a particular choice because you are afraid of failure. Perhaps you hesitate to try something new because you don’t want to be disappointed with your choice. You don’t give yourself a chance to achieve anything if you’re not willing to take risks.
For example, if you’re thinking about whether or not to go to a party, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” “What do I have to lose?” Then ask yourself: “What if I have a good time?
Even if things don’t go as planned, you’ll be more likely to regret not taking the chance.
12. Gain skills in recognizing and correcting cognitive errors.
These are thought processes that affect the perception of circumstances. Cognitive biases are a kind of filter for negative thinking. It will be easier to overcome problems if you learn to recognize them when they occur. Some of the most common cognitive distortions are listed below:
- Thinking in terms of totality means believing that everything is either good or bad.
- Overgeneralizing: Seeing unpleasant events as part of a larger theme instead of analyzing them individually.
- Mental filtering: seeing only the bad aspects of a situation and ignoring the good.
- feeling that negative things are really important while pleasant things are not so important.
- Catastrophizing is automatically assuming that something will go wrong.
13. Seek help from a therapist.
Talk about your excessive thinking with a mental health professional. It may seem that this overthinking is caused by ordinary difficulties.
However, real difficulties may be related to a previous trauma or a strong fear of failure. A competent therapist can help you identify the source of the excessive thinking and develop new techniques for dealing with these thoughts as well as the emotions that contribute to them.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with asking for help if you need it, especially if excessive thinking is preventing you from accomplishing the things you want to do!
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to deal with overthinking. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.