Have you ever felt like you are overthinking? Like what you’re doing is not enough? Maybe it’s because what you’re doing isn’t what needs to be done. Sometimes you overthink things and make them more complicated than they need to be. This guide will show you some strategies that will help reduce the amount of time that you spend thinking about what should or could be done, and allow yourself to focus on what needs to get done.
When you’re faced with a major choice — like picking a university, changing careers, purchasing a vehicle, getting married or divorced — you undoubtedly consider the potential consequences. This makes perfect sense: A big investment or life change necessitates careful study.
You could also find that you’re flipping nearly every idea over and over in your mind. You may become immobilized by considering the “what-ifs” of even little decisions to the point where you can’t make a decision. This is known as excessive thinking.
It’s natural to feel too “in your head” from time to time. However, chronic overthinking can have a negative impact on your sleep, job, relationships, health, and other parts of your everyday life. Do you think you might be an overthinker? Here’s what you need to know:
- 1 What Does It Mean To Overthink?
- 2 Why Do You Overthink Things?
- 3 Is Overthinking Mental Disorder?
- 4 How Can You Stop Overthinking Everything?
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 A Word From MantraCare
What Does It Mean To Overthink?
Overthinking consists of excessively thinking about the same topic or circumstance over and over, to the point that it gets in the way of your life. Overthinking is generally divided into two categories: ruminating on the past or dreading about the future.
If you’re having a hard time thinking about anything other than what is in your head, you may feel stuck. It might be difficult to get the thoughts out of your head or focus on anything else. Overthinking can make it worse sometimes. Overthinking is making an action that was not productive. For example, if you overthink a decision, you might miss a deadline or lose sleep.
You can’t always think about things. It’s not the same as being worried or stressed. But you might think a lot about something when there’s a problem. When you are nervous about an important work presentation, it makes you want to finish the project. When this happens, you work hard on it and leave early that day to make sure you arrive on time. Overthinking is good, but it can be bad. It is bad when it stops you from being able to do things.
Why Do You Overthink Things?
Overthinking is a technique to attempt to control a scenario in order to feel more certain about what to do next. When you’re overthinking, your brain shifts into “analysis mode.” It cycles through various possibilities and tries to figure out what will happen in order to relieve your worry.
However, overthinking is frequently the reason why people fail to act because it’s difficult for them to quickly shift out of analysis mode. The difficulty with overthinking is that our mind always generates another worrying concern.
Although rumination affects everyone, those who are driven by success may be more prone to overthinking. Perfectionists and overachievers are always thinking about things. They do this because they are afraid to fail, which is why they are so hard on themselves.
Is Overthinking Mental Disorder?
- Anxiety disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
One study found that there is a two-way relationship between thinking too much and other mental health issues. Sometimes the stress, anxiety, and depression cause overthinking. But sometimes the overthinking can also be caused by stress, anxiety, and depression. You might be stressed, anxious and depressed if you think too much.
After something bad happens, you might be on high alert all the time. You are always thinking about danger. Some people think too much. They think about bad things that might happen. It is like they are in a fight, or running away. They don’t know what to do so they just keep thinking about it and can’t stop thinking about it until they feel better.
How Can You Stop Overthinking Everything?
It will not happen right away, but you can stop overthinking. Follow these five expert tips to start:
Keep Track of Triggers and Patterns
Mindfulness and attention, in moderation, may help you regain control over your thinking. Keep a diary and note down specific instances that drive you crazy or make you anxious. Overthinking is an issue that many people struggle with. It’s easily avoided if you know how to identify and avoid overthinking triggers before they occur. This can help you create a coping strategy for circumstances that you know will trigger overthinking.
Challenge Your Thoughts
It may not appear like it, but you don’t have to accept everything your mind tells you. Challenging concerns and speculations and viewing them objectively is an excellent approach to overcome overthinking.
Examine the facts of the scenario to see if a notion makes sense, is reasonable, or is helpful. If your overthinking ideas aren’t beneficial, calling them out may help you deal with them.
Get Help From Your friends
Do others accuse you of being nervous or concerned too much? They’re probably on to something. Get some perspective on a problem by enlisting the help of a trustworthy friend and gently nudge you when your mental processes appear to freeze.
Choose a buddy who is smart in managing to overthink. According to research, co-rumination — excessively discussing and rehashing problems among friends — can actually exacerbate anxiety.
Move Your Body
There is a lot of evidence that physical activity may help with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Work stress keeps aside by exercise. You can feel better just by taking a walk around the block. Your brain feels good when you exercise.
The physical movement might also help you shift your nervous system out of the fight, flight, or freeze mode. This could assist with any trauma-related rumination you’re going through.
Seek Help From Professional
If [overthinking] appears to be taking control of your life more than you’d like, seeing a mental health specialist or speaking with your primary care doctor about it may be beneficial.
Other than mental health ailments, if left unchecked, the tension caused by overthinking may induce physical health symptoms such as:
- Digestive issues like nausea or diarrhea
- Difficulty sleeping
A therapist or counselor can assist you in learning coping methods to combat rumination if you’re having trouble with overthinking. They can also help you discover and treat any underlying causes of excessive thinking, such as anxiety or sadness.
Visit online mental health provider directories to locate a mental healthcare professional near you, such as Searchable Therapist Directories:
- Good Therapy
- Therapy Den
- Psychology Today
- QPoC Therapist Directory
- Gaylesta (LGBTQ therapists)
- InnoPsych (BIPOC therapists)
- Open Path Psychotherapy Collective (low-cost therapy)
Identify Your Destructive Thought Patterns
Negative and harmful thought patterns may take many shapes, and some are more severe than others. These mental habits tend to surface during stressful or contentious situations, contributing to the detrimental effects of overthinking. Ruminating and incessant worrying are two of the most prevalent types.
Reflection is of a single thought or a chain of ideas that are unhappy or black, and which run constantly through your head. Perfectionists who ruminate frequently become depressed and push others away. You constantly anticipate and worry about almost everything in your life going wrong because you are continuously concerned. Indiscriminate worrying does not appear with a specific occurrence in your life, but it is your limiting ideas and narrative.
Manage Your Story
All of us are telling ourselves stories. The issue is, does your narrative empower you or restrain you?” Every aspect of your life is according to the narratives you tell yourself about who you are. Overthinkers may say to themselves, “I’ve always been a worrier” or “I’m just more anxious than everyone else naturally.” These are lies that hold you back and might be especially tough to shift if you’ve never questioned why you overthink.
You must first identify your limiting beliefs in order to overcome them. Then you may notice yourself telling yourself these negative tales and replace them with better ones, such as “I am in control of my feelings.” You can alter your life by changing your narrative.
Let Go Of The Past
Overthinkers are frequently concerned with the past, focusing on “what ifs” and “should haves.” Those who grasp how to not overthink understand that the past is a fixed reality. The only thing you have control over is the significance you give it.
It’s about letting go of the past and not allowing your mistakes to dictate your future choices, as well as forgiving and releasing any residual anger. It’s one of the most effective methods you can rewrite your narrative.
Live In The Moment
Living in the present is critical to learning how to stop overthinking. Most individuals cannot simply flip a switch and live in the moment — or can they? You have command of your thoughts and may put negative feelings on pause. Identify and eliminate overthinking before it becomes out of control and takes a while to reset. Breathe and focus on what you’re hearing and seeing right now. What are you grateful for? At first, you’ll have to apply deliberate attention. Daily routines like meditation and priming can assist in retraining your mind to live in the present moment.
Focus On Solutions
Recognize your issues, but give power and energy to solutions. You know and identify the true causes of your stress and anxiety, but your job is not yet finished. The only method to teach yourself how to stop overthinking for good is to take control of your life.
If work stress is causing your overthinking, consider whether you want to continue down your current path. Set objectives for yourself if you aren’t where you want to be in life. If you believe that life is slipping off your hands, take action right now and retake the wheel. These are huge changes, so have a little courage on hand.
Worrying about what could or should be done isn’t going to help you get anything done. If you’re feeling stuck, try implementing one of these strategies in your next project and see if it helps lessen the pressure on your mind. You’ll feel more confident knowing that the right things are getting done without overthinking them too much. Remember, doing is better than thinking! Which techniques have helped reduce stress for you?
A Word From MantraCare
Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.
At Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.