Overthinking is a natural human tendency. It can be useful if we use it to think through potential problems and come up with creative solutions. But too much worrying might make you feel like your head is struck in the clouds or underwater.
If you spend a lot of time overthinking things, you worry about what might happen in the future. Or you agonize over past decisions long after they’ve been made. This can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety, which is terrible for your mental and physical health.
However, if you want to start living a more productive and happier life, it’s time to learn how to stop overthinking. Here are four action steps that can help.
1. Recognize when you’re overthinking.
This is the first and most crucial step. If you can catch yourself in the act of overthinking, it’s much easier to put a stop to it. Pay attention to your thoughts and see if they’re helpful or harmful. If they’re harmful, it’s time to take action.
Moreover, you may also identify the triggers that cause you to overthink. This may be certain people, situations, or times of the day. Once you know what triggers your overthinking, you can begin to avoid or manage these triggers.
Recognizing when you’re overthinking can be difficult. However, it is vital to be aware of your thoughts starting to spin out of control.
2. Challenge your negative thoughts.
Once you’ve identified that you’re overthinking, the next step is to challenge your negative thoughts. This means looking closely at your thoughts and questioning why you think certain things. Are they based in reality? Are they helpful?
Overthinking may lead you away from what facts. Overthinking often happens when we allow our minds to dwell on worst-case scenarios that are unlikely to happen.
For example, if we’re overthinking a situation at work, we can remind ourselves that everyone makes mistakes sometimes and that it’s not the end of the world if we do too. This doesn’t mean that our anxiety miraculously goes away, but it can help to put things into perspective and stop us from overthinking things.
If you can remind yourself of the facts and focus on what is likely to happen, it can help you break the overthinking cycle.
3. Check your emotions.
If you find yourself ruminating on negative thoughts or dwelling on past mistakes, it can be helpful to check your emotions. When you’re in a negative emotional state, it’s easy to get caught up in your head and amplify the problem.
However, by acknowledging your feelings and taking time to calm down, you can get out of your way and gain some perspective. It can be helpful to distract yourself with an activity or conversation or to practice some deep breathing exercises. With a little effort, you can train yourself to break the overthinking cycle and reduce your stress levels.
Checking in with your emotions can help you to rationalize your thoughts and put them into perspective. By learning to control your emotions, you can learn to control your overthinking.
4. Focus on the present moment.
When you overthink, you dwell on past mistakes or worry about future events that may never happen. This can prevent you from enjoying the present moment and living your life to the fullest. Instead, try to focus on the present moment.
Thus, pay attention to your senses and the things around you. Notice the sights and sounds around you, and feel your body relaxing as you take slow, deep breaths. Furthermore, don’t get caught up in your thoughts; let them come and go without judgement. This means living the here and now and being fully aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. When you find your mind wandering, just bring it back to the present. Your attention will be more focused and calm if done regularly enough!
Doing this can train your brain to stop dwelling on negative thoughts and start enjoying the present moment.
With these four steps, you can disempower the overthinking monster and pull your thoughts back under control. Once you do, it’s easy to push yourself back into motion, especially once you’ve completed the last step and figured out your next best move.