Worrying and overthinking are part of the human experience, but when left unchecked, they can take a toll on your well-being. Dwelling on the same thoughts may even increase your risk of certain mental health conditions.
What is holding people back from the life that they truly want to live?
I’d say that one very common and destructive thing is that they don’t know how to stop overthinking.
They overthink every little problem until it becomes bigger and scarier than it actually is. They overthink positive things until they don’t look so positive anymore.
So, what’s an overthinking person to do? These habbits can help you move in the right direction.
1) Stop Setting Your Day Up For Stress And Overthinking
You can’t totally avoid overwhelming or very stressful days.
But you can minimize the number of them in your month and year by getting a good start to your day and by not setting yourself up for unnecessary stress, overthinking and suffering.
Things that will help you with this :
*Get a good start.
How you start your day tends to often set the tone for your day. A stressed morning leads to stressed day. Consuming negative information as you ride the bus to your job tends to lead to more pessimistic thoughts during the rest of your day.
While for example reading something uplifting over breakfast, getting some exercise. Then getting started with your most important task right now sets a good tone for the day. This will help you to stay positive.
*Single-task and take regular breaks.
This will help you to keep a sharp focus during your day and to get what’s most important done while also allowing you to rest. And recharge so you don’t start to run on fumes.
And this somewhat relaxed mindset but with the narrow focus will help you to think clearly and decisively and avoid winding up in a stressed and overthinking headspace.
*Minimize your daily input.
Too much information, too many times of just taking a few minutes to check your inbox, Facebook or Twitter account, leads to more input and clutter in your mind as your day progresses.
And so it becomes harder to think in a simple and clear way. Which makes you go back to your overthinking habit.
2) Put Things Into A Wider Perspective
When you are thinking and thinking about something ask yourself : Will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?
Widening the perspective by using this simple question can quickly snap you out of overthinking and help you to let go of that situation.
It allows you to finally stop thinking about something and to focus your time and energy on something else that actually does matter to you.
3) Do Something Nice For Someone Else
Trying to ease the load for someone else can help you put things in perspective. Think of ways you can be of service to someone going through a difficult time.
Realizing you have the power to make someone’s day better can keep negative thoughts from taking over. It also gives you something productive to focus on instead of your never-ending stream of thoughts.
4) Become A Person Of Action
When you know how to get started with taking action consistently each day then you’ll procrastinate less by overthinking.
Setting deadlines and a good tone for the day are two things that will help you to become much more of person of action.
This will get you out of your head and channel your energy into taking actionable steps.
It works so well because you do not feel overwhelmed and so you do not want flee into procrastination or lazy inaction. And even though you may be afraid, taking just a step is such a small thing that you do not get paralyzed in fear.
5) Embrace Your Fears
Some things will always be out of your control. Learning how to accept this can go a long way toward curbing overthinking.
Learn to ask yourselself: Honestly, what is the worst that could happen?
And when you’ve figured out what the worst that could happen actually is then you can also spend a little time to think about what you can do if that often pretty unlikely thing happens.
Finding clarity in this way usually only takes a few minutes and bit of energy and it can save you a lot of time and suffering.
Of course, this is easier said than done, and it won’t happen overnight. But look for small opportunities where you can confront the situations you frequently worry about. Maybe it’s standing up to a bossy co-worker or taking that solo day trip you’ve been dreaming of.
6) Work Out To Stop Overthinking
This might sound a bit odd.
But working out can really help with letting go of inner tensions and worries.
It most often makes you feel more decisive and when you are more of an overthinker then it will often be your go-to method of changing the headspace you were in to a more constructive one.
7) Find A Distraction
Shut down overthinking by involving yourself in an activity you enjoy.
This looks different for everyone, but ideas include:
- learning some new kitchen skills by tackling a new recipe
- going to your favorite workout class
- taking up a new hobby, such as painting
- volunteering with a local organization
- Go cycling
It can be hard to start something new when you’re overwhelmed by your thoughts. If finding a distraction feels daunting, try setting aside a small chunk of time – say, 30 minutes – every other day. Use this time to either explore potential distractions or dabble in existing ones.
8) Get Plenty Of Good Quality Sleep
I think this is one of the most commonly neglected factors when it comes to keeping a positive mindset and not get lost in negative thought habits.
Because when you haven’t slept enough then you become more vulnerable.
Vulnerable to worrying and pessimism. To not thinking as clearly as you usually do. And to getting lost in thoughts going around and around in your mind as you overthink.
Tips that will help you to sleep better:
*Keep it cool.
It can feel nice at first to get into a warm bedroom. But I’ve found that I sleep better and more calmly with fewer scary or negative dreams if I keep the bedroom cool.
*Keep the earplugs nearby.
These inexpensive items will help you to get a good night’s sleep and sleep through snorers, noisy cats and other disturbances more times than I can remember.
*Don’t try to force yourself to go to sleep.
If you don’t feel sleepy then don’t get into bed and try to force yourself to go to sleep.
A better solution in these situations is to wind down for an extra 20-30 minutes on the couch with, for example, some reading. This helps me to go to sleep faster and, in the end, get more sleep.
9) Ask For Help
You don’t have to go it alone. Seeking outside help from a qualified therapist can help you develop new tools for working through your thoughts and even changing your mindset.
10) Be Aware Of The Issue (Overthinking)
Remind yourself throughout your day.
Being aware of your challenge is important to break the habit of overthinking.
But if you’re thinking that you’ll just remember to stop overthinking during your normal day then you’re likely just fooling yourself.
Simply use a post-it note or something similar and write down my whiteboard phrase, a question like “Am I overcomplicating this?” or some other reminder that appeals to you.
Put that note where you cannot avoid seeing it like for example on your bedside table, your bathroom mirror or beside your computer screen.
Write down one of the phrases above or one of you own choosing in a reminder app on your smart phone.
I for example use my Android phone and the free app called Reminder with Alarm to do this.