9 Ways To Stop Overthinking

By Charrette Vachon

“Overthinking is simply a waste of time and energy, so learn to trust yourself and take action.”

The person is feeling overwhelmed and anxious, with their mind racing and unable to focus.

Overthinking is a common problem that most people face, and it can have a detrimental effect on our mental health, leading to anxiety and stress. Fortunately, there are ways to stop overthinking and regain control of our thoughts. Here are 9 ways to stop overthinking:

  • Meditation: Meditation helps to calm the mind and reduce stress levels.
  • Awareness: Be aware when overthinking starts and try to stop it before it spirals out of control.
  • Take action: Instead of worrying about what might go wrong, take action to make things right.
  • Practice positive thinking: Train your mind to focus on the positive things in life.
  • Stop perfectionism: It’s okay not to be perfect. Accept that mistakes happen and move on.
  • Live in the moment: Focus on what’s happening right now instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.
  • Avoid constant reassurance: Seeking constant reassurance can feed into overthinking, so try to avoid it.
  • Engage in physical activities: Exercise helps to clear the mind and release endorphins, which are beneficial to mental health.
  • Sleep: Getting enough sleep is essential for mental health and helps to keep our minds clear and focused.

By following these 9 ways to stop overthinking, you can improve your mental health and overall wellbeing. Don’t let overthinking control your life, take action and regain control of your thoughts!

Challenge Negative Thoughts

Challenging negative thoughts is an essential aspect of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that focuses on identifying and modifying negative thinking patterns. Negative thinking patterns can lead to distress, anxiety, and depression, and can prevent individuals from achieving their goals and living a fulfilling life. The first step in challenging negative thinking patterns is to identify them. This involves paying attention to the thoughts that enter your mind, especially when you are feeling distressed or upset. Once you have identified negative thinking patterns, you can start questioning their validity. You can ask yourself if your thoughts are evidence-based and if there is an alternative, more positive way to view the situation. For instance, if you are thinking that you will never be able to pass a test, you can challenge this thought by looking at your past successes and reminding yourself of your strengths and abilities.

Another effective way to challenge negative thoughts is to practice cognitive restructuring. This involves replacing negative thoughts with positive, realistic thoughts. For example, if you are constantly thinking that you are not good enough, you can try telling yourself that you have unique qualities and that everyone has areas for improvement. This may seem like a simple exercise, but it can have a profound impact on your mood, behavior, and overall well-being. Over time, it can become easier to identify negative thinking patterns and replace them with positive, realistic thoughts.

It is important to note that challenging negative thoughts is not about denying or ignoring negative feelings. Instead, it is about acknowledging that negative thoughts are not always accurate and that there are alternative ways to view a situation. By challenging negative thoughts, you can change the way you feel and behave, which can help you live a more satisfying and fulfilling life.

Set Limits On Worry Time

Photography (e.g. street photography) with a 50mm lens and natural lighting. The focus will be on the person's face and hands, with the busy cafe in the background.

Excessive worrying can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. One way to combat this is to set limits on worry time. By designating a specific time each day to worry about problems, individuals can train their brains to focus on solutions instead of dwelling on negative thoughts. For example, setting aside 30 minutes in the morning to worry about work-related issues can prevent them from consuming one’s entire day. Likewise, designating 15 minutes each evening to worry about personal problems can help individuals separate their worrying from their relaxation time. During designated worry time, it is important to jot down any concerns or potential solutions to address after the designated time is over. This allows individuals to organize their thoughts and gain a sense of control over their worries. Outside of worry time, individuals can remind themselves to focus on the present moment and not allow their worries to consume them. By limiting worry time, one can develop a healthier relationship with their thoughts and emotions, leading to a more productive and fulfilled life.

Engage In Relaxation Techniques

Engaging in relaxation techniques can greatly improve one’s mental and physical health. There are many effective techniques to choose from, including deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery. Deep breathing involves taking slow, deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth, which can slow the heart rate and reduce tension in the body. Meditation involves focusing the mind on a specific object or thought, allowing one to achieve a state of deep relaxation and mental clarity. Yoga combines physical postures with controlled breathing to promote flexibility, strength, and a peaceful mindset. Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in the body, which can release built-up tension and promote relaxation. Guided imagery involves visualizing calming scenes or scenarios, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. No matter which technique you choose, it is important to practice regularly and find what works best for you. Engaging in relaxation techniques can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve sleep quality, lower blood pressure, and reduce chronic pain. It is important to take time for oneself and prioritize self-care, as relaxation techniques can help one feel more balanced and grounded amidst life’s daily stresses.

Take Action

The cafe is dimly lit, with soft music playing in the background. Tables are filled with people chatting, while the baristas hustle behind the counter.

“Take Action” is a phrase that urges individuals and groups to step up and initiate positive changes in their lives or communities. It is a call to action that encourages us to do something meaningful and impactful, rather than simply observing and acknowledging the issues around us. Whether it is donating to a charitable cause, signing a petition for social justice, or joining a protest march, taking action shows our commitment to making a difference. Moreover, taking action can foster a sense of empowerment and agency, as it allows us to actively participate in shaping our world and creating a better future. However, taking action requires courage, determination, and a willingness to step out of our comfort zone. It may involve overcoming fear or apathy, and facing challenges along the way. Nevertheless, taking action is essential in creating positive change, and can inspire others to do the same. Therefore, let us heed the call to “Take Action” and make a difference in the world around us.

Seek Support

It is important to seek support when going through difficult times. Whether it be from friends, family members, or professionals, having a support system can make a significant difference in managing stress and overcoming challenges. Many people may feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help, but it takes courage to reach out and open up about our struggles. Seeking support can also provide us with different perspectives and ideas on how to approach a situation, which can lead to new insights and solutions.

When searching for support, it is important to consider who would be the best fit for us. It may be helpful to seek out someone who has experience or knowledge in dealing with the specific issue we are facing. For example, if we are struggling with anxiety, we may benefit from talking to a therapist who specializes in treating anxiety disorders. If we are dealing with a relationship issue, we may want to talk to a trusted friend or family member who has been through similar experiences.

Online communities and support groups can also be a helpful resource. Many websites and forums exist specifically to provide support for people going through a variety of challenges, from mental health issues to addiction recovery. These online communities can provide a safe and anonymous space for people to connect with others who are going through similar struggles.

Ultimately, seeking support is a sign of strength and self-awareness. It takes courage to be vulnerable and ask for help, but doing so can lead to positive changes and growth. Whether it be through friends, family, or professionals, having a support system can make a significant difference in overcoming challenges and improving our overall well-being.

A person sitting in a crowded cafe with a pen and paper, surrounded by noise, smells, and people. The paper in front of them is filled with scribbles and crossed out words.