You have to be a person who overthinks everything to know how much overthinking sucks. Even the smartest people become irrational messes when they start over-analyzing a situation and thinking about every single little thing possible. Sure, thinking in healthy does is imperative to being successful at life: thinking people get things done, they’re super smart, and they’re good at what they do. Overthinking, on the other hand, is stress-inducing, can lead to anxiety issues, and generally takes the fun out of everything. If you’re someone who can’t seem to turn their brain off no matter what, you need to learn how to stop overthinking – for real.
It’s important for your mental health that you learn how to recognize when you’re overthinking things. A lot of people feel like they can’t control it, but that’s not true! How do you help yourself? How do you get your brain to shut up when it’s on it’s own destructive autopilot program? Start by reading the following tips, for one thing. I’m a chronic overthinker, and these eight things have personally helped me control many of my overthinking ways. I knew I needed to pass them on, so here are some easy ways on how to stop overthinking right now. I hope they help! From one overthinker to another, good luck!
Set A Deadline On Making A DecisionThe fear of making a decision can put you into this weird limbo that involves only you and your never-ending thoughts. Overthinking and trouble with decision making often goes hand in hand, which shouldn't be surprising. If you find yourself constantly going back and forth on important decisions, try giving yourself some deadlines. Once you set a deadline on something, your brain has an end goal in sight and you're held accountable. Try telling another person about this deadline to really give yourself a goal. Source: iStock
Let Go Of Your Need To ControlNot everything in life is your decision to make, even when it feels like it is. This lack of control can lead to you overthinking, but it shouldn't. Sometimes, a situation can't be helped, no matter how much you want to feel like you're on top of it, so why bother trying to control it? Your brain will think of a thousand ways for you to be the responsible party to come in and save the day with your prowess, but that doesn't have to be the case. Like a wise Disney movie once told us a few years ago, you have to let it go if you want to keep your sanity.Source: iStock
Embrace Not Being RightWhen you're overthinking, you're usually trying to solve some sort of problem. Most problems have a right or wrong answer. We like being right, so when we're overthinking, it may be because nothing feels "right" yet, so to speak. That's fine. You know why? No one is 100 percent right all of the time and nothing is permanent. You can change whatever you want, whenever you want (with some school and parental parameters in place, usually). Seriously. Text that person the wrong thing? Oh, well. Can't win them all.Source: iStock
Call Out Your Fears And AnxietyThe tricky thing about fears and anxiety is they show up in your brain, unannounced, and sounding a hell of a lot like the truth. Only you can get better at recognizing what your paranoia and fear is when it starts being activated with your overthinking. When they pop up, you have to call it out and recognize it as anxiety - because those feelings go away whereas facts tend to stay true forever. You won't feel like an overthinking mess for the rest of your life. This too shall pass.Source: iStock
Do Something Else With Your BrainOverthinking feels like a suck-spiral of awfulness. Once you're caught in a weird thought pattern, there's very little else you can do to stop it. Except, maybe do something else. Have a brainless activity handy: phone games, coloring books, even throw a ball against a wall and catch it a bunch of times. Go for a run! Stop looking at a screen because social media and texting people back isn't really an escape that you need. Other problem solving activities may make it worse, so keep these alternatives to overthinking really light and a little bit amusing. Use your brain to do something else for ten minutes. Whatever's bogging you down will be there when you get back. Source: iStock
Walk Away When You Sense Yourself Going A Little CrazySometimes you're caught off guard and you're overthinking something pretty hardcore in the moment. Stop. Even if you've just been in your room stewing over whatever's occupied your mind lately, physically get up and walk out of the space. If a situation is making you overthink your whole life, step away from it in order to gain a very necessary perspective. Overthinking feels good because it feels like we're doing something productive and helpful when that couldn't be further from the truth. Recognize your overthinking and take a few actual steps away before you lose it.Source: iStock
Stay Away From EnablersYes, ask your friends for help or a second opinion, especially when you sense that you may be getting way ahead of yourself. Absolutely. However, you all know that you have those enabling friends who can take a situation that needs solving and somehow find eight other problems for your brain to obsess over instead of provoding real, actual help. It may feel tempting to turn to a friend when you feel like you need help, but when your friends only make you feel worse, feed your anxieties, or distract you from the real problem, while they may be very nice people, might not be the friends you want around to get you to stop overthinking things. Source: iStock
Lose All Of Your Ability To ChillBeing chill and cool is overrated. Actually, overthinking comes from our need to appear put together and calm on the outside. No one will ever know that you're secretly holding all of your pent up feelings on the inside where they can spin and fester in your brain forever. A lot of overthinking happens when you're trying to dissipate your feelings into thoughts in order to rationalize something. Don't. Not everything needs to be rationalized. Some things are meant to be felt. Feel all of your feelings so you can really experience and let it go instead of spinning out every worst case scenario you can think of. Source: iStock
Do you overthink everything? How do you stop your brain from overthinking too much? Let us know in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.