How To Stop Overthinking Things

We want to harness their power of our brains and utilize them to our maximum benefit. (Hello, studying.) As amazing as our brains can be, they can sometimes be one of our worst enemies. Sometimes it’s our brains that stress us out. When thoughts percolate in our heads, it can really get to us. If you have a habit of overthinking, it can cause you to become stressed and even interfere with your activities.

It can sometimes seem like you don’t have control of the thoughts, but you do. It’s your brain, after all. What’s more, it doesn’t take much to break the cycle. Here are some simple things to do to stop overthinking things.


Acknowledge When You're Doing It

When you're in the cycle of overthinking, don't ignore it. Believe it or not, one of the best things to do is to recognize you're doing it. When you're aware that you're doing something, you are then able to stop yourself from doing it. Furthermore, when you recognize you're doing something, it makes you aware of just how often you're doing it which can then stop you from doing it.

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Tell Yourself To Stop

This might seem a bit silly, but don't underestimate it. When those thoughts won't shut off in your brain, tell them. Tell yourself out loud if you have to. Remember that you're the one who is in charge here.

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Challenge What You're Thinking

This builds on telling your brain to knock it off. If you're finding it's still *arguing* with you, challenge what you're thinking about. You've likely got some great critical thinking skills from school and I know your arguments are likely on point for fighting with your family, so utilize those skills on your own brain. If you're worried that getting a C on this one test will impact your entire future, challenge the notion.

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Try To Think Logically

Overthinking often leads to extrapolation and fearing the worst. One minute you're stressing about getting this math concept. The next, you're seeing yourself shunned by your friends and family and forced to live in a cave. Unfortunately, it can seem like our minds naturally gravitate to the worst possible situation. Some might see it as a protective method, but it often leads to some crazy things. This is where you want to use your logic and reasoning to put the ideas in check.

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Focus On Solutions

If you've overthinking, there's likely a problem. Rather than having the problem germinate in your brain, stop it by focusing on the solution. When you're focused on being proactive and doing something, it will likely stop the overthinking because you're engaging with the problem.

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Engage In Mindfulness

You've probably heard mindfulness being bandied around a lot. You might scoff because it's a trendy wellness thing. I get where you're coming from, but the idea of it is good. It's basically *training* your mind to cut out all of the white noise and focus on what's going on right now. I mean right now. Some call it meditation, but it doesn't even have to go that deep. If you're stressed, try to break away from the situation by focusing on the here and now. Feel the softness of your sweater, smell the air, touch the smooth keys in front of you, consider how your feet feel. It might be challenging at first to cut out the excess stuff but with practice it can have a calming effect.

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Have Reflection Time

If you're prone to overthinking, you likely have a lot going on in your head. Instead of having everything build up to a point where you can't concentrate or sleep at night, try to make time where you can reflect. You don't need to write it on a schedule and it doesn't need to be long. Even just a few quiet moments of the day can make a difference. For example, try reflecting when you're in the bath tub, while you're having your coffee, or even on your commute.

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What things do you keep thinking about? Let us know in the comments!

 

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