Overthinking is often described as the act of creating problems that aren’t even there. You know—those moments you spend replaying a negative scenario in your head over and over again out of fear that it’ll actually happen. As crazy as it seems, it happens to basically all of us! That’s why we put together some tips that’ll help you ease your worries.
1. Take notice when it happens.
Think about those times when a situation panned out a lot more smoothly than you anticipated, and you found yourself thinking, “Wow! I was totally worrying for no reason.” Yeah, that’s a bit late to make that realization, isn’t it?
Practice catching it right when you first start worrying and making negative assumptions. You can’t stop your overthinking dead in its tracks unless you notice it while it’s happening!
2. Focus on the solution rather than the problem.
Okay, so you’ve noticed that you’re overthinking a situation. Now that you made the realization, what’s your first thought? Probably something like, “OMG, I’m doing it again.” or “I have to stop overthinking!”
Obsessing over the problem can end up making it worse. Instead, focus on the solution. What can you do in that moment to take your mind off the situation?
3. Practice looking at the bigger picture.
Put your overthinking in perspective. We’re big fans of the classic question, “In one year, will this situation even matter?” Most of the things we find ourselves overthinking about really aren’t life-or-death situations, so there’s no need to treat them like one!
4. Figure out how overthinking is holding you back.
Have you turned down opportunities because your overthinking got the best of you? Was there ever a strain in one of your relationships simply due to worrying? Did you forget to enjoy an exciting moment because your mind was consumed by something else? Think about these things, then use them as motivation to cut the habit.
5. Plan ahead with ways you can distract yourself.
We’ve all been victims of overthinking at some point. It might not be something that’s totally avoidable, but you can at least work on distracting yourself from these intrusive thoughts when they happen. For example, if you find that most of your overthinking happens before bed, you can make a habit of getting lost in a book until you doze off. Or if you usually overthink after a lot of social interaction, plan on going to the gym afterwards so you can focus on something positive instead.
How do you stop your overthinking? Share your tips in the comments below.