Everyone at some point has gone through the vicious cycle of overthinking. You have to, right?
And probably you have also wondered – how to stop overthinking.
Well, that’s quite alright. Overthinking is a common phenomenon that every other human experiences. However, after a point, it can become challenging to handle it and be present in the current moment. Right?
Let’s see how to overcome overthinking.
What is overthinking?
Have you ever wondered how to stop overthinking? We all get thoughts, and after a certain point, those thoughts worsen. But who decides that point?
Overthinking is when you dwell or are stuck on one thought for a long period of time and are not able to think of anything else but that particular thought repeatedly. This can come from a place of anxiety or being too worried about something that scares you.
But do not worry, the answer to your question - how to overcome overthinking is here!
How do you know if you are overthinking?
There is this famous saying – there is a thin line between introspection and overthinking. Introspection is more about self-reflection and asking relevant questions, but if you fall into a void of “what ifs” then it can turn to overthinking easily.
It is hard to recognise when you start overthinking, and when you do start, it is hard to understand how to stop overthinking as it puts you into a vicious cycle which becomes unavoidable. Some of the symptoms of overthinking are –
Looking at the “what ifs” in every possible situation and not being able to enjoy the present moment.
- Fixating on your past mistakes or things you cannot change.
- Second-guessing your decisions.
- Imagining all the worst-case scenarios in everything.
- Repeatedly playing past conversations in your head and doubting every second of it.
- Always thinking about the future.
- Not being able to sleep soundly.
- Questioning your decisions and never trusting your intuition.
Going through the question of how to avoid overthinking is common, but one cannot avoid overthinking. One can learn how to control overthinking.
How can overthinking affect you?
Dr. Fowler said, "Overthinking can affect how you experience and engage with the world around you, preventing you from making important decisions, keeping you from enjoying the present moment and draining you of the energy you need to handle daily stressors.”
It not only affects you mentally but shows a lot of physical symptoms as well, like —
- Stomach ache
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes in appetite
It depends from individual to individual on how their body and mind react to overthinking or mental stressors. However, if not treated appropriately, overthinking can lead to anxiety or depression in no time.
How to stop overthinking?
To get away from the question of how to stop overthinking or how to control overthinking, you have to work towards it consciously. However, this can take a lot of mental strength and self-analysis.
Here are 9 steps to overcome overthinking –
1. Introspect and get to know the root cause
In order to get rid of your overthinking and put a stop to the question of how to avoid overthinking, the best way to do this is by getting to the root cause of your thoughts. Introspection and self-evaluation lead to a lot of answers. When you introspect and detangle your thoughts logically and practically, you will get to know the cause of where it all began and can work on that properly.
2. Distract yourself by indulging in activities that make you happy
A lot of times, overthinking arises because you have nothing else to do, and your mind starts to wander in a different direction. To put a stop to the question of how to avoid overthinking, you can always distract yourself by indulging in activities that make you happy and reconnect with your childhood. For example, painting, reading books, going out for a walk or solo dates.
3. Mindfulness & meditation
Your thoughts can make you feel stuck and distant from the present moment. To come to reality and enjoy the current moment – you can try meditation and mindfulness activities. For example, if you see your mind wandering off to dark places, you can pull it back by closing your eyes and taking your mind to your happiest place, or consciously practising being in the present by bringing your mind back to the moment it starts to wander off.
This not only helps you to enjoy life but also makes you mentally strong which helps you learn the art of how to control overthinking.
4. Community building & talking to your close ones
Overthinking can make you feel lonely and aloof, but no one said you have to go through it alone. You can always ask for help from your close ones, or even strangers because everyone experiences overthinking. Talking to your close ones or even strangers can give you insight. It opens up your mind to look into other directions, which you were earlier not able to see.
At times, you might not feel like talking to your close ones, and talking to strangers can help you a great deal. To bridge this gap, Now&Me also has a platform where you can interact and chat with people anonymously. You can take advice while also making great friends there.
5. Connect with nature
In order to clear out your head and understand yourself, you can always go out for a walk and connect with nature. You can take a nice barefoot walk on the grass that helps you relax and enjoy the presence of greenery around you. Getting out of your house and looking at all the greenery stimulates your senses and makes you come to the present moment.
A lot of times your thoughts put you in a mindless rut that can get hard to avoid — to get out of this, get up and go out for a walk. A change in place and scenery can do more than you can imagine and help you overcome overthinking.
6. Consult Mental Health Professionals
Talking to experts and professionals about your thoughts helps you see things from a different angle and perspective. There are times when you feel stuck and don’t wish to overburden your close ones. In times like these, you should have the opportunity to talk to a professional about it. Now&Me provides its audience with the benefit of talking to a professional if they wish to, and the good thing about this is that the first session is free. You can try out if a mental health professional suits you by having the first session for free. It is significant to talk to somebody when you have the basic need to. Now&Me fulfils that wish with utmost love and understanding for their audience.
7. Identify your destructive thought pattern
Many times your mind can turn against you and start a war with us. To accomplish this, your thoughts start feeding you lies that can make you question yourselves and your judgements.
To curb this, you must go in-depth and identify your destructive thought pattern and from where exactly are your thoughts turning into automatic negative thoughts — where your mind keeps exhausting you with self-demeaning thoughts. Once your thoughts get to know that you are stressing out on them, they can stress you even more. If you don’t give that power to your thoughts, they will just be mere thoughts – they cannot do anything about it.
Take your power back, and your overthinking will stop right there.
8. Look at the bigger picture
To get away with overthinking, think about that particular situation like will it matter after 5-10 years? Will the mistakes you have made turn you into a bad person? If you just let your thoughts come and go, will that change the reality?
Question your thoughts and the “what ifs” they show you, and you will get your answer to your overthinking right away. Looking at the bigger picture makes you understand that the unnecessary thoughts you get are nothing but lies, and if you just let them come and go, you won’t even remember them.
9. Look at yourself with compassion
It is a human tendency to be harsh with yourself if you get negative thoughts. We feel if we are harsh and rude to ourselves, our thoughts will go away, when in reality, the opposite happens. If we are mean to ourselves, it will give our thoughts a free pass to be mean to us too.
To put a stop to overthinking, look at yourself with compassion and let your thoughts be mere wanderers with whom you do not like interacting. It is a simple technique – be the biggest supporter of yourself and if your thoughts turn you against yourself, fill yourself with so much love and compassion that your thoughts can do nothing but leave you alone.
How can Now&Me help?
Our platform Now&Me is a safe place that makes you appreciate and value yourself by writing out whatever is weighing you down. It can help you in the following ways — It reminds you of things that truly matter by sending notifications of positive affirmations every day. It helps in structuring thoughts and giving insight into things that are troubling you. Engaging with others can make you look at things from a different perspective. It helps you practise gratitude, which further pushes you to love yourself, your body and your mind. You can be a part of the larger community and understand yourself in ways you can never do while being with yourself. It’s like your personal journal – write your thoughts without any filter and make it your best friend who listens to and understands you as no one else does.
When you do not know how to tackle your overthinking and self-demeaning thoughts, sign up on Now&Me and let your words flow. Be a part of a non-judgmental, inclusive, and friendly community. It is a beautiful and warm family that has got your back. A platform made for you to readily ask for help and to simply write whatever you are feeling and breathe easy.
Overthinking is not a mental illness. However, it can lead to mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety disorders.
Overthinking can take away the joy of the present moment by keeping you stuck in emotionally negative thoughts. It makes you miss out on small moments of life, and you are usually irritated, lost and a bit all over the place.
The signs of stress vary from individual to individual. However, the usual signs of stress are difficulty concentrating, headaches, fatigue, nausea, migraines, and panic attacks.
The root cause of overthinking is mainly stressful situations that make you anxious and out of control. These negative emotions can cause a lot of panic and overthinking.
To stop overthinking at night, you can include meditation in your PM routine and take a break from social media. To have a sound sleep, do things that make you feel calm and relaxed so, anxious thoughts do not come into your head.
Taking a step back from that stressful situation and looking at things objectively is one to relax your mind. Other than this, you can indulge in activities that make you forget about the things that are worrying you like volunteering, gardening, taking a trip or simply getting out of your house.
Rapid frequent thoughts at night are a sign of anxiety. At night, you are too tired, and if your mind tends to wander off, it is difficult to get it right on track because your mind and body are so sleepy. Hence, your mind goes into a mindless rut of repeating thoughts.
Your thoughts usually go crazy at night because you are tired, and instead of taking control of your mind, it falls into a void of a rut, and you feel sleepy to get it back on track.