Overthinking is one of the most common mental disorders which can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide. The overthinking cycle usually goes like this: In the beginning, there is a thought pattern when you think about something. An idea comes up and stays on your mind until you forget about it. Then comes another thought and after some time you start thinking about it again, but without any real idea as to why you are thinking about that particular thing again…
Overthinking is a mental process that takes place when you are stuck with a problem, and to solve it you start thinking about all possible solutions. This can be one of the most stressful feelings because this kind of action forces us to think in situations where there are no correct answers.
It is an emotional state in which you keep thinking about a situation, problem or question repeatedly, allowing it to become obsessive. However, overthinking can also have emotional effects on your relationships and performance at work. We will look at 6 common causes of overthinking and then examine some techniques that can help you to stop overthinking.
Notice When You’re Stuck in Your Head
It can be hard to notice when you’re thinking about something or someone. But here’s what you can do:
Sit down and really focus on the thought that’s stuck in your head. Try not to allow any other thoughts creep into your mind during this time (no talking, texting, etc.). If it helps, think about the issue for a few minutes and then write down what happened. If that doesn’t work, try drawing an image of the issue on paper or sketching it out on a piece of paper. This will help you focus more deeply on your thoughts and therefore help you notice them quicker.
Keep the Focus on Problem-Solving
Dwelling on your problems is counterproductive, but looking for solutions is. Consider how you can prevent the problem or challenge yourself to identify five potential solutions if you have some control over it.
If you have no control over it, such as a natural disaster, consider the coping strategies you can employ. Concentrate on the things you can influence, such as your attitude and effort.
Challenge Your Thoughts
It’s easy to become engrossed in negative thoughts. So, before you conclude that calling in sick will get you fired or that missing one deadline will result in you being homeless, recognize that your thoughts may be exaggeratedly negative.
Remember that your emotions will cloud your ability to assess situations objectively. Examine the evidence from a distance. What proof do you have that your hypothesis is correct? What evidence do you have that your hypothesis is false?
Related article – How to Recognize Toxic People in Your Life
Schedule Time for Reflection
Your mind is a powerful tool, but it can also be your worst enemy. It’s the place where your thoughts go when you’re trying to remember something you did yesterday or worrying about what might happen tomorrow.
The good news is that it’s possible to stop overthinking by scheduling time for reflection and meditation. In fact, research shows that regular meditation can reduce anxiety and stress. Boost your immune system and even help you live longer.
That said, it can be tough to find time for mindful reflection when you’re juggling a busy schedule. That’s why we’ve created a list of ways you can use mindfulness techniques in the moment to stop overthinking and start living in the moment.
Learn Mindfulness Skills
When you’re in the moment, it’s impossible to think back on the past or fret about the future. You can improve your present-moment awareness by practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness requires practice, just like any other skill, but with time it can help to lessen overthinking. You can acquire mindfulness skills through taking classes, reading books, using apps, watching courses, or watching videos.
Train Your Brain
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, but if you’re trying to stop overthinking, you can’t be reactive. You need to train your brain so that it doesn’t let itself get too distracted by unimportant details.
You know how people say that you can’t get anything done without a good amount of stress? Well, that’s not true — it’s just that under high levels of stress, it’s hard for you to focus on tasks at hand. But with enough time and effort, you can learn to control these thoughts and avoid them altogether.
The first step is recognizing when your mind is wandering off track. You might be sitting at your desk or driving down the road. But if you notice yourself daydreaming or going over the same thought over and over again in your head, chances are there’s something else going on in your head instead of getting things done.
Once you’ve identified how to stop overthinking specific type of thinking pattern as problematic for you — whether it’s obsessing over past mistakes or worrying about future consequences. It’s time to work on changing it up so that the habit doesn’t occur again.