Overthinking basically involves ruminating on something troubling and stressful, which causes unnecessary anxiety. Everyone at some point becomes a victim to it. You cannot help it at certain times. However, if you are constantly boggled with a barrage of thoughts and find yourself struggling, there is reason for worry. Why? Because overthinking disturbs your peace of mind and the ability to rest well. Moreover, it interferes with your problem-solving skills and increases the risk of mental illness.
So, it is imperative that you put an end to overthinking.
Here are some ways in how you can tackle this tendency:
1. Engage in Mindful Thinking
While pondering on things too much is not always under our control, practicing mindfulness is. By carrying out regular yoga exercises and doing meditation, you can eventually learn to be aware of your thoughts. As a result, you will not get caught up in them. When you are mindful of the train of thoughts, you can step back and get a new perspective. Try to listen to the way you are spiraling with your own self-talk. In such moments, you want to pause and challenge the negative thoughts. Often, unrealistic expectations and consequent pressure that we put on ourselves are the most exhausting.
2. Ask Yourself Constructive Questions
If you are constantly overthinking, you can never live in the moment and enjoy it. Even when you are watching a great movie or having coffee with a friend, you may find yourself engaged in constant internal dialogue. It’s an outcome of thinking too much. At this time, you may want to pause and ask yourself these questions:
Are these thoughts bringing me any value? Are they coming in the way of living my life? Am I not engaging productively with my family, friends, and colleagues due to these thoughts?
If the answers are negative, try to consciously avoid the track of negative thoughts the next time you find yourself trailing along.
3. Write in a Journal to Self-Reflect
When you catch yourself ruminating on things too much and making a bigger deal of something than it really is, you may want to try journaling. This is because penning your thoughts on paper causes the mind to slow down and process thoughts more effectively. With everything written on paper, it becomes easier to let go of worrying thoughts. Also, it helps you analyze the situation in a better manner. When the thoughts are in your head alone, there is a tendency to spiral downward and blow things out of proportion.
4. Choose a Distraction
Finding a distraction greatly helps in countering the inclination to overthink. When you are busy and totally absorbed in an activity, you will simply not have the time to overthink. The tasks can be simple such as cooking, cleaning, running errands, or reading a book. These are always more productive than overt rumination. They also prevent you from thinking too much and feeling anxious and restless. It is essentially an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind something, it does not matter. And the best way to avoid thinking is to engage yourself in something else.
5. Focus on Your Vision When Alone
When alone, we often tend to reflect on things that are stressful. This adversely affects our state of mind. We can, instead, condition the mind to focus on our vision and the steps to be taken to make it a reality. It is best to keep our future goals in mind and concentrate on how they can be fulfilled. This limits the mind from crossing the line from thinking to overthinking.
6. Focus on the Present
There are certain things in life over which, unfortunately, you have no control. So, there is no point in flexing your overthinking muscle and worrying about them. By being present in the moment, you will be able to put an end to your thoughts. Forget about the past and future or any specific situation that is weighing you down. Instead, focus on what you can do in the moment, no matter how small it is. This will keep your attention on the right thing at the right time and prevent your mind from dwelling too much on other things.
7. Stop Worrying About Making Mistakes
It is easy to ponder on having made or the possibility of making the wrong choices. If you do realize that a wrong decision was taken, remember that it is an opportunity for growth. Each mistake teaches you an important lesson, which helps in navigating life better. Though a mistake may not take you where you want to go, it will soon put you back on track with an enriched experience. So, learn to be comfortable in being wrong from time to time, as mistakes lead you to the right path.
8. Set an Expiry Date
Put an expiry date on dwelling and talking about the topic on which you are overthinking. It is up to you as to whether the date is set two months away or two days away. Convince yourself that if you keep thinking about it even after this time lapses, it will be self-destructive. It will help put the cap on pondering non-stop.
These methods can effectively help in curbing the tendency to overthink. Get yourself together and help your mind focus. The faster you are able to drop the overthinking mode, the easier it will be for you to do things smartly.
Can’t sleep because your mind doesn’t stop? Try this quick Yoga Night Routine to calm you down.