‘How often has someone said to you, ‘how to stop overthinking about something!’ If you are reading this article, chances are, it’s happened enough of times to worry you. Maybe no one has said it yet, but you are starting to think you might be indulging in some over-thinking.
Ask yourself these questions. Is it difficult for you to stop thinking and dissecting incidents (happy and troubling ones) from the past? Are you always stressed and tensed from anticipating problems and finding solutions to potential issues yet to happen. Do you feel as if you have no control over the things that will happen next? Well, these are the classic signs of over-thinking. And if you answer yes to them, or know someone who does, read-on.
Thinking, analyzing, planning, reviewing are all good proactive things to do. It only becomes a problem when you spend so much time doing this that you start to experience anxiety, heightened stress, loss of sleep, fatigue, depression. Over-thinking is an impediment to living a successful, happy life. The good news is there are things you can do stop you over-thinking and stop worrying about everything.
There are things you can control, and there are things beyond your control. In this post, we will offer you practical tips to help you put things into perspective, help you stop stressing over every little thing, and help you convert needless worry into proactive behaviour.
Allow these tactics to encourage you to once again live your life to the fullest every day!
Determine the things that cause you to overthink – ‘how to stop overthinking’?
Are you a chronic worrier (you worry about everything, all the time)? Do you start to over-think when something has disturbed you, and you can’t come to terms with it? Is there a situation looming at work, and you have no real control over it?
You will find that the things you fear are the ones causing you to worry. Maybe you fear losing a loved one, or your social standing, or the promotion at work. Or you are afraid that your past reaction is what cost a relationship to unravel.
Replace how you perceive fear
So you have identified what scares you and causes you to think. Most likely, it is a fear of failure at some level. You have assumed complete responsibility for this failure and now feel like you have to ensure you never fail again.
You need to replace this fear messages with messages of acceptance and self-worth. Forgive yourself, realize and accept your humanness.
Yes, I made a mistake. To err is human. I survived a difficult time. I know there will be more difficult moments in the future. I know I have what it takes to survive another difficult time.
Accepting responsibility is a positive thing to do. Allowing shared responsibility, for say, the loss of a relationship is also a mature thing to do. You were not in the relationship alone; you do not have to assume sole responsibility for it ending.
Let go of worry
Easier said than done? True. But does worrying help? To quote Erma Bombeck, a famous writer, “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”
Understand that some fears are groundless. Accept that some situations you have no control over, except in coping with the outcome. Forgive yourself for past mistakes, let go of the past; it is over.
Take full control and put yourself in a place of power. Prepare for future events – video tutorials, talk to a professional, join in a course, or read books. Get proactive rather than being paralyzed by worry.
Set a time to reflect
You do not have to attempt not to think at all. On the contrary, thinking is an essential first step; frequent review and analysis is also an excellent habit. The problem is not in thought; it is in over-thinking, in doing nothing else but thinking.
So give yourself a fixed time to think. Set aside a time in the day to ruminate over any or all things that are stressful. Give free rein to all the thoughts that are plaguing you to come to the surface. Acknowledge them. Strategize – identify the best possible way available to you at the time, to cope with them. Then get up, and act on them.
Spend more time with people who don’t overthink
Did you know that influence is an excellent help if you wish to stop overthinking? Try engaging with people who seem to balance thinking with action. Their optimism can affect and teach you how not to overthink something.
Now that you are armed with some definite but straightforward ways to get a grip on your stress and over-thinking patterns go out and conquer those mountains you’ve set for yourself. And if you feel that you need a helping hand to get from over-thinking to proactive thinking, reach out and access the help available.