How to Stop Overthinking? Why do we overthink and hacks to deal with it.

Okay, I confess first; I am a huge overthinker! Be it a career choice, about something someone told me, about the way I talked to a person, or about buying a small pen, I overthink EVERYTHING! If you are someone like me who overthinks everything, I don’t have to tell you how tiring and draining overthinking can be. Overthinking not only wastes your time but also your energy.

So, today in this article, we are going to overthink overthinking! I mean we will see why do we overthink? Why shouldn't we? And how to stop overthinking?

Why do we overthink?

Because our brains are wired in that way. When we were primitive creatures, we (our ancestors) needed to think a lot to survive. We have now evolved, but some features of the brain are the same. So, it’s normal that we overthink.

Studies have shown genes play a major role in most of our characters and behaviours. There might be someone in your family who thinks too much. Research shows overthinking might also be an underlying symptom of mental health issues like anxiety and depression (if you notice other symptoms too).

Why is it bad?

Although overthinking is normal for human beings, it’s definitely not good for us. Why? The obvious answer is it’s such a waste of time! It kills your productivity.

(Read this article if you want some powerful productivity hacks)

Other than that, overthinking has serious effects on our health. It can not only affect the brain but also other organs like the heart and the overall immune system. And it’s not very surprising to see an overthinker never sleeps well!

How to stop overthinking? 6 tips to deal with overthinking:-

1. Write down everything

Don’t let your thoughts keep floating in your mind. Write them down. A good brain dumping session can really help a lot. Writing things down gives clarity. A regular journaling habit will make an overthinker’s life much easier.

Here’s an article for you if you want to get into journaling and stick to it in the long run.

It can also help you analyze the problem. In his book ‘how to stop worrying, start living’, the author Dale Carnegie gives a 4 step solution.Whenever you start worrying or overthinking-

  1. Write down what exactly are you thinking about?

  2. What all can you do about it?

  3. Decide what to do.

  4. Take immediate action and start doing it.

Doesn’t that give a lot of clear idea rather than just sitting and thinking?

2. Write down the advantages and disadvantages of overthinking

Sounds ridiculous? What advantages can overthinking have?! But hear me out. Let’s say you are in a bad place financially. Thinking about it might help you look for a job or start a business. But if it’s stopping you from taking any action, if you are just sitting on your couch and thinking, that thought has disadvantages. Getting my point?

Notice when you are overthinking and write, is there any use of those thoughts? Are they helping you in any way? Or are they just trifle things and don’t deserve your time and energy?

3. Stop chasing perfection

One of the major drawbacks of overthinking is that it stops you from taking action. That’s why I say perfectionism and overthinking are very closely related. Whenever you want to do any task, you overthink each aspect- “what’s going to be the result” “this sentence is not good” “this color is not good” “this is not 100% right” and as a result, you never start it!

You are preparing for an interview and you want everything to go perfectly. You keep preparing for the first chapter the whole time; you overthink everything- you practice and perfect your answers over and over again. It’d take so much of your time that you don’t have time left to prepare the remaining chapters!

So stop chasing perfection. No one is perfect. Having the courage to be average can actually make you great!

4. Find a distraction

When we get caught up in thoughts, we start predicting the future, regretting the past, rethink all our previous decisions and whatnot. This creates so much anxiety and stress. Instead of getting carried away with your thoughts, pause for a moment, and do something you like. Whenever I feel too many thoughts are troubling me, I plug in my earphones and start listening to an audiobook on storytel.

Find a distraction to engage in whenever you catch yourself thinking too much. Read a book, listen to music, or pull up a coloring app from your phone and start coloring.

5. Start helping someone

You might ask me, “I have my own problems, and why would I put in efforts to solve someone else’s problems? But a simple act like this can not only distract you but also make you feel good about yourself.

If you feel that the thoughts running around in your head are useless, they are not leading you anywhere, leave them alone and find someone who needs help! Trust me, you will feel better once you do this.

6. Set a worry-time

You know why do we think so much and spend hours and hours worrying? We feel we are solving a problem. And we get a feeling of satisfaction at the end of it. So, if you want, set a worrying time every day. Whenever a worrisome thought enters your mind, tell yourself “I will think about this at 7.00 pm, not now”. At 7.00 pm (or any time that you’ve set) set a timer of 15 minutes and sit and think about everything you want. As soon as the timer goes off, stop thinking and get to work.

2 bonus techniques to stop overthinking-

1. Stop, look around, and find 5 objects you can see and name them in your mind. In the same way, find 4 sounds you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. Name them in your mind.

2. Practice mindfulness- Mindfulness simply means being in the present and observing the thoughts come and go with no judgement. This is a powerful technique that has helped me in dealing with my thoughts. I highly recommend the headspace app if you want to practice meditation.

That’s it for today guys. I hope these techniques will help you deal with your overthinking.

Feel free to connect with me on my instagram for any kind of suggestions, tips, and help regarding personal growth, productivity, and mental health.

84 views2 comments

Download your JOURNALING FREEBIE here

Download your JOURNALING FREEBIE here

Download your JOURNALING FREEBIE here