How to stop being an over-thinker

How to stop being an over-thinker

Overthinking doesn’t sound so bad on the surface–thinking is good, right?

When you overthink, your judgments get cloudy and your stress gets elevated. You spend too much time in the negative. It can become difficult to act.

If this feels like familiar territory to you, here are 10 simple ideas to free yourself from overthinking.

1. Awareness is the beginning of change.

Before you can begin to address or cope with your habit of overthinking, you need to learn to be aware of it when it’s happening. Any time you find yourself doubting or feeling stressed or anxious, step back and look at the situation and how you’re responding. In that moment of awareness is the seed of the change you want to make.

2. Don’t think of what can go wrong, but what can go right.

In many cases, overthinking is caused by a single emotion: fear. When you focus on all the negative things that might happen, it’s easy to become paralyzed. Next time you sense that you starting to spiral in that direction, stop. Visualize all the things that can go right and keep those thoughts present and up front.

3. Distract yourself into happiness.

Sometimes it’s helpful to have a way to distract yourself with happy, positive, healthy alternatives. Things like mediation, dancing, exercise, learning an instrument, knitting, drawing, and painting can distance you from the issues enough to shut down the overanalysis.

4. Put things into perspective.

It’s always easy to make things bigger and more negative than they need to be. The next time you catch yourself making a mountain out of a molehill, ask yourself how much it will matter in five years. Or, for that matter, next month. Just this simple question, changing up the time frame, can help shut down overthinking.

5. Stop waiting for perfection.

This is a big one. For all of us who are waiting for perfection, we can stop waiting right now. Being ambitious is great but aiming for perfection is unrealistic, impractical, and debilitating. The moment you start thinking “This needs to be perfect” is the moment you need to remind yourself, “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.”

6. Change your view of fear.

Whether you’re afraid because you’ve failed in the past, or you’re fearful of trying or overgeneralizing some other failure, remember that just because things did not work out before does not mean that has to be the outcome every time. Remember, every opportunity is a new beginning, a place to start again.

7. Put a timer to work.

Give yourself a boundary. Set a timer for five minutes and give yourself that time to think, worry, and analyze. Once the timer goes off, spend 10 minutes with a pen and paper, writing down all the things that are worrying you, stressing you, or giving you anxiety. Let it rip. When the 10 minutes is up, throw the paper out and move on–preferably to something fun.

8. Realize you can’t predict the future.

No one can predict the future; all we have is now. If you spend the present moment worrying about the future, you are robbing yourself of your time now. Spending time on the future is simply not productive. Spend that time instead on things that give you joy.

9. Accept your best.

The fear that grounds overthinking is often based in feeling that you aren’t good enough–not smart enough or hardworking enough or dedicated enough. Once you’ve given an effort your best, accept it as such and know that, while success may depend in part on some things you can’t control, you’ve done what you could do.

10. Be grateful.

You can’t have a regretful thought and a grateful thought at the same time, so why not spend the time positively? Every morning and every evening, make a list of what you are grateful for. Get a gratitude buddy and exchange lists so you have a witness to the good things that are around you.

Overthinking is something that can happen to anyone. But if you have a great system for dealing with it you can at least ward off some of the negative, anxious, stressful thinking and turn it into something useful, productive, and effective.

. and why just telling yourself not do it isn't enough.

How to stop being an over-thinker

While self-reflection is helpful, rumination is harmful. Dwelling on your problems, magnifying your misfortune, and hosting your own pity party only increase your distress.

Perhaps you replay a conversation you had with your boss over and over in your head, and each time you envision your discussion, you beat yourself up for something you said. Playing the same scene over and over again increases your fear that you said the wrong thing.

Or maybe you can’t stop thinking about the names others called you as a kid. Those hurtful comments invade your mind whenever you meet new people or whenever you have a few minutes of silence. As you rehash those painful times, your self-confidence plummets and hopelessness soars.

The Trouble With Ruminating

If you tend to be an over-thinker, you’re not alone. It’s a common problem that most people experience at one time or another. But dwelling on negative events and distressing emotions isn’t good for you:

  • Dwelling on the negative leads to mental health problems.Research shows that the more you think about your hardships, mistakes, and problems, the more likely you are to experience depression, post-traumaticstress disorder, and anxiety.
  • Focusing on your problems causes mental health problems to last longer. The more you think about your problems, the harder it is to regain your psychological health.
  • Negative thinking is a hard cycle to break. Over time, rumination becomes a bad habit. It can become so ingrained that you’ll have difficulty changing the way you think.
  • Brooding can lead to unhealthy coping skills.Studies show that rumination increases emotional distress, which raises the risk of developing substance abuse problems or eating disorders.

How to Stop

If you tend to dwell on your misery and beat yourself up for your mistakes, commit to changing the way you think. It takes practice and dedication to stop ruminating, but doing so will help you feel better and behave more productively.

1. Recognize when it’s happening.

The more you ruminate, the more likely you are to get stuck in a negative cycle that is hard to break. Be aware of your thinking habits and pay close attention to the times when you keep rehashing and replaying painful events in your head. The quicker you notice it, the faster you can choose to think about something more productive.

2. Look for solutions.

Thinking about your problems isn’t helpful—unless you’re actively looking for a solution. Ask yourself if there is anything you can do about the situation. Commit to learning from your mistakes and solving your problems so you can move forward.

3. Set aside time to think.

Your brain needs a chance to process the things that go on in your daily life. Set aside 20 minutes each day to think, worry, or reflect. Put your “thinking time” in your schedule. When you notice you’re worrying or ruminating outside of that scheduled time, remind yourself, “I’ll think about that later.”

Knowing you’ll have a chance to think about a distressing topic at a later time can help you put it off. Sticking to your time limit will help you think about your problems in a more productive manner, while also preventing you from punishing yourself by rehashing your painful memories over and over again.

4. Distract yourself.

Telling yourself not to think about something could backfire—and cause you to think about it even more. The better way to distract yourself is to find a task that keeps you busy: Exercise, call a friend to talk about a completely different subject, or do a household project. Moving around will help you “change the channel” and prevent you from stewing over your distressing memories.

5. Practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the key to living in the “here and now.” When you’re mindful, you’ll be completely present in the moment. Like other forms of meditation, mindfulness takes practice, but over time, it can greatly decrease rumination.

To learn more strategies for navigating negative thoughts, pick up a copy of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.

How to stop being an over-thinker

Do you like to sell clothing, or perhaps lots of shoes?

Find your niche and find success. That’s what they all say.

Is it true that we should follow? Let them lead the way?

Figure out what works best, for the business in the basement,

Try to master all the rest, and the Thank You card statements.

If you don ’ t ever do it, you’ll never know if you could.

Keep working at it daily, like you never knew you would.

It’s not ever what I dreamed of, being in my youth,

But I’m more than happy now that, I get to drink Vermouth.

While sitting in my office, already at my home base,

It’s really quite comfortable, working in your own space.

So if you can I would, try to find a niche of yours,

This way you can relax and, stay in your own indoors.

Hey there! I’m The Nicheless Narrator.

I enjoy writing about anything and everything, and hope to be able to provide some relatable, entertaining, and sometimes educational experiences, advice and content.

Thanks for reading and be sure to stop by again soon!

Posts are released every single day, so you’ll always have a new article ready and waiting for you.

Please feel free to drop any suggestions, comments, or related stories down below! I’d love to hear more about you and your journey.