Six Tips to Help You Stop Thinking Too Much

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Are you prone to think too much or analyze things too deeply? Do you remember a time when you were presenting an important message, having a discussion with someone that you care about, or going to a party where you met new people? Did you spend the time pondering over what happened and analyzing your responses and interactions? It is normal to have some thoughts, but overthinking can make it more difficult.

If a particular event, thought or idea dominates your thinking and paralysis sets in, then ruminating can turn into overthinking. Of course, sometimes it’s helpful to dissect and analyze moments from the past to learn and improve for the future. Overthinking can make it difficult to take positive steps, but instead you remain stuck in the past. Sometimes these thoughts are distracting, and can feel like they’re taking control of your life.

Some strategies that can help you stop overthinking

An indication that you may have a mental illness such as anxiety or depression is overthinking. So while it’s not always a clear indicator that something more serious is going on, it is definitely worthwhile keeping in the back of your mind.[1] If you’re trying to putting an end to your overthinking, try these six tips:

1. Practice Mindfulness

First, you have to recognize that your overthinking is a problem. Mindfulness allows you to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. Listen to what is happening in your own inner world and take time to do so.

2. Recognize and solve the problem

Anxiety about the future or stress about what other people think can cause excessive thinking. Anxiety can be addressed by getting to the root of the issue.

3. Improve your self-confidence

Overthinking can come from insecurities you have about yourself. If you are confident in your own abilities, you’re less likely to ruminate on mistakes you may have made in the past or conversations you have had. This will help you feel confident in your abilities and give you the confidence to go forward.

4. Start small

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work that is required to finish a project? You can break down the task into more manageable parts to stop worrying about how to get it done. Don’t get bogged down in details or stress about the project. Instead, focus your attention on what is happening now and take steps to move forward.

5. Remain accountable

It is difficult for people to see negative patterns and take positive steps. A support network can be a great help in bringing attention to the times when you’re overthinking. Be loved ones are there to remind you that it is okay to overthink and be able help you move on.

6. Look for professional assistance

Professional help may be necessary if you notice that you are paralyzing yourself with your inability to think clearly or analyze things critically. A therapist may be able to help you recognize the causes of overthinking, and offer tools that will allow you to manage it.

Final Thoughts

Overthinking can disrupt your peace of mind and mental health as well as daily life.[2] But it doesn’t have to. Be kind to yourself if you find yourself thinking too much. Next, you can start using the strategies mentioned. You will find a way to make your life easier and happier by learning these techniques or seeking professional assistance.

Bibliography

  • Kaiser, B. N., Haroz, E. E., Kohrt, B. A., Bolton, P. A., Bass, J. K., & Hinton, D. E. (2015). “Thinking too much”: A systematic review of a common idiom of distress. Social science & medicine (1982), 147, 170–183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.10.044
  • Jamshaid, S., Malik, N., Haider, A.A., Adnan, Jamshed, K., & Jamshad, S. (2020). Overthinking Hurts – Rumination, Worry, and Mental Health in International Students from China During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Arts and Humanities (IJCAH 2020), 17-24. https://doi.org/10.2991/assehr.k.201201.004
  • Michelle is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist working as a counselor for students, faculty, and staff at Abilene Christian University in Texas. ACU works with her to bridge the gap between mental and physical health. Michelle owned her private Austin practice where she served a wide range of clients, from couples to families.

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