How to stop overthinking - WiseHead


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How to stop overthinking

Overthinking is a common problem that many people face nowadays. Pondering painful things over and over again can be not only overloading but even a painful experience. It also can contribute to severe mental problems such as anxiety or depression. And though everyone knows how destructive overthinking can be, it is actually very challenging to kick this habit.

The line between overthinking and healthy insightful introversion is not always obvious. If it is difficult for you to distinguish the first from the second, try to ask yourself if your thoughts eventually lead you to a needed conclusion. If your answer is negative, and your thoughts only make you tired and miserable, it is time to face the problem and find a solution. There are some tips on how to stop overthinking and begin to find successful solutions.

do exercises

Free your emotions

There is no point in suppressing your feelings. Everything you feel is important and has a right to exist. Your subconscious is your friend, not your enemy. In psychology there is no such thing as "negative emotions". Human kind needs every emotion it has to survive and evolve. Our lifetime wouldn't last so long if we had no anger, fear, etc. Anger is what you need to feel to protect yourself and set your boundaries. Fear is the emotion that prevents you from getting into dangerous situations. Sadness helps you to accept the unpleasant situation and adapt to it. Guilt shows you what you did wrong and prevents you from doing it again. Jealousy makes you pay attention to what you really want for yourself.

This practice works on two levels. Firstly, you calm down due to the activity you are engaged in. You can get the same effect from drawing, knitting, etc. Secondly, you verbalize your emotions while writing. Verbalization itself helps you clear your head and analyze the situation more effectively.

For example, if you are overthinking some decision you need to make, do not rush into making it while you are on edge. Try to write down every single thought you have. Most commonly, the right decision comes in the process.

Do exercises

Physical activity makes your body stronger and your mind calmer. It increases the number of endorphins and reduces the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

Your body wastes a lot of energy while overthinking. Try to redirect that enormous amount of energy to physical activity. There is a whole range of activities to choose from: running, swimming, horse riding, various dancing styles, yoga, weights lifting, stretching and many others. You can easily find something you will enjoy when you have such a great choice. The worst you can do is force yourself to engage in an activity you do not like.

Next time you will overthink something, try to direct this destructive energy to something productive. Choose the most suitable kind and prepare yourself beforehand. For example, if you want to do yoga, find online lessons and turn to them when you feel anxious.

do exercises


Meditation can help clear away the thoughts that overload you. It relaxes your body and mind, giving you the sense of relief that is so precious after struggling with overwhelming thoughts and emotions. Some people may be biased against meditation, considering it a long-lasting process of doing nothing. But it is a myth. You may practice meditation for a few minutes per day and still have a positive impact.

You can even try it right now. Firstly, take a comfortable seat in a place that feels quiet. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath, trying to feel every inhale and exhale. When your mind starts to wander again, try to notice what thoughts bother you and return to concentration on your breath. Be kind and gentle to your thoughts when they come back, and genuinely thank your mind for taking care of you. Then open your eyes. Notice how your body feels and pay attention to your thoughts and emotions.


Prepare for the worst

Preparing for the worst is the hardest but the most effective thing to do. Overthinking most commonly comes with a fear of the future, and the best way to deal with it is to face it. If some situation is bothering you, do not run from it. Go through the situation mentally and imagine the worst scenarios that can happen. Imagine what you would do and how you would feel if it happened. It might be painful for the first time, but by practicing it more, you will realize that those scenarios do not scare you so much anymore. You will see that you are strong and brave enough to deal with the worst possible situation.

For example, if you are worried that your boss does not like you and that he may fire you soon, try to imagine how it will feel. Think it through and prepare a plan for what you will do if you lose your job. Write it down step-by-step. In the process, you will see that you have an infinite amount of options, and “the worst” scenario will seem much less scary.

Believe in yourself, and everything will be great. You are much stronger than you think, and you are capable of kicking the habit of overthinking.

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