At a basic level, Overthinking everything is unpleasant and keeps you from moving forward and making progress. At an extreme level, overthinking utterly and completely shuts you down and causes severe anxiety.
It is super important to understand that if you have a tendency to overthink things, you are simply being human. There is nothing wrong with it. We are hard-wired to constantly seek solutions to problems.
We also must understand that we can use our own intellect and mental function to identify when we are “spinning our mental wheels” in vain and get out of this thought pattern.
There are tangible and simple ways to stop overthinking everything.
Overthinking Symptoms And Signs Of Anxiety
It’s useful to have a definitive list of overthinking symptoms.
This allows you to identify when you are really getting into dangerous territory for your mental health.
Looking at the following symptoms can help you conduct an overthinking test.
You can’t sleep.
When you try, you just can’t turn off your mind, and you begin to feel agitated by worries or doubts.
Studies on overthinking suggest you might turn to drugs, alcohol, food or other external ways of regulating your emotions. This is because you don’t feel able to calm down using our internal resources.
You’re always tired.
This may be from insomnia, or just from the constant loop of your agitated thoughts.
You want to control everything.
You try to plan every aspect of your life, down to the last detail. This is the only way you feel safe, but it never quite works (because it’s impossible to control everything).
You obsess about failure.
You tend to be a perfectionist and often imagine how awful it would be to fail in any way. This fear of failure often paralyzes you, preventing you from learning from any mistakes.
You fear the future.
Instead of being excited by all you’ve yet to accomplish and experience, you are trapped in your own anxiety about what could go wrong.
You don’t trust your own judgment.
You second-guess yourself on everything from what you’re wearing to where you’re going, what you’re saying and how you come across to others. You may rely on others to reassure you that your judgment is sound.
You get tension headaches.
These feel like a tight band around your temples, and you might also notice pain or stiffness in your neck. Chronic tension headaches are a sign that you desperately need a rest.
Review the list below and the next time you find yourself caught up in your thoughts, apply just one of the techniques below to free yourself from the chains of overthinking.
You are bound to find relief from stress and just might discover a creative solution to your problem in the process.
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.
Develop the skill of forgiveness
It’s no surprise that having the misfortune of being treated undesirably leads people to suppress and repress anger toward other people.
Forgiveness is of the highest of human virtues. Not because it is morally correct, spiritually mature, or deemed a commendable personality trait.
It’s special because it, single-handedly, can induce the ultimate peace in people.
Forgiveness has also been shown on many occasions to help develop positive self-esteem, improve mood, and dramatically improve health. It's a predictor of relationship well-being and marital length, and it has even been shown to increase longevity.
Put a timer to work(Your thoughts on paper)
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.
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.
Become the ultimate skeptic
If you think about what causes thinking to be so stressful and tiring, it’s often our personal convictions that our thoughts are actually true.
Let’s look at an example.
If someone you know does something you consider hurtful, but you don't discuss the issue with the person, negativity can arise with certain thoughts about why the person acted that way.
But once you can pinpoint which thoughts are causing the upset, one golden question will release all negativity:
“Can I be 100 percent sure this is true?”
By seeing the inherent lack of truth in your beliefs, you will naturally find yourself much more relaxed in all situations, and you won't over-think things that are based on predictions and assumptions.
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.
Live for the moment
Stop, slow down, and be grateful for the memories you are making right now. Don’t let yourself analyze the past or worry about what you have to do in the future. Keep yourself focused and present.
The tone and tenor of your breathing is a direct representation of your mental state. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and take 5 deep breaths in and out through your nose. You will notice a difference in how you think and feel, guaranteed.
It is just as important as physical exercise and mental-meditation.
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.
Change your environment
It is said that Albert Einstein, in struggling to formulate his theory of relativity, achieved his biggest breakthrough while taking a break from working on his problem to relax by a fire and daydream.
Changes of environment can work wonders to encourage new ways of thinking. Just like when you try to look at the night-time stars in the sky, they disappear when looked at directly, but emerge when seen from peripheral vision — you can find creative solutions when you allow yourself to examine problems indirectly.
If you find yourself overthinking, change your environment. Go to a coffee shop, eatery, park or library and any other alternative of your choice that is soothing without little or no noise a calm effect environment.
Switch from using a computer to pencil and paper. Surround yourself with different people and talk about new things.
Stop actively working on the problem and just daydream.
Learn the reasons why over-thinking is harmful, and let it motivate you
Studies have shown rumination to be strongly linked to depression, anxiety, binge eating, binge drinking, and self-harm.
In one study, 32,827 people from 172 countries showed that life events were the largest predictors of stress, followed by family history, income and education, relationship status, and social inclusion.
However, the study also showed that stress only occurred if the individual engaged in negative over-thinking about the events, and it showed that people who did not do this did not become as stressed or depressed, “even if they'd experienced many negative events in their lives.”
So, worry about your problems if you wish. But don’t say no one warned you!
Practice fixing your gaze on one point
Just like the breath, the eyes say a lot about the state of your mind (and some believe, your soul itself!).
Whether you believe this or not, it is widely understood that just like the eyes and their erratic movement indicates overactivity in the mind, that fixing your gaze (without staring!) can in turn provide a calming and focusing effect on the mind!
To reduce overthinking and calm yourself down, practice gazing at one fixed point for a few minutes. I prefer to do this exercise in nature. You can also look at a tree, a patch of grass, a cloud, or even an animal etc.
Take notice that you are not straining your eyes. Blink normally and keep a calm and relaxed gaze. The calmer your eyes become, the calmer (and focused!) your mind will become!
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.
There are so many reasons why you should meditate. Below are just a few of the scientifically proven benefits:
-Increased pain tolerance
-Increased memory and learning capacity
-Better capacity to set goals
-More pronounced empathy
-Higher “alpha” waves — resulting in less tension,
-Decreased blood pressure
-Increased oxygen and CO2 processing capacity
-Better immune system function
-Cellular and DNA protection
-Potential anti-cancer, anti-diabetes, anti-heart - - - - disease benefits
Sitting to meditate for even 10 minutes will stop overthinking in its tracks. Meditation is like a mirror that lets you look deep down into who you are and how things are going.
With even a short meditation session you can witness the overthinking mind. With this awareness, any negativity associated with it will drop away.
Use Positive Daily Affirmations For Anxiety
Affirmations are statements that help you overcome negative thoughts. They are particularly useful if you want to learn how to stop overthinking at night or want to set yourself up for a great day first thing in the morning.
Here are some good affirmations for anxiety:
“I have the power to decide what I will think about. My thoughts do not control me.”
“I release my obsessive thoughts and let them go.”
“I refuse to allow my imagination to show me disastrous futures.”
“I live in the present moment and appreciate the beauty of what’s happening now.”
“I am more than my negative thoughts. I can and will be happy.”
You can also design your own positive daily affirmations. There are no set rules for the form they must take.
In addition, try saying them into the mirror, looking straight into your own eyes. And smile, if it feels natural.