Thinking is good. Thinking too much is bad. Making well-informed decisions will improve your life, whereas being afraid of making any decisions at all will have the opposite effect. And that, we do not want!
Hence, the birth of this little post – a small guide to help you with your thoughts, uncertainty, and lack of control so that fear, stress, anxiety, and dread will no longer have the same strong hold on you that it might have as we speak. Write. Communicate. You get the idea.
Sounds pretty good, right, learning how to stop overthinking? Splendid, let’s get started!
Pro Tip: There are many aspects to this, such as boosting your confidence, deal with your anxiety, stop worrying about what others think, and creating good habits (and ridding yourself of bad ones!). We’ve posts on them – pick the ones that are relevant to you!
Like I said, thinking is good. It can even be pretty damn good – hell, it’s the reason we’re all connecting through our screens like this! When does it become a problem, then? When it results in your quality of life being compromised; when it becomes too difficult to make decisions; and when it stops you from living your life. That’s when.
You don’t overthink the good things, right? It’s just the bad things that get stuck in our heads, and being constantly worrying and having your brain working overtime is bad both for body and mind. Which means that it’s so great that you’re here, trying not to do it!
These are some good techniques for stopping that freight train of thoughts – take a look!
Once you know when your thoughts become destructive rather than productive, sorting them out will be a whole lot easier. See if you can find patterns, triggers, and anything else that might help you.
Can you feel yourself on the verge of being over-whelmed with spiraling thoughts? Good. That means that you’re still in a position to stop them. You can try to tell yourself that no, we’re not having this discussion right now, or…
Whenever you’re close to overthinking, have a go-to thought to take its place. It can be anything: something nice (like ponies), something strange (like why Iceland and Greenland won’t swap names), or perhaps something a bit disgusting, like whether your eyes might pop out when you’re sneezing, or not.
Tell yourself that you appreciate the concern, but you’ll have to deal with that problem or that decision later, when you have the time. Right now you’re busy doing other, more urgent, tasks. When you do allow yourself to do some overthinking, set a timer – it’ll prevent that dreaded spiraling!
A molehill is a molehill. There’s no point in making it seem bigger than it is. Of course, sometimes we’re not aware that we do it; which is why you might want to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Everything seems smaller when you do.
Similarly, don’t stress about problems that aren’t yours, or that aren’t real. And definitely not the ones that you can’t fix, because that would be a real waste of your precious time and energy. Even more so than overthinking things you can fix!
Or rather, realize that you can’t, never ever, be in control of everything. Shit will happen, the fan will be hit, and apart from having the occasional backup plan, there’s nothing you can do about it, so you might as well sit back and enjoy the ride! Perhaps that curveball life throws you will become something wonderful. Or just funny.
Don’t aim for perfection if you’re struggling to get started. That’s just an excellent setup for failure – not just for you, but for anyone! Instead, remember that progress, and actually doing something, is always better than doing nothing. Even if you do fail; see it as a learning opportunity!
That’s where it belongs. Did you make a fool of yourself last month? Only you remember that. Did you fall off that metaphorical horse? Forget it, and get back up. This is a lot easier said than done, but it can be very beneficial if you learn to master it, so give it a go at least!
Simple, yet genius. If you have other things on your plate and your mind, there’s no time for spending hours and hours wondering whether you should go on that weekend trip or not (you definitely should, btw), and brain, as well as body, will be happier for it!
Yes, the exact opposite! What is this madness, you might wonder – it’s just us being us, as usual. The point here is that if you train yourself to do absolutely nothing, then your brain will get used to not always having to fill the void with thoughts; thoughts that might be unnecessary and time-consuming. Pretty clever, right?
If there is a decision to be made, but you’re spending way more brainpower than needed on it, ask someone else! They might confirm your own theory, or come with a fresh perspective and a new angle – either way, it’ll make it easier for you. Awesome.
Whichever technique you think will fit you and your mind the best, make sure you don’t dive head-first into the deep end (unless you’re prepared to try again, of course, then go ahead!). Start timing insignificant decisions rather than big ones, and do a little celebration when you manage to keep the thoughts away even for a little bit – it’s all progress, remember?
This one might seem obvious, but when you’re tired, hungry, or already stressed out, everything will seem like a much bigger deal than it is. If you learn to recognize when you’re not doing your best thinking, you’ll save loads of time, and can deal with your stuff a lot more efficiently when you have more energy. Makes sense, right?
Imagine how much more time you’ll have to do all the things if you learn how not to overthink every little thing! It’ll be fantastic. You can be fantastic. Do let us know how you’re getting on with it all!