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Humans are blessed with a developed brain, which contributes to why we think of ourselves as superior beings. One of the traits of our developed brain is the ability to form complex thoughts and feel a range of emotions.
However, our developed minds can be both a curse and a blessing. We can do the numerous things we do because we can form thoughts and carry them out as actions. However, we tend to overdo it sometimes.
Overthinking is a common problem today–we tend to put too much thought into even the tiniest issues that end up straining our mental health.
How To Stop Overthinking and Relax
A significant percentage of the population tends to overthink. Most overthinkers are prone to suffer from anxiety, fatigue, trust issues, and even depression. Overthinking can be good in the right circumstance, but doing it every time is not suitable for your mental health.
We know it is easy to tell people to stop overthinking, but it’s not easy to control in reality. For that reason we have prepared a few practical steps to help you overcome overthinking.
Be True To Yourself
The first step to overcoming your tendency to overthink is recognizing that you’re an overthinker. We’ve realized that most people are not ready to accept the bad traits they exhibit. The first reaction most have is to deny it.
Are you an overthinker? You most likely said no to the question, and the answer should probably be yes.
You can’t begin to deal with a problem if you don’t recognize that you have that problem. The same applies to overthinking. After you accept that you’re an overthinker is when you can begin to receive help.
At this point, we want to believe that you’ve accepted that you’re an overthinker and you’re ready to improve your mental health. Now we’re prepared to move on to the next steps to help you break this cycle of overthinking.
Stop With The Negatives
Overthinking wouldn’t be a big deal if we only thought about happy things. Unfortunately, most of what we overthink are negative subjects and anxieties. We understand that there are challenges all around us, but the truth is overthinking them won’t make them any better.
Instead of thinking about what can go wrong or what has gone wrong, focus your mind on the positives. Think about good things and the endless possibilities of the right things that can happen in your life.
You’ll realize that the more you think about positive things, your overthinking habit will gradually improve and lessen.
The primary cause of overthinking is fear. However, thinking of what can go wrong won’t alleviate your fear: it will worsen. When you think of positive things instead, that fear will disappear, and you will be able to take more effective actions.
Engage In Positive Fun Activities
Sitting down or being inactive is a good way to invite overthinking. When you’re not physically active, your mind will do what it does best and try to make up for the boredom and lack of mental or physical activity.
Physically exerting yourself is a great way to distract from intrusive thoughts and overcomplicated ideas. Don’t just sit there and let your mind play out negative outcomes for long periods of time. Instead, get up and do something to distract yourself.
Find something that you enjoy doing like reading a book, singing, sports, exercise, and more. The point is to distract your mind entirely and leave it with no time to start bringing up negative thoughts that can cause mental health issues.
Often, the things we overthink are not worth overthinking. The mind has a way of making everything seem necessary, which is the bane of overthinkers. At that point, it will seem like an issue is bigger than the world when it is not even a second thought in reality.
Luckily for us, a mind capable of blowing things out of proportion is also capable of analyzing the situation around us. So next time you find yourself overthinking a subject, try to look at the issue objectively.
There is a high chance that what you’re overthinking is not worth it. This little trick has been tested and works like a charm. Ask yourself how the subject you’re overthinking will affect you in the next two months. If you can’t find any reasonable answer, it is time to let that thought go.
Life Is Not Perfect- Remember That!
Another reason we overthink is that we have an image of how we expect things to be in our heads. Oftentimes, that image is an attempt at perfection, and when we finally try to execute our plans, it doesn’t always turn out how we expect.
If you find yourself overthinking, let us remind you again that reality is different from your imagination. In your imagination, anything can be anything. That perfect image you’ve constructed in your mind might be possible in movies, but nothing is perfect in reality.
Once you realize that nothing is perfect in reality and there is nothing wrong with how you’re doing things, you’ll see that your cycle of overthinking will start to crumble.
Other major causes of overthinking are a fear of the past or PTSD. We’ve noticed that most overthinkers have unpleasant associations with past events which make them overthink every decision in the present and future.
We want to tell you now that there is nobody that hasn’t made mistakes in the past. The bigger mistake is letting the past define how you live now. The fear that you’re carrying from your past will limit what you can achieve now.
The fact that you failed before doesn’t mean you’ll fail again. Because you have failed before, you now have more experience and a higher chance of succeeding. If you’re carrying anything from your past, let it be the experience and not the fear of failure.
Once you let go of the past, you’ll see a huge improvement in your performance, and you’ll overthink things less.
Try This Exercise
We’ve been giving you mental steps, and now we have a physical step you can take against overthinking.
For ten minutes try to think of the things that are weighing your mind down. When the ten minutes is over, get a pen and piece of paper, and put down the things that came to your mind.
Spend twenty minutes writing, and once you’re done, tear up the paper and put it in the trash. After doing that, go and do something you love, maybe watch a movie or play an instrument.
You must write down what you’re thinking on a piece of paper, not your digital device. This step aims to represent your worries and physically put them in the trash.
The Future Is the Future – You Own the Present
What will happen in the future will happen in the future, so why are you overthinking the future.The sooner you realize that we have no control over what will happen in the future, the sooner you will have peace of mind.
Since you’ve been overthinking the future, what has changed? You’ll realize that very little has changed. Stop worrying about what you don’t have control over, and start focusing on what you do have control over: the present.
By overthinking the future, you are missing out on the amazing opportunities available to you right now. Focus your mind on the now moments, not the later moments.
You’re Good Enough
Know that you’re good enough, and keep repeating this to yourself as a self-love affirmation. You need to build confidence in yourself, you are the best version of yourself, and there is nothing wrong with you.
By not accepting that you’re great the way you are, you will allow negative thoughts into your mind. Also, when you want to perform tasks, you’ll start overthinking them because you doubt yourself.
Stop looking down on yourself, and realize that you are good enough. Build confidence in yourself and your abilities, and you’ll find that you begin to overthink less and perform better.
Recognize that change doesn’t come overnight. It is a process that requires taking baby steps. You might have tried overcoming your habit of overthinking in the past and, when it felt like it wasn’t working, you started overthinking that too.
Don’t rush, don’t panic. Take a breath, look away, and wait to come back to what you’re focused on. It will take consistent repetition and intentional effort to start seeing changes.
Don’t pressure yourself with a timeframe. This is not a science–it’s a process of making subtle and gradual changes to your state of mind. Keep trying for as long as it takes, and know that you’re getting better every day.
Overthinking hardly solves anything, and it does more harm than good. Research shows that overthinking can affect you physically, especially your cardiovascular health. You don’t have to worry about future events that are beyond your control–try to relax and learn to live in the moment and have fun.
We’ve looked at some steps on how to stop overthinking and relax. If you can follow those steps, your mental health will improve significantly, providing you with more control over your life.