My name is Julia Rose. I’m a registered clinical therapist, a researcher, a coach, and the creator of the breakthrough coaching program for a master’s degree in counseling psychology. I’m going to share my best to stop overthinking quickly.
For most of my life, I’ve been an overthinker. I am allowing my judgments to get cloudy. The stress and emotions build and spread wildly. I overthought everything, from getting the dress to sending a simple text. Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with thinking itself or deep-thinking. We should often be thinking. It’s a way for us to exercise our minds. However, like physical exercise, we should be cautious about over-training our bodies to avoid injury.
Well, I’ve learned that training our brains works in a very similar way. Thinking is good, but overthinking runs the risk of injury. In this case, it increases the likelihood of stress-clouded judgment. It disturbs your sleep and creates a life that feels emotionally and mentally drained. An easy way to fix this would be to change our bad habit of overthinking, but there’s a little more to it. Let’s talk about it.
What is overthinking?
Overthinking gets in our way and can hold us back when we are stuck in our thoughts. It can cause decision paralysis where we don’t decide because we obsess and stress about the best option. It can keep us stuck in held-back. It can leave us awake at night thinking about all things.
We need to get it done the next day, how everything will go, and how we must ensure that we are on top of everything. We don’t miss anything, and we’re overthinking about all that stuff, and overthinking attempts to get our brains to control because it equates to control or this illusion of control.
Our brains don’t know that control is an illusion. There’s no such thing as full control, but it thinks that if it can get control, then it will be safe. So it’s part of our survival mechanism that can predict the outcome can prevent anything terrible from happening.
Causes of overthinking
We are okay, but our brains don’t realize that most overthinking things are not real threats to our lives. They might cause some inconveniences. They might cause some outcomes we don’t like, but they are not real threats.
Our brain is trying to get this illusion of control, so how do we deal with this? How do we intervene with these overthinking thoughts to calm them down? There are three primary reasons for overthinking. They are given below:
- The first reason why you tend to overanalyze is that you think worrying is productive. So this is the most common reason why most people over-analyze and overthinks what is deep inside them. You believe that overthinking and overanalyzing is productive and will even help you. It will prepare you for all the different scenarios you’re coming up with within your head. That’s what you believe.
The truth is far from that, and as long as you continue to think that, you’re overthinking and overanalyzing patterns productive. It’ll never stop. So let me tell you what’s happening to you. When you do this, you think that you look productive and are products that you’re smart about everything.
Thinking about the worst-case scenarios, you’re not looking relaxed. Therefore, people start to lose their confidence in someone like that because it feels as though you cannot come to your own decision.
The worst-case scenario is that the consequences of your overthinking and overanalyzing habits can prevent you from getting promoted. Leaders need to be able to make decisions, and if you’re unable to make a decision, unfortunately, you’re not a leader.
- Now, potential reason number two, the queen of overthinking, is that you fear regret. I managed to overthink and overanalyze because I was afraid of guilt. I feared I would make the wrong decision and regret it hours later. But you have to remember that living in this way of fear of regret is putting yourself in a box, and that’s what I did to myself.
I was anxious when making a significant decision because I was always afraid of these regrets. I was afraid I wouldn’t be happy with my decision, and we would talk about how to overcome that. But that is likely why you think of the worst-case scenarios because you’re afraid that whatever decision or path you take, you will regret it.
- Now, reason three why you overanalyze is potential because we’re taught to think this way. Maybe your mom or your dad or someone else in your family growing up taught you to overanalyze taught. Maybe you weren’t so much someone who tended to overthink, but you got punished for not considering all the possible scenarios of a situation.
Maybe your mom was an excessive warrior, giving you that energy. She taught you how to worry excessively about how this may become a pattern in how we live our everyday lives. But it is a possible scenario that someone you knew growing up taught you to be this way.
Key points of overthinking causes:
- The illusion of the brain.
- You think worrying is productive!
- Fear & regret for your decision-making.
- Family taught you to overanalyze taught.
Effects of overthinking
The problem with overthinking is that it takes up a lot of energy. It also blocks us from moving forward. It blocks us from making decisions and keeps us stuck.
You feel like being stuck in one of the useless places because it’s self-induced, like we’re responsible for keeping ourselves stuck. You go crazy and produce so much anxiety in your body by overthinking.
It causes a lot of stress on your body. So eventually, you get sick, your immune system suffers and being under constant pressure. It is probably the worst thing that we can do to ourselves.
Overthinking is a symptom of anxiety. Most people don’t take the time and go more in-depth and explore what makes them overthink. There are many insecurities, especially when it comes to overthinking.
Key points of overthinking effects:
- It takes up a lot of energy.
- It blocks us from the decision and moving forward.
- It creates anxiety and is stuck.
- Your immune system suffers sick.
Symptoms of overthinking
The scientific thing you’re going to do is ultimately bring your body to stillness, and purposefully you’re going to sit in a comfortable position. Then not move a muscle no matter how badly, and you will see that you want to drive poorly. But no matter how badly you want to move, whether you want it like you’re getting an itch or you want to move, readjust to be a little more comfortable.
You’re not going to move at all, and you will see even to accomplish this when overthinking. You’ll have to close your eyes, maybe even, or you could do with your eyes open.
Also, you’ll have to pay attention to the body because little urges to move and readjust or in like itch. They’re going to keep coming up when you’re overthinking. It is natural.
It’s going to happen, and I encourage you to see this for yourself and by the mere fact of making an intention to still the body completely. A lot of your awareness, which was going towards that intellectual activity feeding the mind, is now being sourced towards the body, and it’s going towards the body.
So we have already taken a little bit of that awareness, mind away from mind. We’re establishing it in our body, getting full attention to the body, which will slow down our thinking. But on top of that, now that the body is still.
Key points of overthinking symptoms:
- You can not take the decision properly.
- You feel stuck and hypertension.
- Sometimes, you feel a headache.
- You feel depressed and sad.
- You feel distant.
How to stop overthinking quickly?
If you’re overthinking, you’re probably not overthinking about the positives in life. You’re probably thinking about the negative things that could happen in the future, which leads to worry and limiting beliefs. Overthinking can be an addiction. It can have control over you. It comes from overthinking in the future, in other words, not being in the moment.
I will share 50 easy and simple steps to stop overthinking immediately and start living again.
1. Follow 5 minutes rule
The first technique you can use to reprogram your mind to stop thinking is to set a timer. When you catch yourself overthinking something, whether it’s a career decision, pursuing a girl, or making a purchase, realize that you’re thinking about it.
- Set a timer for five minutes and permit yourself to do all the thinking you want for those five minutes. But when those five minutes are up, you must decide. You have to write it down physically, and the decision is made. So, every time you start thinking about it again in the future, you remind yourself.
2. Take a long, deep breath
You must bring yourself back into your body when you get stuck in your head overthinking things. Because that’s the only way you’re truly going to get out of your head, and the quickest way to bring yourself back into your body is to take deep breaths.
- When you catch yourself overthinking something, stop for one minute and take ten or twenty long deep breaths, and it will make you feel instantly better.
- One way to train yourself to do this subconsciously and always breathe deeper is to work out regularly. When you work out, it increases the amount of oxygen that your body consumes. It means you breathe them out all the time.
3. Create space
When you start overthinking something, generally, you let yourself get too emotionally invested in it. You get too close to it to realize the right thing to do. That is why you need to create space to get a better perspective, and there are two main ways to do this.
- First, ask a friend you trust and realize they have your best interest in mind, whatever advice they give you. Go ahead and do it. Do what they say.
- The second one is to imagine that a friend came to you looking for advice on this issue and think about what you would advise them to do, then go ahead and do that.
4. Change your goal
You’re trying to control an outcome. You don’t have control over it. For example, there’s a girl you have a crush on. Your goal is to make her your girlfriend or sleep with her. It will make you overthink everything and second-guess every single text you send her.
- You should change your goal from making her your girlfriend to doing something you can control, like asking her out confidently. This technique is powerful. When you make this mindset shift, all your energy and all your effort will be directed towards doing the thing you can control.
5. Don’t be scared
Don’t be scared of what’s going to happen in the future. What is the worst that could happen? You fail the worst that could happen. We all need to go through failures in life. If you fail, it’s okay. Failures in life will always teach you something, and it’s okay to fail. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. The animal data says nobody’s perfect yet.
Here I am okay to be perfect all the time. If you’re a perfectionist and you’re like, ‘I am to do this perfectly,’ You don’t do it correctly, you start overthinking. You’re like, ‘Why didn’t I do this? Why did I do that? Why didn’t it work?’
- Failures are a part of life, and you need to fail sometimes. One of my favorite quotes is, ‘What would you do if you knew you could not fail?’
6. Stop caring about overthinking
If you’re always scared of people thinking you’re not cool or that you’re not famous enough, forget what they believe. Who cares what these other people think about you, whether you’re cool or not?
- Be confident. Be yourself. The most attractive thing in a person is confidence. Stop caring about what these people think, whether you’re cool or not. Stop overthinking that. Because at the end of the day, it does not matter.
Does it matter? Think about whether you’re overthinking about school or college or with him. Thinking about things I was overthinking even last year, it does not matter now. It was last year’s problem. Do you want to look back on your year and worry so much? I did not have any reason to remember. Does it matter? You shouldn’t worry about anything. You’re not in control of everything.
7. Make a plan
I plan every situation if I’m about to talk to someone. If I know that, I will have a conversation with them. I start planning out the whole script in my head, and then when you go off to talk to them, they don’t stick to the script, and you have planned this all in your head at 3 a.m. They are not sticking to my script. You’re like, ‘Come on, man! It was supposed to work out this way’ It worked out in my head’ It is not working in real life.
You’ve got it down in your head when you talk to the person. It comes out like a blip when you want to say it. You don’t stick to the script, and you’re like, why can’t I talk right now.
There’s so much going on in your head that comes out of your mouth. It happens to me a lot. In the words of Colleen Ballinger, ‘Calm your thinks alone ease’ Because you are not in control of every situation that gets thrown your way.
8. Think of the worst-case scenario
The technical way to stop overthinking is to realize that it’s all about time management. You partially knew that anyway. When you think about it like this, it is beneficial for you, telling you to let go.
No doubt, you’re thinking of ways to do things right now. It is okay to raise that income level. Maybe take care of this. You think you must do something to bring what you want to fruition. However, the polar opposite is true.
A lot of the time, we think of the worst-case scenario. When you think of the worst-case scenario, you realize it’s not that bad. Then, you can let go when you think of it apart from my ego getting bruised. There’s no worst-case scenario there in the park. Now I’ll get back on my feet. Why do we worry?
- So, think of that right before you go to bed. Think in your mind, and your mind’s wearing around. Think what is the worst-case scenario here. It is guaranteed that it is much less severe than it may seem at first blush. When you come from that place, you can relax.
9. Minimize your life
You’ve got lots of different possessions. Every position you have achieved takes energy to maintain, whether you realize it or not. Maybe even looking at it takes energy.
- So, be intentional with your living space and environment, and you’ll find that your mind will be much less cluttered.
When you declutter, you take minimal time to maintain a conscious effort to look at and think about it when you have minimal possessions. It helps your mind to be freer. The joy of life is an experience. It is about sharing great experiences with other people. It’s not possession. What do I truly need right now? What is an unnecessary overhead that I’m spending month after month?
10. Be a busy person
You’re going to feel great after spending the day immersed in something you love doing or something that you feel benefits the world. It is helping people in some areas.
- That’s the key here: To find a purpose, you can go in on and take your energy instead when you go to bed in the evening. You’re going to feel content. You’re making progress in a worthwhile endeavor, and you will feel incredible when you’re progressing by nature.
When you feel incredible, and your head hits the pillow at night, you’ll be able to sleep easier. With that newfound abundance of energy, devote it to something worthwhile. If we’re not growing, we’re going downhill. There’s no such thing as staying the same.
- So, if you have this newfound energy from those first two tips, put it into something worthwhile. That energy will help you to grow. If you feel more powerful, you are more influential when you beat on your purpose and, ironically, a lot less stress. Because you’re feeling continued, feeling fulfilled from within doing what you have put this earth to do.
11. Wake up earlier & do fun
If you’re somebody who wakes up later or finds yourself sleeping in, that ruins your whole day and circadian rhythm. It’s a lot harder at night to get a peaceful night’s sleep. Your body clock is all over the place.
- Wake up earlier, get out of bed earlier, and you will feel compelled to go to bed when the night comes around. When you go to bed, it’s going to be a lot easier to fall asleep. You woke up earlier, and you’ve harnessed.
I want you to consider what is the simplest option. Often, when we overthink, we elaborate and build a story. Let’s say you’re about to go to a party. You will make a whole story of the worst-case scenarios that are possibly going to happen. I want you to think about what is the simplest version of events? You can think of- I go to the party. I have fun. That’s it! It is not- I’ll go to the party.
I’m going on to trip down at four, and then people will think I’m weird. My ex is coming. My ex has got a new girlfriend. What if this person comes, and what about a party you have not arrived at? There are so many aspects you can’t control, and you try to decide everything isn’t going to help the situation.
12. Understand your thinking
You think overthinking will solve your problems is part of the problem. It was a tongue twister. Thinking you’re overthinking is a productive thing is part of the problem.
- The tip is to realize that you’re not solving anything by thinking about it.
It will either happen, or it won’t. Time will tell whether it happens or it won’t. You think about it whether you thought about it for an hour, you thought about it for ten hours. Does it control anything? It doesn’t change the pattern of events. It doesn’t change what is going to happen.
13. Play a mind game
Sometimes your brain will go on such a tangent that you won’t even realize what you’re saying. If you vocalize the exact words assuming you’re in a room by yourself, you feel free to do it, not in a room by yourself.
- You might get weird looks and realize one sentence’s illogical from another. The brain jumps frequently. For example, if you are ill, your brain goes to see if this is your fault.
You should have worn a coat yesterday. It goes on and on about how you’re sick now. You’re missing out on work. You go on this long tangent, and you start vocalizing it. Is it my fault? Can it ever be someone’s fault for getting ill? No! Is beating myself up for it going to help? No!
- So, saying the words out loud helps you to be able to pick them apart. It enables you to realize that many sentences you’re saying are illogical. What you’re saying to yourself is not only hugely repetitive. 95% of your thoughts are repetitive. Did you know that?
It’s also likely to be something someone said to you in your formative years. I stayed in the unconscious mind. Most of your inner voice is not your voice. It has been formed by the other people that adults in your life when you were a child.
It’s the same whether you’re getting ill, doing something bad at work, or worrying about going to a party. It’s the same conversations you’ve had before every party.
But every time you’ve been ill, you have the same conversations repeatedly every time you’ve done something at work where you think you messed up. You will realize how repetitive and nonsensical they are when you vocalize them aloud.
14. Use your favorite word
Use a word for stopping. You could yell out the word. Stop the moment you catch yourself overthinking something. You’re doing it, and you want to stop yourself right away. You could use a one-word phrase. It could be anything you could yell out the word, but you could be a little bit more creative.
- Use a word that’s going to catch your attention. You have to realize when you’re so deep into your negative thoughts. It’s hard to come out of it and change your attention to something else. If you have a lover or crush, remember their name repeatedly. You can write the name 100 times to distract your mind.
15. Ask yourself questions
Is it worth my time? Is it worth my energy? It’s a question I ask myself every time I catch myself overthinking. What am I even thinking about? Is this even relevant? Can I learn something from this? Is this something that I can apply? Is it worth my time?
- You have to understand that your mind will think about stuff to which you have attached significant emotional value. It’s not going to throw boring thoughts at you because you’re not going to pay attention.
It will throw out the juicy stuff that will grasp your attention. It doesn’t care about how you feel about it. It knows that you feel strongly about these thoughts.
You give it so much attention, and that’s exactly what it will do. It could be difficult if you have had the tragic loss of somebody you’ve loved or someone who betrayed you. You could also be upset because you didn’t get the desired promotion.
You didn’t get the job you wanted. You thought you were such a hard worker, or your business failed. It could be anything or anyone that you’re attaching your emotions to. It’s normal. There comes in your life where you need to detach that significant value from that person or that event.
- You have to move on and be happy in your life. It’s easier said than done, but it’s doable. It comes with a lot of practice, but it’s 100 percent doable, and you need to believe that.
When you detach yourself from a significant person or an event that keeps bothering you, your mind will move on to the next. You’re not forcing yourself to stop any thinking. The goal is to navigate your thinking into something else.
16. Take action right now
It comes in two different forms. You could physically get up from wherever you’re sitting, like sitting on the couch or the bed. Physically get up and change your environment. Start doing something else that involves moving your hands. You could even take a walk outside. You could start cleaning the house.
- You could watch a movie. You could read a book. It is going to change your environment physically. You want to do that immediately because you’ve gone to a point where your overthinking was not useful. It’s not worth your time and energy. You’re moving on to a stage where you’re doing more productive things for yourself, which is worth your time and energy.
17. Be your biggest fan
For most of our lives, we wait for other people to excite us and give us compliments to tell us that we’re doing great. It’s great when other people compliment us and make us feel good. They recognize our accomplishments, and they recognize our success. It’s fantastic, but you need to be your biggest fan.
- All that outside stuff is not going to stay consistent throughout your life. Look in the mirror, hype yourself up, say stuff like you’re so smart. I’m so proud of you, and I’m glad how far you’ve come.
You’re beautiful and like whatever it is that you want to hear look. You genuinely want to gossip about it. It will change your life. You need to be your biggest fan, and you need to be your biggest hero.
18. Train your mind
We want to disrupt our pattern instantly, so how you can snap out of these situations is very simple. So let’s say. For example, you were thinking about negativity or negative stuff when you give yourself a little clap snap out of it.
It wakes the brain up, and you can shift that person instantly. Suppose you decide that in 1 2 3, you need to think of something super. Let’s say a thrilling experience in your life or a wonderful time. What can you do at that moment?
- You can shift in an instant some of your thinking. It’s possible as long as you’re willing to make that commitment. The biggest problem is that some people are stopping and in that upset mode. And they want to be in that upset mode because they feel like I don’t know.
Maybe they’re seeking some love or someone to pity them or something. But if you wake up, give yourself a crap, tell yourself to wake up. You can do a person interrupt or pass and disrupt your brain.
You put that in there, and your mind starts thinking and channeling on that frequency. It disrupts the pattern and shifts that cognitive thing that’s going on right now.
19. Feel gratitude for what you have
Now you need to type this- “There are no problems now. Problems can’t exist at this moment now.” What does this mean? Me looking at you, you looking at me.
If we look deep into each other’s eyes right now, when we breathe, there’s only you and me, and I’m smiling. You’re smiling. Everything’s happy, no overthinking. Your problems, overthinking, stress, and worries can only happen before, or something you’re worried about may happen later or tomorrow.
This moment is the only moment that matters, not another moment. You live in the other moments doesn’t matter to you. It’s not helping you. Overthinking is not helping you attract more of that negativity.
- So be in this moment, feel gratitude for what we have, take a deep breath in and out, and understand that this moment is the only moment that matters. Why? Because this moment is the only moment that creates our future and past. If I can look at you, you look at me, and we can smile now.
20. Accept your thoughts
If I have negative thoughts or think about something that doesn’t make me feel good, I resist them. The more I resist them, the more it comes up in persistence. The more we resist, the more we persist.
- You accept the thought and hear it for what it’s worth. Realizing that you’re having these negative thoughts, accept it. Listen to what you’re saying, and then let it slide away. It can be beneficial in overthinking and not beating yourself up or telling yourself not to think it anymore.
21. Fantasize your mind
I have come across my research before we worry or we overthink, often thinking of the worst possible case scenario. Why do we do that to ourselves? We think good or positive odds will not happen like we cannot predict the future. We have no control over it.
So, first of all, there’s no real purpose and worrying. But I understand that this always comes up like you can’t stop worrying.
I feel that’s very extreme. But maybe next time when you are worrying, or you find yourself overthinking, accept the thought.
- Think what’s the best possible scenario of what’s going to happen right now. If this were to be the perfect case scenario, what would happen. When you start thinking of that, you let go and shift your focus to the positive.
It’s something that I’ve done before in terms of panic and anxiety. Suppose I go into a situation where I’m fearful. The optimal experience that I want to have from this is.
Also, about what that would be, you go into this like Fantasyland in your head. But it takes away from the overthinking, and then it alleviates that anxiety and overwhelms.
22. Spend time with friends
You’re maybe insecure about overthinking or overanalyzing because we’re often afraid to explain our fears when we overthink things. We feel insecurity within us, and it will be revealed.
They’re going to think we’re like crazy like you’re overthinking that you’re probably crazy. But a lot of the time, what you’re going through, people have gone through before. It’s not uncommon. I’ve been going through some of the things that I’ve been going through in the past.
I always thought that I was like a loner in it, and no one else dealt with this. You’re the only person dealing with your problem. I’m sure there’s someone else who has dealt with it. If you have a community to deal with, it honestly makes you feel less crazy.
I also like to talk to my friends about stuff. I talked to my boyfriend and my mom about whatever you’re thinking about in your head. It’s like you and that thing.
- When you open up about it often, people can give you a more comprehensive range of perspectives, which alleviates the exaggeration of it all in your head.
23. Release your perfection
I am a perfectionist at heart. I like things to be perfect, but that is not realistic. It’s very detrimental to your mental health to think like that. Trust me. We want things to go perfectly when we’re overthinking a lot of the time. Sometimes we need to release that expectation to try to be perfect. Nobody is perfect. Everyone has insecurity.
Everyone has something they’re dealing with that they don’t want to be revealed to others because you may not see it on the outside. I’m sure other people are dealing with other things they think they’re crazy about.
- You don’t even see if you are thinking about and over worrying about the past or maybe performing in the future releases its expectation. Because when you do that, I feel like you’re going to humanize yourself and be more relatable to that person. Often, when we have expectations, there’s something we go into the situation with that tone.
24. Do your hobby
I’ve realized when I overthink, I’m alone. I’m not saying to distract yourself with unhealthy habits and distract yourself with things that get you in that flow state of mind.
You don’t even have time to even worried or overthink. Something that’s helped me is a hobby. So I like to do YouTube. I like communicating with you guys when I get into my YouTube state of mind.
I get into a flow state, and then when I work out, that’s something that distracts my mind. I’m so focused on the pain. I always like to give myself a goal by hanging out with my family. Friends is a huge one that relieves a lot of overwearing and overthinking. So stay busy, get distracted by creating a hobby for yourself, and volunteer to hang out with people.
25. Be kind to yourself
I like this rephrase of the thought that’s in your head. For example, I found in the article that you feel stuck in your career. You’re overthinking being stuck in your career instead of saying that phrase. I’m stuck in my career.
You’re going to say I want a job where I feel more engaged. I liked that. I feel like that’s an excellent way to understand your thought. Where it’s coming from rather than making it like a self-inflicting negative statement.
I’m feeling like the more you’re negative with yourself. Obviously, your confidence will only shoot down. Also, I feel like that will cause moreover worrying and overthinking. You’re going to beat yourself up in it’s like a very vicious cycle.
- So be kind to yourself and see what you’re saying. Try rephrasing it. Everyone’s busy right now, and I happen to have this time. It’s a great moment you change the thoughts around your negative thoughts.
26. Ask mental questions
You have to realize that it’s not true. It is something that I found in the therapy session. I like this thing. I talked about this before too. It’s the three magical questions, and I found this in the book I read called how to be yourself.
It alleviates the exaggeration again and overwhelms the thought. The stress and anxiety odds are very untrue. You’re giving yourself an exaggerated version of what’s happening. The first question is- How bad would that be? Analyze the thought that you are thinking.
- Question number 2 – What are the odds of this happening? I obviously can’t even count how many times I’ve been in line. It’s like, how many times have you had a panic attack.
- Question number 3 – Where is the evidence that this is true? That’s another perfect one, and then you realize, oh my god, this is not true. I made this up in my head, typical me. Most of the time, we create an illusion that controls our minds. So be aware of it and win your mind.
27. Increase your self-awareness
Awareness is the step in that process. Before we can address the bad habit of overthinking, we have to learn to know when it’s happening. See anytime we doubt our actions, feel stressed, stuck, or emotionally and mentally drained.
Then that’s the perfect time to take a step back and look at our current situation or surroundings; number 1 and number 2 decide how we respond.
“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” Words said by James Thurber. Simple words that carry so much value with so little effect.
- Self-awareness is central to our ability to grow, learn, and adapt. In every moment of awareness, a seed of change is planted. This particular seed is the start of change towards shutting down overthinking.
28. Pull things into perspective
It’s easy for us to make things bigger than they need to be or bigger than they are in our minds. Especially in a negative light. Why do we have to build self-awareness to pull things into perspective?
I have an interesting tactic to help with this, and it’s called doing a brain dump. However, this brain dump is structured differently than you probably have in mind. Let me explain.
- Step one is to do exactly what it says, brain dump. Take everything your mind has clinched its hands around. Every thought you’ve overthought and everything, you continue to overthink and dump it on a piece of paper, in a journal, or in a digital notebook. Either way, writes it down.
- Step two is to sort it into categories. Now, this is where it starts to get interesting. You have three categories to choose from:
- General thought.
- Action item.
- Emotion or feeling.
Once you have everything sorted, read through everything you wrote down and ask yourself this question. How important is this right now? How much will this matter tomorrow? Next week? Or even next year? Seeing that simple question and changing how you view everything you’ve laid out in front of you will not only shut down overthinking but also help you determine your next step.
Do or Discard. Am I going to react, respond, or act on this thought, item, or feeling? Or am I going to ignore, detach, and dump what doesn’t matter and probably won’t matter any time soon?
29. Change your point of view
In some cases, overthinking is caused by a single emotion, fear. Either you’re afraid. After all, you’ve failed before, fearful of trying because you don’t want to fail or feel rejected or embarrassed if things don’t work out. You’re not sure where this road leads, so you’re overthinking every step along the way.
- I get it, trust me. But see, you must remember that every opportunity is a new beginning with a clean canvas. At that moment, you have a choice you have to make. Either you can allow fear to find a home in your body and eat away at you, or you can face everything and rise.
30. Realize you can’t predict the future or change the past
Regardless of what you’ve heard or what someone has told you. The past has been lived, and the future has yet to come.
- All you have is right now. We all have right now. If you spend all of your present time over-analyzing past actions or overthinking things that haven’t even happened, then you’re robbing yourself of your time, energy, and peace. Try shifting your thinking to something like this.
“My past action has shaped my present self, and if I want the future to look any different, I have to focus on what’s in front of me now.”
31. Stop waiting for perfection
See an image of what perfection looks like that does not exist. We’re on the same page here if you’re a pretty ambitious person. We’re connecting right now because the moment we start thinking, “this needs to be perfect,” is the exact moment we begin to overthink and overanalyze.
- We have to remind ourselves that aiming for perfection is unrealistic. But we are doing, growing, learning, and experiencing. Those things are extremely practical and worth it.
32. Take control of your emotions
Control doesn’t mean we should sometimes bottle up and bury the negative emotions. This is meant to have the opposite effect.
- Taking control of your emotions means acknowledging when you feel something. Explore why you think it and then take control of the situation by seeking a solution.
An example of this is something I did a while back when I put a custom wallpaper on my phone that said, “don’t let it bother you on. It’s not worth it.” This was back in June. The nineteenth, to be exact. I’ve changed it since then.
But doing that helped me acknowledge when I felt something. Because instead of trying to ignore it and scrolling through social media, I was forced to acknowledge it and explore it by reading that simple statement every time I reached for my phone.
33. Analyze the truth
The biggest solution to stop overthinking is to visualize what can go right by focusing on solutions. Put, when you focus on all the negative things that might go wrong or overthink every ounce in a pound, that is the quickest way to end up paralyzed, mentally stuck, stagnant, stressed, clouded, or emotionally and mentally drained.
- This idea requires prep work up front rather than an act of response later. You should start your day visualizing what can go right and practice keeping those thoughts present and up front before your mind can drift and start spiraling off towards overthinking, overanalyzing, and sometimes negativity. But if it does, choose to focus on a solution rather than the emotion.
34. Don’t try to stop your thinking
Don’t try to stop overthinking machines. The average human being has over 50,000 thoughts per day that sound insane. It tells you this is a thinking machine that’s its only job, like the heart. Its only job is to beat and pump blood over the body. It’s the supercomputer.
- Don’t be police officers of the mind whose job is to think thoughts. How can you quiet this? How can you stop the inferno? It’s the most debilitating feeling a human being can ever go through.
- Don’t try to stop your thinking. But don’t give it any importance, any significance. It is equivalent to your success. Watch the thoughts without getting attached to them. Let them come and watch as they go because they will go.
It will always subside. That’s the nature of thought. You have more ideas about the thought because you’re alerted to it in that fight-or-flight mode. You’re alerted to the presence of that thought by paying attention to it and giving it so much interest. It starts to stick, and it starts to revolve.
35. Avoid multitasking
Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time. Don’t get fooled. Multitasking is a myth. What happens in multitasking? Studies show that we rapidly shift our attention from one mate to another.
So when you’re thinking about something, that’s where you’re focused on your mind. If you start doing something, your focus will shift into action, offer your thoughts, look at your to-do list, and look at the things.
- You have to do it and start doing them. When you do them non-stop, when you take action non-stop for 20 minutes, your brain shuts off, and you go into what it’s called the flow state. This state is when we’re so engrossed in an activity that time flies by.
It dilates. Because when you’re out of your mind and into your body, that’s what happens when we start with one thought. We don’t like it, so we fight it whenever you fight it. That negative downward spiral occurs till you get to a point.
36. Challenge your thoughts
Once you are aware of your thoughts, you can control them. Now you can’t control your thoughts as they arise, but you can challenge them once they arise. So I want you to do this right now, get a piece of paper and a pencil. For the next five minutes, I want you to sit there and notice the thoughts coming up.
- I want you to write them all down as soon as the five minutes are up. Look at that paper and see all the thoughts. You have within five minutes. You can notice that some of those thoughts aren’t most of them are not always true all the time.
- If there are some damaging thoughts about yourself, you can think of a time when that thought wasn’t right because nothing is all the time. The more you challenge that thought, the more you change it.
The more you can change your actions around that thought, the more you’ll stop overthinking. You can challenge those negative, self-destructive behaviors and maladaptive beliefs that are not real. From there, you’ll have more control over your life.
37. Do exercise regularly
The practical way I can describe this is by purging your mind of those energy-draining and heavy thoughts in a way that creates a cathartic release. When you exercise, you not only free up your brain, but you get to see what’s going on up there visually and, to put it lightly.
- It makes you realize how much BS you’ve been feeding that poor brain. I highly recommend you do this exercise consistently once a day for two weeks.
This will give you a solid baseline that you can build upon to improve your way of thinking and find more positive coping mechanisms to deal with rumination and worry.
38. Find the solution
Overanalyzing interferes with problem-solving by focusing more on the problem rather than finding possible solutions to that problem. For example, What if it rains the whole time? I’m going to go to Cuba. Oh no, the trips are going to be ruined. I wasted all this money, and I’m not going to relax.
I can’t believe this. That is problem-focused, worrying if it rains the entire time I’m in Cuba. I better check the weather network. It’s only going to rain two out of the ten days I’m there better. Ensure I booked a hotel I don’t know that has an indoor spa or maybe many indoor shows that I can attend to occupy my time and not waste those two days. That is solution-focused thinking.
39. Do something creative
Did you know that overthinking tires the brain, so you are more likely to procrastinate and get distracted when trying to get something done? Yes, my friends, this is all for us procrastination folk. This might be the root cause of it. Here comes the question of how you give your mind a well-deserved break from stressing and worrying. You cannot get it to shut up.
- You can try conscious distractions. These are voluntary or planned or if-then strategies to make your brain focus on something else, like drowning out the noise. It has no choice but to look another way, and even if you’re focusing, let’s say you can’t fall asleep, so you put on some music. Even if the brain listens to lyrics, it’s still relaxed because it’s not doing that heavy thinking.
40. Develop your thoughts
I want you to start silently with five minutes. You can do it. I promise five minutes of completely being still, and you will notice how automatically it happens. If you’re paying attention to the body and being completely still, the thoughts slow down at least a little bit.
We have brought some stillness to the body, stump some stillness to the mind, and awareness away from the mind into the body.
- You must know that the mind must continually source your awareness, attention, and energy to keep going. So in this way, in a very practical way, by taking attention away from the mind and bringing it into the body. The mind is already losing its power a little bit, so it may still be going on.
We will bring in the breath, and the mind is also very connected through breath. You can bring control to the mind and through the mind. I’m not going to tell you to focus on your breath. I’m keeping it super practical for even the most beginner person simply to start breathing deeper.
41. Don’t give attention
I want you to be aware of the thought rather than think of the idea. You need to know the day you become more interested in simply observing your thoughts. With the data, you become more interested in being aware of your thoughts than following what your ideas have to say and being caught up in the story.
That is the day you will begin to win yourself back. That is the day you will start to live when your life is back. If you’re overthinking, you are not in control of your mind. If you are not in the power of your mind, you’re not in control of your life.
- You need to learn to simply rest and observe the thoughts happening rather than being the thinker of ideas and following what they have to say. So this requires you to become less interested in the story of the thought. You need to stop feeding them the story the attention.
42. Have a mental detox
You’re stuck in fear and anxiety about what will happen to you. You’ve got a question what have you decided to put into your brain like a sponge.
What you are designed to put into your brain is dictating the output. That’s why you got to make a conscious choice. When you wake up, the one-hour window frame needs to be when you decide to listen to something positive.
- You need a mental detox to let go of these things that weigh you right now. Be careful what you’re reading when you’re listening to music. You’ll notice a huge difference after 30 days. You do that every single morning and every single evening.
You’ll notice after 30 days, and you begin to feel different because I want to realize this no matter how hard you try to avoid it, you’re absorbing this information. You’ll still eventually absorb all that negativity from the mainstream media, so make it a conscious choice to let this go in your life.
43. Shift your environmental anchors
What’s the environmental anchor? Well, think about it the moment you step into your house. You’ll notice there’s an energy you feel right in terms of habituated behaviors and a feeling now.
When you step into your office, do you notice how there’s also a shift in terms of energy? How do you act? How about when you step into the gym? How about if you step somewhere in public? You’ll notice that different energies and environmental anchors depend on where you are, so know this. You can influence this.
When you’re abroad, you’ll notice it is effortless to lose some habits you’ve got at home. These aren’t powering practices. For example, if you usually go to the gym, you’ll notice that you sometimes lose your habits when you go abroad on holiday. That’s because an environmental anchor is at home.
- Try to work somewhere you’ve not worked before. Play your head. This is why I love to travel. It helps you to detach from the environmental anchors. If you want to master yourself, you’ve got to work on your life. The way you do that is you have a step away from some of these strong environmental anchors you have in your life.
44. Just do it
I want you to take action right now whenever you are worried about stressing yourself out with force. It’s because, at that moment, you are focused on things you can’t control.
- Think about that whenever you’re stressing yourself out. Because you are focused on something you’re not confident about, it is exactly what the outcome will be because you may not influence it directly.
There are so many problems with that because, firstly, that’s seeking validation, but secondly, I can’t control it either way. I’m focusing on what I can control. When you focus on what you can control, you’ve realized inside that you’ve got the power.
45. Focus on the present
We often look back to our past and look forward to our future. In history, we can never go back and change stuff; in the future, we don’t know what’s ahead of us.
Instead of worrying about how things would be in the future, I realized how important it is to focus. Our present makes the most use of what is in our hands.
- When we focus on our present, we remember how important it is to keep our feet on the ground and realize that life is a journey and that your trip is more meaningful. You have to make sure that each moment counts and that whatever you accept for what it is. Also, to learn from all those experiences.
46. Observe instead of judging
When you observe instead of judging, you give that person space to voice their thoughts and opinions and whatever their opinions are. I hope you find that space in your heart to respect their views. I always believe that if that person would not change because they want to do it out of their own free will, sooner or later, all those beliefs you forced onto somebody.
- It will change unless they tell themselves I need to change this because this is not doing me anything useful. I realized that the more negative thoughts we face in our brain, the more negative things we have to track in our lives. The more positive things we do place in our heads, the more positive things arrive in our lives.
47. Give a discount on your progress
When you discount your progress, you hinder or block out the space for growth because you always dwell on what happened instead of dwelling on the present. How you could move forward and grow and learn from
- So if you have a moment to discuss your progress, I want you to stop, refocus on yourself, and remind yourself to continue. If you dwell on what could have been on what progress you only made for that time, you will not progress. You’re going to place yourself in the box of procrastination, which will not be healthy for you.
48. Think positive
When overthinking can be unhelpful and negative thoughts that we don’t want to have. But we can’t help ourselves from having. So we must see these thoughts for what they are thoughts. Thoughts are not facts, and also, you are not your thoughts.
- We must see our thoughts as almost something separate from us because it takes power away from them when we look up our thoughts. We catch ourselves overthinking and putting that thought in front of ourselves. It loses a little bit of power because the thing with overthinking is the loop that goes run around in your head.
- So learn to sit and be okay with whatever your mind is thinking. They can be uncomfortable, and thoughts are not going to hurt you. It’s also important to remember that negative thoughts can hurt your life. It’s super important to put out there what you want to receive back from the world.
This comes down to the law of attraction, but negative thoughts negatively impact your life. So if we change the narrative and start having positive thoughts, that will begin to change. If we start accepting our thoughts and sitting with them, the likelihood is that things will have a more positive outcome.
49. Do regular meditation
Meditation forces our thoughts to flow and for us not to attach to them. So with overthinking, there is nothing better than sitting down and meditating because we attach to all these little thoughts when we overthink.
We try to grab them as often as we can. If a thousand balloons are rising all around us, and we are trying to pull all of them back down to earth.
We cannot do so and lose thoughts all the time. We are holding on temporarily. We are putting ourselves in a state of internal panic. Meditation teaches us to let the balloons rise and stay here, stay grounded, stay in the now, and allow things to flow.
- Meditation is awareness of the whole; thoughts will arise and fall. The more we learn to accept the rising and falling of thoughts, the less we overthink due to learning not to attach to every thought.
50. Spend time with nature
What are you trying to figure out? What is your brain trying to figure out? Once you understand what’s going on, you can do the work. That means sitting with it, giving whatever is their space when we overthink stuff. We give it much space, but we’re never in our bodies. That’s where our fear sits. So you have to give it space and sit with it.
- One thing we all need to learn is how we can develop self-compassion for ourselves. How can we connect to our inner child? How can we connect to these old wounds that hurt us when we were children. Don’t resist anything.
The thing is the pain that happens. We’re resistant to what’s happening right now. It grounds you when you move your body, and grounding is essential to get out of your head.
What also helps is going out into nature to walk, especially when barefoot. It’s not possible for many of you all the time. But try to walk barefoot as much as you can. Let it be at home or especially outside on grass or the sand on earth grounds you down, which is so important.
Every single person’s story is so different and unique. You will not find a single person who has lived the same life story as somebody else’s. So you need to understand how unique you are. You need to know how significant you are. How much impact you can make on the world. Often, people don’t even realize they have control over their thoughts to drive their ideas to something else.
People feel like their thoughts consume them. But you need to reach a stage where you realize you have control over your thoughts. I want you to challenge yourself, challenge yourself to become better. Look for the things that would give you more dry to strive for a better life. There’s always a greener pasture, and I hope you see things from a different perspective.
Because if you put all the negativity in your head, it will affect you and how you see things. Allowing these negative thoughts to rule your head will be more difficult. I want you to challenge yourself to be kind to yourself from this day forward and realize that you are a wonderful human being.
You are capable of doing anything significant to put your heart and your mind fresh. You’re fantastic to embrace the weirdness and live and stop overthinking. Don’t let it ruin your life. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
If you genuinely want to change your life and overcome negative thinking, apply these techniques and do it regularly. I hope I shared something with you in this article that gives you an actionable step. You can walk away with today and start shutting down overthinking in your life. Comment below and tell me exactly which point will be that first step for you.
Note: If you are dealing with extreme overthinking or an obsessive-compulsive disorder, I recommend seeing a psychologist.
Frequently ask question
What is productive thinking?
Productive thinking is about finding something of value, whether a solution, a new perspective, or an important lesson that needs to be learned with the intention and actively seeking it.
What is unproductive overthinking?
On the other hand, unproductive overthinking goes past that point where you go from a state of necessary reflection to a state of unnecessary dwelling.
It’s when you spend your time digging deeper and deeper into a hole that leads nowhere but back to where you started. So it can continue for who knows how long now, one of the reasons.
What is overanalyzing?
Overanalyzing takes time to make a decision. On the other hand, overthinking is not giving yourself too much time to decide. Overanalyzing helps you make the right decision, but sometimes it upsets you and creates anxiety.
What is analysis paralysis?
Analysis paralysis usually happens when someone also needs to decide, and that decision can be a little or it can be significant. Analysis paralysis is over-analyzing whatever it is that you have to accomplish.
So that’s a big project with multiple tasks or a big decision with various components. It kills your creativity, confidence, and ability when you overthink it.