Are we all overthinkers? Yes, we are indeed. I think too much when I’m perplexed over which decision to make, which sometimes makes me fear the outcome.
Overthinking and ways to overcome it are the topics for today, so let’s dig a little deeper into the definition and cause, and then we’ll dive into how to move past it.
Definition of Overthinking
Overthinking is defined as: excessively thinking about a situation or issue. It has an impact on a person’s mental and emotional wellbeing. A minor blunder on your part might cause you to doubt your own value. Overthinking has a snowball effect, leaving us feeling helpless and overwhelmed.
What Causes Overthinking?
Overthinking isn’t a mental illness, although it has been linked to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and drug use disorders. Rumination is common in those suffering from chronic pain and chronic illnesses, and it manifests as negative thoughts about pain and healing.
How Can I Avoid Overthinking?
It’s not always easy to stop thinking, even if you tell yourself to. Unfortunately, stopping these habits requires more than willpower. Here are some ideas to help you stop overthinking or dwelling on an issue or decision.
- Stop Thinking too Much: Nobody said it would be simple, but you should give it a shot. You must get yourself out of the situation and occupy that mental space with something more enjoyable and productive. You can avoid overthinking by telling yourself to stop thinking repetitive and harmful thoughts. Distracting ideas should be replaced with things that require focus such as cooking, painting, discussion about other topics, or playing sports. Anything that gets your mind out of the moment and forces you to focus on something else will help.
- Do Proper Exercises: One of the finest methods to quiet a rushing mind is through mindful breathing. Focus on your breathing, which will help relax your body and help you focus and ground yourself. When unnecessary thoughts are removed from the mind, overthinking is reduced. Meditation is a scientifically proven approach for relaxing and freeing your mind. If you’re focused on not injuring yourself during physical activity, it leaves little room for your brain to dwell on things stressing you out.
- Remember! Nothing is Perfect: Nothing on earth is perfect and neither are our decisions. We can only do our best with the facts we have. The easiest way to get started is to dive right in and adjust as you go. If you wait for the perfect solution or timing, you’ll miss both. To err is human.
- Take a Break: It’s recommended to take time away from the problem so you can reflect on it with a fresh mind later to ensure your decision is sound. Free time can be a few hours for less important decisions, or up to a week or more for more important decisions. Also, when you take a break, make a point to return to the task at a certain time.
- Find Diversions: Finding something to keep your mind and body engaged that isn’t too weighty is the key to a successful diversion. The more you try to push those thoughts aside, the more they nag. Picking up a demanding and creative pastime, working, exercise, or phoning a buddy are all examples of this.
- Stay Present: Overthinking is most often triggered by past or future events. Mindfulness practices might assist you in concentrating on the present moment and making the most of it. Overthinkers should go to the “Here and Now” since it keeps them from having negative thoughts and allows them to make more optimistic assumptions.
- Maintain a Hobby: Hobbies are something that takes you away from your worries and pressures, giving you a sense of relief and happiness. Different people have different hobbies based on their interests, like swimming, dancing, traveling, painting, etc. However, you need to keep in mind that hobbies do not include things like drinking, smoking, sleeping, or watching television.
- List Your Fears: Overthinkers may have trouble distinguishing between fear of making a mistake and intuition that something is wrong. By connecting to your body, taking a few deep breaths, and truly feeling what it would be like to make a choice, you can determine if it’s fear or intuition at work and how to best move forward. A pros and cons list can help with this.
- Your Thoughts Should be Challenged: It’s easy to get carried away with negative thoughts. Recognize that your thoughts may be too negative before deciding that using sick leave will leave you unemployed or homeless if you miss a deadline. Keep in mind that your emotions will cloud your capacity to assess circumstances rationally.
- Ask Yourself Questions: Asking yourself the wrong questions won’t help you identify what’s going on in your life. Focus on proactive, solution-oriented inquiries rather than rumination-inducing ones.
The act of attempting to make sense of what you don’t know is the very definition of overthinking. If left unchecked, the behavior can quickly escalate into something harmful and difficult to break. Overthinking is not considered an official mental illness, but it can increase someone’s risk of falling into deep states of depression or anxiety. Take steps now to avoid potential pitfalls in the future.