How to Stop Overthinking: Your Full Guide
We all overthink situations in our day-to-day life. But if you overthink too much for too long, this might be a sign that you are an extreme overthinker.
If your thoughts are on repeat if you are worrying and ruminating, or even if you overthink about overthinking, then you’ll have plenty of hands-on advice in the paragraphs below.
So, how to stop overthinking and improve your overall well-being?
How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts?
Let’s say it how it is – people are rarely overthinking about their happiest moments, and overthinking is seldom associated with calmness and peace. So – how are you supposed to stop the automatic negative thoughts from creeping in?
First of all – try to rephrase.
The moment you catch yourself thinking about something negative, try to rephrase it in your head. For example, when overthinking, your negative thoughts might sound something like, “I’m alone, I feel lonely.” Try to restate this and replace it with “I will make time for myself to enjoy my company and practice self-love.” This technique will help you to see things from a different perspective.
Also, allow yourself to ask for help. It is not embarrassing to see a therapist. We often make it through school and into our careers without ever being taught how to build and maintain healthy relationships with ourselves and others. And this is what a counselor or therapist can do for you.
What Triggers Overthinking?
You are overthinking when you want to protect yourself from your fears and past traumas – even if you don’t do it consciously. But it is very important to deep dive and understand what stands underneath your overthinking patterns.
Think about what wounds and fears you are trying to protect yourself from. It could be a fear of abandonment, rejection, embarrassment, fear of not feeling good enough, and so on.
Normally, you start overthinking, hoping it will safeguard you from fears and negativity. But in reality, you don’t feel protected in any way. Instead, it leads to quite the opposite – when you overthink, you are actually sabotaging yourself and your thoughts; you are not protecting yourself.
What is Overthinking a Symptom Of?
People who suffer from depression, anxiety, ADHD, and eating disorders share a common overthinking symptom. It is a narrative in your head you can’t stop playing over and over again.
When you are overthinking, your mental health and well-being begin to decrease. It lowers your confidence and increases your sense of indecisiveness.
As a part of your self-awareness journey, you need to be aware and accept that overthinking is not serving you in any way. It is not helping or protecting you. Instead, it consumes you by preventing you from growing, having self-confidence, and building healthy relationships.
Is Overthinking a Mental Disorder?
Overthinking is not by itself classified as a mental disorder. But it is a symptom of a mental illness like depression and anxiety. For example, people who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder tend to fall into overthinking habits more often than not. It leads to restlessness, lack of concatenation, and irregular sleep.
Though it might be easier said than done, a crucial first step for mentally healthy overthinkers would be to learn to let go. Don’t try to control uncontrollable things – instead, try to focus on things you can control, which is your current, present reality. If you train yourself to manage your perspective, beliefs, thoughts, and actions, overthinking can start slowly easing, and your quality of life will change drastically.
How to Stop Overthinking in a Relationship?
It takes time to build mindfulness habits. But it is absolutely worth it if you wish to have a joyful, peaceful, and deeply connected relationship with your partner.
Your mind is an amazing network of unlimited energy and pathways, and they can lead you straight into relationship hell if you don’t know how to rein them in.
So, how to proceed?
Complete the story in your head and be okay with the outcome
Your mind wants to see the end of every story you play in your head. And if you don’t finish the narratives, your mind will bring them up over and over again. At the end of the day, this will become a rather negative and draining background in your head.
Sometimes, the story in your head can be one of self-hate, where your mind tells you that you are not good enough for your partner. When you take a narrative to completion, your mind will know what happens at the end and how worse things could be. Your mind will know what fear it might be dealing with, and – paradoxically or not – you might feel way better where you are now.
The stories in your head are all fiction
You need to be self-aware, and you need to come to a realization that the stories in your head are just thoughts. They are not real. They are all fiction. Your mind is creating them. That is its job.
So – it would be best if you could stop identifying reality with your thoughts and stop assigning so much significance to your imagination.
Talk to your partner about your concerns
Be assertive in your communication so that you can work things out together as a team. This way, you will be building up respect, trust, and openness in your relationship.
The more honest you are – the better, even if it means you’ll show up as vulnerable.
Ways to Stop Overthinking
As we already clarified above, people often overthink to protect themselves from their own fears and suspicions. Allow yourself to feel these emotions, and don’t rush to oppose them right away. As long as you resist, they will persist.
One way of accepting your fears and wounds is looking at the situation from a different angle. Force yourself to change the perspective of the negative thought – instead of feeling guilt or shame, ask yourself if you are facing fear from your past or the current reality. Often, these thoughts and stories are past traumas that you are projecting onto your present life. If you recognize this pattern, do your best to control and overcome it.
Long story short – when overthinking, we live either in the past or in the future. We miss out on our current reality and cannot be fully content and present. So remind yourself that you can’t change your past, and you can’t control your future. Try to be grounded and present as much as possible, and always bring yourself to the current moment when you start to overthink.
Reading, writing, and meditation are also very helpful in building mindfulness. Eating healthily and exercising are crucial for overcoming this bad habit, and some daily exercises in Relaxify App like positive affirmations will also bring you to create more beneficial inner dialogues. Because change comes gradually, and the results are worth it!