How you can Control Overthinking
So, I have been sat in front of my laptop for a good hour now mulling over this new blog on How to control your overthinking! As a rule, I am not an overthinker, however is the subject causing to me to go over and over what I want to write and overthink it?!
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of Overthinking is
“The action of thinking about something too much in a way that is not useful”
Why do we Overthink?
There are 2 main areas of overthinking:
- Decision making. Where you are so careful you will make a wrong decision, you make no decision at all. Making no decision can leave you with no control. Even making the wrong decision would be better than making no decision at all.
- Ruminating and negative thinking. When you keep going over and over things that have happened and worry and stress about what might happen. This can lead to fear and anxiety. It can lead to sleepless nights, paranoia and a generally negative outlook in life.
It is common to have ruminating thoughts after a night out. When you have had a few too many to drink. You wake up in the morning and start worrying about what you said, what you did and how you acted the night before. Lying under the duvet going over and over what you may have said and how others may have taken it and what they think of you. I call this “The Fear” and I am highly experienced in this!
Probably everyone does at some point of their lives. Even the most confident, decisive person has had a moment or two of overthinking. A time when their thinking was not useful to them.
How does Overthinking affect us?
Overthinking can be damaging. It can stop us from making decisions, which can cause a total lack of control in our lives. Making no decision because you are overthinking the situation can cause you to miss out on opportunities, it can sometimes cause you to end up in a situation you are far from happy with. You then get frustrated, angry about the situation and that can cause you to feel unhappy, upset and like everything in your life is going wrong.
Overthinking negative or ruminating thoughts can cause worry, anxiety and paranoia. It can bring on both physical and mental illnesses.
How can we control and stop Overthinking?
- Focus on Solutions
Give yourself some solutions to what you are overthinking. Write them down. Focusing on the solutions rather than the issue or problem will give you ways forward and take the weight out of the thought itself.
- Don’t think about what could go wrong. Think about what can go right.
If you spend all your time thinking about everything that could go wrong, you begin to feel more fearful. Visualise everything that can go right. This will give you a brighter and more positive outlook when thinking about the situation.
- Put things in perspective
Ask yourself, it this situation really going to matter in 5 years’ time? Will it matter in 1 months’ time? By giving yourself a timeframe, this can often put a stop to the overthinking and enable you to make a decision rather than making a mountain out of a molehill.
- Relax and distract
Going over the same thing repeatedly can be exhausting and incredibly stressful. Take some time out, do something else. Go for a walk, phone a mate, exercise, read a book, put some loud music on. Let you brain have a rest. Often distraction is the best way to put a stop to the process of overthinking.
- Set a timer.
Set a timer for a certain amount of time and in that time allow yourself to write down all the things that are worrying you. Write down absolutely everything in your head that you are thinking about. When the timer is up, Stop. Getting the thoughts out of your head can be very therapeutic and give you space in your head to focus on something else and move on.
- Listen to your GUT
Be intuitive. Even an Overthinker can know what their initial feeling is on a situation. Take notice of that GUT feeling. It is often never wrong. And the more you listen to your get the more you become intuitive to what is good for YOU! Whatever decision you make will be the right one for you.
- Ask for help.
Sometimes talking to someone about how you feel can help you make sense of your emotions and improve your mindset.
Get in touch if you feel you want to talk further about your overthinking. Sometimes someone asking the right questions can really help.