Overthinking and over-analyzing is a human condition – we’ve all done it from time to time, but it’s definitely not good for us. At a basic level, overthinking can make us feel more stressed and frustrated. At its worst, overthinking can make us feel extremely anxious and exhausted, leaving us unable to tackle any other problems. Here are our 11 tips to help you stop overthinking.
Meditation and yoga are not just the hobbies of nomads and tree-huggers, but it could definitely help to explain why these people are so zen. Meditation can help you deal with a number of problems, with the most notable being decreased anxiety, decreased depression, increased memory and learning capacity, greater ability to empathize, and decreased blood pressure. Just 10 minutes of focused meditation every day can help to quiet your brain and stop you overthinking.
10. Stop focusing on results
When paying a lot of attention only to the results of our efforts, rather than living in the moment and just doing, we put immense stress on ourselves. Focusing on the work at hand, instead of the final result, can reduce this mental tension and can also improve your ability to solve complex issues as your mind stops wandering and focuses solely on the task at hand.
You may even find that the reason you’re overthinking is that you’ve got too much unused energy that you need to burn off. Coming back from a run or a boxing session will reboot your brain and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to think about things in a new way.
8. Write a journal
Writing about your thoughts and anxieties can really help to lift the burden from your brain. When you’re writing for yourself you don’t have to filter anything, and you can simply unload your overthinking brain onto the page. You’ll notice that you will be far less likely to overthink things.
It’s amazing how doing such simple actions can make a world of difference. Try taking 5 deep breaths in and out of your nose – don’t you feel just a bit lighter? This mental meditation can help you to regain focus.
6. Go to sleep
Naps are great for refreshing our minds and bodies, and if your day is not going so well, taking a nap kind of gives you the opportunity to just start again. Taking a 20-30 minute nap in the afternoon is optimal – say, 3 pm – as it gives you enough relaxation to feel the boost, but you’ll also still be able to sleep when it comes to your usual bedtime.
5. Shift to simple tasks
If you’re trying to complete a complex task it can make you feel quite overwhelmed, and lead to overthinking and procrastination, which doesn’t get anyone anywhere. Take on a few simple tasks – like walking the dog, or doing some laundry – to remind your brain that it can solve and finish problems.
4. Fix your gaze
This sounds like a bit of an odd one, but it can work wonders. If you’re overthinking and stressing out, it’s very likely that your eyes are doing the same thing. Stop for a moment and let your eyes focus on one point, like a tree or a sleeping pet, gaze at the point – without staring – calmly and you’ll soon feel your brain beginning to slow down and relax again.
3. Overthink consciously
This one may seem counterintuitive, but it works! Try to think about the things you’re stressing about in the most elaborate, ridiculous way possible, go completely over the top with it and make yourself laugh with how ludicrous it all seems. Now, take a deep breath and look at the task at hand – doesn’t it seem so much less complicated now?
2. Change up your setting
Cabin fever can really send your brain into a spin and lead to overthinking. Get out of your usual workspace and go somewhere else. You’ll find it easier to focus and you’ll be much less likely to overthink and procrastinate.
1. Stop with the negativity!
Overthinking can lead to negative emotions, which then cause more overthinking. Sometimes you need to remove yourself from the negative and try to focus on something positive that you can do, either for yourself or someone else.