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How to stop your overthinking habit? (11 Proven Ways)

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Overthinking is no joke. A huge number of people in the world today suffer from this habit. If you are among the sufferers as well, this article is for you. Here, we will talk about ways to stop your overthinking habit. So, read on.

Overthinking is a problem that can have serious impacts on your life. And needless to say, the impacts are not positive. If you keep worrying continuously and overthink a lot, it is bound to take a toll on your physical as well as mental health. An overthinker can’t even have a few moments of solace and peace as worrying thoughts start creeping in almost immediately.

Whether it is the thought about their chances of getting a promotion or if the attachment with their email reached the recipient or not – they would find themselves falling into a bottomless pit of agonizing thoughts. In this article, we will discuss some proven ways to stop your overthinking habit. 

Effective ways to stop your overthinking habit

stop your overthinking habit

If your overthinking habit is interfering with your daily life, you can try these below techniques to get rid of this bothersome for:

1. Recognize your destructive thought patterns

stop your overthinking habit

If you want to alleviate the stress of your overthinking, you first have to recognize your destructive thought patterns. Negative and destructive thoughts tend to have multiple patterns and varying intensities. These types of thoughts start creeping in when you are in a vulnerable state.

When you are conflicted and stressed, you are more prone to these negative and worrying thoughts.

Among these, two types of thought patterns are extremely prevalent. One is ruminating and the other one is constantly worrying. Ruminating is when a single thought or a bunch of connected thoughts keep running through your mind repeatedly. These thoughts are mostly gloomy or miserable and often haunt those who are perfectionists.

They can be a cause of depression and make a person isolate themselves from the rest of the world. On the other hand, constant worrying can make someone predict and be anxious about almost anything going south in their life. Such constant worrying doesn’t arise only out of a particular event in your life but is connected to your limiting beliefs and other factors.

Once you identify your specific destructive thought pattern, it would be easier for you to consciously try to eliminate those thoughts.

2. Find a distraction

stop your overthinking habit

Now that you have recognized what your destructive thought pattern is, it is time to act to get rid of those thoughts. Perhaps the simplest method to stop your overthinking habit is to distract yourself and do an activity you truly care about.

Immersing yourself in an enjoyable activity is an effective way to prevent worrying thoughts to creep in and disturb your mental peace. Remember that each person is different. So what activity they will opt for depends on that person only.

But here are a few good ideas: you can start learning a new language by either getting admission to a language school or through a language learning app. Or, you can take a membership of your local library to read more books in your free time. Or, take a gym membership and start working out to stay fit. The opportunities are endless.

No matter what you are passionate about, do it. Yes, we know it can be a daunting task to find a distraction when you can’t take the negative thoughts out of your head. So we suggest you set aside at least a little amount of time, say, 20-30 minutes, every day to either find new distractions or immerse yourself in an existing one.

3. Let go of the past

stop your overthinking habit

No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to stop your overthinking habit, if you can’t let go of your past. Overthinkers are often known to give excessive attention to their past. “What if things took a different turn?”, “What should I have done to avoid my misery?” – all these questions keep haunting them. Thus, you have to move on.

You have to clearly understand that your past can’t be changed; what has been done cannot be undone. But you can always change the importance you give to your past.

Letting go of your past doesn’t mean at all that you should forget the things that happened in your past. It merely means that you accept the immutability of your past and don’t allow it to control your future.

It also means that forgive others and don’t hold on to the anger that doesn’t let you progress. While it may seem a tough task, in the beginning, it will all make sense as you fight through it and advance. Be resilient, and do not let your emotions get the best of you.

4. Live in the moment

stop your overthinking habit

If you truly want to focus on your future instead of your past, living in the moment is absolutely vital. You would never be able to prevent your overthinking unless you learn to control your mind and start appreciating what you have at the moment. Once the negative and worrying thoughts begin unleashing a barrage, identify the issue and pause for a minute or two to reset.

Take a deep breath and shift your focus to your surroundings. Focus on what you are seeing and listening to.

Are you thankful for anything? If yes, what is it? In the beginning, you would have to consciously try, and prevent the spiral of thoughts to overwhelm you.

Daily rituals such as meditation can prove to be beneficial in this regard. However, as day after day passes, it would start to come naturally with little to no effort.

5. Embrace your fears

stop your overthinking habit

Running away from what scares or troubles you only makes things harder for you. In order to fight off your fears, you have to embrace your fears. You got to keep in mind that there will always be some things that you won’t be able to control. Once you accept this reality, it will be a lot easier for you to curb your overthinking issue.

Even studies show that when you accept your negative thoughts and fears contributes to bettering your mental health.

Nonetheless, it is way harder than it sounds. So, it would be stupid to think that this will happen in an instant. But you should always look out for opportunities to confront your demons. Be it calling out a domineering colleague or going on that solo Paris trip you’ve dreamt about for a long time – whenever you get such an opportunity, take it.

6. Focus on solutions

stop your overthinking habit

Once you have identified the issues you are going through, it is important to focus more on the solutions than the problems themselves. Recognizing your problems is simply not enough. Thinking about them all day will not help either. Instead, focusing on the problems excessively will make things worse.

That’s why you need to take charge and utilize all your strength and energy to look for solutions. If your stress is coming from your job, reconsider your career path. If it is caused by the monotony in your life, try taking a day trip to your favorite destination.

Whenever you feel that your life is getting out of control, you have to be decisive and steer your life in the right direction. Needless to say, making such decisions is often hard and takes courage. But remember that you are the sole controller of your life. Hence, you must act to make it worthwhile.

7. Be compassionate to yourself

stop your overthinking habit

If you desire to put an end to your overthinking, being self-compassionate is the key. If you are not compassionate to yourself, you will have a tough time moving on. Most people show compassion to other people. But they forget to show compassion when it comes to themselves.

Dwelling on the errors you made in the past prevents your growth and makes it hard for you to let things go. Constantly blaming yourself for the things you did last month is harmful to your mental well-being. That is why you have to be self-compassionate.

Get started by recognizing the thoughts that have been stressing you out. Next, take note of your emotions and how your body responds to this stress.

Don’t try to deny your feelings; it won’t work. Instead, run a positive phrase like “I accept myself just the way I am” through your mind over and over again. The more compassion you show to yourself, the easier it is to stop your overthinking habit.

8. Try making someone else’s day a bit better

stop your overthinking habit

Providing someone with your service and lightening their burdens can brighten the day for both you as well as that person. If somebody is facing a hard time, think about how you can be of help to this person. Is your neighbor going abroad for work and is in dire need of someone to look after their pet Golden Retriever for a few days?

Or, maybe your friend is sick and needs someone to pick up their groceries? If you are capable of being a helping hand, be so.

When people realize that they are competent enough to make someone’s day better, they are more likely to keep negative thoughts at bay. It also helps a person suffering from their overthinking habit to focus on something positive rather than immersing themselves in an endless stream of worrying thoughts.

9. Identify and fight off Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)

stop your overthinking habit

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) are knee-jerk negative thoughts that often involve fear or anger. These types of thoughts arise as a reaction to a particular situation. If you are frequently suffering from such unnerving thoughts, you have to make conscious efforts to curb them.

It would be easier for you to recognize and fight off your ANTs by keeping a record of them and making a few changes accordingly. First, utilize a simple notebook to track down the situation that is triggering these anxious thoughts and what thought comes to you automatically in that situation.

Next, do some evaluation and find out why the situation is giving rise to such negative thoughts. Analyze your emotions and figure out what you are telling yourself regarding that situation.

Once done, start looking for a solid replacement for your initial thought. For instance, if you catch yourself jumping straight to the conclusion that you will fail miserably in your objective, try telling yourself “I am giving it my 100%, and I will succeed.”

Practicing such alternative thinking can help you keep your Automatic Negative Thoughts in check.

10. Acknowledge your successes

stop your overthinking habit

Overthinking makes you focus on all the negative things that have happened in your life. So, if you wish to stop your overthinking habit, you have to acknowledge your successes. Whenever you find yourself overwhelmed by negative thoughts, simply take out a notepad and write down at least five things that have made you happy throughout the past week and what roles you played in achieving them.

Remember that these achievements don’t need to be something extraordinary. They could be as simple as getting a word of admiration from your colleague or cleaning your motorcycle after a long time. No matter how small these things are, when you put them on paper, you would feel a renewed appreciation for yourself and all the work you put in on the daily.

11. Seek professional help

stop your overthinking habit

If none of the above methods work for you, don’t hesitate to visit a qualified therapist. Tell them what is bothering you and they would show you a way out. They would offer you a new perspective and might even end up changing your mindset.

Conclusion of How to stop your overthinking habit

Conclusion

To conclude, overthinking can seriously hamper both your physical and psychological well-being. So, it’s necessary to combat it from the very beginning. Here, we gave you multiple tips to stop your overthinking habit.

Try them out and see if they are beneficial for you. If not, there’s always the option of asking for outside help from a professional therapist. Good luck! In the end, victory will be yours!

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Hi, I am Indrajit Das. A freelance content writer from Kolkata, India, who has written for many popular websites and is passionate about the art of content writing. When not writing, one might find him turning the pages and voraciously devouring one of his favorite books.

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