Overthinking is a frustrating habit that is within our power to stop – as difficult as that may seem. Okay, fine. It might not be possible to *completely* stop overthinking, we are human after all, but it will be possible to overthink significantly less. We’ve got five tips on how to stop overthinking so your mind can open up to healthier and stronger coping mechanisms.
If you’re not a big reader, no sweat. Coach Elise recorded these tips in a video below! And if you’re not following us, you’re missing out on tons of amazing video content! Give us a follow on Instagram here.
What is Overthinking?
In order to stop overthinking, you first have to know exactly what overthinking is. Overthinking is the process of constantly replaying scenarios from the past or repeatedly thinking about future events that have not unfolded yet. If you are grounded in the present, you are not overthinking. Overthinking and anxiety are strongly correlated – so if you are feeling anxious about something that happened or is going to happen – chances are you are overthinking. So in order to stop overthinking, staying firmly grounded in the present time, which is also known as practicing mindfulness, will help greatly. Mindfulness can be achieved through deep breathing, meditation, grounding techniques (name five things you can see, four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can hear, one you can taste).
The more focused on the present time you are, the easier it will be to stop overthinking.
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Acknowledge You Are Overthinking
Chances are, you are so used to overthinking you don’t even realize you’re doing it. Most of us are accustomed to having an anxious brain – one that replays past events over and over again, taunting us with what happened and what could have been. Other times we focus on ruminating over the future – trying to plan out every single detail to be prepared and becoming more and more nervous as the event approaches.
This is classic overthinking.
But in order to stop overthinking, we have to be aware of when we are engaging in it in the first place. The goal here is to catch yourself overthinking. Are you obsessing over something you can’t change? Are you afraid of something that happened in your past or might happen in the future? Are you experiencing anxiety? These are easy signs that you are overthinking. The more familiar you can become with its signals, the easier it will be to stop!
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Find the Root Cause of Overthinking
Once you have figured out when you are overthinking, the next step is to try and figure out why.
Going deep with your thoughts will allow you to peel back the layers to figure out what is triggering the overthinking. As mentioned earlier, overthinking is tied to anxiety. And anxiety is linked to fear. So anytime you find yourself overthinking, start with asking yourself what you’re afraid of. What is causing so much fear in you to fixate on certain events or thought patterns throughout the day? Whatever it is, it’s deep-seated and needs to be expelled through healthy processing.
For instance, if you are constantly worried about your dog running away, this could be tied back to many deep fears. Perhaps the fear of control, the fear of being alone, the fear of being unlovable, or the fear of not being competent. All of these are intense fears, and all of them can be addressed properly without engaging in constant ruminating.
Try to identify each and every fear you are carrying with you throughout your day. The more you know, the easier it will be to tackle and stop overthinking for good.
Build Your Confidence and Self-Esteem
Anxiety is fueled by perfectionist tendencies and low self-esteem. It creeps in and tells us that we aren’t in control, we don’t know what we’re doing, and because of that, bad things will happen. Of course, none of these things are true, but thoughts are powerful and they can take hold of us if we aren’t paying attention.
The best thing you can do to stop overthinking is to focus on building your self-esteem and self-confidence. The more trust and faith you have in yourself, the less you’ll feel the need to overthink in order to express your fear. The better you feel about yourself, the more in control you will feel, and therefore the need to control your environment through constantly preparing via thoughts will diminish.
But here’s the deal: it’s really tough to build your self-esteem on your own. You have to do the work, and the work takes time, effort, and expertise. That’s where we come in! We are a team of professional life coaches (think: master’s in counseling!) and we help people of all ages develop a healthy, confident, and exciting relationship with themselves. Not only will you. be able to stop overthinking – but a ton of other benefits will be ushered in as well. Self-confidence and self-esteem are the key to feeling calm, in control, and ready to take on the day.