Are you an overthinker? You know, the one who can’t make a decision without weighing all the options and potential outcomes? The one who after the fact second guesses what they did, said, or what they should’ve said? Or simply can’t fall asleep at night because your brain won’t shut off?
Why do we overthink?
There are many reasons why someone might overthink:
- To feel a sense of control over a situation.
- Fixating on a problem for the chance to change or improve the outcome.
- Imagining or anticipating the worst-case scenario.
Looking at this list we see that a lot of overthinking stems from insecurities, fears, and anxieties. Potentially as a response to stress from a traumatic event, to save us from embarrassment, or it’s our anxiety of causing another person inconvenience. So what can we do to stop overthinking?
- Live in the present – Stop thinking about past or future.
Overthinking stops us from being present. When we’re overthinking, we are either focusing on the past and what we should have done differently or we’re anxious about the future, unable to enjoy and be present in the moment. Stop and allow yourself to be in and enjoy the moment you’re in. It can take practice, but the more you do it, the better and easier it will become.
- Focus on the positive.
As mentioned previously, it’s easy to focus on fear. But if we pivot our minds and prioritize our energies on the positive, we can reduce our anxieties and be more at peace within our ourselves.
- Repeat a calming mantra or visualize a peaceful scene.
Some situations can be overwhelming. In those moments, an inspirational quote or mantra can help put our minds at ease. Visualize a calming scene like a meadow with a soft wind dancing through the flowers or sitting under a palm tree listening to the wave crash along the beach can help us calm down.
- Get into nature.
Grounding is a practice of getting out into nature allowing your feet to feel the earth beneath ourselves. Sit in the grass, go for a walk, or allow the sun to hit your face. When life gets busy or you’re having a stressful moment, allow yourself to take a break in nature. Whether it’s a hike or a 15-minute lunch break, nature is great at clearing our minds and offering us peace.
- Let go of control.
It’s natural to want to feel safe and secure. Many of our fears stem from wanting to be able to control our surroundings. But not all situations are possible for us to control, and we have to become okay with not being in control and learn to roll with the punches.
- Forgive and move on.
Life comes with mistakes and traumatic events. Overthinking can cause us to fixate on frustrations and injustices. When this type of overthinking happens, we can become depressed and jaded which can rob of us of the present and future. To avoid this, allow yourself to work through your feelings. Journal, mediate, or seek help from a therapist to move past your traumas and free yourself from any negativity you may be holding on to.
- Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that allows one to be keenly aware of their senses and feelings. When we practice mindfulness, we become in tune to what our body needs to move through our feelings without being overtaken with anxiety and stuck in the past. We can then determine what we need to do to keep peace internally.