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8 Simple Ways to Manage Overthinking

September 14, 2015












Over thinking is a natural part of life, even when we’re not aware of it we’re doing it. Thinking can be good, but overthinking can lead to negative things. If you find yourself overthinking (in a negative way), it’s time to change the process in your mind.

Here are 8 simple ways to do so.

1) Forgive yourself
If you know that you’re an overthinker, forgive yourself. Our brain is wired to make overthinking something natural. When someone is feeling negative, they are more likely to think negative things and to see connections between other bad events that happened in their lives. If this happens more frequently, the individual is more likely to engage in an overthinking pattern in the future.
Although the brain might be wired to make these associations, once you become aware of it, you can solve it.

2) Practice mindfulness
Overthinkers struggle with the ability to live in the present moment. They’re consumed by the failures of the past and they’re worried about the future, so the present moment doesn’t get the attention it deserves. One of the best things you can do is practice mindfulness, a form of meditation where you focus on the present moment without judgement. Once the worrying thoughts are coming in, you can acknowledge them and then let them go and clear your space.

3) Spend time with people who don’t overthink
Your social environment plays a part in overthinking. Not just the people you hang out with, but also what you read, watch and listen to. Think about if there are any sources in your life that make you overthink and think about what sources have the opposite effect. Find ways to spend more time with people and sources that have a positive effect on your thinking.

4) Take action
When you’re in a situation where you need and want to act, but you’re trapped by fear, take the first step towards doing what you want. Constantly wishing or hoping doesn’t give you any relief, it keeps you stuck in that weel. But by taking a small step you get out of that treadmill that leads you nowhere and whether or not the first step is a misstep doesn’t matter. It will set things in motion and makes it easier to take other steps.

5) Do something that requires concentration
When you’re driving, walking or running, it’s easy to go onto autopilot and start re-visiting arguments. Playing an instrument, playing competitive sports or learning a language, anything that requires concentration can keep your mind from overthinking.

6) Interrupt the pattern
It helps to create a break in the pattern. Wear a rubber band and gently snap it when you notice you start overthinking. Or wear a ring or watch and switch it from one hand to another. The goal is to activate another part of the brain and to bring yourself back to reality.

7) Admit that you can’t control everything
You’re a human being, so you can’t control everything in life. Sometimes you will have to accept things go their own ways. Failure isn’t something terrible, it’s a good lesson that you can learn from. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out.

8) Put things into a big picture
It’s easy to fall in the trap of overthinking the minor things in daily life. If you start overthinking, ask yourself the question if it will matter in 5 years or even in 5 weeks.  Widening the perspective by asking these questions could snap someone rapidly out of overthinking and help them to focus their time and their energy on things that really matter to them.

Written by 7 Cups Listener:  Darcyy

Edited by 7 Cups Ambassador:  Anna