Overcome overthinking with these tips

Overcome overthinking with these tips

25 October 2023

So, you finally have a few moments to yourself, only to start worrying if you forgot to send that all important email, or whether you’ve ruined your next promotion at last night’s happy hour.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Hamster-wheel thinking hits most of us at some point. In fact, studies suggests that 73% of 25 to 35-year-olds chronically overthink, along with 52% of people ages 45 to 55. The clinical term for the whole process of overthinking is called rumination. According to the American Psychological Association, it is categorized by “obsessional thinking involving excessive, repetitive thoughts that can interfere with daily life”.

The good news? Recent research by the University of London found that overthinkers are more creative and have a stronger imagination. However, spoiler alert: We’re not usually overthinking how amazing our lives are. Most of the time overthinking starts with our fear of the unknown; we as humans are scared of what we can’t control, so we overthink to feel secure. Overthinking may seem pretty harmless, except that it’s not.

Rumination or repetitive thinking can have a serious effect on your mental health. It could lead to anxiety, depression and chronic stress.

We have a few strategies from experts on how to take the overthinking cap off:

  • Take a deep breath. You’ve heard this a million times but that’s because it works. Find a comfortable spot and place your one hand over your heart and the other across your belly. Inhale and exhale through your nose. Do this whenever you have intrusive thoughts.
  • Set a timer. Allocate no more than 20 minutes every day to overthinking. That’s it. Question and fact check every negative thought to lessen its power over you.
  • Look at the bigger picture. Is this going to be important 5 to 10 years from now? Don’t allow minor issues to turn into significant hurdles.
  • Rethink your “what ifs” and come up with a concrete plan. Change every “what if” worry to a “then I will” solution. But also, accept what you can’t change, recognize that some things are out of your control.
  • Distract yourself. Do a crossword puzzle, go for a walk, dance to your favorite song, or listen to a podcast.
  • Focus on being in the moment. Ground yourself by unplugging your phone and your computer for a designated amount of time each day, and spend that time on a single activity. Laser focus on the mundane such as washing dishes or folding laundry to quiet intrusive thoughts.
  • Be kind to yourself. It’s about being able to extend love, kindness, and forgiveness, not only to others but also to yourself. In doing that, you will soothe your body’s internal threat system. Repeat positive affirmations like “I’m doing my best” or “I’ve got this” until it sticks.

While most of us tend to overthink sometimes, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional if you’re unable to control how much you worry and it starts interfering with your ability to function.

Source: health.clevelandclinic.org, cosmopolitan.com, forbes.com, healthline.com, womenshealthmag.com, glamourmagazine.co.uk, vogue.in

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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