8 Ways to Curb Your Overthinking
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Overthinking: a death sentence to our sanity in almost every situation. We know this to be true, and yet, many times we still can't help ourselves. How do we fight the urge to pick apart every detail, to analyze every scenario that could possibly happen, to wonder about every "what if"? This is a process, and unfortunately won't happen overnight. But, the good news is, we can, in fact, train ourselves to stop overthinking so much. So, how?
Recognize Your Overthinking
The first step in curbing these tendencies is - shockingly - realizing that you're doing it in the first place. What situations or people trigger you to feel anxious? What specific instance has caused you to spiral into your dark hole of negative thoughts? Is there a pattern there? What is the primary emotion you're feeling surrounding these thoughts? When slapped in the face with the opportunity to begin overthinking, ask yourself these questions and write them down so you can take note of the situational factors that trigger this response.
Note Your Response
After recognizing the initial spiraling, pinpoint how you're responding to these thoughts. What do you tend to do after these thoughts begin? Do you immediately lash out at someone? Cut off contact with those around you for the day? Are you productive? Take note of your response to these thoughts and evaluate if they are working in your favor, or against you.
We all know it's easier said than done to just switch off your bad thoughts. That's why sometimes, a distraction is all you need to bring you back down to earth. Realize what is triggering you and remove yourself from that space. Shut off your phone, go for a walk, blast some music and dance it out in your room - whatever you need to do to clear your head, do it. Your overactive mind will thank you later.
Cut Yourself Off
Like I said, it is imperative that you cut yourself off from things that encourage your overthinking. Delete your social media apps for a day, unfriend the person that is wreaking havoc on your anxiety, have the hard conversation that you've been dreading. Whatever is weighing you down, you need to find a way to cut it out of your life. We often think we need to sit in these feelings so we can figure out a plausible solution, but more often than not, the solution is staring us in the face - we're just too scared to accept it. So, let me say it again if you didn't hear me the first few times: cut it off!!
Look at the Bigger Picture
This is a hard one. As humans, we aren't wired to think logically in every situation. If we're having a problem today, we often don't think about if it will matter in five or ten years down the road - but we should. What is causing you to overthink today? Think about if this will really affect you even next week or next month. Are these thoughts serving you in any way? Probably not. Realize that your circumstances are always changing and this problem you're facing today won't last forever.
Train Your ANTS
ANTS (automated negative thoughts) are exactly what they sound like. Recognize when these occur and write down what the situation was that triggered them. What comes to your mind when these start to creep in? What are you telling yourself about this situation? Do you have all the facts? Play devil's advocate with yourself and flip your mindset to the opposite of what you're thinking.
For example, if you see your boyfriend texting a girl, your ANT may be, "he's cheating on me". When this thought arises, ask yourself if you know this girl, if they're friends, if it could be a family member, a coworker asking about something for work, etc. Flip the mindset to "I trust him and know there must be a reasonable explanation to why they're in contact" and then...wait for it...have a conversation!
I know, what a crazy idea! Many times us girls specifically get nervous for calling out a significant other in fear of repercussions, or in fear that our ANTS were actually correct. But this is also one of the best ways to curve these overthinking tendencies. Don't sit and wallow and overanalyze in your room for hours or even days - get to the source and figure out what's going on. At least this way, you'll get to the bottom of the situation instead of spinning out with your "what if" situations in your head.
Stop Trying to Control Everything
Let's face it, there are always going to be things we can't control, whether we like it or not. Learning to accept this will also aid in diminishing your overthinking tendencies. People are going to do what they please regardless of our persuasion or actions. Live your life and let other people live theirs. Many times our overthinking actually ignites problems instead of fixing them. If you feel as though there is a problem, have a conversation, but make sure you choose your battles. No one wants to be friends with or in a partnership with someone who is constantly questioning them.
Ask for Help
This may seem obvious, but asking for help is not always an easy feat. Recognize that you may not have the information you need or coping mechanisms to begin this healing alone. Confide in friends and family about how you're feeling and be open to honest feedback and other perspectives of the situation.
Did you get all of that? A lot of these are going to take practice, but will benefit you and your relationships in the long run. Do you have questions or are looking for support in this area? Shoot me a message or comment below on this post and I'll be happy to help you in any way that I can! ♡