Overthinking is bad for mental health. It leads to stress, anxiety, and panic attacks. You suffer day after day, but there is no respite. Too much overthinking may even lead to headaches and insomnia. So, if you want to stay happy and in peace, it’s essential to stop overthinking no matter what happens.
How to manage overthinking and anxiety
Overthinking is an integral part of the human experience. When left untreated, it may lead to several mental health conditions. Here’s what you can do to stop overthinking.
1. Ask yourself, ‘Is it worth it’?
Try to analyze the cause of your worry rationally. Is it worth it? Is the matter that serious? Should you really devote too much time to it? Can’t you do something productive during that time?
2. Tell yourself, ‘This too shall pass’
No matter how difficult the situation is, it will pass. You will survive. Good times will arrive again. Remember, winter always turns to spring, so have infinite hope in your heart that the situation will turn out positively soon. Think positive,
Mindful meditation can do wonders for your mental health. Meditation helps you focus on your present moment, let go of your anxiety thoughts, and overcome your overthinking. Practice mindfulness and deep breathing for half an hour every day. That would help to calm your mind and reduce anxiety.
4. Use structured decompression
One effective strategy is to use the structured decompression technique. This technique involves blending problem-solving and mindfulness together. Whenever you start overthinking, allot a particular time to ponder about the problem. Break the problem into tiny pieces and think about the possible solutions. This would help you take an actionable approach to the problem.
Secondly, go for a walk or a brief meditation. That would give you enough time to reduce anxiety and give the much-needed clarity. You are giving your mind a peaceful environment to relax, analyze, and decide.
5. Perform a body scan
Taylor Chodash, Mental Health Counselor, LP, observes,
One effective strategy for managing overthinking and anxiety is completing a body scan. Where are you holding tension in your body? What are the persistent and repetitive automatic thoughts that are coming up? Grounding yourself in the present moment can help individuals recognize these patterns and take a step back from these spiraling thoughts.
6. Take deep breaths
Take long and deep breaths. It helps to infuse oxygen into your brain. This stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you rest. It soothes you and reduces your anxiety.
7. Divert your mind
Watch a video, listen to music, or read a book to divert your thoughts from what’s troubling you. It may take some time to concentrate, but gradually, you’ll be able to focus. You can even bake or knit something or do something you like.
8. Think about the overall scenario
Look at the overall scenario. Look back at your journey to understand how far you have come.
Trust me. No one will remember how you behaved at a party. So relax and try to have a balanced perspective of everything. Also, try to identify your trigger points. What triggers your negative thoughts and anxiety? Think carefully. You need to work on your thought patterns.
9. Consult a mental health professional
You need to change your thought pattern if you constantly have anxious thoughts. Seek help from a mental health professional. The therapist may share the tricks to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. They may also suggest a few therapies, like cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy, to eliminate destructive thought patterns and the worry period.
10. Focus on the present moment
Stop dwelling on the past. Focus on your present moment and try to enjoy it as much as you can. Focus on the causes you create in the present moment, as that will shape your future.
11. Accept your failure
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself for this. Consider it as your learning experience. Think about your successes and be proud of what you have achieved.
12. Use progressive muscle relaxation
One way to break overthinking and anxious feelings is to focus on your physical body, using a technique known as progressive muscle relaxation. Sequentially tense and then relax separate muscle groups while focusing on the physical sensations. Combine this with deep, rhythmic breathing to alleviate both physical and mental tension, inducing relaxation and breaking the cycle of overthinking. When you do this consistently, you can use your body and breath to increase stress resilience, contributing to a calmer state of mind.
Marc Bjerring, Co-Founder, Spiyo
What is overthinking?
When you constantly think about past events, conversations, worst possible outcome, it’s called overthinking. It’s a process where your mind is focused on a single thing – what you could have said or what you shouldn’t have said. You keep thinking about what you could have done differently. A generalized anxiety disorder usually triggers this.
Signs you are overthinking
- You are constantly thinking about past events.
- You are constantly worrying about future events.
- You always think about the worst-case scenario.
- You can’t sleep due to your constant negative feelings.
- You are feeling mentally exhausted.
- You are always second-guessing your decision.
What is ANT?
The full form of ANT is automatic negative thinking. When people overthink, they tend to have negative thoughts. These thoughts are usually illogical and self-destructive. Negative emotions tend to stay in the mind and make people anxious.
What are the harmful effects of overthinking?
If you don’t take steps to overcome overthinking, it can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.
If you worry excessively, it’s time to analyze your mental health conditions. Have self-compassion for yourself and explore the coping strategies for your mental well-being. Share your problem with a family member and get professional help to ease anxiety.