How To Stop Overthinking And Clear Your Mind

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In life, we often face major challenges that may result in setbacks, causing us to become emotionally overwhelmed and start overthinking. When you find yourself with this problem, it will lead you to find out how to stop overthinking.

Nevertheless, you must not experience setbacks before you begin to overthink. For example, while choosing a new career path, opting to purchase a new home, working hard to get to college, getting married, or even planning to buy a loved one some gifts, you may have to overthink.

While thinking deeply may not necessarily be an issue, a problem might arise if you begin to overthink things. In this article, I will highlight a few tips on how to stop overthinking and provide comprehensive solutions on this particular topic. Read along.

 

What Is Overthinking?

Overthinking can be described as the act of pondering on the same thoughts for a long time that it becomes an unhealthy part of your life, eventually leading to emotional damage. There are typically two kinds of ways people overthink

  1. Mulling over events that happened in the past
  2. Worrying about events that may happen in the future

Individuals who overthink often suffer the burden of confusion and indecisiveness. In such cases, they may be unable to take practical steps in finding solutions to their problems, making issues much more complicated.

The individual may no longer be able to concentrate on other parts of his life and might even develop cognitive issues along the line.

According to the seasoned psychotherapist Jessica Foley, “overthinking is largely unproductive.” She said in most cases, overthinking can make an individual “miss a deadline or lose sleep.”

People often mistake overthinking for being stressed or worried about a specific situation. While they may have similarities, it is essential to note that they are not the same.

When you are tasked with a stressful engagement, you often have the motivation to complete the task as soon as possible so you can no longer be stressed or worried about it.

That is to say, being stressed or worried can make you look for quick, practical solutions that can help you “escape” the situation. “Overthinking is not entirely bad,” she explained.

“It only becomes a problem when you can no longer take actions or make decisive moves, which may negatively impact your daily lifestyle and health.”

 

Why Do People Overthink?

Many experts in the fields of neurology and psychology have tried to explain the reason why people overthink.

While their opinions may differ slightly from one another, they share a general reason: overthinking is a mental approach to finding solutions to a particular problem.

According to a top neurologist in New York, Sanam Hafeez, overthinking is trying to control a situation while being confident about your solutions.

“The brain automatically switches to ‘analysis mode’ when you start to overthink. It analyzes different scenarios and tries to determine what could occur to reduce your anxiety levels”, he said.

“However, overthinking can stop you from making effective moves to provide solutions because it is quite challenging to switch off your analysis mode. He added that the brain always brings up another question that causes worry.

Overthinking is an unpleasant habit that cuts across all ages, genders, and personalities. It is not streamlined to a particular group of people.

However, the people who are more likely to overthink are people who are successful but are motivated to get more accomplishments.

 

Symptoms Of Overthinking

Sometimes, people who overthink do not know that they do so. Simply put, they do not realize that they are overthinking. As a result, it becomes crucial that one must be able to detect overthinking symptoms.

In understanding how to stop overthinking, you must be able to tell the signs that come with it.

You have to be aware that you’re overthinking and follow all the tips on how to stop overthinking that will be highlighted later in this article. Below are ten symptoms of overthinking:

1.  You Are Always Worried

As I’ve said in the introductory part of this article, it is normal to be worried at times. However, problems may arise when you begin to worry too often.

Luckily, it is easy to catch yourself in such a situation. So, if you notice you are constantly worried, you should stop letting what you are worried about bother you.

 

2.  Worrying About Situations That You Can’t Change

At times you are faced with challenging situations that are beyond your control. In such cases, you wish you could turn things around, but realistically, you can’t.

This can make you very worried, causing you to overthink. One of the most effective methods on how to stop overthinking is worrying less or not worrying at all — especially when you are not in control.

 

3.  Constantly Berating Yourself For Your Past Mistakes

This is perhaps one of the most subtle signs of overthinking. Most people who overthink do this without even realizing it is a sign. In learning how to stop overthinking, you must watch out for this sign.

If you constantly find yourself feeling terrible about past events, it is probably a warning sign that you are overthinking.

 

4.  Having Difficulty In Sleeping Because You Are Worried About Something

When you have something bothering you, do you ever try to shut your eyes and sleep but cannot? This may likely be because you are overthinking.

If that is the case, losing sleep over something you may not have control over can impact your mental health. Therefore, you must worry less about such situations and focus more on finding solutions to setbacks.

You must focus more on the things you can control and less on those beyond your control. For example, suppose you are trying to heal from heartbreak.

In that case, you can focus on therapy that may help you recover quickly rather than thinking about how to get back to your old partner — especially when they have moved on.

In this case, practicing yoga, spending more time with family and friends, and engaging in sporting activities can help you heal quickly.

 

5.  You Tend To Overanalyze Things

This is one of the topmost signs that you may be overthinking. This usually happens when you find it hard to trust people’s opinions on things. You always feel like there’s a hidden meaning behind whatever they say.

As such, you begin to think deeply to dig out what they meant. While it is not entirely untrue that people may have other meanings behind their words, they may be genuine and honest with you in many cases.

Even though you are convinced that there’s a hidden meaning behind the words you have heard, don’t spend the whole day trying to figure out exactly what they imply. Instead, focus on other things or politely ask them to be straightforward.

 

How To Stop Overthinking

In learning how to stop overthinking, you must first realize that it cannot solve problems. Instead, it worsens the situation because you cannot make effective decisions to solve the particular issue.

When you overthink, you will likely not “step up” and change your situation. That said, it becomes vital that you learn a few tips on how to stop overthinking.

In reality, there is a significant challenge some overthinkers face daily. They may realize that they have been overthinking and would genuinely want to stop.

However, they may continue to do so because they do not know how to stop overthinking. In this part of the article, I will highlight critical tips on how to stop overthinking and provide relevant examples where needed.

Below are ten tips on how to stop overthinking:

 

1.  Be Aware Of When You Get Stuck In Your Head

The truth is, when people begin to overthink, some signs follow it, but somehow, people either pay less attention to the signs or ignore them. One of the signs of overthinking is to be aware that something isn’t right up there.

For example, you may start feeling mentally overwhelmed and may no longer be able to make decisions. This implies that you are “stuck.” Once you begin to feel that way, you must acknowledge the feeling and look for solutions to get out of being “stuck.”

 

2.  Keep Your Attention On Solving The Problem

Those who have had overthinking problems and are not learning how to stop overthinking usually focus on looking for different options to solve the problem rather than on the problem itself.

One of the most effective ways on how to stop overthinking is to focus on solving the problem on the ground. Doing so makes you more intentional about taking action as quickly as possible.

You won’t be having deep thoughts about the things you have to do or giving your brain the strenuous task of analyzing all the possible solutions in your head without actually putting one to action.

 

3.  Challenge Your Thoughts

Our minds can sometimes play tricks. Of course, while the mindset is probably one of the best attributes of human beings, it can severely impact our lives if we don’t properly control it. One way of controlling our thoughts is to actually “challenge” them.

Don’t yield to whatever comes to your head. Most times, you must question your thoughts and decide whether the things on your mind are helpful or not.

For example, if you are an overthinker, it is because you are no longer in control of the things that go through your head. However, when you realize it, the way to stop is by challenging your thoughts.

You can do this by telling yourself that you have had enough of this and need to be focused on solving the problem once and for all.

 

4.  Indulge In Self-reflection

While we are learning how to stop overthinking, we must understand the importance of taking an introspective look at ourselves. You can achieve this by engaging in self-reflection.

Once in a while, you should have a “me-time” — a time where you are all alone, meditating, praying, and asking yourself certain questions.

When you do this, you will most likely find answers to the things that bother you. Ask yourself some important questions like:

  1. Why am I overthinking?
  2. What can I do to stop overthinking?
  3. Will overthinking improve the situation?
  4. What positive things should I focus my thoughts on to stop overthinking?
  5. Have I acknowledged the fact that I am overthinking?

These questions can help you think less and act more. Overthinkers are those who think more and act less.

Taking time to indulge in self-reflection can help you create an entirely rewarding lifestyle and make you focus more on providing solutions.

 

5.  Practice Mindfulness And Put Perfectionism Aside

 

Perfectionism is one habit we must avoid — it is a limiting factor. We must be mindful of the consequences of perfectionism and try to be as moderate as possible. It is perhaps the quickest means to become frustrated, disappointed, and emotionally exhausted for little reason.

Of course, there are times when perfectionism may have its benefits and help us achieve success, but in the general context of things, it is unhealthy.

Mindfulness, on the other hand, is a habit that helps us abstain from trying to become perfectionists. The practice of mindfulness makes you realize how important it is to do things moderately.

As such, there will be no need to overthink before doing something. While perfectionism breeds overthinking, mindfulness curtails it.

 

6.  Switch What You Are Conscious Of

In learning how to stop overthinking, you must train your mind to always think about the things you are conscious of.

If you allow your subconscious mind to take over your thoughts, you may not be able to concentrate on other aspects of your life.

 

7.  Mind What You Listen Or Expose Yourself To

This is probably one of the essential tips on how to stop overthinking. The things you listen to or expose yourself to can affect your life over time. One of the effects, of course, is overthinking.

In life, we will undoubtedly face challenges or hear others tell unpleasant stories about their life struggles. Many people often feel extremely sad after hearing such stories.

As a result, they begin to think about what they have heard and may no longer be able to get it off their minds, making them overthink.

Therefore if you feel emotionally overwhelmed after listening to sad stories, kindly stop listening completely. Do not also expose yourself to certain things that might lead to emotional trauma.

Stay away from violent people, and avoid places that remind you of sad events. Stop listening to horrible stories that may affect your mental health — do everything you can to protect it.

 

8.  Change Your Perspectives On How You See Yourself

How you see yourself can have a lot of effects on your life — positively and negatively. People with low self-esteem are generally prone to overthinking because they feel they are not good enough, so they begin to worry too much.

On the other hand, those with a high level of self-esteem know their worth and are solely focused on achieving their goals.

When you change your perspectives about life, you may begin to notice significant changes in your life. You will become happier and much more focused on achieving the best results.

 

9.  Stop Living In The Past

Focusing your thoughts on past events, especially when they are unpleasant ones, can make you overthink. So, while learning how to stop overthinking, you must stop living in the past.

You must realize that the future will come with bigger opportunities to help you become a better version of yourself. However, when you continue to fix your thoughts in the past, you may not acknowledge these opportunities.

Some people allow their past experiences to influence their daily lives. This is because they seem not to be able to have control over their current situation and would rather mull over events that have happened in the past.

When they continue to do this, the problem of overthinking sets in. To avoid overthinking issues, you should focus more on the present and the future than the past.

 

10.  Focus On What Is In Your Power To Control

This is another top reason why people develop overthinking problems. In truth, we know that there are certain things in our lives we would love to change but cannot — because they are beyond our control.

For example, you may wish to bring a lost loved one back to life but cannot because you don’t have superhuman powers.

So rather than accepting that death has happened and moving on after mourning their death, you continue thinking about how they can come back to life

No matter how much you think about their demise, they will never return to you. Therefore, you have to stop overthinking about them — it is not within your power to control their fate.

Nevertheless, if you focus on the things within your control, you will achieve great results and live a happier life.

 

Conclusion

Your mental health is vital; you must protect it at all costs. Having overthinking problems can only worsen your mental health. We have a resourceful article on how to maintain your mental health and stay happy all the time.

The article will not only teach you about the pitfalls to avoid when maintaining a positive outlook, but it will also offer you invaluable tips to help you survive the toughest times.

You can access it at the link provided here. So, ensure you go through it carefully if you’re struggling with overthinking.

Regardless of what you are experiencing, it would be best to realize that overthinking won’t solve any problem. Instead, you must do whatever it takes to make yourself and your loved ones happy.

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Author: Afam Uche

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