Are you unable to stop replaying a conversation that happened with your spouse or your coworker? Or are you going through your presentation again and again? Well, these are instances of overthinking.
Thinking is good, but overthinking is mentally exhausting.
What happens when you overthink your work or the actions of other people? Your judgment gets cloudy, and your stress level gets elevated. You start analyzing and contemplating every little move or conversation in your mind, again and again, making it difficult to break free of the endless loop of stressful thoughts. Even after becoming aware that you are overthinking, it still seems impossible to stop.
Endless questions run through your head: “What should I do? What should I not do? Who can I talk to about this? Where can I find a solution? What’s the right answer? What’s wrong?” It goes on and on.
How can you stop overthinking? How can you avoid being distracted from your goals by anxiety and worry? How can you achieve inner peace to live the life you want without worrying about anything?
Read on to find out.
1. Be Aware of Your Thoughts
“Awareness is the first step toward change.” If you want to see a change in your life and deal with the habit of overthinking, you need to be aware of your inner self and your surroundings.
That’s because it is very easy to fall into the trap of overthinking. So, next time you find yourself repeatedly anxious about something or continually in doubt, stop for a moment and ask yourself, “Will this matter to me in the next five years?”
This simple question can help you widen your perspective and let go of thoughts or situations that don’t warrant so much concern. This is what we call an act of self-awareness.
2. Don’t Focus on What-Ifs
Why do you fall into a loop of repeatedly thinking about the same thing or situation? The most obvious answer is fear. It could be fear of the future, fear of losing something or someone, or fear of the consequences of your decision. These fears compel you to focus on “what will happen if …?”
When you get stuck in a spiral of ”what ifs,” you become paralyzed and numb. How can you break the shackles of stressful thoughts and stay positive? Instead of focusing on what could go wrong, pay attention to what can go right. Focus on making your present perfect and learn to become better at decision making.
3. Immediately Distract Yourself
Every single time you find yourself stuck in repetitious thoughts, distract yourself. Build a positive environment around you by thinking about positive and happy moments in your life. Do things that bring you peace, such as meditating, dancing, taking a walk, listening to music, drawing, painting, or anything that can take you away from your recurring stressful thoughts. Distract your mind whenever you start overanalyzing things, and you will find your habit of overthinking begin to diminish.
4. Be a Realist Rather than a Perfectionist
It is human nature to make a mountain out of a molehill and exaggerate even the smallest of issues. When you are unable to achieve perfection, ignore the compulsion to obsess over the results. Whenever you begin to overthink in this way, remind yourself to get realistic. Learn to act more practically by asking yourself, “Are these things are going to matter in the long term?”
5. Understand That You Cannot Control Your Future
What do you think is the root of overthinking? It is the urge to have control over everything so that nothing goes against your will. When things do not go according to your plan, you start to panic. Thoughts of fear and stress overpower your ability to think beyond the moment. Insecurity overtakes your senses, and you lose the ability to think practically. This is a moment where you need to understand that you can control your actions in the present, but you cannot control the future.
No matter how hard it is to plan for the future, the future will include change, so there is always a chance that your plans might not work out as you wish. Therefore, there is no point in wasting your present by being overly stressed or discouraged about the future. It is better to work hard, give your best, and live every moment happily.
Remember, “You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” Our thoughts define our personality and affect our relationships with others, so it is to our benefit to master them. Do not worry about things that are outside of your immediate control. Instead, keep working hard in your present and live every moment fully.
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