Are you one of those people who overthink everything someone says? You've tried but, you can't seem to prevent thoughts from crowding your mind. Everything bothers you. You can't seem to LIG (Let It GO) Did you know that Overthinking too much prevents you from getting anything done? It wreaks havoc on your mood and life.
Destructive Thought Patterns
Overthinking often involves two destructive thought patterns—ruminating and incessant worrying.
Ruminating involves dwelling on the past. Thoughts may include things like:
- I shouldn’t have said those things during my speech yesterday. Everyone must think I’m an idiot.
- I should have stayed at my last job. I would be happier than I am now.
- My mother was never a confident person.
- My insecurities have always held me back.
Persistent worrying involves negative~often catastrophic~predictions about the future. Thoughts may include things like:
- I’m going to embarrass myself tomorrow when I give that speech. I know I’m going to forget everything I’m supposed to say.
- Everyone else will get promoted before me.
- I know we won’t ever have enough money to retire. We’ll be too sick to work and we’ll run out of money.
Like all habits, changing your destructive thought patterns can be a challenge. But, with consistent practice, you can train your brain to think differently.
Here are six ways to stop overthinking everything little thing:
1. Recognize When You’re Stuck in Your Head
Overthinking can become such a habit that you don’t even recognize when you’re doing it. Start paying attention to the way you think so you can become aware of the problem.
When you’re replaying events in your mind over and over, or worrying about things you can’t control, acknowledge that it's not productive. Thinking is only helpful when it leads to positive action.
2. Focus on Problem-Solving
Dwelling on your problems isn’t helpful—but looking for solutions is. If it’s something you have some control over, consider how you can prevent the problem, or challenge yourself to identify five potential solutions. Try solving them.
If it’s something you have no control over—like a natural disaster—think about the strategies you can use to cope with it. Focus on the things you can control, like your attitude and effort.
3. Challenge Your Thoughts
It’s easy to get carried away with negative thoughts. So, before you conclude that calling in sick is going to get you fired, or that forgetting one deadline will cause you to become homeless, acknowledge that your thoughts may be exaggeratedly negative.
Remember that your emotions will interfere with your ability to look at situations objectively. Take a step back and look at the evidence. What evidence do you have that your thought is true? What evidence do you have that your thought isn’t true?
4. Schedule Time for Reflection And Mediation
Stewing on your problems for long periods of time isn’t productive, but brief reflection can be helpful. Thinking about how you could do things differently or recognizing potential pitfalls to your plan could help you perform better in the future.
Incorporate 20 minutes of “thinking it through" into your daily schedule. During that time period, let yourself worry, ruminate, or mull over whatever you want.
When your time is up, move on to something else. And, when you start overthinking things outside of your scheduled time, simply remind yourself that you’ll need to wait until your “thinking time” to address those issues in your mind.
5. Learn Mindfulness Techniques
It’s impossible to rehash yesterday or worry about tomorrow when you’re living in the present. Mindfulness will help you become more aware of the here and now.
Just like any other skill, mindfulness takes practice, but over time, it can decrease overthinking. There are classes, books, apps, courses, and videos available to help you learn mindfulness skills.
6. Change Your Thought Processes
Telling yourself to stop thinking about something will backfire. The more you try to prevent a thought from entering your brain, the more likely it is to keep popping up.
Change the dialogue in your brain by changing your activity. Exercise, engage in conversation on a completely different subject, or work on a project that distracts you. Doing something different will put an end to the barrage of negative thoughts.
Train Your Brain
Paying attention to the way you think can help you become more aware of your bad mental habits. With practice, you can train your brain to think differently. Over time, building healthier habits will help you build the mental muscle you need to become mentally stronger.
Are you trying your hardest to stop overthinking and sweating the small stuff? Connect with me at www.destinyofpurpose.com Book A Free Introductory Call at 954-709-3384 let's talk!