While each of one of us is guilty of overthinking things on and off, some people can’t seem to stop the constant barrage of thoughts.
The commotion inside them includes two destructive thought patterns – worrying and ruminating.
Thinking too much is not only a nuisance, but it can also negatively affect your well-being.
Putting an end to second-guessing and rehashing is not easy but with consistent practice, you can put brakes on your negative thinking patterns.
Set Short Time-limits to Make Decisions
What do you do when you are supposed to make a decision? Keep turning thoughts over and over and analyze them from all angles for a very long time?
This thought pattern is self-destructive and makes you take more time than really required to take a decision, small or big.
Set a time limit for making a decision. If it is a small decision, say, should I respond to a work email or do the dishes, take no more than 30 seconds. For somewhat larger decisions, don’t take days or weeks. Use a deadline of 30 minutes or take the decision at the end of the day.
Stop Trying to Control Everything
Whether you look up to political leaders, movie stars, social activists, or any one else for inspiration, one thing you can be sure of is that they have all failed at some point or another. They made MISTAKES and they did not have everything under control.
But what made them what they are is their ability to see these mistakes and setbacks as valuable feedback to learn from. Most of us treat mistakes as something negative, and a reason to quit, thinking we are not good enough.
So, stop trying to control everything because no one in this world can predict all possible scenarios in advance.
Look at Things from a Larger Perspective
It is not a difficult task for overthinkers to make things more negative and worse than they really are. ‘Oh god, why does it have to be so difficult to stay in the moment,’ I ask myself so many times.
Whenever you catch yourself making a mountain out of a molehill, ask yourself how much will it matter in a few weeks from now, or maybe next month.
This simple question changes the time frame, shuts down overthinking, and helps you focus your time and energy on things that really matter to you.
Seek Social Support
Research has shown that social support leads to reduction in stress.
Rather than basing your decisions on your own perspectives, biases, and mental filters, try to seek support from loved ones.
Getting a fresh take on any topic is always better. You learn something new, something you had not considered before. This helps you grow spiritually and emotionally.
Learn to Forgive
The misfortune of being treated badly or undesirably makes people resentful, and they keep nursing grudges and anger towards other people.
Forgiveness is a noble virtue. I am not saying this because it is a desirable personality trait or morally correct, but because it can bring a sense of peace in you.
When you let go of troublesome memories and forgive people who made you feel low or incompetent, you begin to see that negative feelings were actually stopping you from doing what you really wanted. You will begin to feel better and confident. Trust me.
Overthinking is a major cause of analysis-paralysis, where most of us get so entangled in weighing the pros and cons of doing something, that doing anything seems impossible.
It is important to develop a mental mechanism to deal with negative and stressful thinking and turn it into something useful and productive.
I hope that these tips will help ward off anxious thoughts, improve your mood, and make your life a lot easier. Feel free to share your thoughts and views in the comment section below.