“Why isn’t he texting back?” You think. “Maybe he’s lost interest in me.”
“I haven’t received my courier yet, and maybe it’s lost for good.” You believe.
“Why did I say that? She’s going to assume I have no brain.” You convince yourself.
Do any of these sound familiar?
If so, then you’re just like me – an overthinker.
Overthinking can be advantageous when you’re meticulously planning an event or help you become slightly more self-aware.
But most of the time, it’s pretty destructive.
You end up wasting a lot of precious time because you’re thinking of situations or scenarios that have either happened in the past or haven’t in the future.
Either way, overthinking can be pretty exhausting because you’re never living in the moment.
You’re constantly engaging in thoughts revolving around your worst fears, which will only increase your stress and cause you more emotional distress.
Overthinking and overanalyzing everything can also seriously damage your relationships.
Because when someone says something, we may tend to interpret it negatively by overanalyzing it.
For instance, if someone pays us a compliment, instead of just accepting it with grace, we begin to overanalyze why the person may have paid us a compliment.
“Could there be some secret plan as to why this person praised us? Was it said with a sarcastic intent? Or did they say it because they want to manipulate us into doing them a favor?”
This is how overthinkers usually think.
Overthinkers constantly worry about everything.
They also end up being people pleasers because they can’t make peace with rubbing anyone the wrong way.
They also have a lot of negative thoughts about themselves and always doubt themselves regarding their skills and talent.
In this post, I’m going to discuss a few hacks I have personally used with great success so that you can learn how to stop overanalyzing everything and calm down too.
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Why do we overthink things?
As human beings who are highly evolved compared to most other species, our brains almost have a mind of their own.
We have an inner conscious, an inner voice that talks to us.
And it can become very easy to overthink or overanalyze things if we keep listening to that voice.
The more we associate with it or listen to it, the more we encourage it.
Overthinking is strongly linked to anxiety. And most people who overthink or overanalyze do have anxiety.
Although overthinking can be beneficial in circumnavigating multiple obstacles (because we’re overthinking about every possible thing that can go wrong), it can also cause extreme stress.
That’s why it’s essential to keep a check on our anxiety and overthinking and learn how to calm down and live in the moment.
How to stop overanalyzing everything?
This is definitely not something that is a quick fix or something that can be changed almost immediately.
It requires some practice and becoming self-aware so you can catch yourself overthinking and then remedy that with a few solutions that I will share with you now.
1. Become self aware
Try to catch yourself when you are overthinking or overanalyzing, and become self-aware of the times you do this or the triggers that lead you to overthink.
It is important to note when we fall into those same thinking patterns. And once we can see ourselves clearly without any prejudice, we will be able to deal with it.
So, whenever you start spiraling into overthinking or overanalyzing, stop for a moment and recognize that you’re overthinking.
This is what it means to become self-aware.
It’s not about being perfect but more about understanding who we are.
Once you’ve understood that you are overthinking, make peace with the fact that you are overthinking and will attempt to stop.
Please don’t beat yourself up for it.
Instead, accept it with grace because we can only make peace with our shortcomings can we take the next step to fix it.
2. Write it all down
Whenever you’re faced with a challenge and your brain starts going in frenzy loops, stop for a moment and identify what is troubling you or what you are terrified of.
Please write it down.
Get a sheet of paper and write down your worst fears or your biggest worries.
This will help you get it all out of your system and onto a sheet of paper.
Read through them and read them with critical eyes. This will give you some perspective.
If there is anything on there that seems utterly ludicrous, strike it out.
Now, once you have a nice list of all your possible worries, ask yourself how you can fix the problem.
Make a list of solutions for each worry.
For instance, if you’re worried about a negative comment on your latest Instagram post, write it down. Write down what are the worst possible scenarios that could happen if you leave the comment up.
Now, ask yourself how you can solve this problem. Make a list of how you’re going to tackle this.
Doing this exercise will help you actively focus on the problem at hand and narrow your thinking to problem-solving only.
Writing down everything will also eliminate all your worries because you now have proof that you’ve thought of basically everything that could go wrong or everything that is not in place.
This little exercise will make you mentally stronger and become more rational and logical. You will learn to deal with your feelings separately and learn to reserve your mind space only for problem-solving.
3. Focus on what you can control
Sometimes when an obstacle is thrown at us, we can do nothing except focus on the obstacle.
Even if 99 things are going right in our lives, we will find a way to focus on the one thing that isn’t.
And this can be highly detrimental to our mental health.
So, when you’re dealing with a problem, ask yourself three questions.
“Can I do anything to fix this right now?”
If the answer is yes, meticulously plan how you will fix the problem and take those steps required to fix it.
If you have to wait because the solution isn’t in your hands, then tell yourself, “There is nothing I can do right now except wait. So, I’m going to stop overthinking and focus on the present moment till I can deal with the problem properly.”
When you find yourself overthinking or feeling your mind spinning out of control, just focus on what you can control.
You may not be able to control your feelings or thoughts, but you do have a lot of control over your actions.
Focus on the situation at hand, and you’ll find yourself with a lot less to worry about.
4. Make a decision and stick to it no matter what
Once you’ve listed all the possible solutions to the problem, it’s time to make a choice.
Give yourself a deadline every single time. Because if you don’t, you’ll spend way more time struggling to make a decision, which will only lead to indecisiveness and procrastination.
This is not going to help your anxiety or stress in any way.
So, come up with a deadline and decide at the end of it, no matter what happens.
Once you make a decision, stick to it.
Don’t panic, don’t dawdle, and don’t stress over it.
Because you’ve done the leg work, you’ve thought it through, and you’ve analyzed the pros and cons of your decision. You can only control what you have control over.
Doing this will help you learn how to stop overanalyzing everything and just make the decision.
Whatever has to happen is going to happen.
5. Let go of the past
This is something that took me a lot of time to learn, and I only have my mum to thank for it.
We all make mistakes, and we all have regrets.
But here’s the thing.
Every time we make a decision, we have to live with those choices.
There is no going back because that’s how life works.
So, no matter what has happened in the past, learn to accept it and make peace with it.
Forgive others if they’ve hurt you, and more importantly, forgive yourself for your mistakes – this is the first step to happiness and becoming more peaceful.
And every time you find yourself ruminating about the past, ask yourself if this is in fact helping you in any way or changing the situation at hand.
The answer is always a resounding no.
So, learn to let go of the past, and you’ll start finding it easier to stop overthinking and overanalyzing everything.
I’ve never been a fan of meditation.
I honestly believed meditation meant sleeping while sitting down until I started practicing it this year.
And it changed my life for the better.
Meditation is the answer to overthinking.
It allows you to take a backseat and observe your thoughts from a completely unbiased perspective.
And this is one of the best ways to become self-aware and understand your thinking patterns.
It also makes you so much more calm and relaxed, and it is a wonderful way to reduce overthinking and overanalyzing things.
In the beginning, meditation can make you feel a little worse before you start to feel better.
This is because meditation allows all your thoughts and feelings to come to the surface.
You will undoubtedly have a lot of emotions that you may have buried or repressed over the years. And it will take a while for all of it to come out and for you to make peace with that. So, allow yourself a little time to sit with your feelings, no matter how unpleasant it is.
7. Distract yourself
One of the best ways to stop overthinking is to distract yourself.
You must try all of the other methods before this point first, but if after everything you still can’t stop thinking about a problem that you have, it may be time to distract yourself – at least temporarily.
Try to avoid harmful habits like drinking, smoking, binging on junk food, or shopping because these won’t help you in any way except numb the pain.
Instead, focus on healthy habits like playing a fun sport, dancing, singing, or taking a long, relaxing walk.
You can also schedule a coffee date with your friends or go to a bookstore and buy yourself an excellent book to read.
Keep a list of pick-me-up activities that spark joy in your life, and do these when you fall into the habit of overthinking.
You can also start working on a fun project that you’ve meant to do for a while.
I started playing the piano a while ago because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was little, and it’s become such a passionate hobby of mine now, and it brings me so much joy playing my favorite songs.
Take control of your life by shifting your focus on another area of your life that requires attention.
Focusing on other aspects of your life will teach you to manage your anxiety and stress in a relaxed and calm manner, and you will become emotionally and mentally stronger.
Keep practicing all of these steps, and day by day, you will find that you worry less and can take decisions more smoothly and calmly.
This is a habit that can be controlled. And slowly, you will learn how to stop overanalyzing everything.
The more you feed the logical part of your brain and starve the overthinking part, the better you will feel.
So, take it easy and learn to take it one step, one day at a time.
And you will be able to stop overanalyzing everything for good.
I wish you nothing but the best!
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