Overthinking causes us to spend too much time thinking, getting stuck in a loop of inaction and turns positive reflection into debilitating worry. Not only does it not move us forward, but it also moves us backward and downward.
1. Reopen The Door Only When New Information Knocks
Overthinking goes into overdrive when we keep revisiting decisions we make, refusing to close the door on a call that has been made. Believe that you’ve done your due diligence, and revisit something you’ve already decided only when you’re presented with new information.
2. Get A Second Opinion
You’re used to going at it alone, but the old adage “two heads are better than one” may be a good mantra for you. Ask someone else about the point you’re overthinking and see what he or she has to say. “Having friends and people to turn to in times of need or crisis to give you a broader focus is important for good mental health.
3. Know That Overthinking & Problem-Solving Isn’t The Same Thing
Constantly ruminating and going over scenarios and possibilities often disguises itself as problem-solving. It feels like you’re doing something good and useful. But you’re not, you’re just spinning in a circle. Recognize when you’re overthinking something, don’t act like it’s problem-solving, and press fast-forward.
4. Stay Positive
People often start to overthink because they’re scared and they worry about all of the possible things that could go wrong. Instead, start to picture all of the things that could go right, and keep those thoughts in the front of your mind. This type of thinking is also called reframing, and it can help build resiliency.
5. Assume Good Intent
Overthinkers read too much into things. Why? They’re assuming something bad lies underneath, something like a bad perception, someone wishing them ill, or an unfavorable outcome. When you catch yourself doing this, switch your assumption to what you’re reading into was well-intended, or at least neutral. The vast majority of the time, it really is, so why not act like it?
6. Embrace Informed Ignorance
News flash: You can’t read the future, you can’t read minds, and you can’t know everything. So don’t try. Thinking harder doesn’t activate the crystal ball.
7. Look For Distractions
Sometimes, the more you try to avoid thinking about something, the more it’ll keep popping up in your brain. But consciously switching gears and channeling your energy into another activity can halt overthinking. “It helps to move away from the situation and meditate.
8. Envision A Happy Ending
Focusing on or meditating about a positive outcome can help to block confusing or negative thoughts. Picturing that end goal can keep you motivated, as well as distract you from the immediate worry.