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9 Effective Ways to Stop Overthinking

Jyoti Babel
Overthinking every little thing is a bane. When you overthink, even frivolous things get blown out of proportion and seem scarier than they are. When people cannot differentiate between ‘thinking through things’ and ‘overthinking things’ they self-sabotage their own happiness.

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Simply put overthinking everything is a nuisance that keeps you from letting go and moving on with life. When it becomes chronic, it can lead to severe anxiety break downs and can have a detrimental effect on your overall wellbeing.

If you often find yourself overthinking things, here are some simple yet effective ways that can help you deal with it.

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Change Begins with Awareness

Being aware of your thought process is the key and also the first step to deal with an overthinking mind.
When you realize that you are losing your cool over things you cannot control, or are listlessly playing a series of unfortunate events in your mind, step back and assess your response. Only when we acknowledge the problem, we can take steps to make amends.

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Widen your Perspective

Next time you find thoughts going round and round something; ask yourself a simple question – how much it matters?
Will it matter the same in 1 year or 3 years down the line – or even after 5 months? When you widen your perspective, things that don’t really matter will filter out and you will be able to focus on things that actually need your attention.

Let Positivity be your Knight

Overthinking is largely driven by fear. When we overthink, we think of the ‘n’ number of ways things can go wrong.

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If you find yourselves going through the same, take a moment to pause, take a deep breath, and try visualizing all the things that can go right. Nurture the positive thoughts and keep them in the fore.
“Staying Positive doesn’t mean that things will turn out okay. Rather, it is knowing that you will be okay, no matter how things turn out.”

Simplify Decision Making

A quick and informed decision making is a habit that you must cultivate. When you set a timer for making decisions in your daily life, you will be able to get into action faster and get things sorted.

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When there is no time limit set for decision making, the mind just tends to turn the thoughts around, dissect all the pros and cons for a long time and jeopardize your ability to decide.
“Worrying about how things might go wrong doesn’t help things to go right.”

- Karen Salmansohn

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Indulge in Some New Activity

Sometimes distraction works best in helping you out of a situation. Depending on your interest, try a new dance form, take up knitting, learn to make a new dish or even give learning a new language a shot.
Taking your focus away from an issue is not the same as running away from a problem. It is about taking a step back, recharging yourself and facing it head-on with new vigor. Such positive distractions can put things into a fresh perspective for you and put worries to rest.

Take Regular Breaks

Overthinking often starts when we are overwhelmed with huge to-do lists. The best thing to do here is taking one task at a time with breaks in between.
If a task is big, break it into parts. When we narrow our focus on the tasks at hand, it helps in thinking clearly and there is less chance of spinning into an overthinking mindset.

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Schedule a Time to Reflect

Make some time for conscious reflection. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes every day to figure out the things that you could differently which can help you do better next time. In this scheduled time – you can ruminate, go over things as much as you like and jot down things that you want to work on better next time.
Once the time is up, go about doing the tasks at hand. If you realize you need to think over something more, schedule it for the next reflection session.

Remember this -

“Don’t let overthinking create problems that don’t exist.”

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Practice Intentional Gratitude

When you intentionally practice gratitude, you become aware of the good things in life. Counting your blessings is necessary if you want to feel the goodness you. Take some time out of your hectic day, make a list of the things you are grateful for and you will be surprised to find how blessed you are.

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Work Out

It is perhaps one of the best ways to break your mind from overthinking. Exercise is not just important for a fit body but also for a healthier mind. When you work out, you will actually feel the difference in the state of your mind.

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Find an activity you enjoy – be it brisk walking, running, yoga or working out in the gym and incorporate it in your life. You will be surprised how well working out can declutter your mind and keep it sorted.
Overthinking once in a while is a natural human tendency. But if it has become a part of your everyday life, it is time to take charge of your mind. Use the techniques listed here and free yourself from the adverse effects of overthinking.