We’re all guilty of overthinking sometimes. There are plenty of “what ifs” and unknowns in our everyday lives that cause us to conjure up every possible scenario in our minds. Unfortunately, that often leads to anxiety and worry.
While it happens to everyone from time to time, it can also become a problem when you find yourself overthinking more often than not.
Overthinking not only leads to anxiety, but can go so far as to make you question the reality and validity of certain situations or people.
So, what can you do when you find yourself overthinking? How can you come back down and let go of your racing thoughts?
Acknowledge Your Thoughts
You can choose to accept or deny your thoughts. But, at the very least, acknowledge them. When you try to ignore your thoughts, they tend to become louder. It’s up to you to decide whether they’re realistic or not, but don’t shove them down.
When you either accept them as fact or deny them as false, you’re taking away their power. It’s like checking off aa mental box. Once you do it, you can move on, and those thoughts won’t feel so overwhelming anymore.
Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword lately, but that’s only because it’s so effective. Mindfulness is the practice of staying in the present. Thoughts will continue to try to enter your mind, but you won’t hold onto them.
Instead, you’ll focus on the moment at hand. What do you see, hear, and smell? What does your body feel like in this very moment? Close your eyes, focus on deep breathing, and let those thoughts pass you by. Just a few minutes of mindfulness can calm you down and help you organize your thoughts into something more manageable.
Write in a Journal
Sometimes, overthinking occurs because it feels like your thoughts have nowhere to go. Consider trying a “mind dump” in a journal, especially if you aren’t comfortable sharing all of your thoughts with others or there’s no one else around.
Keep a small notebook with you and every time you start overthinking, jot down everything that comes to mind. Sometimes, getting those thoughts out of your head and onto paper will help things feel clearer and less cluttered inside your mind.
Physical and mental health are more closely connected than most people realize. One of the best ways to stop overthinking when it becomes overwhelming is to do something active.
Not only will it help to clear your mind, but exercising is a great way to boost your mood and reduce stress. If you start to feel overwhelmed by your thoughts, go for a walk, hop on your bicycle, or just start dancing around the kitchen!
As a bonus, try exercising in nature. There are so many studies suggesting the mental health benefits of immersing yourself in nature. Like exercise, being outside helps to reduce stress levels and can improve your mood. When you focus on your surroundings, you’re less likely to give in to the cluttered thoughts in your mind.
Talk to Someone
Again, overthinking can lead to anxiety. If you’re constantly wondering about the “what ifs” in your life and it’s starting to impact your daily routine, don’t continue to let your thoughts take over.
Talking to a therapist is a great way to better understand why you’re overthinking, in the first place. You’ll also learn effective skills and techniques that can help you manage your thoughts and stop overthinking, altogether.