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Sunday, 22 September 2019

How to stop overthinking step-by-step

How to stop overthinking




There's a big difference between ruminating and problem-solving
Although there's some evidence that suggests women are more likely to be overthinkers than men (which is why I included an entire chapter about it my latest book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do), the truth is, everyone, overthinks sometimes.
Overthinking is a common issue I address in my therapy office. People often come to their appointments saying things like, "I can't relax. It's like my brain won't shut off," or "I can't stop thinking about how my life could have been better if I'd done things differently."

How to stop overthinking   There's a big difference between ruminating and problem-solving  Although there's some evidence that suggests women are more likely to be overthinkers than men (which is why I included an entire chapter about it my latest book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do), the truth is, everyone, overthinks sometimes.  Overthinking is a common issue I address in my therapy office. People often come to their appointments saying things like, "I can't relax. It's like my brain won't shut off," or "I can't stop thinking about how my life could have been better if I'd done things differently."




Thinking is a tool. And instead of using that tool during the 16 or 17 hours that you’re awake, only use it when you NEED it.
But how do you do that? Here’s the 4 step process I’ve used to stop overthinking.
Raise your awareness throughout the day.
Always realize that too much thinking defeats the purpose.
When you overthink, your judgments get cloudy and your stress gets elevated. You spend too much time in the negative. It can become difficult to act.




If this feels like familiar territory to you, here are 10 simple ideas to free yourself from overthinking.



1. Awareness is the beginning of change.
Before you can begin to address or cope with your habit of overthinking, you need to learn to be aware of it when it's happening. Any time you find yourself doubting or feeling stressed or anxious, step back and look at the situation and how you're responding. In that moment of awareness is the seed of the change you want to make.




2. Don't think of what can go wrong, but what can go right.
In many cases, overthinking is caused by a single emotion: fear. When you focus on all the negative things that might happen, it's easy to become paralyzed. Next time you sense that you starting to spiral in that direction, stop. Visualize all the things that can go right and keep those thoughts present and up front.



3. Distract yourself into happiness.
Sometimes it's helpful to have a way to distract yourself with happy, positive, healthy alternatives. Things like meditation, dancing, exercise, learning an instrument, knitting, drawing, and painting can distance you from the issues enough to shut down the overanalysis.



4. Put things into perspective.
It's always easy to make things bigger and more negative than they need to be. The next time you catch yourself making a mountain out of a molehill, ask yourself how much it will matter in five years. Or, for that matter, next month. Just this simple question, changing up the time frame, can help shut down overthinking.



5. Stop waiting for perfection.
This is a big one. For all of us who are waiting for perfection, we can stop waiting right now. Being ambitious is great but aiming for perfection is unrealistic, impractical, and debilitating. The moment you start thinking "This needs to be perfect" is the moment you need to remind yourself, "Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress."



6. Change your view of fear.
Whether you're afraid because you've failed in the past, or you're fearful of trying or overgeneralizing some other failure, remember that just because things did not work out before does not mean that has to be the outcome every time. Remember, every opportunity is a new beginning, a place to start again.



7. Put a timer to work.
Give yourself a boundary. Set a timer for five minutes and give yourself that time to think, worry, and analyze. Once the timer goes off, spend 10 minutes with a pen and paper, writing down all the things that are worrying you, stressing you, or giving you anxiety. Let it rip. When the 10 minutes is up, throw the paper out and move on--preferably to something fun.



8. Realize you can't predict the future.
No one can predict the future; all we have is now. If you spend the present moment worrying about the future, you are robbing yourself of your time now. Spending time on the future is simply not productive. Spend that time instead on things that give you joy.


9. Accept your best.
The fear that grounds overthinking is often based in feeling that you aren't good enough--not smart enough or hardworking enough or dedicated enough. Once you've given an effort your best, accept it as such and know that, while success may depend in part on some things you can't control, you've done what you could do.



10. Be grateful.
You can't have a regretful thought and a grateful thought at the same time, 
so why not spend the time positively?
 Every morning and every evening, make a list of what you are grateful for. Get a gratitude buddy and exchange lists so you have a witness to the good things that are around you.


Overthinking is something that can happen to anyone. But if you have a great system for dealing with it you can at least ward off some of the negative, anxious, stressful thinking and turn it into something useful, productive, and effective.
When you raise awareness, immediately start observing your thoughts.
Every time you start thinking, don’t follow through, just observe how you start thinking. When you do that, you will automatically stop.
Only limit your thinking to specific moments that you need it.


For example, when you’re thinking about setting your daily priorities, sit down and think. That might take 5 minutes. During that time, it’s perfectly fine to think and follow through on your thoughts. Or, when you’re journaling, you’re also thinking during the process. That’s also fine. We’re trying to stop the constant thinking. We don’t want to become a monk.

Enjoy your life!


Let go of all your thoughts about yesterday and tomorrow. No matter how much you want to achieve in the future, and no matter how much you’ve suffered in the past — appreciate that you are alive: NOW.
According  to Darius foroux




I want to ask you a question. 

How many hours per day do you think?


“I never thought about that.”
 So let me get this straight. You’re thinking all the time, and yet, you never think about how much time you spend thinking.
That sounds like an addiction to me. I know, because I’m addicted to thinking too.


When I eat too much, I can say
I’m overeating. I need to eat less.”


When I work too much, I can say 
“I’m getting burned out. I need to stop working.”


When I drink too much, I can say
 “I need to stop. I need a bottle of water.”



But when I think too much, I can’t just say
 “I’m overthinking.” 


I need a different approach to unclog my brain.
But the problem is that we don’t consider overthinking as a problem.
When someone says that overthinking is bad, we often assume that only negative thoughts are wrong. And by that definition, it automatically means that positive thoughts are good.
That’s the thinking error that I’ve made in the past. And I’ll tell you why it’s a mistake to assume positive thoughts are good.


But first, let’s talk about the difference between positive thoughts and negative thoughts.


Positive Thoughts vs. Negative Thoughts


I think most of us agree that negative thoughts are related to:

Worrying

Complaining

Anger

Feeling sorry for yourself

Blaming others


Similarly, we can agree that the following thoughts are considered positive:



Trying to solve problems

Studying

Understanding knowledge

Planning

Visualization

Setting goals

What most self-help advice says is, scrap the negative thoughts and double down on the positive thoughts. When you think about it casually, it sounds like good advice.


After all, negative thoughts make our lives worse. And positive thoughts should make our lives better, right?


I wish that were the case. However, the truth is that when you overuse your brain, just like a drain, it can get clogged. The result? Foggy thinking. Which leads to bad decision making.


The link between overthinking and mental health problems is a chicken-or-egg type question. Overthinking is linked to psychological problems, like depression and anxiety.

It's likely that overthinking causes mental health to decline and as your mental health decli
nes, the more likely you are to overthink




Do you ever find yourself wishing that you could simply get out of your head? To unsubscribe from your own thoughts for a short period of time?

I think overthinking things is a pretty relatable experience.

Maybe you’re like me and you lie in bed and every awkward or embarrassing experience from the past 10 years comes streaking into your mind and won’t stop.


Another way to stop overthinking
how to stop overthinking



Or maybe you’re also like me in that you sometimes just can’t stop overthinking and over-analyzing certain problems and life or professional scenarios.I overthink things.I tend to be analytical and detail-oriented in a professional setting but when it starts to seep into my personal life, it is quite frustrating.
Just put it to rest Case! Turn your brain off for a minute!

We all have busy minds and as one progresses through adulthood, our minds are filled with more and more serious matters that have an impact on our lives in more ways than we might realize.

While you might think that instead of avoiding the thoughts and responsibilities of adulthood floating in your mind, analyzing the details and trying to work out a solution or strategy is the mature and strategic approach, this overthinking is draining you.

As I have progressed in my career and age, the things on my mind are drastically different than those of years prior. As they increase in significance and importance, so does the need to consciously separate from them.

I identified this a couple years ago, and as a result. I have a series of practices I put into place when I want to rest my mind and actively control my thoughts.



I learned how to stop overthinking in life.

If you’re into mindfulness, meditation or zen habits, I think you’ll find this interesting.






1. Realize this.

“Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want to happen.”

Whenever I am confronted with the burden of my thoughts, I turn to the wisdom of Iron Man. Robert Downy Jr. said this and I find it incredibly helpful when your worries start to get the best of you. Understanding this helps relieve some of the pressure of your thoughts and the potential repercussions of the considerations you are making.

Remind yourself of this and make an attempt to shift the perspective of your thoughts. A lot of it comes down to whether you intrinsically are a glass-half-full or half-empty person but I have found that with enough effort and consistency, you can train your mind to focus on positive perspectives of most scenarios. Instead of allowing your mind to continue to focus on what could go wrong, focus on what might go right.

Adopting this perspective will not prevent you from over-thinking or worrying, but it will allow you to lessen the force and control your thoughts have so that the practices to follow will have greater impact and staying power.



2. Exercise.

Whenever I find myself overthinking, I remove myself from that setting. I usually turn to the gym.

The best way to take your mind off something is to turn it to how much something sucks… aka the pain and discomfort of exercise.

Head to the gym and find a challenging workout. The feelings of exertion, exhaustion and fatigue will take your mind off your problems. I guarantee it.

Pick something that requires coordination, mental concentration and endurance. In my experience, this combination resets your mind and leaves you more clear-sighted and less weighed down by cyclical thinking.




3. Be mindful.

Sometimes when you’re overthinking something or cannot escape the cycle of your own thoughts, it’s because you don’t realize that they are controlling you. You are not active in your own mind. You are in lean-back mode and as a result, your mind is leading the charge.

It’s time you wore the pants in the relationship with your mind and the best way to do this is to become more mindful and aware.

There are many different ways to do this but I have found the most effective way to do so it the following. It only takes 2-3 minutes.

Stop what you are doing. Sit down wherever you are.
Focus on your breathing. Be aware of the way your body reacts to your breathing.
Sit still for 2-3 minutes and just observe. Notice your surroundings. The sky. The floor of your apartment. The ticking of your kitchen clock. The people walking by.
Focus on your breathing
While this might seem a bit silly, I have found it allows me to regain control of my mind by absorbing myself in the elements influencing it. You are telling your mind what to notice. You are in control and you are telling it which stimuli to notice and pay attention to.

Much like exercise, this new focus of input allows you to reset your mind.



4. Get a hobby man.

This one always does the trick for me. I have always been a proponent for having a consistent creative outlet, whether that is painting, blogging, designing, coding, writing, etc. It serves two purposes – it provides a means to create, think individually, nurture cognitive function, etc. But more importantly, it also provides an escape.

When your thoughts are overwhelming you, turn to your creative outlet and immerse yourself in it. Immerse yourself in the skills, coordination or repetition that it requires. Turn your mind to the comfort or challenge of your chosen craft and away from the thoughts or worries that are chasing you.

Even if it is as simple as a video game, turn to this activity.


Meditation or Dhayan Yoga


Meditation can help a lot. Much like my point on mindfulness above, practiced meditation can reset your mind in wonderful ways, leaving you unburdened and refreshed. Literally doing nothing can help reset your mind.

This differs from my mindfulness practice which is a spur of the moment tactic you can implement anywhere, anytime. Meditation should be practiced in as calm, quiet and soothing environment as possible.

Use an app like Headspace to practice regular meditation sessions. 



6. Goals man. Goals.

Why am I such a big advocate of not being realistic about accomplishment and setting, writing down and working towards goals?

Well one, because duh!

But two, because the more goal oriented I have become, the more I have found myself able to separate things that matter and things that do not. When I find myself overthining small, somewhat mundane things, I turn to my large goals and this really puts things into perspective for me.

When you have tangible goals that you work towards, they cause you to be more mindful of the things you worry about and over-analyze. When you have large goals as the lighthouse in your life, the smaller items will be just that – smaller. This will allow you to separate them from your mind, give them less hold over you and allow you to relax.

Should you find yourself overthinking while still having these goals to remind you of your larger purpose, turn to actually working towards it.

Sell t-shirts online and you have a goal of creating a 7 figure business? When you find yourself overthinking small life details, get working. Absorb yourself in your goals.

Are you a designer with an aspiration to do 6-figures a month in freelancing? Sit down and create.


7. Just do whatever feels right.

While the above work for me, I have also found that sometimes nothing really works. I will continue to worry, overthinking and analyze.

When this happens and when none of the aces up your sleeve work, just do whatever creates positive energy in that moment.

Along similar lines of exercise and mental attention, to regain control of your thoughts, fill it with new and intentional stimuli.In this case, just do what feels right.

Get outside.

Watch a comedy.

East something sweet.

Blast some music.

Go outside.

Do the laundry.



8. Get em out!

If you deem your overthinking





I believe we’re all overthinkers at some point in our lives, whether we aware of it or not that is another problem. I used to overthink anything and everything. It was like a good feeling that I must have in order to function at work and especially in my relationship. How to stop overthinking in a relationship?



I thought it would be impossible for me to get rid of such an ugly and addictive habit. But like everything else, practice makes perfect, if you train your mind with the right amount of effort, overthinking doesn’t have to be part of your life.

Writing this article really brought back a lot of bitter memories of how I used to be.

I overanalyzed every little detail about what boyfriend said and how he expressed his feelings when we were together. It became so sickening that I realized if I didn’t do anything about it, this addiction will consume my life and I will be the only one to blame.




The book by Dr. Sian Beilock Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To explains this astoundingly fatiguing phenomenon by quoting golf studies. As surprising as it may sound, they make a perfect analogy.

When a professional golfer starts thinking in the field, she says, he is just one thought shy of missing the hole and losing the game. It’s because sometimes our mind paralyzes our body, anxiously crippling it in only a second or two. Usually, the fear of failure is the one to blame.

Overthinking is a golfer’s paralysis prolonged. As numerous empirical studies have shown, it is a strategy we use when we start losing control. Mistakes terrify us, the uncertainty is perplexing, and there’s so much that can go wrong. So, we think about it all the time.

I remembered clearly watching my sister cried on a golf court because she couldn’t play as well as I did. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a better player but what made me win the games was because I didn’t care about it, so I didn’t overthink it. I was there to have fun.



Addictive Behaviors


Overthinking is no different from OCD if you think about it. Both should make life feel less uncertain, and give us a sense of control and confidence. Only, instead of establishing dominance over things, we’re superintending our thoughts.

In psychology, every behavior triggered by a need that has to be fulfilled, the behavior that hence becomes the most important thing in your life, but causes a conflict between the short-term need to engage in the activity and concerns about the long-term effects it spurs – is defined as addictive.

It’s common to get obsessed with overthinking when we need to be in control over our lives. The problem is – what starts as a strategy that is supposed to calm us down usually ends up tricking us into losing control over our thoughts. The vicious circle begins, with us caught in the middle.



Overthinking is Number One Relationship Killer


Two of my relationships ended badly because I overthink, sad but I’m sure some of you can relate.

I mean overthinking used to leave consequences in my everyday life and it sucks, it was like I was the only who went crazy while everyone else is enjoying their lives fine.

Like any other addiction, it creeps up on you every time there’s a problem you don’t believe you can solve or fear you don’t have the strength to overcome. But, is it irresistible enough to kill your relationship? Experience says yes.

Overthinking is a barricade between a problem and a solution – having disguised your fear of failure, it makes you sorely cautious, depressingly motionless, and even more anxious than you were and need to be.

Most importantly, it makes you deadlocked. You lose confidence in yourself and trust in your partner. Everything that makes relationships work is no more. The future is no longer about nurturing love and respect; to an over-thinker, it is nothing but a projection of defeat.



The Root of Overthinking is a Low Self-Esteem


You certainly suspect what lays underneath your overwhelming meditations, though it might not be the easiest thing to admit. The compulsive thinking goes hand in hand with shaken self-confidence and occurs every time there’s a reason for you to feel inadequate. If you want to learn how to stop overthinking in a relationship, self-analysis might be a good way to start.

Example :- I got cheated on once and that was enough to make a big hole in my confidence, my insecurity amplified and trust no longer existed.

Looking back, I truly felt bad for my then-boyfriend, if he came home late or he didn’t call when he should, my mind would go off like an alarm clock and the thoughts started to pour and I again found myself in the dark.

When my self-esteem was taken away from me, it took me a year to recover and trust again.

Working on a low-self-esteem isn’t easy, but I met my boyfriend and now husband who sees me for who I really am.

The one thing I want you to remember is If you lack belief in yourself because of what happened to you in the past, have a little trust in them! Let them plant you in front of the mirror and tell you how beautiful you are, inside and outside alike.









I’m not here to tell you there is a magic to stop all this now and forever but I’m here to share with you, my personal tips on how to stop overthinking in a relationship.
So let’s be honest with yourself and take the step the right direction with these below suggestions.


1. Talk Things Out with Your Partner

So, here’s your first assignment: propose a tête-à-tête as soon as today. Overthinking has made you a prisoner of your own mind, and the key is in voicing your thoughts. Even in case you two have gone through it before, now is not the time to stop talking things out.

You know your partner’s own mechanisms by heart, so adjust what you have to say to the way they’ll respond. If they’ve accused you of exaggerating your problem in the past, stay calm and proactive and ask them to do a small research. Getting familiar with how addictive behavior works will help them understand you better.

If it gets emotional and ends with a fight, so be it. The ability to communicate your thoughts and emotions is crucial for a healthy relationship, and you should never avoid it. Silence is a lack of motion, but relationships need to grow and move forward in order to endure.

Stay composed, insist on expressing yourself, and be as descriptive as you can. Your partner might feel confused and afraid, so be patient. Being in love means you’re in this together: don’t stop talking before you’re on the same page too.



2. Stop Yourself the Moment You Catch Yourself Over-analyzing Your Partner’s Behaviour

A supportive partner is a much-needed ally in the fight against gloomy thoughts, but only as long as you meet them halfway. Now that you’ve realized how unproductive your worries were and still are, don’t complicate it too much. Stressing out over how to deal with it will pull you straight back in.

Instead, stop yourself the moment you catch your mind getting all riled up. Whether you’re used to overanalyzing your partner’s words, fixate on their Freudian slips, or obsess about a stranger’s perfume you kept on smelling on them, remind yourself that your assumptions were wrong and your thoughts needlessly defeating.

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3. Take Action on Your Insecurities (They Are What Makes You an Over-Thinker in the First Place)

Improving your confidence is a whole other topic, here are some of the activities that can utilize as a starting point. Silence your inner critic by accepting that nobody’s perfect, and neither are you. Count every small victory in, and prove to yourself that you’ve earned the praise entirely on your own. There’s surely a lot you can appreciate yourself for – if it helps, write it all down.

Also, be proactive! If you’ve realized you’ve been overthinking your partner’s behavior because you were insecure about your looks, hit the gym! Maybe the reason you’ve been stressing about “how they said it” is your own frustration or fear; learn how to shake them off. It’ll take some practice, but as long as you take action and stay positive, you’ll be able to nip your overthinking in the bud.



4. Have Some “Me” Time Every Day

You’ll probably want to avoid those long, silent moments when all the noise in your head overwhelms you. However, this is not when you should run from being alone. Have some “me” time every day, unplug your brain from the TV and phone, and emerge yourself in constructive thoughts.

It’s not until you’re left alone that you can fully tone down and rest your mind. Still, don’t expect that overthinking to stop all by itself. Since the absence of every distraction will tempt your addictive behavior to repeat, your “me” time is perfect for practicing control over your thoughts.

So, try to rationalize. If your partner is not answering your calls, don’t overthink it, but deduce. In case everything’s fine, but your mind keeps on searching for at least one tiny thing to make into a problem, just take a deep breath, close your eyes, and let meditation empty your head.



5. Get Together with Friends Who Are Not Over-Thinkers

This is very important that you talk to friends who won’t make matters worse. Your rational friends are probably the last ones to tell you how to stop overthinking in a relationship, but that still doesn’t mean they can’t help. In fact, their sound reasoning is just what you need for overcoming all those uncertainties you’ve been obsessing about.

Since so clear-minded, they can and should become your daily portion of reality. The sooner you let go of insisting that your thoughts are so complicated that nobody can understand you, the sooner you’ll be able to balance them out and see your problems for what they really are.

Don’t discard your friends’ opinions, regardless of how harsh or simplified they might seem. Rational people have a whole other perspective on the world, and the truth is always somewhere in between. Listen to what they have to say: in time, their point of view might prove as much-needed relief.



6. 90% of What You Worry about Won’t Happen, So Enjoy Every Intimate Moment

We’ve already discussed how overthinking in a relationship almost always leads to a lack of spontaneity. Surely, it happened to you before – you’re trying to relax and enjoy the moment, but all you can think about are your own thoughts. Awful, right?

The truth is, most of the things you worry about in those moments are simply fragments of your ruminative imagination. Around 90% of your fears won’t actualize, but constantly thinking about them might ruin your relationship. So, instead of overthinking about how to stop overthinking in a relationship, try to be mindful and present in the moment.

That’s why regaining control of your mind is so incredibly important. Love isn’t only about making plans and solving problems; more than anything else, it is about nurturing trust and allowing emotions to flood your thoughts. Don’t let those intimate moments pass you by, but enjoy every second of them.


7. Keep Your Mind Occupied with What Makes You a Great Person

In some aspects, overthinking is similar to depression. If you take a closer look at your patterns, you’ll realize that over-analyzing is nothing but a time delay mechanism: the longer you think about the problem, the more you postpone having to actually act on it.

What this mechanism prevents you from seeing is that – if the problem truly exists – obsessing about it won’t get it solved. Why not skip rumination and get straight to action? However it turns out, it’ll hurt less than spending hours playing out different scenarios over and over again.

Instead, keep your mind occupied with solutions. Work on yourself all the time, and do things that will help you become the person you want to be. Face your challenges, and you’ll become less afraid of your limitations. Start working out, reading more, and worrying about it less.



8. Travel with Your Partner at Least Once a Year
Research shows that vacations improve
relationships and allow partners to see one another in a different light. It makes perfect sense since these fast-paced modern times imply a certain tempo that not all couples can endure. Vacations are a brilliant way to escape all that, and finally, find the time to rekindle the romance.

Travel together at least once a year! By experiencing the world hand in hand, you’ll not only be able to have some quality time alone, but also to adjust your mindsets and stay focused on what truly matters. Traveling changes perspective teaches patience and introduces Serenity, simply by showing you that there’s a great, vast world out there, the world in which your everyday struggles may not be so big after all.



9. Ask Your Partner What Kind of Self-Improvement You Can Do to Keep the Relationship Fresh

Your last assignment is a simple one: learn that sometimes everything you need to do is ask. Your low self-confidence has made you suspicious of your partner’s behavior again? Ask them what’s going on! If your relationship is strong and mature, their answer will be honest and helpful.

After all, there might be some things that really bother them about you. Though you should never change who you really are for another person, being in a relationship requires some compromising. Talk to your partner about their reservations, and see whether or not you can fix them, and how.

And, don’t be too sensitive about it! It’s really important to give your partner a chance to speak their mind, even when what they have to say isn’t so pleasant for you to hear. They doubtlessly mean well, so listen to them out. It’s way better than trying to figure out their thoughts all by yourself.



10. Be Someone Who Can Make You Happy

Finally, keep in mind that symbiotic relationships are not very healthy. A strong couple is an alliance between two strong individuals, and you can hardly be a solid partner if you are not a solid person first. Never stop your personal growth for somebody you love – it may only be counterproductive.

If you keep overthinking about whether or not your partner is unhappy with you and why it usually means that you’re not very happy with yourself in the first place. Remember that you are a grown and independent person who has it in them to improve and evolve, which is most certainly what your partner loves you so much.

Be Present and Stop Wandering Off
Relationships are hard! They are supposed to be that way, so don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Leave unconditional love to storytellers, and accept that genuine connection asks for understanding, trust, and respect. If you don’t know how to stop overthinking in your relationship, just ask your partner.


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