Do you obsess about the way you spoke to your boss in the morning meeting? Do you constantly worry that you are not going to achieve the goals you have set? Do you think you should have studied B instead of A? Then you might overthink everything. Overthinking can be a symptom of anxiety disorder. But what causes overthinking?
Our lives are full of stress. Nowadays we are called to balance successful professional lives with our personal life. That is not an easy task. Anxiety can lead to overthinking and that can have a paralyzing effect on our lives.
Studies have shown that when you dwell on your mistakes and problems, there is a greater risk of mental health problems. Emotional stress is also on the rise and a lot of people turn to alcohol or food in order to overcome it. Research has also shown that over-thinkers deal with sleeping disorders. It’s natural: when your brain can’t shut down, then you can’t sleep properly.
So how can we stop overthinking?
Awareness is the first step to stop overthinking. When you see that you worry too much about things that can’t change or have already happened, acknowledge that the practice is counter-productive. Then, try to find ways to stop it from happening. We have some suggestions, but you might find out that different things work for you.
Thinking about past events can have negative effects on your emotional health. Instead of engaging in that practice, try to fill your time with things you enjoy: read a book, watch a movie, call a friend. You might find out that you really needed a break from all this worrying. Be careful not to tell yourself constantly to try not to overthink. The more you think about it, the more you will obsess when it happens. It’s better to choose an activity than reminding yourself constantly that there is a problem that needs fixing.
Give yourself the chance to reflect, but do it on a specific time. You can have a schedule and let yourself worry for half an hour every day. When you start overthinking during the rest of the day, you have to remind yourself that you will deal with that problem later. Reflection is healthy and can help a person move forward.
Physical exercise and meditation can help. Your body needs to relax and your mind needs to empty. You can find a way to combine the two. Meditation is the opposite of overthinking. Your mind slows down in order to comprehend the things that go wrong. A meditating mind can recognize overthinking and not let its negative effects take a toll on you. It’s definitely worth the try.
Instead of obsessing with the things you did wrong, try to think about what you did right. A professional success, or a kind word that someone told you could go a long way. You may think that you studied the wrong thing but that might have led you to meet a person of great importance to your life -like a partner or a lifelong friend.
Proper breathing can help the brain oxygenate better and can lead your mind to relax. It’s a great technique for dealing with overthinking. When you see that you stress about things, try breathing calmly. It’s a quick fix that definitely helps.
Negative feelings about are not helpful. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, try to think about how you could change things for the better. How can you perform better at the next work meeting? How can you deal with something that bothers you? Positive thinking and acting can lead to more fulfilling lives.
Instead of making your brain work overtime, try to write down your thoughts. It’s a really helpful practice. You can write everything that crosses your mind. That can relieve the burden that overthinking causes. You can even read your writings later and see interesting patterns. You might even laugh about some of your concerns.