4 Ways to Stop Overthinking

Katie Sweeney

I’m always overthinking things. In fact, I’ve just spent the last ten minutes trying to figure out how to start this story. Then I thought, "Wait a minute, there you go again: overthinking! Stop and write. Now." If you’re an overthinker who overanalyzes things to death and generally gets caught up in your own mind, you’ll appreciate a recent Bustle story as much as I do. Author Brianna Wiest argues that “overthinking is holding you back from living your life, whether it's by avoiding problems or, subsequently, not fully experiencing happiness.” Then she goes on to list four ways to stop overthinking.

  1. Focus your energy and spend time doing things that are tangible. Instead of getting caught up in the what-ifs of a failed relationship, do something that requires your whole attention. Work out, meditate, have a thoughtful conversation with a trusted friend, bake...  just do something that forces you to not think about the relationship.
  2. Remember the following phrase “The louder the cry, the more clear the choice.” Most overthinking is a cry and desire to take action or change some aspect of your life. Sometimes the more indecisive you are, the clearer the choice is. You’re overthinking it because you don’t want to fully face the conclusion and you’re not ready to get behind your choice.
  3. Figure out what you’re trying to avoid. One way to ease overthinking is to figure out what it is you're trying to avoid. “Figure out what it is you're running from so ardently. Overthinking is what happens when it's too hard for your brain to accept one reality as true.”
  4. Talk your way out of mental circles. When your overthinking turns into negative snowballs, talk to someone. Visit a therapist or speak to a nonjudgmental friend who is a good listener. “You will naturally begin to put pieces of the puzzle together, and you'll pick up on patterns and connections that you wouldn't have before.”

Regular meditation has helped me combat overthinking. Learn how to meditate with this book, Turning the Mind Into an Ally.

What’s your technique for dealing with overthinking?

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