6 Therapist-Approved Ways To Stop Overthinking
Ever experienced it? The inability to stop your mind from wandering off down scary, worrying, and anxiety-inducing paths? You’re not alone!
Overthinking affects pretty much everyone from time to time. Whether you’re focusing too much on a problem at work, ruminating about future events that may never happen, or just feeling stuck inside your head all the time, this feature of our brain is to blame.
There are ways to escape the loop of overthinking though! They’re simple, can be done by anyone with a bit of practice, and help you to get some perspective on your thoughts.
Here are 6 of those ways, all therapist-approved and useful in your daily life:
1. Identify your overthinking
Before you can change anything, you need to get used to noticing when your mind is running wild, while it’s happening. So get used to watching your thoughts from time to time.
2. Save the overthinking for later
Tell yourself that you’ll schedule a time for ruminating later in the day, and actually do it. Giving yourself space to overthink in a controlled way will help reduce random bursts of it throughout the day.
3. Shift your attention
Mindfulness – the act of bringing your focus to the objects in your surroundings or other parts of your body – helps you to break out of the stream of thinking. Make this a daily practice and you’ll see quick improvements.
4. Be present
If negative thoughts come knocking, use your attention shifting skills to focus on the here and now. Go to your breath, or immerse yourself in whatever activity you’re doing, and the thoughts will subside.
5. Focus on what’s real
Abstract thinking is fuel for overthinking. Notice when you’re worrying about things that just aren’t grounded in reality, and shift to thinking about real, tangible things that lead to practical solutions.
6. Think about your values instead
Your values are the things that are meaningful to you; ways of being that represent who you want to be in life. In times of overwhelming thought, focusing on your values gives more perspective on those thoughts, and puts you in charge.
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