When you think of the term, ‘overthinking,’ what comes to mind? For me it’s slumping down in my favorite writing chair, my head dizzy with thoughts. Or it’s laying in my bed at night, contemplating all the ‘could have,’ ‘should have’ moments and stressing over whether I made the right decisions.
Overthinking plagues a lot of us—personally, professionally, even physically.
We might overthink our food choices or plans. We might overthink our workouts or how many beers we’ve thrown back on a weekend night. We might even overthink our actions, our words, our very beings. It’s toxic. But these thoughts don’t have to control you.
Here’s how to stop those plaguing thoughts for good.
1. Create a time and space for re-centering.
One of the best ways to stop your mind from constantly overthinking is to create a time and a place within your busy day to relax and re-center. Whether a practice in meditation, yoga, or deep breathing, it’s important to give your brain a break at some point during your day.
If you find yourself stressing and going in circles around things, slow down and remind yourself that you’re doing okay. Breathe. Tell yourself your next step, rather than the big picture.
When you give yourself time to re-center on who you are, what you care about, and how far you’ve come—everything seems manageable. (It’s slowing down that’s the key).
2. Surround yourself with people and things that remind you of your worth.
You can easily stop overthinking when you surround yourself with positive things and people. Friends that don’t support your vision, family members that aren’t encouraging you, work that’s stifling your personality—you have to let go and give yourself distance from these things.
When you focus on the things and people that build you, as well as what brings you joy, you’ll constantly be reminded of your worth. And that will build you.
3. Listen to your body and take note of when you’re feeling stressed or pressured.
Overthinking is often a direct result of, or strong contributor in your stress levels. Rather than letting everything fester under the surface, recognize within yourself when you need a break. Take a moment to see how your mind is spinning, your muscles are tensing up, and your blood pressure is rising.
When you can identify stress and actively try to relax, it will help you lessen those crazy thoughts in your head.
4. Understand that the past is the past and you must leave it there.
We overthink when we’re so focused on the past that we can’t live with the present. Regardless of the mistakes you’ve made before or what baggage you’re carrying, reminding yourself that you are living RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW will help you to channel that anxious energy into movement rather than overthinking.
You can’t control anything but your current thoughts and actions in the moment. Remind yourself that this is a release and a relief—not something to stress over.