As you are reading this sentence, are you screaming in your head that this post better tell me how to stop overthinking that conversation, which I shouldn’t have initiated in the first place?
Welcome, my dearest overthinker, to the infamous unproductive Overthinkers’ club.
Do you know that 73% of adults between the ages of 25 and 35 and 52% of 45 to 55-year-olds tend to overthink?
Keep scrolling to know practical techniques to how to stop overthinking and relax.
What is overthinking?
Overthinking is a habit of thinking one thing over and over again, in a negative pattern.
In a research paper, overthinking is rightly defined as a loop of unproductive thoughts.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
I mean, instead of overthinking whether to give a hug or a handshake and not initiating the conversation at all, I would’ve just waved and said hi.
What are the signs of overthinking?
Do you find yourself going in the loop of what-ifs when a person doesn’t reply 1 sec after you’ve sent it?
When you rewind the same scenario that happened weeks ago, only to think about how you could’ve said that marvelous thing that popped in your head after 3 days of the event.
Before saying something, you are overthinking. After that, you find yourself again in a negative loop of why you shouldn’t have done it.
You start thinking about every way the conversation can go down the drain as you are too busy in the loop of doom, followed by awkward silence because you didn’t listen to what they asked.
Believe me, I know it is not a very heart-warming event. Thinking of whether you should’ve said something else or not said anything at all.
Oh my god, the stress and anxiety is real.
What causes overthinking?
According to a study, overthinking can be associated with stress, anxiety and depression.
It can also be caused by self-esteem issues, trauma or the obsessive tendency to be a perfectionist.
There’s a lot of ‘I shouldn’t have done’ in your thinking pattern for the most trivial human actions (maybe I shouldn’t have sipped the tea too loud in my own home).
So, here’s a small story, because why not.
A small-town person who was a confident introvert became a shy insecure adult over the years, now just wanted to throw her insecurities in the trash and rediscover herself.
As the person was trying to get out of the bubble, some moments would just be on replay.
Hours would be spent overthinking till they wouldn’t remember falling asleep.
From the moment the birds would wake them up, the thoughts would commence the marathon.
Do you ask who the person is? It’s me.
I genuinely believe that whatever you wish for, the universe conspires to get for you, only if you are willing to work for it.
Do you want a good body? Work for it. Good grades? Work. Wanna twerk? Work work work.
Other times things are meant to go the universe’s way.
So, the thing the universe did was give me my long-lost love back. Books.
I could not stop overthinking about how to stop overthinking everything when I found the fantastic orange book written by Mark Manson. It snapped me out of my head.
Later, when we were at home in the lock-down, I again found myself worrying about the uncertain future. When I put action to the words I read in How to stop worrying and start living by Dale Carnegie, I found myself out of the loop of overthinking and saw changes in myself.
10 practical tips to stop overthinking
I would like to share some techniques on how to control overthinking, which I hope works for you too.
1. Write it down
Every little thing that is on your mind.
From the mosquito cunningly flying around your ear to the uncertainty of future.
Analyze every situation.
Write the worst possibilities.
Write what you can do about it if it occurs.
What can you do about the mosquito?
Write it down.
Fly the mosquito out of the window, apply repellent on yourself or follow the path of an assassin.
Write the positive statement to negative comments
If you are giving negative comments to yourself every time something goes down, write what you don’t like, and then write an opposite positive statement about it.
Remind the positive message to yourself with love, whenever you find yourself in the negative loop, overthinking again
|NEGATIVE COMMENT||POSITIVE STATEMENT|
|I’m a loser.||WRITE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS|
Pat your own back.
Say you are better at other stuff, and this thing you suck at will get better by practice.
Sometimes sitting and thinking about the incident in a detached way helps to understand the situation with a third-person perspective.
Analyze the trouble to learn from mistakes.
Remember how to tackle such problems in future.
Not a fan of writing? Don’t worry, I got you covered.
2. Take a deep breath
Breathe in for 4 secs, hold it there for another 4 and release it slowly in 4 sec through your mouth.
Breathing exercises have proven to decrease overthinking and anxiousness.
You go anywhere to ask how to release tension, and breathing exercise is the first step because it works.
It helps us to be calm.
Try it. Come on.
3. Be aware of your thoughts
Change them to more loving and solution-oriented ideas whenever you notice them. Do not start another loop of how you are not good, as you have started overthinking again.
4. Live in the present
As Master Oogway from the animated movie Kung Fu panda said-’You are too concerned with what was and what will be. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift’.
5. Meditate to be calm
Meditation is the free magic pill out there for all your problems.
If it doesn’t solve it, it either provides a direction or helps to come to peace with it.
It teaches us to be calm in any situation.
If you are a beginner, I would suggest following a guided meditation.
6. Be grateful
As inherent as the trees who give selflessly and as complicated as a human who cares for you.
Write things you are grateful for or record them.
Read or listen to it every now and then to remind yourselves of your blessings.
7. Be kind
Be kind to yourself and pamper yourself once in a while.
Be kind to others too.
It heals you when you help someone genuinely in need.
Kindness always comes around.
8. Talk to a friend
Talking to a friend helps a ton.
They help you look at the situation from a different perspective and snap you out from overthinking.
Some things are not in our control.
Sometimes we have done the best we can do in the situation.
Giving the responsibility of the results to the higher power is the better option rather than overthinking.
10. Take professional help
I cannot highlight this enough. If it feels beyond your control, getting professional help is the highest priority.
Believe me, I could’ve thought about an embarrassing moment a thousand, if not a million times. If you feel the same as me, let me hug you tightly and say,
It’s okay, it’s a fun memory, it happened, and it’s over.
There is nothing at this point in time that you can do to reverse it.
So just read books and watch videos about how to not have an awkward talk with people.
Learn from your mistakes and implement them.
AND I DO NOT REGRET HUGGING YOU.
There is a difference between overthinking and problem-solving mentality.
Going over an incident to realize your mistakes and learn from it helps.
But torturing yourself on the same, that’s not good.
Do read the books I suggested, as they talk about it in more detail and may give better answers to your questions.
There are so many beautiful moments in life that we miss out on due to overthinking.
We restrict ourselves from entering a similar situation again and finding something new about ourselves, another person, or this beautiful universe.
So get out of your head, wave to that person and say hi.
You never know, you might earn a good friend.
Go down in the comments section and do let me know about things that help you get out of your head.
Thank You very much for giving your time to read this article.
Know that you are loved.