Share on Facebook

11 Simple Tricks to Stop Yourself from Overthinking Everything

Thinking too much can trap the brain in a worry cycle. When you find yourself going round-and-round over an issue, try using some of these tips.

1 / 11

Learn to be aware

How to stop overthinking? The first step to stop worrying is to learn when you are doing it. Whenever you notice yourself feeling stressed or anxious, take a step back and survey the whole situation. Amy Morin, LCSW, a psychotherapist, wrote in Psychology Today that you must also acknowledge these thoughts as unproductive. Once you learn to catch yourself overthinking early on, you’ll be able to stop it from happening so often.

2 / 11

Get a second opinion

You’re used to going it alone, but the old adage “two heads are better than one” is a good mantra for you. Ask someone else about the point you’re overthinking and see what he or she has to say. If you want to get to the root of your overthinking, it might also be a good idea to go to therapy. A therapist can help identify the core reasons why you’re ruminating, according to Healthline. This is the absolute best exercise for your brain.

3 / 11

Stay positive

Many times people start to overthink because they are scared. They think of all of the possible things that could potentially go wrong. Instead, start to picture all of the things that can go right and keep those thoughts in the front of your mind. This type of thinking is also called reframing, and can help build resiliency, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. So the question might not be how to stop overthinking, but actually how to change the tune of your thoughts. Here are five more workouts for your brain.

4 / 11

Look for distractions

When you begin overthinking, get up and change places. Studies show that a new vantage point can be enough to shake you out of a fruitless thought process. You can also try distracting yourself with a new hobby such as running, dancing, knitting, or learning an instrument. The more you try to avoid thinking about something, the more it’ll keep popping up, Morin says. Having a specific activity is a good way to channel your energy into something positive. Try these tips to boost your happy hormones, naturally.

5 / 11

Make visual clues

Keep a handwritten stop sign on your desk or bathroom mirror. Visual clues can cut down on excessive thinking. Read up on the 13 things psychologists wish you knew about happiness.

6 / 11

Stop being a perfectionist

Things never go according to plan, and that is just something everyone has to get used to. Keep yourself from thinking that everything has to be perfect. It’s more important to find satisfaction in making progress than in everything being perfect. Letting go of these “perfect” ideas also eliminates whys, hows, and shoulds that people ask, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). If you’re a perfectionist, you’re probably also always thinking about how to stop overthinking. Here are 18 foods that are proven to fight depression.

7 / 11

Envision a happy ending

Praying or meditating on a positive outcome will block confusing or negative thoughts. Picturing the end goal can help to ease your anxiety and keep you motivated, and practicing either could be great distraction techniques, per the ADAA. Here are more ways to instantly boost a bad mood.

8 / 11

Set a timer

When you give yourself too much time to make a decision, it can lead to overthinking. You’ll view the situation from too many angles and outcomes and end up stressing yourself out. Set a time limit for yourself of how long you think about something before making a decision. Adjust that time depending on how big of a decision it is. Even if there isn’t a looming question, scheduling time for reflection or “thinking time” is good for smaller problems too, according to Morin.

9 / 11

Let go of control

Sometimes you think that the only way something is going to get done correctly is if you do it. That puts ways too much responsibility on your shoulders. Understand that it’s okay to make mistakes and that many times you end up learning and growing from them. You want to avoid “analysis paralysis,” which happens to people who overthink hoping this helps themselves. It can actually interfere with all types of problem-solving in general, studies show. Here’s help to handle the crippling physical symptoms of anxiety.

10 / 11

Surround yourself with positive people

Friends and family could be the answer for how to stop overthinking. Steer clear of “worry buddies,” friends who tend to overthink things just as you do. An 80-year Harvard study found that good relationships keep people happy and healthier. Reaching out to a positive thinker will help you think positively, too.

11 / 11

Live in the moment

Stop, slow down, and be grateful for the memories you are making right now. Explore the different parts of your life that bring you joy. This can help build your self-esteem and lead to less rumination, according to the ADAA. Don’t let yourself analyze the past or worry about what you have to do in the future. Keep yourself focused and present. Here’s what the world’s healthiest people have in common.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest