Overthinking can be exhausting! When you catch yourself overthinking, your thoughts run in circles around your head, and you realise that you are unable to move forward. It can be frustrating.
While we all overthink situations once in a blue moon, some individuals are plagued with an incessant barrage of unpleasant thoughts at all times. Chronic overthinkers tend to rehash every conversation they have, and you will often find them second-guessing all their decisions and imagining devastating outcomes all the time. Overthinking can conjure up catastrophic images too. Here are some effective tips that can help you cope with overthinking.
Notice when you are have repetitive thoughts.
Overthinking can become a chronic and subconscious habit, and sometimes you will not even realize when you are doing it. Start paying greater attention to the way you think to become more aware of the issue. Replaying particular events in your mind over and again, or fretting about things that are out of your control is futile, and you must acknowledge that it is unproductive.
You must challenge your thoughts.
It is easy to allow negative thoughts to get to you and affect your mood. So, before concluding that opting for sick leave or missing a deadline can get you fired, try to figure out if your thoughts are exaggeratedly negative. This is when you stop for a moment and look for evidence to identify if your thoughts are rational. If you feel there are no evidence to support the rationality of your negative ideas, you must challenge them.
Focus only on problem-solving
Simply dwelling on your problems will not help you— instead, look for solutions. If you are bothered about something that you can control to some extent, then consider finding solutions to prevent or challenge the problem. If it is beyond your control—think of coping strategies to deal with it. Your focus should be on things you can control, like your effort and attitude towards problem-solving.
Do not hold on to the past.
Overthinkers often find it difficult to let go of the past. But we do know that the past cannot be changed — but you can alter the meanings, perspectives and lessons you obtain from it. When you accept your past for what it was, you are in a way, relieving yourself from its burden. This strategy will enable you to release your mind from the grudges or mistakes of the past, and you can also prevent yourself from committing the same mistakes again.
Remember, with rigorous practice, your mind can be trained to think differently.