The sharpest minds often ruin their lives by overthinking the next step, while the dull win the race with eyes closed. Minor tasks like texting, talking with someone, asking for a raise in salary seem like a big monster due to overthinking habit. People think, think a lot, and how to stop overthinking bothers, everyone. As a matter of fact, everyone has been through this stage. Not to mention, some overcame this. Some are still stuck in those patterns. The more you overthink, the more you feel like controlling your thoughts. The more you try to control your thoughts the more powerless you feel.
Overthinking and over expecting
I had the habit of beating a dead horse, to say nothing of overthinking.
Let’s see an incident from my life depicting that. Not to mention the steps I took to overcome that. Dad says, ‘we are going to a function tomorrow, so you better be ready.’ I start to think, ‘umm what should I wear?’ Alright, everybody does that. Additionally, how will I look bothers me more? I start imagining how will I walk, talk, and whatnot. I have already pictured myself from someone else’s point of view. Finally, the day of the function arrives. Whatever I wear doesn’t make me content. Because I don’t dress how I want but how they want. Nothing is real here. All the thoughts are in my head. So, engrossed in this that even how they will feel, think, react is also pre-decided. How I think about myself doesn’t matter, how someone else thinks about me matters more. Slowly, anxiety overcomes me.
Dressed in the best clothes, watch, and shoes. Still not content!! Something is wrong. Clicked some pictures, sent them to a friend. He is so pleased to see them, even likes my outfit. But, internally I don’t feel like I deserve it. Now, going to the function seems like a nightmare. But, can’t deny going as there is no legit reason. In the function, I meet people. They all act normal nobody is shocked to see me. Was I wrong? Were all my expectations false? Suddenly, a person meets me. He seems to know me. Alas, someone recognized me. Woahhh. We have a word. But he says something unusual. It was not what I expected him to say. He says you look changed, these specs don’t suit you. I didn’t expect this of him. How could he? Everything feels shattered. The function goes on…
Overthinking is like a vicious spiral. The more attention thoughts are given, the more it becomes difficult to come out. We all humans encounter such incidents in our life. Moreover, we feel anxious and lost in our thinking. Since we assume things to go our way, but they actually don’t. Overthinking creates problems that don’t exist in the first place. Our emotional life is irrational and often uncontrollable. It’s the desire to control one’s thoughts which leads to finding the answer to the question of how to stop overthinking?
Similarly, let’s look at another example. This one is more common. Everyone can relate to this.
Suppose, you message your BF/GF/partner/your ________ person. Fill in the blanks( yourself)
You have this loving _____ person but overthinking runs you
They are online. It’s been two minutes. Aaargh, three, oh now its 15 minutes. The message has been sent. Still no reply. No blue tick as well. The overthinking mind slowly comes in. Opens its chatterbox. Umm,” he/she doesn’t have time for me.” “Maybe they have lost interest in me or do they even love me?” And the ultimatum! “Is he/she cheating on me?” As I write this, I find this hilarious. We may be known if their Wi-Fi is on it that’s why it shows online on Instagram. Not only they may be busy talking with relatives but also could be doing some online work. But, we feel so rejected/ not loved already that we are ready for a fight. Without properly analyzing the situation we overreact.
Take a selfie
The above thoughts were not real. Who created them then in the first place? Get up, grab your phone. Take a selfie. This creature created all your problems. It was never you. Stop joking Adin. We are here to find solution to our overthinking problem and not take a selfie. Absurd! If you want, i will take one together with you. You’re not alone in this.
This brings me next to the trending content on dealing with overthinking
Be positive always bullshit (paradox of being negative)
I used to find answers for this problem when i was young. Thoughts of insecurity used to make me sad. I knew nothing about emotion regulation. So, got bombarded with motivational positive videos and lectures across the internet. Below is a list of amusing things i found.
- Swipe away your thoughts, as you do on tinder.
- Only think positive, stop the negative thoughts.
- Overthinking is the most screwing part of life. Therefore, stop that, rise up and go propose that girl, take that job, go run a marathon, join the gym, etc
They boost your morale for a day or week. And again you return to those old thinking patterns. (how the fuck can you swipe away thoughts? My mind doesn’t allow me)
How to tell the mental chatter to shut up? Does it have no purpose in your life?
Such content doesn’t help you nor to your friend to whom you forward such videos..
Imagine a situation in which you watch a horror movie. Then you go to sleep. A curtain near you shakes. It’s fucking cold outside. Shadow of the curtain falls on the wall near it. The shadow keeps getting bigger and smaller. Oh my! The ghost from the movie has come to your room. Fear overcomes you. Sleep becomes your enemy. You can’t sleep. Eyes are constantly fixed on that shadow.
Wait a minute everyone!! Don’t you know you have to be positive and by the same token stop negative thoughts? Let’s make this situation positive to say nothing of imagine a godly figure. Does this help, nay it doesn’t!
Our loved ones may still not have time for us. Those horrific ghostly images may still trouble you. People will/will not talk behind your back. Worrying about people’s thoughts about you may still bother. The public situation, public speaking will still be terrific! How to be positive then?
Start being negative
Being positive means suppressing the negative. Looking at the bright side of things in every situation is not beneficial every time. On the contrary, doing so may worsen the situation. On a matter of fact, a study conducted by Harvard University says, “Bottling up emotions and thoughts can increase chances of premature death and cancer by 30%.” You do not want to die soon, do you? Not to mention, suppressing your emotions leads to emotional outbursts.
He who suffers before it is necessary suffers more than is necessarySeneca
I argue that instead of being positive, try being negative. Figure out what triggers those thoughts. Is it a past incident? An unresolved trauma? Are you insecure which makes you stalk people? Have some trust issues? Find out the root and cause of the problem.
Solution on how to stop overthinking #start journalling
Don’t just find out, write them down as well. Whether you believe it or not, it is favorable to release stress in your life. Writing down on paper helps the mind get clear of unwanted thoughts. Your hand obviously doesn’t work faster than your mind. Monster looking thoughts seem very small as you get very clear about them. Problem-solving becomes easy. Write Whenever I decide to write a blog, I take a pen and immediately start writing. Ideas become reality. Words start becoming sentences. Similarly, this is the process of discovering, reinventing, and finding your authentic self.
Write the entire painful situation in your words. As you write down, you start analyzing that the problem wasn’t that big as we thought it to be. Write down ways how you could efficiently handle the situation instead of overreacting and overthinking. Read them back as well. If you go through your journal after a while, trust me it’s so much fun. Whether you’re happy, sad, worried, excited, confused, a journal becomes a place to release those emotions. Journalling is very beneficial, especially for mental health. It not only is very relaxing but has therapeutic effects as well. If you’re tech-savvy and attached to your phone, journalling via pen and paper is not the only option. Apps for journalling are also available. When I am traveling I write in the notes section of my phone. It is very handy and safe as well. Google Keep Notes is what I use.
Pro tip: Knowing your emotions and their triggers give you phenomenal confidence.
How is that possible?
You are not in control of the situation which happens but you are in control of the mind.
You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.Marcus Aurelius
Pour down all your emotions and feelings while writing. You can get emotional. It’s alright. It’s your me-time. What we are doing here is validating, accepting our emotions as they are. Not swiping or suppressing them. On the other hand, feeling them to a point that they cease to exist anymore.
The next step is to empower yourself.
Empowering is learning how to regulate one’s emotional states. To say nothing of, it requires commitment.
Here are several ways to begin :
1) Daily Meditation or breathwork for at least 5 mins #how to stop overthinking
One of the effective and easiest ways I learned during meditation class was the Square Breathing technique. This is one easiest way to your how to stop overthinking question
If you are new to Meditation, then this term may not be familiar to you.
Square Breathing Technique
- This technique is to be used anytime you need to restore calm and also useful to reduce BP or hypertension.
- *Sit comfortably with your feet on the floor (this step is not totally necessary as you can use square breathing anytime)
- Take a slow breath in through your nose while counting slowly to 4
- Hold the breath in for another slow count of 4
- Exhale through your mouth for a slow count of 4
- Hold again for a slow count of 4
- Continue 1-5 minutes or until you begin to feel calm.
*This will also derail a panic attack or anxieties
Since this technique is very powerful, I have made a free pdf guide on details about this technique. This is very beneficial during uncertain times. Benefits and proper ways to practice this technique are also mentioned.
2) Practice Self Compassion #how to stop overthinking
People with low self-esteem tend to be pretty hard on themselves. They take everything that happens good and bad very personally. Ultimately, it leads to overthinking. ‘Man, I shouldn’t have said that I’m such an awkward asshole.’
Instead, question yourself this
When your friend fucks up, do you treat him like pig’s poop? Of course, not! Not to mention, if you do, kick on the ass is expected. Firstly, you console them right and point out all the reasons why it’s okay to fuck up sometimes. Secondly, everyone does it, that doesn’t make them a horrible human being. Thirdly, it’s your job to do that. Soooo, why not try this with yourself?
3) Pause #How to stop overthinking
When you feel your nervous system is disturbed (a stressful text from a partner, an email from your boss, a car next to you with road rage). The idea here is to pause plus breathe. Interestingly, the result you get from this pause+breathe is confidence. Because you are teaching yourself that not everything needs a habit response. This is the final solution to the how-to stop overthinking question.
Overthinking may ruin happiness and opportunity, and it can create unneeded anxiety. Stop suffering for what you never asked for. Even don’t try to control/suppress thoughts. Let them rise; feel, and let them go. Take the help of the techniques discussed above
- Square Breathing Technique
- Self compassion (stop treating yourself like poop)
- Pause plus don’t forget to breathe
Finally, tell me what you do to stop overthinking? Which one of the techniques you are going to try?
Would love to read your solutions on how to stop overthinking.
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