You can’t sleep. Your mind is whirring. You are either thinking about something that happened during the day or something that might happen tomorrow. You are a classic overthinker.
Overthinking contributes to anxiety, prevents you from being productive, and lessens your happiness. It may be hard to overcome, but you can stop this bad habit to lead a calmer and more carefree life.
There are some simple things you can do to stop overthinking. This doesn’t require a therapist or expensive treatments. It just takes some time and effort.
- Gain some perspective.
Sure, these problems you have may be important to you now, but likely will not matter over time. Will it matter to you in two weeks? What about five years? Once you look at it in terms of a lifetime, you will realize that it isn’t as big of a deal as what you are making it out to be.
- Set deadlines for making decisions.
Normally, people who overthink tend to also have trouble making decisions. That is likely because they are overthinking. Set a deadline for making smaller decisions. After all, it isn’t life or death if you are going to get take-out over cooking at home. These types of decisions should be made within 30 seconds to a minute. Bigger decisions will take more time. Give yourself a day, overnight, or a weekend to consider those but adhere to your deadline to make a choice.
Practice making decisions quickly with a stack of mail or clothes you are clearing out of your closet. Decide immediately once your hand touches them whether they stay or go. Don’t look back. This type of practice will help you gain confidence in your decision-making skills.
- Don’t set up your day for stress.
People often get into a habit of setting up a day of stress without even realizing it. They immediately get online to their favorite social media page or watch news first thing in the morning. While it is important to keep up with events, these things can also carry a lot of negativity. It is best to wait a little later to handle that type of information.
Instead, start your morning with something calming like meditation, prayer, or quiet contemplation. Plan your day in your mind over coffee. Many successful people do this type of thing in the morning to set a positive, organized tone for the day.
Have a morning routine and set out your clothes and all you need the night before. Make your bed. It all will allow you to get out the door without stress and sets a positive tone for the entire day.
- Handle tasks effectively.
Being able to handle tasks throughout the day is a large part of eliminating overthinking. After all, part of overthinking is wondering whether your decisions are correct.
Set a priority list for tasks. Some people like to tackle the hardest thing first to get it over with and avoid procrastination. Then, the rest of the day goes easier. Others like to tackle numerous smaller tasks first so they are out of the way so they can focus on the larger, harder task. However you do it, make sure you have deadlines for completing each task to stay motivated.
Handle a task one at a time. Set times to take breaks after completing each portion or at certain times. It doesn’t feel so overwhelming that way. Don’t constantly look at emails or social media while you are working on a task. That is distracting and barrages you with too much information. Do that afterward.
- Take action.
Taking action is not something overthinkers relish. They procrastinate, especially when it comes to larger projects. These larger tasks can seem overwhelming.
You need to break the work down so you can tackle it easier. Instead of cleaning the whole house, decide to do laundry. Instead of cleaning the whole kitchen, decide to just put away dishes in the dishwasher. Chances are once you complete these small tasks, you will be motivated to move on to larger tasks. Before you know it, your entire project is done.
- Take care of yourself.
It is scientifically proven that a lack of sleep and poor eating habits contribute to anxiety. Be sure to get a full night’s rest and eat nutritious meals and snacks. You will find that taking care of yourself will give you more clarity and concentration.
- Get physical exercise.
Walking and working out will help you release anxiety and calm your nerves. Exercise releases hormones that make you happy, so you will be able to think about life differently if you work out regularly. Besides, it is physically impossible to overthink when you are physically moving so it gives your brain a rest.
- Be present.
It can be difficult to be present in the moment. After all, you are constantly thinking about the next thing. Practice focusing on the here and now. Listen to your friend instead of planning what you need to do afterward. Pay attention to little things as you go through your day. Just slow down.
- There are always things out of your control.
A big part of anxiety is over things out of your control. It is important to realize there are some things you can’t control. You need to think through situations in that category and develop a list of what you can control in the situation. Ask yourself what the worse that can happen and what would your reaction be? Having a game plan will go a long way to empowering you.
- Capture every thought.
You probably have a million thoughts daily and not all of them are good or worthwhile. Before spending any time on them, ask yourself if they are helpful? Are they positive? If not, then discard them.
Using these 10 tips will, over time, help you calm your mind and think more clearly. That will create a positive vibe where you will gain confidence that will, in turn, keep you from overthinking in the future.