Thinking intensively about an issue won’t necessarily solve the problem. In fact, when a person ruminates too much, it can often intensify problems rather than solve them as these repetitive thoughts don’t allow for new, healthier perspectives to take hold. If you often find yourself overthinking, here are 5 strategies to help you stop.
First strategy: try to practice mindfulness and meditation. It might seem obvious, but when you strive to live in the present moment, it is harder to spend time worrying about yesterday’s events or feel anxious about tomorrow’s schedule. Start to become aware of the “right now” by practicing your focus. With time, it can help reduce overthinking.
Second strategy: notice when rumination happens. Acknowledging when your thoughts are no longer productive is the first step in stopping the associated uncomfortable feelings. When you start to notice yourself replaying events in your mind or worrying about another person’s perception, take a pause, recognize it isn’t helpful, and let it go.
Third strategy: distract yourself to get out of receptive thinking patterns. Sometimes, stopping the cycle of overthinking simply requires you to place your focus elsewhere.
Fourth strategy: keep your focus on problem-solving. When possible, seek solutions to the problems you are experiencing rather than ruminating on them. Explore how you can learn from a mistake to avoid future problems, and instead of asking why something happened, focus on what you can actually do about it.
Fifth strategy: journal your thoughts. When you put your worries down on paper, you allow your brain to move on and feel less pressure to keep them bottled up.