Updated: Jul 28, 2021
Do you identify yourself with these signs? Are you an overthinker? Well, you are not alone.
In one of its studies, The University of Michigan found that 73% of adults between the ages of 25 and 35 overthink. Scary number, right? But guess what, it's quite common in teenagers, too.
Some of us even tend to overthink the fact that we are overthinking!
Do you find yourself endlessly ruminating about a decision made in the past or the reaction of yourself and others in many situations? Why did I do that? Why did he say that? What did he mean by that look? What will happen now?
If this is what goes in your head most of the time, well, it's not good. Thinking about your past mistakes or embarrassing moments continuously can be exhausting and can disrupt the peace of mind.
Okay, yes, you already knew that! But you probably don't know how to deal with it. So, stay tuned for some fantastic ways, research-backed, which helped me to deal with my overthinking loop.
1. BE AWARE OF YOUR THOUGHTS-
Awareness is the stepping stone towards changing your overthinking habit. Take some time out of the chaotic mind and reflect; When, where, and how does the never-ending cycle of overwhelming start. Ask yourself the right questions, like, what are the topics around which you tend to overthink a lot. Try to identify the root cause that is causing you to overthink. Carefully observe what happens to your mind and body when you overthink.
In the very moment, you become aware of your ruminative thoughts and what triggers them, you can plant a seed of change.
2. FIND YOUR POSITIVE DISTRACTION-
Who says distraction can only be destructive. Sometimes, positive distractions can help you shift your focus from the spiral of negative thoughts to something more positive. Pursuing hobbies like painting, music, dancing, reading, and sports can be great positive distractions that can come wrapped up with various other benefits like personality and skill development.
You can also play your favorite game or watch something- positive, of course, on Netflix to distract yourself from overthinking.
However, hobbies are found to be more effective- just in case you were too happy reading games and Netflix!
3. HAVE A REALISTIC PERSPECTIVE-
Sometimes problems and situations are more negative in our heads than in reality. Trust me; it was true for me. We don't realize it at once, but after considerable self-reflection, we find, it's actually true. We sometimes unknowingly end up making a mountain out of a mole. So if you are introspecting your thoughts as you read this, ask yourself, 'Will it matter in the next five years?' or even five weeks, for that matter.
If no, why spoil your present!
That brings us to the next point.
4. LIVE IN THE PRESENT-
Dear overthinkers, sometimes we have to stop scrutinizing what happened in the past, stop anticipating what will happen in the future, and just focus on what you have right now and how you feel in the present. I understand its easier said than done, but with practice, mindfulness and self-kindness, I know you will be able to conquer your mind.
Here are some tips that will help you live in the moment.
Take deep breaths and focus on what you are hearing, seeing and thinking, and feeling.
Write down your thoughts at the moment.
Engage in flow- focussing entirely on the task at hand. It could be anything- cooking, writing, or watching cricket.
Remove unnecessary things that can trigger you to overthink about an unpleasant past event.
5. SET ASIDE A FEW MINUTES FOR OVERTHINKING-
Don't be surprised. And yes, I am not kidding. Instead of overthinking the whole day, set a definite timer for five or seven minutes and think, worry, and analyze whatever you want. But, when the timer goes off, take some time and a pen and paper, write down all the things that worry you, stress you, or give you anxiety.
After you are done with this emotional catharsis, go and do something fun or something you love.
Moreover, if you are a chronic over-thinker and cannot get over with your thought spiral even after following these tips, make sure you seek professional help from counselors or psychologists.