Are you a classic overthinker? Do you find yourself stuck in a loop of negative thoughts? In the short-term overthinking can give us the illusion of control. But in the long-term, overthinking can lead to problems that impact your health and wellbeing. There are a few strategies that you can do to help you stop overthinking. Read on to find out more.
What’s going on inside your head?
Our brains are wired to think. Did you know that a human brain has on average 6,200 thoughts a day? It might feel like you’re the only one lying awake at night with a brain that can’t switch off. But research shows that 73% of young people chronically overthink. Whether it’s ruminating about the past, worrying about the present moment or thinking negatively about the future. Overthinking is a common thing in this modern and chaotic world.
What is happening inside your head when you are overthinking? It is believed that overthinking is rooted in uncertainty and anxiety. So, you need to understand the cause of your anxiety to stop the loop of overthinking. Scientists don’t have a definitive answer for why we overthink. They only know of the correlation between anxiety and overthinking. When our brains are engaged in what we call overthinking, our brains don’t have space for anything else. By remaining in a negative cycle of thoughts, we are training our brains to activate the amygdala and this causes more feelings of anxiety and fear. There are many physical ways that overthinking can affect our bodies too, from bloating and loss of appetite to headaches and dizziness, overthinking may seem harmless until it's not.
How do you stop overthinking?
There is no one answer for this. However, the first thing you should do is recognize it. Once you know that you are overthinking and it’s becoming a problem, it will become easier to do something about it. When you start paying attention, you will notice what triggers you and start to remove them. Remember, thinking is only helpful when it leads to positive action.
Once you have recognized that you’re stuck in your head, tell yourself that it isn’t a productive use of your time and you shouldn’t remain in this cycle of thoughts. Next, you need to challenge those thoughts. It’s hard to look at situations objectively when emotions are involved but think about the evidence to support the irrational fears and claims you are making to yourself inside your head. Schedule time for reflection during your day and allow yourself the space to think, you could even set a clock for 20 minutes and give yourself this window every day to think without distraction.
If you can train your brain to overthink, then surely, you can train your brain to stop overthinking? Bad mental habits can be changed. You can create newer, healthier habits and build your mental muscles to become mentally stronger to fight against your negative thought processes. Mindfulness is a great way to train your brain to stay in the present moment and help you to stop living in the past and worrying about the future.