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How to stop overthinking and live a happier life

When one bad thing happens in life, have you found yourself thinking of all the worst possible outcomes? It is our brain’s way of preparing ourselves for any danger that we might have to face. However, when this leads to a negative thought process, it can totally destroy your happiness. Overthinking is when your thoughts start moving further away from reality and throw you down a whirlpool of pessimism. You become anxious and stressed about what you are about to face. It might also be something terrible that happened in the past. Most of the time, your thoughts are much worse than the actual incident. If this is something that happens to you very often, read on to know how to stop overthinking in 10 steps.

Be aware of your thoughts

We don’t understand that we have been overthinking until the circumstance shows signs of improvement. By the time you become aware, you might have already ruined the day for you and those close to you. Therefore, if you are wondering how to stop overthinking, you can start practising this. When you feel your mood suddenly changing, ask yourself what is going on in your head.  Are you thinking straight, logical thoughts based on facts, or are you imagining scenarios in your mind? Take a closer look at the situation and what is happening around you. Ask yourself how you are responding.

Focus on the brighter side

When so many voices in your head are telling you that everything is going wrong, it might be challenging to find the good in life. At that point, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Things are not always how you imagine it to be. Remind yourselves that overthinking is driven by your fears. How many times have your worst fears come true? Not so much, right? It is essential to realise that there is both good and bad in every situation. When you are overthinking, you tend to look only at the horrible aspects. So, try to look at the positive sides which your brain has deliberately hidden from you.

Keep yourself occupied

Sometimes, you start overthinking about a particular part of your life because you are focusing too much on it. For example, if you are worried about a fight with your friend, take some time off from that situation. There are much more things in your life that you need to focus on. Watching a movie or taking a casual walk or even spending some time with your pets can go a long way. You could also finish off your chores or complete that project you have been putting away for too long. The next time someone asks you how to stop overthinking, tell them to find some work to complete. When you are busy with something, you have less time to think about what is bothering you.

Look at the long run

Overthinking usually lasts for hours or even days, depending on when the situation changes. After your mind has calmed, you probably feel bad for wasting so much time. You realise how silly your thoughts were and how easily you have conquered the problem in real life. Most of the scenarios you have imagined do not even happen in reality. So the next time you start overthinking ask yourself one simple question. Will this matter in five years? If your answer is no, then do not spend more than five minutes thinking about it. When you put things in perspective, it is easier to look at them the way they precisely are.

Stop trying to control every situation

How to stop overthinking

Some people always need to be in control. When they feel like the situation is going out of their hands, they become overwhelmed and stressed out. However, you need to realise that everything in life will not happen the way you want it to. Sometimes, things go wrong, and that is okay. You can take every action to prevent a disaster, and it might still come in full force. A little bit of hope is necessary but do not rely on fate too much. You cannot expect things to be perfect every time. It is okay to let go and take life as it comes. This kind of mindset can truly help you if you are thinking of how to stop overthinking.

Set a time to think

If you are worried about how to stop overthinking for too much time, set a timer. Give yourself around 10 to 15 minutes to think and analyse about a particular problem. If you are able to find a solution within that time frame, then you have succeeded. Even if you haven’t, don’t worry. If you cannot solve it within 15 minutes, then it is probably not under your control. You can now go back to completing your duties. Setting apart a certain time can give you a feeling that you have done enough from your side.

Stop catastrophising things

Catastrophising is when you perceive every conflict as an impending disaster. Just because things have gone wrong before does not mean it always will. When you start thinking about the worst in every situation, you won’t find the motivation to work for it. Besides, it intensifies the overthinking and ruins your mood. Tell yourself that good things will come to you too. You may have failed in an exam previously, but that does not mean you will never clear it. You will be surprised by how magically everything can fall together. If you want to know how to stop overthinking, creating a hopeful mindset is a great solution.

Build self-esteem

We often worry about challenges in life because we don’t have confidence in our capabilities. When you walk into a room full of people and don’t feel good about your appearance, you will keep thinking that they are judging you. The trick lies in building enough confidence that you are comfortable in your own skin. If you are able to accept yourself as what you are, no one can stand in your way. Building self-esteem is one of the first lessons to learn about how to stop overthinking. Any trouble that life throws at you can be faced with a smile if you know you can overcome it.

Practice gratitude

If you continuously find the unfavourable elements in everything, you will see more negativity in your life. On the other hand, if you are thankful for everything you have, you will feel more blessings coming your way. You can do a simple exercise to practice gratitude in your daily life. Once you wake up every day, go to the mirror and tell yourself three things you are grateful for on that particular day. It might be a job offer, exotic vacation or even the smallest things like a good book you are going to read that day. When you do this every day for 21 days, it becomes a habit.

Live in the present

Overthinking is usually triggered by a concern about the past or future. You might be thinking about something that you could have done better. It could also be an upcoming challenge that is bothering you. If you observe your thoughts, you will see that you are almost never worried about the present moment. When we dwell in our contemplations about something that is not in our control, we are losing the most precious part of life – now. If you want to know how to stop overthinking, practice mindfulness. It helps you stay grounded and be fully present in the now. You will gradually think less about the past and future and start living in the present.