How to stop Overthinking Everything? The Right Way to deal with it.
How to stop Overthinking Everything? The Right Way to deal with it.
Overthinking is not lethal, but it makes your Life dead.
You listen to your thoughts for 525600 minutes, that’s 365 days nonstop.
Only when these thoughts have clarity, your mind is at peace. This is thinking.
But more than half of these thoughts lack clarity, and your mind feels stuck and confused. This is overthinking.
Overthinking increases anxiety, and you try to find out how to stop overthinking everything and how to find peace and happiness.
Just because your ears help you listen does not mean you can explode them with a high pitch. Similarly bombarding mind with thoughts beyond its ability to process and decode, will destroy its peace.
But sometimes we become addictive to high pitch and overthinking, ignoring the destructive outcome.
Overthinking starts when one of the major areas of your life has a topic that you are either not understanding, confused with, or you fear it.
- A troubled past.
- A fearful future or
- Confusion about the present are three possible sources of overthinking.
So, you start thinking constantly about these areas of concern so as to gain clarity and better understanding.
But when it gets mixed signals, all the thoughts start clouding you with anxiety.
You did not get clarity but instead, the problem gulped you in its intricacies more than before.
- There was something that was bothering you.
- You wanted to get rid of it.
- A signal was sent to your mind that you are worried about something.
- But you did not command the mind how to go about it.
- Because your mind did not receive clarity about what to think about, it flooded you with countless thoughts.
- Hence, rather than helping you, it trapped you in more confusion.
The sad part is you don’t know how to block these thoughts. You wanted to pan out problems, but your mind puzzled you instead.
And you reach a point where you want to hand over your mind to someone who can take charge of it.
Just like when a severe illness strikes you, you rush to a doctor for treatment, similarly you want someone to stop your mind from having these racing thoughts.
But because you assume these thoughts will not be as sabotaging as a physical ailment, you let them linger until they start to interfere with other prime areas of life.
You lose peace, and you struggle not merely with the problem but with the stress and anxiety for failing to find a solution.
So, if you fail to block these unnecessary thoughts, this blog is going to be your treatment for overthinking.
How does it feel when you overthink?
- A past that you haven’t found peace with.
- A present that you are not happy with or
- A future that you fear of not going right are the three crucial subjects of an overthinker.
The headlines for overthinking can go like one of them or all:
- What if
- Will I be able to?
- Will it ever happen?
- Will I ever come out?
- How will I navigate?
- I am failing at it.
- Why it isn’t working.
- Will I find the right way?
- Why did it happen?
- How will I face it?
Thinking is like heading towards the doorway, but overthinking is getting lost in the forest.
You see a path in every direction to move out of the forest and you keep head guessing every path with a chance that it will lead you out. But you find yourself returning from every path you took.
And when you come back to the same position, that’s when you feel lost and frustrated.
You look normal even when your head is spinning with thoughts that take you nowhere near to clarity.
Two strong and absurd emotions that fill you when you overthink:
Just like the parent who failed to stop their child from indulging in the wrong stuff, you fail to stop your mind when it starts playing with unnecessary thoughts.
Now that the child suffered, the parent is filled with remorse for not being a disciplined parent. You feel the same when you fail to stop yourself from overthinking.
It is a feeling of deep regret when you know your thoughts are not constructive and you still let them play.
If you have no rule book of discipline for your child, you cannot expect the child to play safe.
Your mind is like a child.
If you do not guide it, it will come up with the scariest thoughts because it did not seek your permission before processing them.
Overthinking does not give you a solution, it rather makes the problem scarier.
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Overthinking was an attempt to solve the problem, but it gave you more of them.
Most of the time, the problem isn’t the problem. The way you think about it, is the problem.
There is a list of things that you worry about, and they can be anything from your past, present or future.
You want to protect yourself from something that does not feel right in life, and you think about every possible way to get rid of it.
But because you do not have a plan to jump safely out of it, you land up into repetitive thoughts with no clear conclusion.
It’s like a move made by the devil to trick you into frustration.
It creates a puzzle, a labyrinth, giving you so many options, choices and scenarios that you end up making no clear decision: a concept called analysis paralysis.
Overthinking that leads to zero action can make you extremely fatigued.
It starts affecting the other spheres of Life as well. When your mind is trapped in confusion, it fails to function well, and you see yourself losing concentration.
Why does Overthinking happen?
Before you try to find out how to stop overthinking everything, you need to understand why does overthinking happens in the first place.
You want things to go in a certain way in life because you feel if they don’t, you will fail to handle them.
There is a fixed picture in your mind and when the canvas appears to come up with a different one, it puzzles your mind. You feel zoned out, unable to process how to get along with this picture that you never anticipated.
These things can be anything from serious relationships to office politics, family matters to personal matters or just your daily life.
At this point when your mind isn’t ready to accept something, because you created a script of how things should go in your life and when it does not, your mind starts overthinking about them.
Overthinking is an attempt to overcome a problem or a situation that you had not anticipated and was outside your script, so it is hard to understand it and it accompanies fear and anxiety.
There is a deep sense of fear when your mind thinks about a situation you never anticipated.
My story of Overthinking
When I started my writing journey, I anticipated everything would be smooth because I assumed I had a lot of stuff to write.
And that was my script.
I fed my mind with the belief that it was going to be all easy and exciting.
When I started, it went smoothly because there was this initial motivation that kept me high.
But motivation lasts only when there are results.
And when I found no instant growth, my script started to fall out.
I failed to get more ideas.
I came across the writer’s block.
I struggled to create a disciplined schedule.
That’s when overthinking bumped in.
I was clueless that something called anxiety had become a thing in my life.
My mind had to struggle with the new script that suddenly came out of nowhere.
The new script was uncomfortable and demanding.
There were days and nights when my mind kept going down the rabbit hole thinking to come up with some solution that would make my writing journey if not easier but not make me lose my passion to write.
But when a problem looks scary and is outside the script we created, we don’t think about it with a solution-oriented mindset. Instead, we think of getting back our old script as soon as possible.
We do not have the patience to wait and understand that when things don’t go as per our plans or scripts, there isn’t something wrong in the process.
The inconveniences are just a mechanism that helps you break the comfortable patterns you have drawn for yourself. Because growth lies outside these comfortable patterns.
I realized overthinking everything was a trap that would only slow down my zeal and make the step even harder for me.
I mentored my mind and guided it to focus what was in my control leaving aside everything that I had no control over.
One of the other major areas of concern in my life that led me to overthink was sleeplessness.
The problem that bothered me so much that it troubled me for years. When I saw the cascading effects of overthinking, I started to research ways that could help me in my sleeplessness.
I have written my entire story of sleeplessness in this blog:
So, what exactly happens in your mind when you overthink?
When there is a situation that you are not ready for:
- You need to invest into making a plan.
- Strategic thinking about how you can handle it.
- What are the best possible ways to deal with it?
- Has anyone other than you been a victim of it?
- Has anyone found a solution to deal with it?
When you think about the problem, it is overthinking.
When you research the solution for the problem, it is planning.
Let me give you a real-life example:
Your taps are not working.
You lose your mind every morning to see the taps not work.
This is when you are inside the problem.
This is overthinking.
You try to understand what the issue is, is it possible that you can repair the tap, or do you need to call a plumber?
This is when you are outside the problem.
This is planning.
When you are inside the problem it scares you. The water is not coming. I am getting late for office. Why isn’t it working? When will it work? These are the traps when you don’t stop your mind from thinking the unnecessary.
When you stand away from the problem, monitor it and make an estimate of who can get it resolved, you are making a step-by-step process to come out of the problem.
In simple words, when you overthink, you aren’t making an effort towards the problem, you are just wanting to no longer have it.
When your attention is not on problem-solving but only on having the solution, you become an overthinker.
How to stop Overthinking everything? The Right Way to deal with it.
There isn’t a one-step solution to stop overthinking or one simple pill that can put a halt to your overthinking.
You have to dig into the matter and look for all the possible reasons contributing to overthinking and then create a roadmap.
Overthinking about a matter isn’t as big a problem as not doing anything to overcome this overthinking.
Unless you hit the rock bottom of overthinking, you do not acknowledge there is something wrong with your thinking. For the longest time, you assume overthinking is a mechanism to protect yourself from the severe problem in your life that you haven’t found a way to get over.
You have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired. In other words, you have to get fed up with your thinking process that does not give you any solution but instead inflicts upon you all sorts of frightening states of mind.
You have to find a new way of responding to your thoughts and a new way of thinking about your matters.
7 strategies to stop overthinking everything.
Observe your thinking patterns:
The first step is to sit down and observe your thoughts and see whether what you are thinking is helping you come up with a solution or not.
When you notice yourself replaying events in your mind over and over or worrying about problems that you cannot control, acknowledge that your thoughts aren’t productive.
Before you start working on overthinking, you have to be aware that there is something you are failing to manage correctly. The process of thinking that you have been using to help yourself in the matters that hover over you is just not working.
Take note of how it affects your mood. When you see visible agitation in your mood because of overthinking, take it as a serious sign to start working on the remediation.
Only when you are aware and acknowledge that there is something your mind is not processing smoothly, you will realize that you need to do something about overthinking.
Separate yourself from your thoughts.
Now that you know your thoughts aren’t constructive, you want to work on them so that you find a way that help you overcome them and build a thinking pattern that is clear and leads you to a solution.
At this point when you need a Saviour, take the next step.
When you overthink, you and your thoughts are in one place which means the one who wanted to find a solution gets trapped in the problem itself.
When these thoughts become confusing, you do not keep them aside, but they pull you into the puzzle and that’s when you start suffering.
To break free from this confusion, you need to commit to listening to your mind. This means, to leap from the one thinking, the thinker, to the one the thoughts are talking to, the listener. There is a space between thoughts and the thinker but when you lose this space, your thoughts don’t appear separate from who you are. Thoughts are you and you are thoughts.
But when you treat your confusing thoughts as a separate body and monitor them without indulging in them, you start to feel relief.
When you treat these thoughts like your enemy, you start separating yourself from them and you gain control over yourself.
You can feel them like an outside wanderer trying to destroy your peace.
It’s like someone telling you: You will never come out of this problem; it is going to be hard to come out of it and a loop of more toxic thoughts.
Now the question is, do you think you want to hear such thoughts, or do you think your well-wisher will say such things to you when you have a major problem?
So why do you allow yourself to go with these drowning thoughts?
Pull yourself out because these thoughts are not your good friend.
The most important discovery in freeing yourself from excessive thinking is recognizing that your thoughts are not you.
We have to decide for ourselves which thoughts we want to engage with and how we want to be treated inside our minds.
Change the channel or visualize stopping.
Before you dig down into a strategic plan to combat overthinking, start with something that can work for you right away. Distract yourself.
Sometimes all you need is not a perfect plan or a roadmap to kill overthinking but just commanding your mind to change the channel.
Your thoughts are like a short movie. But when these thoughts are toxic and create a loop of negativity, it isn’t possible to enjoy the movie.
You cannot stop feeling terrified watching a negative movie, but you can change the channel and replace it with something that isn’t scary.
Or you can picture yourself powering down your mind like shutting off the machine.
You can work on this paralyzed thinking at a core level only when you decide to cut the supply of toxic thoughts.
It is like giving anesthesia to a patient before the doctor starts his treatment.
Challenge your Thoughts.
Overthinking means when you are not controlling your thoughts, your thoughts create a toxic control over you.
They create scenarios in your mind that reflect your insecurities, fears and worries. It’s easy to get carried away with negative thoughts.
Remember that your emotions will interfere with your ability to look at situations objectively. Take a step back and try to find evidence, to fact-check your thoughts.
What proof do you have that all the thoughts that are creating fear in you are true?
Because in highly emotional situations, your thoughts will tell you stories that aren’t true.
When you overthink, you act like a student who does not question the teacher even if you don’t understand what she is teaching. This means you are accepting every fearful thought that comes to your mind.
Question your thoughts like the student who looks for more clarity so that he can understand the topic well.
When you interrogate these thoughts, you will find that 99 % of the harm is caused in your head by you and your thoughts. And 1% of the harm is caused by the reality and the outcome.
Stop giving power to your Fear.
Overthinking starts when there is a matter that is complex like an entangled piece of wool. The problem is the entangled wool.
The fear is that you won’t get it right.
And when you start thinking something from a place of fear, your mind starts racing with thoughts assuming you’ll get a solution so that you can overcome the fear.
But you get trapped in overthinking because fear makes the matter elusive, and it clouds the problem more.
Fear is like the fog on the window which blocks your sight to see things.
So, when you have a problem or a matter looming over you, take a step back and stop feeding it with fear.
Let me guide you with an example.
I want to grow as a Writer and establish my image as a prolific and eminent writer. But I am not skilled, and I do not have any roadmap. So, there will be times when I might overthink because I don’t have the clarity on how to bring out the best. My fear of remaining average, unnoticed and not growing will create a negative pattern that will block me from strategic thinking.
The problem is not that your problem is complex, it is that you fear the complexity of the problem which makes it hard.
If I tell my mind, these fears are just the stories that I create in my mind and they have nothing to do with reality, I will have 100 times more chances to work on it. So, all you have to do is, stop giving power to your negative thoughts.
Manage your story.
Don’t feed a problem with the fear of not finding a solution for it. You cannot hope to see light if all you are filling it with is darkness.
Place negative stories in a positive light. Sit down with your story and listen to it like a separate body than just thinking about it. Once you know the story not as a problem but as a project that you have to work on, you will gather the right information, search out the best ways, and make a strategic plan to go step by step to manage it.
It’s like you will not jump into your problem to instantly come up with a solution but collect the necessary tools that can solve it.
Treat your insecure wounded inner child.
When you overthink, there is a child deep down who might be feeling insecure, rejected, inadequate, not good enough and abandoned.
This is the moment to go inside and connect with that wounded younger you that came out when things went wrong and tell it or remind it of the loving words that it needs to hear. Hey, I love you, there are our friends, they are probably just busy and no matter what I am here for you. I know this feels uncomfortable but trust me it’s going to be ok.
Give everything to treat this inner insecure child who has become frightened by a lot of dreadful things.
Because all it wants is a lovable safe place where it feels belongs.
Just like a patient suffering from a severe illness needs treatment, and a healthy diet to recover and be healthy again, overthinking about something is also like a disease in which the part infected is your mind. To treat your mind, you have to treat your thoughts. To treat your thoughts, you have to feed them with thoughts that nurture them.
You are the patient; you are the doctor. Don’t go for shortcuts.
Study the case, find out the best medicine and treat with great dedication.
I hope this blog gives you the starting stimulus and little roadmap to dive into the problem of overthinking and work on it sincerely.
It isn’t going to fly away on day one but with regular practice and work, it will definitely fail to stay with you.
Start teaching your mind the right way before the mind gets trapped in the wrong place.
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