How Do I Stop Overthinking?: The Guide That Shifts Your Mind

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If you over think, you're not alone in fact it's a problem for so many people all over the world and it's not unusual for a client to ask me "how do I stop overthinking". They can see what this bad habit is doing to their lives.

Are you tired of constantly overthinking and feeling trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts? Overthinking can be overwhelming and cause you to have trouble making decisions in your life. 

Fortunately, there are techniques that you can start implementing today so that you can break free from the pattern of this version of you who over thinks. In this blog post, we'll explore actionable techniques that will help you to gain control over your thoughts and stop overthinking. By practicing what I'll share with you, you'll begin to experience a lot more clarity in your life. Say goodbye to overthinking and embrace a more empowered and present mindset.

Let's get to it! Here are the methods for breaking the overthinking cycle:

What Is Overthinking a Symptom Of? Understanding the Root Causes:

Working with clients all over the world, I can tell you that overthinking or ruminating a thought or even an experience or event over and over again is often a symptom of underlying issues as it relates to mental health such as self-esteem or self worth

It can stem from a variety of issues, like anxiety or stress. The need for perfectionism can often be an underlying issue but it's very often a result of past traumas or our view of an experience from the past.

In my experience, when my clients overthink, their mind gets caught up in a repetitive loop of thoughts and worries. It's clear they soon have trouble finding any peace and what's worse is that fear or even depression can set in.

By delving deeper into the root causes of overthinking, we can gain valuable insights into ourselves and better address these underlying issues.

Overthinking Thoughts To Avoid

  • I can't handle this
  • I have so many things to do!
  • I'm a failure!
  • I'm not lovable!
  • I can't do anything right!
  • Leave me alone!
  • No one cares about me!

The Patterns Of A Chronic Overthinker

Approaches to Stop Excessive Rumination

If you're an over thinker like I used to be, you'll be familiar with the process in your head.

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You'll have a thought about an event, something you did wrong, or something someone said or did to you at work, then you suddenly find yourself completely unable to stop yourself from replaying it over and over again. Your brain is desperate to understand it, and you might even be trying to resolve it. Before you know it, you're thoughts are looping and sometimes depression, anger or worry sets in.

In my day-to-day work as life coach, I meet people who are stuck in their head with analyzing and over thinking, hoping to find answers but mostly what they want is to somehow learn how to stop being an overthinker.

Ironically, this excessive introspection often leads to a state of stagnation when it comes to navigating life.

Overindulging in problem analysis and dilemmas often leaves us more perplexed than when we started. What's worse is, this constant thought looping can result in various symptoms like:

  • sleeplessness
  • difficulty focusing
  • loss of energy
  • anger
  • loss of confidence
  • depression
  • anxiety 

Unfortunately this all turns into further concerns about our health and mental well-being which sets us up for a destructive lifestyle.

When overthinking, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed and looking for ways to feel calm. I find the research interesting on this. Often some strategies seem like a good idea but research actually shows it might even make it worse.  

Now, take a look some of these strategies and see if you see your own behaviors:

Tactics for Quieting an Overactive Mind

  1. Constantly being on the lookout for threats: While this approach may seem beneficial if you feel in control, it can quickly backfire. Consider health concerns, for instance. If you excessively monitor yourself or your loved ones for signs of illness as a way to alleviate your worries, this vigilant threat detection will only intensify your sense of danger and amplify health-related anxieties. Another example is constantly seeking validation from others and trying to decipher their opinions of you, which inadvertently leads to increased emotional distance, reduced participation, and heightened worry, ultimately preventing you from fully enjoying their company.
  2. Searching for answers and reassurance: It is natural to seek reassurance from those close to you and look for guidance on how to cope better. However, if you become overly reliant on these strategies to pacify your anxieties and alleviate worries, you are treading on precarious ground. For instance, some of my clients spend several hours each day scouring the internet in search of reassurance or an explanation for their low mood. Unfortunately, this strategy often compounds their worries, as online searches for common symptoms tend to yield a wide array of results, including diagnoses they had not even considered.
  3. Excessive planning: Planning to a reasonable extent is perfectly fine. Maintaining a calendar or leaving notes for yourself is a healthy practice. However, some individuals take planning to the extreme, which can create problems. Apart from being time-consuming, excessive planning can have negative repercussions, including increased worry. For example, when meticulously planning, it is tempting to try and anticipate every possible obstacle that might disrupt a plan and how to handle such situations, thus triggering a cycle of worry. Others engage in meticulous planning because they believe they won't be able to cope otherwise, leading to heightened anxiety when plans go awry or unexpected events occur.

Do you see yourself in this?

Why can't I stop overthinking?

In my experience working with clients all over the world, one thing that I can tell you is at one time or another, we all find ourselves caught in thought loops which seem like a relentless grip taking us on a journey of overthinking.

If you're like most people, you're worried about the future, you're scrutinizing every decision you make, or your rehashing with your inner bully all the mistakes you've made over the last decade.

This is exhausting and it complicates our overall happiness and frankly, can lead to depression. 

So, why is it so difficult to break free from the clutches of overthinking? 

One of the primary reasons why we can't stop overthinking is our deep-seated fear of failure and uncertainty. 

Our minds have a natural tendency to seek control, our brains want security. Believe it or not, overthinking becomes a method of coping. Our brain wants to think every possible outcome as a protective mechanism. We're constantly analyze and evaluating every situations. Consciously however, we're aware of the torture and want it to stop.

Sometimes we can't stop overthinking because of our standards for perfectionism. 

Sometimes it's because we feel so overloaded from information and we just fear making a mistake. 

Sometimes you can't stop overthinking because of emotional triggers and negative thought patterns that have been ingrained over time. Past experiences, traumas, or unresolved conflicts can trigger recurring thoughts and anxieties. These patterns may become so automatic that we are unaware of their influence on our thinking process. 

What causes overthinking?

Overthinking can be brought on anxiety, stress, perfectionism, past traumas, low self-esteem, information overload, and a lack of mindfulness. Understanding these causes is vital in developing strategies to manage and overcome overthinking. Becoming more aware of the way your body feels believe it or not will really help you if overcoming it. 

Inability to cultivate mindfulness and be fully present in the moment hampers our ability to focus and invites overthinking, preventing us from experiencing and appreciating the present.

Does overthinking go away? Finding relief from the cycle.

Overthinking, with its incessant stream of thoughts and worries, can feel like an unshakable burden and like it'll never go away. Maybe you've been dealing with this many years and you're ready to shake it.

Many individuals who struggle with overthinking wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and if this cycle of rumination will ever end. While it may vary from person to person, the good news is that with awareness, understanding, and proactive steps, overthinking can indeed be managed and reduced, allowing for a more peaceful state of mind.

With the implementation of awareness, you can practice challenging Negative Thought Patterns. Overthinking often stems from negative thought patterns and distorted thinking. These patterns may include catastrophic thinking, assuming the worst-case scenario, or excessively focusing on flaws and mistakes. Once you become aware of these patterns, actively challenge and reframe them. Replace negative thoughts with more balanced and realistic ones. Practice self-compassion and remind yourself that nobody is perfect.

Over time, this practice can help shift your mindset and reduce overthinking tendencies.

This isn't a walk in the park if you're going to do this on your own. Getting support is really the best solution.

Sometimes, overthinking can become deeply ingrained and challenging to overcome on your own. Seeking support from a trusted friend, family member, or an online life coach can provide valuable guidance and perspective. Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you identify and reframe unhelpful thought patterns, providing you with effective strategies to manage and reduce overthinking.

While completely eliminating overthinking may be a lofty goal, it is possible to reduce its grip on your life. Through self-awareness, challenging negative thoughts, practicing mindfulness, taking action, and seeking support, you can gradually find relief from overthinking and cultivate a calmer, more balanced mind. Remember, it is a journey, and progress may take time, but with perseverance and the right tools, you can break free from the cycle of overthinking and embrace a more peaceful existence.

What does overthinking do to your brain?

Let's unravel the effects of overthinking on brain functioning. 

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Many people who catch themselves overthinking recognize there are problems occurring in the brain while others don't. I think it's important to highlight the impact of overthinking on your brain because there absolutely ARE effects and consequences. 

Let's break it down,

It's a fact. Excessive rumination triggers the brain's stress response, leading to increased cortisol levels (increasing stress in the body) but it doesn't end there. Those who spend time in their head rehashing memories, events, and trying to decide something are actually causing their memory to degrade. These people also find that concentration, and decision-making abilities are diminished too

Emotionally, overthinking heightens reactivity and sensitivity, while negatively impacting sleep quality. Furthermore, repetitive overthinking strengthens negative neural pathways, perpetuating the cycle. By understanding these effects, those that struggle with this can begin to see how important it is to get help so they can begin to implement strategies such as mindfulness and stress reduction techniques to alleviate the burden on their brains. 

What we need to understand is that overthinking turns into a habit. We are firing and wiring new neural pathways to connect the synapses in our brain. 

Do you want a habit like this? Does this habit help you to become your best version?

The benefit to getting support is seen with improved mental well-being.

What are the steps to stop overthinking?

Ways to Free Yourself from Overthinking

Are you ready to take control of your life and finally get the actual steps that you need to stop this overthinking cycle once and for all?

  • Recognize the Overthinking Pattern: The first step is acknowledging and becoming aware of your tendency to overthink. By recognizing the habit and its detrimental effects, you open the door to change and personal growth. 
  • Reframe Your Thoughts: Learn to look at the thoughts as not serving you and replace them with thoughts that help you to move forward.
  • Learn Mindfulness: Practice seeing your thoughts as emotionless and without meaning. Learn to focus your mind to being intentionally present in this moment. (Tip: practice breathwork)
  • Set Boundaries with Overthinking: Establish clear boundaries with overthinking by consciously redirecting your thoughts and focusing on productive activities. Engage in hobbies, exercise, or pursue creative outlets to divert your attention from rumination.
  • Seek Support from a Life CoachFind a life coach that you can trust. Not only can a life coach support and guide you every step of the way but a skilled life coach will always design a program that's unique to you and keep you accountable for implementing the strategies. 

Imagine life where you're free from the torture of overthinking.  What would that feel like?

By freeing ourselves from the overthinking habit, we can experience a range of transformative benefits. Imagine the liberation of a mind no longer burdened by incessant analysis and worry. The ability to make decisions with clarity and confidence, improved emotional well-being, reduced stress, and enhanced productivity are just a few of the rewards awaiting those who successfully break free from overthinking. 

While completely eliminating overthinking may sound like a difficult goal, it is possible.

Remember, it is a journey, and progress may take time, but with perseverance and the right tools, you can break free from the cycle of overthinking and embrace a more peaceful existence.

Take the first step on the journey to mental freedom and empower yourself to live a more fulfilling and present life with the support of a life coach.

Are you ready for your FREE Discovery Call?

About The Author: Sharon Lee

Career | Wellness | Business | Relationship

It's my life’s purpose to help you identify, clarify and realize your dreams. To help you create new goals and dreams and keep you accountable in the process.

The great thing about Life Coaching is it’s all about collaboration. I show up and meet you right where you are in life providing you with the tools and support.  My clients say it's life changing and I'm honored to share in the journey with you.

Come open yourself up to the possibilities.

My dream is to show you how you can have it ALL - a thriving life and business built on your soul-aligned purpose, designed around your LIFE instead of the other way around, leaving you with time and money for everything that matters to you.

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