The basics in brief
Overthinking is thinking too long and too much about certain situations or scenarios.
Overthinking can be caused by low self-esteem or even be a sign of depression.
In order to stop overthinking, it is important to direct your thoughts in a positive direction and find out why.
Can’t stop thinking about things over and over again? We know what psychological tips help avoid overthinking!
Stop the Thinking Spiral: 6 Strategies Against Overthinking
Scientific studies show: We have around 60,000 individual thoughts running through our heads – every single day. This fact is impressive, but even more surprising is that most thoughts are unconscious and negative. Daily stress, insecurity, and the deluge of negative news that hits us every day: there is so much to worry about.
You probably know the feeling of being anxious about more and sometimes less important things in life. This is completely normal. However, if overthinking gets the upper hand, the whole thing can quickly develop into an unhealthy habit and result in a never-ending stream of thoughts, also known as “overthinking.” But why do we generally focus on mistakes and negative experiences or scenarios instead of turning our gaze to the many positive things in life? This does not solve any problems, quite the contrary. Sometimes this is exactly what causes the problems in the first place.
People think a lot about this:
- the past.
- The future (and disaster scenarios).
- Negative judgments about yourself and comparisons to others.
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There are various reasons why people tend to think and play certain things over and over in their heads. The reasons for this can be self-doubt and extreme insecurities. This takes a lot of energy and can be harmful to your mental health. Sometimes it can also be an indication that a mental illness is already present, such as depression. If you have been feeling bad for a longer period of time and cannot stop your overthinking, we strongly recommend that you see a doctor.
But how do you determine if you’re overthinking? Inquire about your thoughts and how often you visit certain topics. Overthinkers skip back and forth through conversations, analyzing perceived signs of rejection and questioning every decision they made. Instead of approaching a problem from a constructive and self-reflective perspective (or recognizing that there is no problem at all), the overthinker approaches an issue with destructive self-criticism and fear. Here are our tips on how to get out of this whirlwind of fun!
Get to know the problem
First of all, it is very helpful to realize that you are again in a whirlpool of thoughts. Now you can try to think about your behavior and, if necessary, find the reason for this. But: Sometimes that isn’t always obvious — and after all, that shouldn’t immediately become the next issue you rack your brains about. So don’t be too hard on yourself and accept overthinking. Leaving that behind is not easy and takes practice.
Do a reality check
In fact, most of the things we worry about aren’t half as brutal. They often do not correspond to reality or cannot be prevented anyway, no matter how hard you think. Ask your thoughts and don’t focus on the things you can’t change. Finding a healthy way to deal with it is much more important. Disaster scenarios happen in the rarest of cases and the past cannot be undone.
Write down your thoughts
Writing down ideas can be of great help in addressing certain things. We advise you to do everything without technical aids and take pen and paper. Write your thoughts clearly and let go of everything that bothers you the most. Now you can focus on something else. Another tip: Some people find it helpful to cross out problems that can’t be changed or are an unwarranted part of the brainstorming round. And for problems that cannot be eliminated, there is also a solution.
Share your concerns with others
If overthinking really gets you down again, trust friends, because talking about it can be as beneficial as writing. You can discuss the issues you have in mind with them and get a more neutral opinion on them. You can also exchange ideas together.
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Focus on the here and now
Bring your attention to the present and focus on what you can do to get your energy back on track. Create a routine that gives you a sense of security and engage in meaningful activities that distract you from negative thoughts and bring you joy. Learning something new gives you more positivity as you broaden your horizons. For example, how about this:
- Sports (individual or gym)
- to paint
- is reading
- Excursions in nature
Have you also tried breathing and meditation techniques? It’s not always easy to find your way there, but it’s worth it! With deep inhalations and slow exhalations, your body’s natural stress response decreases and you reach rest. With meditation, you can also clear your mind and find your inner balance. All that matters is alertness, relaxation and focus. Essential oils can also benefit your psyche. Lavender oil, rosemary oil, or peppermint oil can help if you want to clear your head. Try it!
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