Most people have a tendency to overthink in certain situations. Perhaps you are someone who is cool as a cucumber in the boardroom, but you have a nasty habit of reading between the lines when it comes to relationships. Maybe you overthink body language, or the tone you suspect is coming through an email or a text message. How to stop overthinking is probably something you’ve wondered more than once, and you are not alone. Many people overthink and learning how to stop overthinking is a challenge.

Life throws curve balls from time to time, but not every situation is a disaster waiting to happen. Your habit of overthinking in any aspect of life can cause you undue stress, worry, and fear. It causes health problems you don’t even realize you’re experiencing, and it dramatically reduces your overall quality of life. It’s not easy to learn how to stop overthinking when worrying and stressing are habits you’ve had for so long, but understand how it affects your body and your mind might motivate you to make a positive change.

What Is Overthinking?

If you’re curious about overthinking and what it means, you don’t have to overthink it too much. It means just what it sounds like it means. Overthinking occurs when you spend too much time thinking about any specific situation or moment. For example, perhaps you’re dating someone, and you hope to get engaged and get married, but your significant other makes a flippant comment about marriage one day. All you can think about is that comment and what it means. Do they not want to get married? Are they trying to tell subconsciously to you they’re no longer invested in this relationship? Are they checked out?

They might just be planning on proposing soon, but they don’t want to give anything away, so they’re brushing off all talk of marriage so they don’t let any plans slip. The point is that you are focused so much on that one comment that you forget everything else that’s good in your relationship. You only think about that comment to the point that it’s all you can focus on, it’s all you think about, and it’s caused you to stress yourself out about it. Now you’re unhappy, you’re worried, and every aspect of your life is negatively affected whether you realize it or not.

What Happens When You Overthink?

over thinking

There’s a difference between looking at the options and potential outcomes of a situation and overthinking. Looking at the outcomes and options to gain knowledge and insight or to prepare yourself is not overthinking. However, these are common signs of overthinking if you’re not sure your thoughts are normal or if they are, in fact, signs you are spending too much time thinking about things and worrying.

  • You can’t stop thinking about it
  • You can’t stop worrying about the worst-case scenario
  • You aren’t looking for solutions because you’re just worrying
  • Your thoughts are negative
  • You obsess over things that aren’t important
  • You inflate words, phrases, and imaginary situations
  • You read between the lines with no reason
  • You blow everything out of proportion

This might happen on occasion, and it’s not a cause for worry. However, if you find yourself overthinking regularly, it’s time to learn how to stop overthinking and how to eliminate the worry and stress in your life.  

Health Concerns

Learning how to stop overthinking is important because of the potential health concerns that come along with overthinking. Not only are you causing yourself added and useless stress, but you are also causing yourself health issues. Here’s what you’re doing to yourself.

You’re Increasing Your Risk of Mental Health Problems

Mental health issues are a serious concern in American right now. When you spend this much time overthinking, you cause added stress to your life that’s not even real. You’re focusing on things that haven’t happened and might not even be realistic, and you’re causing your body to react negatively. Your chances of suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues increase significantly when you spend time overthinking.

You’re Losing Sleep

Worry isn’t for you. It’s a waste of your time. You can’t solve problems by worrying about them. You can’t change a situation by worrying about it. You cannot do anything useful in your life by worrying about it, which is why you cannot worry so much. When you spend your time overthinking and worrying, you lose sleep. Sleep is essential. You need seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function properly, and your lack of sleep affects everything. Your memory is shot, you can’t concentrate, you can’t focus, you have no energy; you are prone to making unhealthy food choices, and you’re more likely to suffer from depression.

You’re Causing Heart Problems

If you can’t seem to figure out how to stop overthinking, now is a good time to realize you’re causing heart problems by making it a habit. Overthinking can cause your body to respond by making it difficult to breathe, but causing lightheadedness, and by causing chest pains. This, along with the other health problems overthinking causes, can lead to heart disease.

You’re Increasing Your Risk of Substance Abuse

Turning to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain you feel when you overthink everything is far too common. Your risk of becoming an addict depending on drugs or alcohol increases significantly. Even if you can overcome your addiction at some point, the damage addiction does to your mind and body are often difficult to overcome.

You’re More Likely to Get Sick

You’re thinking yourself sick. Your immune system is not going to work properly if you stress and overthink regularly. It’s time for you to stop overthinking, stop stress, and stop worrying. You’re more susceptible to illness you should be able to fight, and there’s no fun in that. It’s just one more reason you need to learn how to stop overthinking.

How to Stop Overthinking & Worrying

Learning how to stop overthinking will take time. You must learn to re-focus and re-direct your thoughts, change your way of thinking, and control your thoughts. It’s not simple, but it’s possible. It’s been said it takes approximately three weeks to form a new habit, so give yourself three weeks of hard work and focus to create a new habit to help you learn how to stop overthinking.

Stop Negative Thoughts

The moment you notice a negative thought creep into your mind, shut it down. Replace it with a positive thought, such as what can go right in this situation rather than what can go wrong. Don’t let the negative self-talk or thoughts continue.

Find Something Distracting

When you find yourself obsessing over what might go wrong, find something to distract you. One of the best things you can do to distract yourself is exercise. Go for a walk or a run, go swimming, dance around the house, or practice yoga. Your body not only has no time to think about your problems doing these activities, but your body also releases feel-good endorphins that minimize feelings of stress.

Ask This Question

“Will I even remember this in a year?” If the answer to that question is yes, perhaps you can find a more productive way of handling your stress than worrying about it. Find a solution and set some goals. If the answer is no, then your job is to stop worrying about it. If you’re not even going to remember this next year, it’s time to let go.

Remind Yourself Failure Is A Learning Opportunity

Many people worry because they are afraid of fear, but this is nothing short of a learning curve for you. Every failure you’ve gone through has taught you something, and this situation is no different. Rather than looking at the worst case, start looking for the lesson in this situation. When you find the lesson, begin applying it to your life and focus on the positive situation that will come from learning as you go.

Conclusion

Learning how to stop overthinking is not going to happen overnight, but it won’t take long to retrain your mind and your thoughts. Fear and worry are common, and it’s okay to feel those emotions. However, it’s not okay to feel those emotions so much and so deep that you focus on them to the point you make yourself sick. Put your health first by realizing that worrying does not fix anything. It’s unproductive, and it’s a gross waste of time. You cannot predict the future or change the outcome of a situation by thinking about how bad it is or will turn out.

You can only change the future by acting. Making decisions that will help you, learning from your mistakes, and making the decision every day to focus on the good in life will change your future. Stop wasting your time and energy on the things that don’t matter and start focusing your time and energy on things that do matter. The future is not guaranteed, and there’s no sense in wasting your day worrying about things that may or may not ever happen.

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