Hey, get out of my head!

That’s me assuming a commanding officer tone, chasing away the overthinking side of me because I caught myself overthinking yet again.

If you’re like me, a chronic, semi-chronic, or recovering over-thinker, let me first assure you that with repeated practice, you can tame your mind so it doesn’t go into overdrive all the time.

You can train your brain to stay calm and clear your mind.

So don’t get frustrated and annoyed with yourself with your tendency to stew over stuff.

Most of all, know that overthinking isn’t always bad.

Remember the last time you were deciding on your next holiday destination and weighing up several options?

One minute you want this hotel, and the next minute a different one.

Overthinking allows you to be cautious and conservative with your choices. And in certain situations, well prepared.

The trouble lies when our overthinking gets in the way in a way that is not helpful, and it becomes a mental agony.

You know those racing thoughts of:

  • I should’ve said it differently.
  • I could’ve helped her.
  • I could’ve saved more money.
  • I should’ve stayed with him.

Our minds keep going back to past events that we can’t change.

When you beat yourself up over what you said or did, overthinking can disrupt your life, causing anxiety and stress.

The same thing is true when we overthink events yet to unfold in the future or when we strive for perfection.

Be Aware of what Happens When You Overthink

If you see any of the signs below, you may suffer from the negative aspect of overthinking:

The good news is that overthinking isn’t a permanent thing. Neither of the above are signs of the negative aspect of overthinking. 

You can train your brain to stop overthinking and stop worrying. You can calm and clear your mind. You can relax instantly and reduce stress quickly.

From my experience, I know everyone can learn how to live in the moment and stop overthinking.

Below are 5 effective ways I used to stop myself from overthinking. 

How to Stop Overthinking Your Life and Start Living

1. Catch Overthinking Instantly and Stop Its Flow

Overthinking is a dream-killer. Sometimes you can drown yourself in your own thoughts.

Steve Maraboli

The moment I catch myself overthinking, I say it out loud:

  • Uh-oh, you’re doing it again.
  • Hey, get out of my head.
  • Nah, not again.

It stops the flow of overthinking right there and then and pulls you right back out of overthinking and into the present. 

Whether it’s borne out of being a perfectionist or from stress and doubt over past or future events, recognise the moment you overthink.

Catch it instantly and put a stop to it before being pulled into the constant barrage of thoughts, which will drown you.

2. Replace the Thoughts

Let our advance worrying become advanced thinking and planning.

Winston Churchill

Do you remember the night before your first job interview?

I remember being worried sick about it.

What if I mess up the interview and don’t get the job?

I didn’t understand why I kept visiting that anxious place when I knew it wasn’t helping me one bit.

It just added fuel to my already fretful mind.

Every second, my anxiety about the upcoming interview seemed to double, then treble.

I had to calm down and clear my mind.

So I deliberately started switching my focus to “how I’d feel when I’m offered the job.”

Slowly, but surely, the mood and energy started shifting.

I then diverted my time and focus from the unhelpful worries and anxiety to productive research.

I started learning about the company and potential interview questions to practise.

When you recognise that you are overthinking, replace your thoughts with something positive and engage in positive action.

Take advantage of “can’t be in two places at the same time,” because thankfully we can only have one thought at a time.

Watch this funny Will Smith talk: I promise you’ll love it!

He shows brilliantly how we (our worries and anxiety) could waste our time for… precisely nothing.

Will Smith on Skydiving

3. Allocate a Time Slot for Overthinking

Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.

Robert Herjavec

Here’s another trick I use when I catch myself going into a loop of overthinking: I create a time slot specifically for overthinking, for example, 12:00–12:15.

When I’m derailed from my task into overthinking, I say:

Wait until 12:00 or 12:15.

No, just no.

Hush, it’s not your turn yet!

And I only revisit “the issue” at the assigned time.

This allows me to be in the moment and focus on the task at hand.

When the time comes, I get all of my thoughts down on paper.

If there are things I can do something about, I get started right away.

Pick up the phone and have a conversation with a friend about stuff that’s been bothering me since we met, for example.

Things that I can’t do anything with?

I cross it off. I’ve given it some thought and concluded to let it go.

4. Ignore Assumptions and Seek Facts

Don’t let overthinking create problems that don’t exist.

Zig Ziglar

I remember the many sleepless nights I had over the mounting debt.

Overthinking just reinforced the worst scenario, causing me stress, worry, and anxiety.

One telephone conversation revealed that I could resolve my situation. It was just different from what I had assumed.

Companies were understanding and willing to work with me. All those worries and overthinking were for nothing.

Your partner’s recent mood swing may have nothing to do with you.

Your assumptions about your annual performance appraisal can be plain wrong until you talk to your supervisor.

I’ve learned that jumping to a conclusion always leads to overthinking.

I now train myself to seek facts with a direct approach and don’t entertain assumptions.

It allowed me to stop overthinking and start living in the present.

5. Watch the Energy Flow

Overthinking is often a product of underdoing.

Yehuda Berg

Just as everyone has 24 hours a day, we only have so much energy each day.

When we focus on one thing, something has to give. 

So I became conscious of what other important things I might neglect while my energy is being spent on overthinking.

I keep reminding myself that I can control where I place my awareness at any moment.

We have the luxury of choosing what to focus on.

No one is pointing a gun at you and me and telling us to overthink while neglecting some other important aspects of our lives.

Overthinking and worrying are all our own doing; therefore, we can undo them.

It may seem hard at first.

But start by observing where you’re letting your energy flow. Keep moving it back to the correct paths each time it goes off track.

You’ll soon learn to stop overthinking and relax.

Final Thoughts

Overthinking can affect our mental and physical well-being in destructive ways, but we have the power to tame it and calm and clear our mind.

Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Dale Carnegie

Despite all our yesterday’s worries and stress from overthinking, nothing we imagined would happen happened today.

Use these 5 effective ways to stop overthinking in this post to put a stop to today’s overthinking and welcome tomorrow with a light heart.

With repeated practice, you can stop overthinking your life and start living in the present moment.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you so so much! I can really relate to this a lot because I suffer from overthinking and anxiety! I really love this! Amazing tips 💕

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