5 Things You Should Do When You Are Overthinking

Liv Butler
Authored by Liv Butler
Posted: Friday, July 1, 2022 - 16:00

Life comes with many challenges, so it’s perfectly normal for people to worry from time to time. If, however, you tend to overthink and ruminate on past events or future possibilities continuously, it’s time to take a pause and evaluate your thinking patterns.

Overthinking can significantly impact your mental health and overall well-being, not to mention your quality of life. Moreover, some thoughts can sometimes feel so overbearing that they may even paralyze you from taking action to address the cause of your worrying in the first place. Indeed, it is a vicious cycle that can feel like a never-ending war against your own mind.

Fortunately, you are not powerless in its wake. There are effective methods and actions that you can do and practice to quell incessant worrying. The following are some of the immediate actions that you can apply when your thoughts become too much to handle.

Acknowledge that You’re Overthinking

To address a problem, you need to first acknowledge its existence. This is important because, for some individuals, overthinking has become so common that they don’t realize that it’s not the norm.

How do you know if you’re overthinking? To shed some light on the matter, overthinking is usually characterized by two destructive thought patterns:

  • Focusing too much on actions you did in the past
  • Constantly worrying that something bad will happen in the future

When you fall into these thought patterns, it can feel like your mind never has a moment of peace. Taking a step back and realizing that you have a habit of overthinking is the first step to overcoming this debilitating habit.

Take a Mind Detour

Finding a healthy distraction is one of the most effective ways to stop overthinking. To illustrate, imagine your thought process as a busy river. When you try to stop the flow and tell yourself to stop worrying, more likely than not, you’ll end up thinking about it more. However, when you redirect the river’s course, you not only shift your focus onto other matters but you also stop ruminating about the things that worry you.

There are several ways you can go about this. You can take up a class for a new hobby, like pottery or painting. Movie lovers can go to the theatre and watch the latest blockbuster film. For actively religious people, they can read their faith’s teachings on apps like the Muslim Pro app for Islam believers.

Everybody has different ways to cope with intrusive thoughts. The important thing is to find one that fits your interests best and allows you to channel any pent-up energy healthily.

Make a Distinction Between Minor and Major Issues

Emotions cloud the way people think. Small problems and concerns can feel significantly bigger and worse than they really are if you think about them constantly. When this happens, take a step back and try to look at it relative to the bigger picture. Will your concern matter a year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now?

If the answer’s no, take a deep breath and let your concerns wash away. On the other hand, if the answer’s yes, focus on the things you can control. You can look for potential solutions and find ways to improve the situation. If there’s not much you can do to change it, turn inward and look for a way to alleviate your mental and emotional condition instead.

Set Aside Time for Rumination

Schedule a specific period each day for overthinking. Each time intrusive thoughts come up and you find yourself falling into a bad thought pattern, tell yourself, “Not now. I have this scheduled for later.” It may sound funny at first, but it can help you compartmentalize your thoughts at that moment and help you attend to the matter at hand.

By scheduling this as part of your day, you’re giving yourself space to ruminate without it taking over your life. During this period, try to do things that can help you sift through your thoughts properly. Jotting your thoughts down in a journal, for example, is an excellent way to get things off your chest and mind. You can also look for self-help books and insightful articles on websites such as the Muslim Pro app Facebook page for some guidance on how to handle overthinking.

Be of Service to Somebody in Need

Overthinking can make you feel helpless in the wake of your concerns and problems. One of the ways you can take back some of that control is to help others in need. If you have a friend or family member that needs extra assistance, reach out and help lighten their loads. While this act doesn’t take away your issues, it does help you feel more capable of accomplishing the things you set out to do. It gives you courage that, similar to how you helped others, you can also help yourself and face your concerns.

Bear in mind that these are only some of the immediate things that you can do to quell down overthinking. If it feels too much, however, it doesn’t hurt to ask for help from others. A trusted third party, such as a qualified therapist or long-time friend, can help you shed some light on your situation and offer you some guidance on what to do next. By doing so, you alleviate your mental burden and in its place, focus on the things that make you happy.


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