Sometimes our thoughts have a mind of their own and cause us to think too much about some things. It could be something that happened five years ago or a silly mistake that was made 10 minutes ago. Sometimes our brain just won’t let it go. Here are 5 ways to help you stop overthinking.
1. Schedule Overthinking
Scheduling time to reflect on things is a great way to keep you from overthinking as much. Spending a lot of time thinking about one thing isn’t productive but reflecting on things can be helpful. Take about 20 minutes to sit down and overthink. When those 20 minutes are up, get up and do something productive.
2. Change Your Mind
Telling yourself not to think about something is a sure fire way to think about it. But, changing your behavior is a great way to change your mind. If you notice yourself overthinking, busy yourself with an activity that requires you to focus solely on it. Exercise is a great alternative to overthinking and it’s a healthy one, too!
3. Take Note
You probably overthink and don’t even realize how much you do it. When you know you’re overthinking, take note of it so that you can make changes to your thought process. Once you notice your overthinking, you can acknowledge those thoughts, realize they aren’t productive, and move on.
4. Be Mindful
Mindfulness is the practice of being in the moment. If you’re in the moment, you’re less likely to overthink about events in the past or worry about what may happen tomorrow. Practice mindfulness everyday and you’ll notice that your overthinking will decrease over time.
5. Focus on Active Problem-Solving
Instead of thinking about why something happened, as yourself what you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. There are a few questions you can ask to get you started:
• Can I change the situation?
• Can I change the outcome?
• Is worrying about this productive?
If the answers to those questions are no, it’s time to move on to something productive. Instead, think about what you can actually do. Being proactive in your thinking may decrease overthinking in the future.
We all have times when we think about things too much. But, noticing our thought patterns and taking steps to make a positive change can have a profound impact on the future. The next time you find yourself thinking about something too much, practice these 5 tips to stop.
Dr. Amanda Itzkoff
My name is Amanda Itzkoff, MD. I am a New York City based Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
For additional information, please feel free to email our office at Amanda.Itzkoff@gmail.com.
To schedule an appointment, call our offices at 917-609-4990.