Am I Overthinking? — How to Stop It?

Written by: Maheen Asif – M.Sc (Clinical Psychology)

Last updated date : August 17, 2022

Table of Contents Am I Overthinking? — How to Stop It?
  1. Why Do We Think Too Much?
  2. What Are The Signs Of Overthinking?
  3. What Can You Deal With This?

 

It all begins with a single moment. Maybe a friend said something to you that didn’t make sense, or perhaps you said something embarrassing in your fifth Zoom meeting of the day. After a few minutes or hours, you start to wonder, “What did they really mean by that?” Why did they tell me that? Or how come I said that? Do they make sense? Are they against me? I don’t know what to do! or am I overthinking this? All of this shows signs of overthinking.

When you have to take a big step, like where to go to college, changing careers, buying a car, getting married, or getting a divorce, you probably give it a lot of thought. It makes perfect sense to think carefully before making a big purchase or change in your life.

But sometimes, you might find that you keep going over and over almost every thought. You might think about even small decisions and “what-ifs” so much that you stop doing anything. This is what experts call “overthinking.

It’s normal to sometimes think too much. But if you think too much all the time, it can affect your sleep, work, relationships, health, and other parts of your daily life. Do you see any signs of overthinking? This is what you need to know.

Table of Contents Am I Overthinking? — How to Stop It?
  1. Why Do We Think Too Much?
  2. What Are The Signs Of Overthinking?
  3. What Can You Deal With This?
It all begins with a single moment. Maybe a friend said something to you that didn’t make sense, or perhaps you said something embarrassing in your fifth Zoom meeting of the day. After a few minutes or hours, you start to wonder, “What did they really mean by that?” Why did they tell me that? Or how come I said that? Do they make sense? Are they against me? I don’t know what to do! or am I overthinking this? All of this shows signs of overthinking. When you have to take a big step, like where to go to college, changing careers, buying a car, getting married, or getting a divorce, you probably give it a lot of thought. It makes perfect sense to think carefully before making a big purchase or change in your life. But sometimes, you might find that you keep going over and over almost every thought. You might think about even small decisions and “what-ifs” so much that you stop doing anything. This is what experts call “overthinking. It’s normal to sometimes think too much. But if you think too much all the time, it can affect your sleep, work, relationships, health, and other parts of your daily life. Do you see any signs of overthinking? This is what you need to know.

Chapter 1:
Why Do We Think Too Much?

Overthinking is a way to try to keep things under control and feel more sure about what to do next. When you think too much, your brain goes into “analysis mode.” It starts to go through different possible situations and tries to guess what will happen to calm you down. But when you think too much, you can’t easily switch out of analysis mode and do something. When we think too much, our minds almost always come up with more things to worry about. People of any age, gender, and personality type can have trouble with rumination, but those who are driven by success can be more likely to do it. Perfectionists and overachievers tend to overthink because they are afraid of failing and want to be perfect. This makes them replay decisions and mistakes or criticize them.
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Chapter 2:
What Are The Signs Of Overthinking?

Do you often think, “Am I overthinking this?” Here are some signs of overthinking that can help you figure out if you are doing it.

  • You keep going over embarrassing memories in your head.
  • You have nothing else to think about. This one thing uses up all the energy in your brain and keeps you from living in the moment.
  • There is trouble getting to sleep because it feels like your brain won’t turn off.
  • You question a lot of “what if…” scenarios.
  • Spend much of the time figuring out what people mean when they say or do things.
  • You can go over conversations you had with other people in your head and think about what you wish you had or hadn’t said.
  • You keep going over and over your mistakes.
  • When anyone says to do something that bothers you, you keep thinking about it.
  • You’re afraid of making a bad choice, so you don’t do anything.
  • You think that you just haven’t found the “solution” yet and that if you just thought about it a little bit more, you’d figure it all out.
  • Sometimes you don’t notice what’s going on around you because you’re thinking about things that have already happened or worrying about things that just might happen in the future.
  • You worry a lot about things over which you have no control.
  • You can’t stop thinking about your problems.
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Chapter 3:
What Can You Deal With This?

“Am I overthinking? If so, How do I put a stop to this?” This is the question that most of us ask. You won’t be able to stop overthinking right away, but you can do it. with time and practice. When you know the signs of overthinking, the next step is to learn how to stop. Here are some expert tips: Keep Track Of Patterns And Triggers. Some attention and mindfulness can go a long way toward helping you stop overthinking. Keep a journal and write down the things that make you worry or overthink. After a while, you’ll start to see patterns and be able to predict when you’ll start to think too much. This will help you come up with a way to deal with situations that you know will make you think too much. Challenge Your Thoughts You don’t have to trust everything your mind tells you, even if you feel like you do. One way to stop overthinking is to question your worries and ruminations and look at them from an outsider’s point of view. Check the situation’s facts to see if a thought is logical, reasonable, or helpful. If your thoughts when you think too much aren’t helpful, saying them aloud can make them easier to deal with. Get Some Help From Your Friends. People tell you a lot that you worry or think too much? They probably have a point. Ask a trusted friend what they think about a problem and give you a push when you seem to be stuck in your head. Choose a friend who knows how to deal with thinking too much. Co-rumination, which is when friends talk about problems over and over again, can actually make anxiety worse. Move Your Body Depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems may get better if you work out. Even if you think too much all the time, exercise might help. A 5-minute walk can send endorphins and other good chemicals and hormones to the brain. Your nervous system might also be able to get out of fight-flight-freeze mode if you move around. This might help you stop thinking about the trauma you’ve been through. Distract Yourself. It might be the easiest thing on this list, but it’s also the least used. It can be very helpful to jump into something else before you start to get stuck on a task. When we’re doing something, it’s hard to get caught up in our thoughts. Things like watching certain movies, taking a hot shower, playing an instrument, or even playing a video game can completely change a habit if you have to think about them. You can’t really do two things well at the same time. Pay Attention To What You Can Change. Let’s say you have an interview for a job. Overthinking might be a way to try to feel like you have some control over it. For example, you might try to think of all the possible answers to any question that might come up, which might make you feel like your chances are better. In these kinds of situations, it’s impossible to have full control. Schedule Time To Worry Setting some time to worry can help you stop overthinking. You don’t have to worry all day; you can limit it to 15 minutes a day. In summary. When you overthink, your thoughts and worries keep going around and around in a loop. Instead of helping you figure out what to do next, overthinking usually makes you too afraid to do anything. Overthinking can be a sign or symptom of depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems still in their early stages. You can stop overthinking by challenging your thoughts, asking for help from people you can