Thinking about something that you have no control on, and then thinking about the fact that thinking about the thing that you have no control overis just youthinking about a thing you should not be thinking of, can be exhausting. Let me phrase the first sentence in a word, ‘overthinking’. Overthinking can take many forms: endlessly deliberating when making a decision (and then questioning the decision), attempting to read minds, trying to predict the future, reading into the smallest of details, etc. But even after being exhausting, chronic over thinkers usually complain about lack of sleep.

If you consistently focus on ruminating and make it a habit, it becomes a loop, and the more you do it, the harder it is to stop. So often people confuse overthinking with problem-solving. Overthinking is destructive and mentally draining. It can make you feel like you’re stuck in one place, and if you don’t act, it can greatly impact your day-to-day life. It can quickly put your health and total well-being at risk. The link between overthinking and mental health problems is a chicken-or-egg type question. Rumination makes you more susceptible to depression and anxiety.

If you recognize that you tend to get caught up in overthinking, don't despair. You can take steps to reclaim your time, energy, and brainpower. Let me start with a simple test, “Do not think about a blue hammer.” Did you just think about a blue hammer? How can you think about a blue hammer when I specifically told you not to? This is not your fault actually; it is how the brain functions. Therefore, when you tell your brain not to overthink, it would go ahead and think about it more. Therefore, one of the ways to reduce overthinking to a large extent would be by replacing your thoughts. “There is a drop of rainwater that is sliding down the leaf.” And now you are not thinking about the blue hammer.

One of the greater reasons for overthinking is giving more time to decisions. This majorly leads to setting up of oddest scenarios in the mind that would more likely affect your decision and might lead to the negative one. Therefore, the best technique to avoid this is to give less time to make decisions Here’s what has worked for me: for small decisions like if should go and do the dishes, respond to an email or work out I usually give myself 30 seconds or less to make a decision.For somewhat larger decisions that would have taken me days or weeks to think through in the past, I use a deadline for 30 minutes or the end of the workday.

While overthinking, just stop and take out your notebook or a note-taking app on your phone. Jot down five things that have gone right over the past week and your role in them. These don’t need to be huge accomplishments. They could be doing extra push-ups that day, cleaning out your closet, or anything else that might have given you a sense of pride.

One of the reasons to overthink is to give time to the brain to overthink. Not just the time to make decisions but the ideal time that we have. One of the techniques that can help make your mind not overthink something is to tire yourself.Not one day can be fruitful if more time than necessary is allowed for aimless thinking. A mind rests well at night knowing its day has been directed toward worthy goals.So, consider daily exercise—any physical activity that raises heart rate and improves health.

Your social environment plays a big part in your life. And not just the people and groups close to you in real life, but also what you read, listen to and watch. The blogs, books, forums, movies, podcasts, and music in your life. So, think about if there are any sources in your life close by or further away than encourage and tend to create more overthinking in your mind. And think about what people or sources have the opposite effect on you. Find ways to spend more of your time and attention with the people and input that have a positive effect on your thinking.

Worrying about everything can take over your life, depriving you ofexperiences, relationships, and a sense of contentment. But it doesn’t have to be that way forever. You can overcome the fear and anxiety developed as a result of overthinking by living your life in the present and not thinking about the things that are not in your hand.

The author's views are personal only.

Author Information
Kartik Gupta
Author: Kartik Gupta
1st Year Electronics & Communication(ECE) branch Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala

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