Why Do I Overthink Everything? What Can I Do About It?

Why Do I Overthink Everything? What Can I Do About It?

Is overthinking a mental illness? Learn why overthinking is bad for you and how to overcome it.

H1: Top 7 Strategies to Stop Overthinking

There is no clear overthinking definition in psychology because it’s a rather informal term. However, most people intuitively understand the difference between a healthy consideration of different factors and overthinking. There’s nothing wrong with spending many hours looking for a solution to a certain problem, but if you become obsessed with finding a solution despite making zero progress, this is likely an unhealthy tendency.

Quite often, overthinking means rumination — a state in which you cannot stop thinking about something, getting back to a certain thought over and over again. Sometimes, when people try to make the right decision or are looking for answers or meaning, they fall into a never-ending circle of overthinking. Unfortunately, this process usually doesn’t lead to finding a solution and a person only gets stuck instead.

H2: Thinking Too Much: Do We Need It?

When we spend too much time trying to find solutions to our problems, we often end up understanding less than we did at the very beginning. Besides, overthinking can lead to various negative symptoms, such as loss of energy, problems with concentration, insomnia, etc. In turn, these symptoms can lead to worries that can make a person ruminate even more.

Is overthinking a mental illness? No, but in some cases, it may eventually result in the development of depression or anxiety. If you keep asking yourself, “Why do I overthink everything?” then the chances are that overthinking has already become a problem for you.

When overthinking starts to impact the quality of your life and you start to experience additional symptoms, it’s important to find effective ways to calm down and refocus. For example, a great solution is to try online therapy and talk to a licensed professional. You can also find many coping tips online, but not all of them are actually effective.

In this article, we will consider some proven, helpful strategies that will help you stop overthinking, but first, let’s take a look at some common signs of overthinking so that you can understand whether or not you have this problem.

H2: Signs of Overthinking

Here are some common signs of overthinking that might mean that you need to stop ruminating and regain control over your thoughts.

  • H3: Excessive planning

Quite often, planning is not only helpful but rather necessary. By making notes and schedules, you can make sure that you won’t forget something important and will complete all of your tasks on time. However, excessive planning may do more harm than good. Not only does it take a lot of time, but it can also lead to worries.

For example, when you’re too wrapped up in planning, you may feel tempted to predict all possible obstacles, which is an impossible task. If you start to consider all possible complications and think of how you’re going to overcome them, you will likely start to worry, but such an approach won’t make it easier for you to achieve your goal.

  • H3: Constantly expecting threats

It’s ok if you’re ready for possible threats because this enables you to stay in control if something goes wrong. However, this way, you may also start to worry and overthink. For example, if you’re concerned about your health, you may constantly scan yourself for any signs of illness. As a result, you may start to feel anxious but you won’t minimize the threat.

Similarly, if you’re trying hard to figure out whether people like you or not, you may eventually distance yourself from others instead of simply enjoying their company.

  • H3: Seeking reassurance and answers

People are always seeking reassurance from their friends and relatives when they worry — it’s in our nature. There’s also nothing wrong with looking for answers in an attempt to figure out what you can do when dealing with a difficult situation. However, when you start to depend on clear answers and reassurances, things can easily go sideways.

For example, if you were feeling sick and started to google your symptoms, you would likely find hundreds of different explanations, and some of them would look scary so you would start to worry even more. That’s why googling your symptoms is always a bad idea and the right solution is to talk to a doctor — focus on problem-solving, not answers.

H2: 7 Best Strategies to Stop Overthinking

  1. H3: Notice when you’re too preoccupied

The first step toward overcoming overthinking is self-awareness. Pay attention to what you think and how you think. If you realize that you keep returning to the same thoughts and replay some events in your mind over and over again, notice these moments and acknowledge the fact that such thoughts are counterproductive.

  1. H3: Focus on problem-solving

Ruminating on your problems isn’t helpful. If you want to solve a problem, you should look for solutions, and that’s what you should focus on. Think of what you can do to avoid possible problems in the future or what you can learn from past mistakes. Instead of guessing why something happened, think of what you can do about this situation.

  1. H3: Challenge your thoughts

Negative thinking patterns are the root cause of many mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. For example, if you keep thinking about the worst-case scenario, the best solution is to acknowledge that you’re exaggerating the possible negative consequences. Challenge your negative thoughts and focus on helpful thoughts instead.

  1. H3: Practice mindfulness

The best way to stop replaying situations from the past and worrying about the future is to stay in the present moment. Mindfulness is a skill so it takes practice. However, if you turn it into a habit, you will see that mindfulness is very effective when it comes to fighting overthinking.

  1. H3: Dedicate some time to self-reflection

To avoid getting stuck in overthinking, dedicate some time specifically to self-reflection. Unlike long periods of rumination, brief self-reflection can actually be helpful.

Schedule self-reflection sessions and let yourself ruminate, worry, or do anything else during these 10 or 20 minutes. When the time is up, get back to more productive activities. When you start to overthink things, just remind yourself that you will have time for that later.

  1. H3: Distract yourself

If you’re trying hard not to think about something, the chances are that you will only keep thinking about it. A great way to stop unhelpful thoughts is to distract yourself with something. Exercise, meet with friends, or start to work on a different project. This way, you will let your mind refocus and take a break from thoughts that make you worry.

  1. H3: Try therapy

If you keep dwelling on negative thoughts, it’s one of the signs it’s time to see a therapist. If you have a busy schedule, you can try video chat therapy so you won’t need to commute to a therapist’s office. A licensed therapist will help you figure out what makes you overthink something and suggest effective coping practices.

H2: Wrapping Up

Thinking too much can be a problem, and it can only push you farther from the solutions or answers you’re looking for. Overthinking can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems, not letting you focus on problem-solving and undermining your productivity.

If you often catch yourself ruminating, and overthinking starts to negatively impact your quality of life, you should acknowledge the problem and challenge your thoughts. Distract yourself and practice mindfulness to focus on the present moment.

A great solution is to talk to a licensed therapist. Thanks to online therapy platforms like Calmerry, you can talk to a therapist from the comfort of your home, with no need to sit in the same office. Learn more about talk therapy to prepare for your first session.

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