Imagine getting into your bed after a long day, resting your head on your cold fluffy pillow, closing your eyes, and trying to fall asleep, until… boom! Your mind is suddenly wide awake; you’re recalling that awkward little one-sided conversation you had with someone and that one time you completely embarrassed yourself in front of your co-workers. Before you know it, it’s 5 am, you have work starting in 2 hours and you’ve got absolutely zero sleep! Sadly, we’ve all been there!
Overthinking is a way for our brain to think irrationally about situations in life until they longer make sense. However, if it’s not controlled, there comes a time when overthinking starts taking over your life, leading to anxious and depressive thoughts. So how do you get it to stop and keep you calm? Keep on reading to find out!
How to stop overthinking?
Overthinking happens when your thoughts start to spiral out of control. You spend a little too long thinking about something, and before you know it, your mind is completely consumed by it. Of course, simply saying ‘Get a grip’ to yourself won’t necessarily make it stop. So what do you do?
Ask yourself rational questions and make a plan for self- reassurance
Instead of jumping to the worst possible conclusions, take a minute to ask yourself rational questions about why you feel anxious about a certain thing. Try and recreate realistic scenarios of how you would react to certain situations. If you’re in a pickle, ask yourself what you can do to get yourself out, the resources you can use for help, etc.
If there’s something you need to prepare for, make a plan for how and when you’re going to get it done instead of sitting and freaking out about it! When you’re nervous about things like job interviews, ask yourself if you’ve prepared everything you need in advance, set all your alarms, know your route, have a plan to get there early, etc. If yes, you’re good to go, my friend!
Once you’ve asked yourself the appropriate question and made a plan, reassure yourself that you’ve done all you can do to solve the problem at hand.
The 5-year rule on Overthinking
A lot of our problems can be solved by using the 5-year rule which simply asks, ‘Will it matter in 5 years?’ If not, there’s probably no use wasting too much time thinking about it.
In retrospect, the majority of the things we worry about won’t seem to matter much in the long term. As easy as it is to forget that, it’s equally important to remind yourself of that for self- reassurance.
One of the best ways to get your thoughts in order is to write them down on paper. It doesn’t necessarily have to be neat or make sense, but simply ‘word vomiting’ out on paper does wonders for some people. If you’re crafty, feel free to get as creative with it as you can. If overthinking is a constant habit for you, try setting a few minutes apart each day to make journaling a healthy release for your thoughts and anxieties!
#2 Reach out!
People in our lives can’t fix all our problems but they can provide support as we work through them. If you’re comfortable with reaching out to a friend in need, hit them up the next time you start to overthink. Depending on what you need, they can either help to work through your problem or simply provide a distraction to get you out of a spiraling mindset.
#3 A change of scenery
One of the best ways to get yourself to stop overthinking is to physically take yourself out of the situation you’re currently in. This could include going out for a run/ bike ride if you’ve been cooped up in your room all day. Or it could be escaping to the kitchen to cook a nice meal for a few hours. Whatever it may be, it’s going to provide a distraction and reset your mind, allowing you to recollect your thoughts.
#4 Turn off those social media apps and get back in touch with your hobbies!
Social media can often be the cause of our anxieties and overthinking, especially when it comes to insecurities, comparing ourselves with other people, etc. That’s why, at times, a social media detox is all you need to clear your head and improve your mental health. Replace the time you would spend on social media on doing things like crafting, painting, cooking, photography, studying, cleaning, etc. Rediscover more productive ways to spend your time that make you feel happier and accomplished.
Stopping yourself from overthinking is never easy, especially if it’s become a casual habit. However, by either addressing the problem and solving it or venting it out and distracting yourself, we hope that you can learn to cope with it a little better.
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