How to Stop Overthinking Everything
If you're reading this, you're likely an overthinker.
Maybe you're distracted in class because you can't stop worrying, or struggle to fall asleep each night as your mind races. Few things in the world can overwhelm us more than our own minds, but there are ways to keep your overthinking in check.
Know When You're Overthinking
The first step to addressing your overthinking is knowing when it's happening. When your mind goes into rapid-fire and all of your thoughts start stressing you out, it's important to look inward and know it's happening. If you can pinpoint these moments, you'll be better equipped to deal with them.
Make a To-Do List
Sometimes overthinking is the result of having a lot on your plate and feeling like there's no way it'll ever get done. In these situations, making to-do lists can be extremely helpful.
Firstly, writing down everything that needs to be done helps you clear up worried brain space. You won't have to fret about forgetting any of your current worries, since they're all written down. Once you have an actual list, it's also possible to start prioritizing your concerns and attaching resolutions to each in the form of an actionable plan. It's a lot more productive than lying awake in bed for hours dreading a busy day ahead.
(SpongeBob SquarePants via Nickelodeon)
Know What Makes You Happy
When your unproductive worries go into overdrive, distracting yourself with fun can be the best thing you can do to reset things. Try creating some art, playing a video game, reading a book enjoy or learning about meditation. Meditation is especially helpful because it gives you a better understanding of yourself and will put you in a position to truly appreciate your overthinking—even if it doesn't make it stop entirely.
Try to Be Present
People forget the importance of the present. They get caught up in events from the past that they can't change and run through 100 ways a future scenario could possibly go wrong, when none of them will probably ever happen. The more present you are in your environment, the less space your brain has to worry about anything else. Try narrating your life from an outsider's perspective for an idea of exactly what you're doing in the moment. This different point of view can also help you look at your worries differently.
Think About the Actual Consequences of Your Worry
A lot of what we worry about isn't actually that important, even if it seems significant in the moment. There's no denying that the embarrassing thing that happened to you in the second grade still gets to you from time to time, but did it actually have any consequences that you still feel today? While there are some things you may never fully let go, it's important to try to get some perspective on the situation. When you start seeing how inconsequential the little things can be, they might stop bothering you so much.
(Tangled via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Have Confidence in Your Decisions
Overthinkers often have a hard time making choices about anything, resulting in inaction. You may start second-guessing everything, and doubting even the things you're most sure about. Even when you're not feeling certain, try faking it by picking a side and sticking with it, even if you're not positive it's the right choice. Whether it's the right one or wrong one, it'll show you that every decision doesn't have to feel like life or death. Sometimes, picking wrong doesn't have any consequences at all.
Let Yourself Overthink (for 10 Minutes)
When nothing in the world will stop you from overthinking, give yourself a chunk of time to give in to your anxious brain. Set a timer for 10 minutes and allow yourself to be as worried as you need to be during that time. If it's helpful, have a pen and some paper handy. Reserve one paper for actual reminders you need to hold onto for later, and use the other to write down every little worried thought and feeling that creeps through your mind. When the timer dings, crumple up the worry paper and toss it in the trash, and use the other to formulate a plan for conquering each stress on the list.
(Riverdale via The CW)
If you're worried about school, click HERE for tips on making your homework feel less stressful.