Is overthinking causing stress and making you feel you’re going crazy?
If so, you have a problem and you need to find a solution to it.
In this post, we’ll discuss how do you train your brain to stop overthinking. We’ll talk about why you need to stop overthinking and introduce different ways to help you train your brain to stop overthinking.
Why and how do you train your brain to stop overthinking?
You need to put an end to overthinking because it puts you at risk. It jeopardizes your health, family and friends, career, and more. It also messes with your sanity.
Here’s a closer look at the reasons you need to train your brain to stop overthinking:
- You can enjoy a better quality of life – No more physical and mental health problems. You’d also enjoy peaceful relationships with your professional network and family and friends.
- You can succeed in life – Is overthinking standing in the way of your life goals? Then you shouldn’t let it be an obstacle anymore.
- You can be free of overthinking for good – You can relax. You don’t have to think all the problems in the world are yours to solve.
How do you train your brain to stop overthinking? 12 ways
How do you train your brain to stop overthinking? There are simple and complicated ways to do it. And both ways, we’ll talk about below.
Here are 12 ways:
Keeping it simple
Sometimes, overthinking happens because your surroundings overwhelm you. With many elements around you, you can’t help but think about all of them. If this is the case, it’s easy to understand why you overthink.
However, don’t let your surroundings overwhelm you. Instead, breathe.
For about 10 minutes during breaks, take a deep breath. Do this, too, when you’re thinking too much.
Here’s a simple breathing exercise you can try:
- Sit down and relax.
- Put a hand across your heart. Place the other hand across your belly.
- Breathe deeply. And listen to your breathing.
2. Assess yourself
Don’t get wrapped up in what other people think about you. If they have lots of criticisms about you, let them be. You have the choice to listen to them or brush them off.
It’s up to you. What matters is you don’t allow their words to drive you to think too much.
Also, what matters more is what you think of yourself.
Rather than pay too much attention to others, assess yourself. And be confident in that understanding.
3. Get distracted by a new hobby
Find a distraction and sign up for an activity that will occupy you. This is an effective way of training your brain to stop overthinking because it introduces something new to your life.
The activity could be something simple, like knitting or joining a book club. It could also be something that entails a grand adventure, like going on a backpacking trip or traveling to abandoned cities.
4. Focus on a goal
This way of training your brain seems to go against the earlier advice, “get distracted by a new hobby”. However, it doesn’t.
This time around, the idea is to define a professional goal — and not just something fun. Once it’s established, that’s when you focus and do everything in your power to achieve this goal.
For example, your goal is to finish college. Then you do everything you can to achieve your goal.
Here are tips to help you focus on your goal:
- Be realistic – Set goals you know you can achieve. Be definite, too.
- Course-correct – Things change and mistakes can arise. Once you face unknown elements, adjust.
- Break down big goals – Keep things simple and easy-to-understand. Otherwise, you’ll get overwhelmed.
5. Think long term
See the big picture. And insist on only thinking about an issue’s influence if it’s a permanent fixture in your life.
Here’s an example. Let’s say the issue you have is encountering your talkative neighbor daily.
You don’t want to see them because they talk non-stop. They’re annoying and they bring out the worst in you. In part because of them, you plan on moving to a different neighborhood after six months.
So if you think long-term or 10 years from now, do you find yourself entertaining this issue?
Considering you’re planning to move anyway, let this issue go. Stop thinking too much about it. And instead, think about your future.
6. Identify and replace Automated Negative Thoughts
ANTs or Automated Negative Thoughts are knee-jerk reactions to a situation you dislike. It’s how you cope out of fear, anxiety, and anger.
You need to identify and replace these thoughts because they have a negative effect on your mentality.
To replace them, ease into an optimist’s way of thinking.
For example, one of your typical responses to a terrible accident you caused is to blame the victim. Instead of thinking it’s always the victim’s fault, tell yourself that you should take accountability, too.
It’s also your fault. And while you couldn’t rewind time to keep that accident from happening, you learned your lesson. You should also swear to be more careful from now on.
7. Aim for success
Another reason you overthink is your lack of direction. If you keep doing things without a clear path to success, you’ll always feel disappointed in yourself. And you’ll keep thinking about where you went wrong.
So don’t set yourself up for opportunities you won’t like.
Here are tips on how you can be successful:
- Do your best – Work hard, focus, and persevere.
- Be passionate – Don’t do something half-heartedly. Add a personal touch, find inspiring reasons, or do anything to increase your interest in your cause.
- Learn from the experienced ones – Listen to the experts. And learn from their own successes and failures.
8. Pacify your fears
Never let your fear get the best of you. If you’re afraid of something, treat that fear for good. Otherwise, your fear will play a part in how you live your life.
Here are tips on how to pacify your fears:
- Express your fears – Talk about them or write them down in a journal.
- Spend time in a different place – A change in scenery can provide a change in perspective. A change may be what you need.
- Meditate – It helps you relax and think better.
9. Practice self-compassion
You need to care for yourself. It’s good for your physical and mental health. And it puts you in a position to be there for other people.
Start with the basics. Don’t take your health for granted.
Ensure you get enough sleep, exercise, and rest. Eat balanced meals, too.
The idea is to invest in yourself. Put in the time and effort to condition yourself as best as possible.
10. Practice compassion
Studies show that people who receive compassion and understanding from others are less prone to overthinking. Compared to those who were never shown compassion, they’re satisfied with their lives. And they don’t let their minds entertain excess thoughts.
Here are ways on how you can be compassionate towards others:
- Communicate well – Listen to them effectively. And reach out to them verbally and non-verbally.
- Encourage them to be expressive – Invite them to tell you what’s on their mind. And make them feel comfortable around you.
- Respect privacy – Some people don’t want your company. And you should be okay with that.
11. Take action
Not doing anything can be relaxing. However, not doing anything when you’re overthinking isn’t practical.
It’s like you’re merely crossing your fingers for your problems to solve themselves.
Unfortunately, you can’t do that because your excess thoughts won’t go away on their own. They’ll come back to cause damage the next time around. And they may even get worse soon.
Instead, respond — and not just react — to them as you see fit. Remind yourself your excess thoughts are there for a reason.
Figure out what that reason is and find a solution.
12. Ask for help
Some people don’t ask for help because they see it as a weakness. Well, it’s not.
You should even see it as a strength. It means a person is strong enough to admit they’re powerless and they need help.
Asking for help is better than pretending to do something you know nothing about.
So if you’re an overthinker who needs help, don’t hesitate to ask. Your family and friends have your back. You can also count on therapists and other medical professionals.
Focusing on a goal is one of the effective ways of fighting overthinking. It’s what many people prefer in training their brains to stop overthinking. It’s simple and it can help them with other aspects of their lives.
How about you? How do you train your brain to stop overthinking?