Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Here’s How You Can Stop Yourself From Overthinking

An overactive mind can affect us in different ways, distracting us for a couple of hours or  influencing our daily lives.

Overthinking can materialize in a variety of forms. We’ve all experienced it, and it’s mostly harmless. The process might cause us to lose a little sleep, but then we’re back to normal and we forget about whatever it is that was bothering us in the first place.

On more serious occasions, the process of overthinking doesn’t stop and it becomes a compulsion. Instead of working  through the issues that are clearly bothering us, this process traps us into a cycle of discomfort and negative thoughts that can make us feel ill and out of control. Psychologists call this “rumination” and it’s closely tied to depression and anxiety.

Buzzfeed asked different psychologists and experts for their best advice on controlling these types of thoughts and dealing with them in a healthy way. Check out some of their most helpful tips:

Identify it

Once you know that overthinking and ruminating provides no benefits or opportunities for solving your problems, you can begin to identify these thoughts and stop yourself from spiraling out of control. “Once a ruminative thought becomes repetitive (or starts out that way) we need to catch it and convert it into a useful problem solving task — by posing it as a problem that can be answered as opposed to one that cannot be,” says psychologist Guy Winch.

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While it’s easy to say that you’re just going to stop these thoughts from happening, in reality it’s not as simple. Winch recommends changing the phrasing in your head. “Convert, ‘I can’t believe this happened’ to ‘What can I do to prevent it from happening again?'”

Distract yourself

Instead of berating yourself for having these kinds of thoughts, try to distract yourself with something that’s fun and a little challenging. “A two to three minute distraction such as a puzzle, memory task, anything that requires concentration can be enough to break the compelling pull ruminative thought,” explains Winch. The more we practice this, the less these type of thoughts will pop up in our heads.

Journal your thoughts

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Journaling is a common therapeutic practice for a reason. Writing down your thoughts gives you some perspective and allows you to pinpoint the source of your anxiety. Doing this will allow you to view these thoughts through a different lens, and to notice how much they appear.

Ask for help if you need it

If the ruminating still continues despite practicing meditation and journaling, maybe it’s time to talk to someone or seek help from a professional. These types of thoughts are very harmful to your health and your brain, and you should take care of yourself.

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