How to Stop Overthinking

Overthinking can impact our overall health.

It can decrease our energy to focus. It can affect our problem solving and decision-making power.

Overthinking can be an early indicator or symptom of depression and anxiety, but sometimes it can simply be a series of negative thought patterns that we can try to snap ourselves out of.

How to Stop Overthinking

What is an Example of Overthinking?

This is when we continuously stress out and panic that something bad might happen.

For example, failing an exam at university, something going wrong on our wedding day, the political party we’re voting for not getting into power, or climate change wreaking havoc all over the world.

What are the Two Types of Overthinkers?

The two types of overthinking are rumination, which involves rehashing past events, and worrying which includes hyperfocusing on an anxious concern about the future.

What are the Main Causes of Overthinking?

Overthinking can be caused by various factors such as fear, intolerance to uncertainty, trauma, or perfectionism.

Overthinking can also be a symptom of an already existing mental health condition such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, or depression.

What Mental Illness is Associated with Overthinking?

Overthinking is often associated with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD is characterized by the frequent tendency to worry excessively about several things.

Someone can develop GAD from their genes, or it can be a personality factor like the inability to tolerate uncertainty in life.

Worry can beneficially direct us to use problem-solving skills to address our concerns.

However, anxiety is persistent, even when those concerns are unrealistic. It can often compromise our ability to function.

What is it Called When You Worry About Everything?

Do you ever find yourself worrying about everyday issues for no obvious reason? Are you often waiting for disaster to strike or excessively worried about things such as health, money, family, work, or school?

If so, then you may have a type of anxiety disorder mentioned above called generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

What is High-Functioning Anxiety?

High-functioning anxiety usually refers to someone who experiences anxiety while still managing their daily life quite well.

Usually, a person with high-functioning anxiety may appear normal and well-accomplished on the outside, yet experience worry, stress, or have obsessive thoughts on the inside.

How Do You Break an Overthinking Cycle?

  • Step back and observe how you’re responding.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Meditate.
  • Look at the bigger picture.
  • Recognize automatic negative thoughts (ANTs).
  • Find a distraction.
  • Acknowledge your successes.

What Does Overthinking Do to Your Brain?

Overthinking can change the structure and connectivity of the brain leading to mood disorders.

Therefore, it can lead to mental illnesses such as anxiety, stress, and depression.

Is Overthinking a Toxic Trait?

Overthinking strikes everyone at some point, but if it goes unchecked and unresolved, overthinking can certainly transform healthy relationships into toxic relationships.

If we fall victim to our thoughts and allow them to go too far, they can end up driving a wedge of distrust between us and other people in our life.

What Medication is Good for Racing Thoughts at Night?

Certain antidepressants can be effective in treating anxiety and other racing thoughts.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often used. Some over-the-counter antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), can have a sedating effect and have been used to help with sleep.

Is Overthinking a Trauma Response?

Stressors and past trauma can sometimes trigger patterns of overthinking as well.

When these thought cycles start spiraling out of control, it’s often hard to break free and move past them.

What Happens When You Can’t Stop Overthinking?

Studies have shown that ruminating on stressful events can lead to anxiety and depression.

From a mental health standpoint, anxiety can affect our ability to cope with everyday stressors, and depression often results in sadness, loneliness, and feelings of emptiness.

How Do You Calm an Overactive Mind?

  • Spend some time in nature.
  • Take a break.
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Try guided meditation.
  • Try active relaxation.
  • Think of somewhere else.
  • Get creative.

How Can I Relax My Mind and Stop Thinking?

  • Take slow, deep breaths.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Soak in a warm bath.
  • Write.
  • Use guided imagery.

What is the Therapy for Overthinking?

One type of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective for overcoming overthinking and recognizing cognitive errors.

It helps one to first learn about identifying the errors, then to reframe the thinking in a more logical and balanced way.

Final Thoughts

Make sure to simply notice when you get stuck in your head. Overthinking can become such an ingrained habit that we don’t even recognize when we’re doing it.

Try practicing mindful meditation. With mindful meditation, the goal is to focus your attention on things that are happening right now in the present moment.

Finally, to potentially stop overthinking, try challenging your thoughts, reaching out to loved ones for support, or talking to a mental health professional for extra help.

Sources and other reading:

Ways to Stop Overthinking

Dealing With Stress

The Health Benefits of Grounding

How to Stay Hopeful

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