Do you find yourself going over and over things in your head? Constantly questioning decisions you've made and analyzing every possible outcome? If so, you might be an overthinker. Overthinking can be incredibly damaging to both our mental and physical health, leading to anxiety, stress, and even depression. In this blog post, we will discuss the signs that you might be an overthinker, as well as ways to stop overthinking and start living a more productive life!
Here are 6 Signs that You are an Overthinker
You have difficulty making decisions
You are always worried about making the wrong decision. "How can I decide?"
Even a simple choice, what to order off a menu can get you upset and think about how you might choose wrong. Overthinking every decision doesn't allow you to live your daily life at the highest potential. You ruminate about each and every decision that it gets too overwhelming.
You worry....a lot.
Things haven't even happened yet and you are worried. You are worried something will go wrong, you are worried about your loved ones and what could happen to them, you are worried about what other people think, you are worried about if you worry too much...You get the picture. Your thoughts spiral and lead you to darker thoughts that can make you emotionally and physically sick.
You have trouble sleeping
A busy mind has difficulty shutting off, even at night. Overthinkers report having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Our bodies need restorative sleep and to recharge our energy. But if you are worrying it is incredibly hard to get rest.
You frequently find yourself thinking “What if..”
You dwell on the past and wonder if you chose a different path, "What would have happened?"
"I didn't choose right!" When you think about what could have been, or the ways things might have gone differently in your life you are living in uncertainty. You spend all the time thinking of regrets and how you if you chose the path with the worst outcome.
You struggle with control issues.
Helloooo type A! You are your own worst critic that cannot just be ok with how you proceeded. You want everything to be perfect just as you thought it. If you have the thoughts that something might go wrong or not the way you want then to you, it's a disaster.
The future is a constant source of stress
You are constantly creating predictions and possibilities for the future without regard for your present self. Negative thoughts bring you more stress and the thought of tomorrow just brings you down. You overthinking what could be when in reality you are not even there yet.
How do you stop overthinking?
If you're an overthinker, it's important to find ways to manage your thoughts and stop them from spiraling out of control. Practicing some of these ways to stop overthinking can bring you to more peace.
Identify your triggers
What makes you start overthinking? Once you know what sets off your overthinking, you can start to address the root of the problem. When you are aware of the times that you overthink most you can start to stop it and put a positive perspective at play.
Challenge your thoughts
Are your thoughts really accurate? Why are you thinking this way? Often, overthinking is based on irrational fears or beliefs. By challenging your thoughts, you can start to see things more clearly. Start creating an awareness around your thoughts instead of believing your thoughts are facts. Shift your outlook to trusting the scenario.
Focus on the present moment
One of the best ways to stop overthinking is to focus on the present moment. Pay attention to your senses and what's happening around you. A great grounding technique using the 5 senses for overthinking and anxiety is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique- you think of 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. This refocuses your thoughts to a more calming, grounded place.
Set a timer
Setting a time limit can help you feel in control without spiraling into hours of obsessive thinking. Allow a certain time frame, maybe 10 minutes, and practice changing what you are doing. The time for overthinking is over and on something new, better.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that can help you become more aware of your thoughts and learn to let them go. Deep breathing and taking a few minutes to relax will ease your mind.
A few apps/tools that are great to work with are Mindful Mamas, headspace and using neurofeedback Muse = a brain wave sensing headband, using the principles of neurofeedback. It's perfect for those who swear that they "can't" meditate, since it gives you real time feedback on your meditation practice.
Distract yourself with Exercise
Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. When you're feeling stressed or anxious, go for a walk, run, or bike ride. It keeps you connected to your surroundings. Sunshine and fresh air can do wonders! And distract you from overthinking!
It's easy to get bogged down as an overthinker, especially when we want to make the best decision possible. But sometimes, overthinking can actually lead us astray and keep us from making a decision at all. Next time you find yourself stuck in analysis paralysis, try some of these tips to help you move on and make a decision. And if you still feel like you can’t quite let go of that nagging feeling in your gut, remember that it’s always ok to ask for help. Sometimes we just need someone else to bounce our ideas off of or give us a different perspective so that we can finally make a choice.
Don't worry, YOU are OK!
Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling, PLLC, is a wellness and counseling center in Westchester, NY.
Our therapists specialize in the most evidenced-based treatments for children and parents, teens and adults and first responders. Our services include therapy for: anxiety, trauma, behavioral disorders, improving relationships and eating disorders.
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