How to Stop Overthinking

Aug 17, 2016 | Wellbeing, Anxiety, Self Talk, Stress

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Are you prone to overthinking?  A lot of people I see can have this issue. Some are overthinking all the time, others find it just happens now and then, or during certain situations or circumstances or other people and ourselves.

Overthinking is an anxiety related issue and when it happens it seems to take over and almost be unstoppable. It’s so time consuming. Those racing thoughts that seem to take up all the space in your head is tiring. Often it’s worrying about any what if, or what the end will be, how will the end look, what will people think and so on.  The thing is, these thoughts cannot always be trusted anyway.  

How Can You Stop Overthinking?

So, how do we calm those racing thoughts?  How do we put a stop to overthinking so we can actually make some decisions and just get on with things?

Well, there are a few things we can do.

Set Deadlines

Sometimes it helps to set deadline. I know this helps me with my work. If I only have a limited amount of time to do something it can channel the focus of attention, so we are less distracted. Focus on the task that needs to be done rather the end result or outcome. This is particularly relevant to me as I write, because it’s school holidays, so I’m fitting work into limited time!!   I keep my attention on the task to be done rather than thinking too far forward about the impact or outcome of my work.

Divert Attention

If there is no particular task, then we can divert those thoughts. This turns our attention and thoughts to other things, so the overthinking doesn’t get space in your head.  So say we are in a social situation and worrying about what to say, what people with think, we can get out of our own heads by focusing on things around us. Use all of your senses to do this. Notice what you see in the room. Look at the decor in detail. the paint or colours in the room, the pictures on the wall, the furniture. How would it feel to touch these items, cold or warm, hard or soft? This takes a bit of practice but can be great.

Be in Charge

Instead of listening to the thoughts, take charge and decide what you are going to do with them.  Often we listen to them, or argue with them, or try to rationalise or even follow them through to something further.  That’s how overthinking is.  Be in charge of your mind instead of having your mind be in charge of you.  Whenever you notice the overthinking going on change them to positive thoughts, or calming thoughts.  Any thoughts or words that work for you are great.  Some examples could be:

I am calm and in control
I believe in myself
I am good, kind, person

Now I’m not going say this is easy, but the repetition of these tips can become more effective each and every time we use them.  So that’s my tips.  Are there any in there that you already do or even ones that you think you could do easily?  I’d love to know what you do and if you can add any more that help you.  Let me know in the comments space below or drop me an email or pop over to share on my Facebook Page.

This post discusses: anxiety, calm thoughts, deadlines, mind, overthinking, positive thinking, self talk
Emma Langton

Emma Langton

Executive Leadership Coach

Emma hosts the Lessons for Leaders podcast. Each week she brings you lessons, learnings, tips and advice to enable you to lead with ease in business, without stress, doubt and overwhelm so that I help you to increase your performance, be resilient and thrive in life. Emma has been providing coaching, training and therapeutic support for executives since setting up her business in 2011. Prior to that she spent over 20 years with people at the top of national and multi-national training and communication businesses.

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