Focus On What You Can Control
Remember, letting yourself get absorbed in your problems isn’t going to resolve anything. If you have some control over any part of what’s happening, try to move your focus to what you can do to prevent or resolve the issue.
If you don’t have control over what’s going on, consider coping strategies.
If youâre feeling really stressed and just need to calm down in a hurry, take a short walk or use a few minutes to meditate or pare your focus down to whatâs in front of you. When youâre feeling calmer, think about how your attitude and effort can make a difference now and in the future.
Schedule Time To Overthink And Worry
As silly as it sounds, setting aside time to overthink and worry gives ourselves permission to live in the present. We are ultimately saying to ourselves I will give this situation attention, but it isnt right now. Also, set a timer and then you have a start and stop time! I dont recommend this before bed.
Tip : Talk About Your Worries
It may seem like a simplistic solution, but talking face to face with a trusted friend or family membersomeone who will listen to you without judging, criticizing, or continually being distractedis one of the most effective ways to calm your nervous system and diffuse anxiety. When your worries start spiraling, talking them over can make them seem far less threatening.
Keeping worries to yourself only causes them to build up until they seem overwhelming. But saying them out loud can often help you to make sense of what youre feeling and put things in perspective. If your fears are unwarranted, verbalizing them can expose them for what they areneedless worries. And if your fears are justified, sharing them with someone else can produce solutions that you may not have thought of alone.
Build a strong support system. Human beings are social creatures. Were not meant to live in isolation. But a strong support system doesnt necessarily mean a vast network of friends. Dont underestimate the benefit of a few people you can trust and count on to be there for you. And if you dont feel that you have anyone to confide in, its never too late to build new friendships.
Read Also: How To Overcome Anxiety Disorder
Is Your Worry Solvable
Productive, solvable worries are those you can take action on right away. For example, if youre worried about your bills, you could call your creditors to see about flexible payment options. Unproductive, unsolvable worries are those for which there is no corresponding action. What if I get cancer someday? or What if my kid gets into an accident?
If the worry is solvable, start brainstorming. Make a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. Try not to get too hung up on finding the perfect solution. Focus on the things you have the power to change, rather than the circumstances or realities beyond your control. After youve evaluated your options, make a plan of action. Once you have a plan and start doing something about the problem, youll feel much less anxious.
If the worry is not solvable, accept the uncertainty. If youre a chronic worrier, the vast majority of your anxious thoughts probably fall in this camp. Worrying is often a way we try to predict what the future has in store-a way to prevent unpleasant surprises and control the outcome. The problem is, it doesnt work. Thinking about all the things that could go wrong doesnt make life any more predictable. Focusing on worst-case scenarios will only keep you from enjoying the good things you have in the present. To stop worrying, tackle your need for certainty and immediate answers.
How To Stop Obsessive Thoughts And Anxiety
- Anxiety causes recurring thoughts, known as obsessions
- Trying to push those obsessions away can cause them to come back stronger
- Obsessive thoughts are a part of OCD, but are also associated with other disorders
- There are several effective short term solutions to stop obsessive thoughts
- Addressing your anxiety overall will be the best way to stop the thoughts from recurring
Don’t Miss: How To Calm Stress And Anxiety
You Struggle To Make Decisions
You might try to convince yourself that thinking longer and harder helps you. After all, youre looking at a problem from every possible angle.
But, overanalyzing and obsessing actually becomes a barrier. Research shows thinking too much makes it tough to make decisions.
If youre indecisive about everything from what to eat for dinner to which hotel you should book, you might be overthinking things.
Its very likely that you are wasting a lot of time looking for second opinions and researching your options, when ultimately, those little choices might not matter so much.
Recommended Reading: What To Do When Anxiety Is Overwhelming
Thoughts Are Just Thoughts
Another way of dealing with negative thoughts often used in modern therapy is realizing that thoughts aren’t facts, says Berger.
He says it is important when we think something to ask: Is that real? Did that really happen? What is the worst thing that could happen?
Flight anxiety is one example where untrue thoughts are accepted as facts. Although air travel is the safest way to get around, people suffering from fear of flying accept their thoughts and fears as reality, then act upon them by refusing to fly.
Don’t Miss: Can High Blood Pressure Cause Anxiety Attacks
Use Positive Daily Affirmations For Anxiety
Affirmations are statements that help you overcome negative thoughts. They are particularly useful if you want to learn how to stop overthinking at night or want to set yourself up for a great day first thing in the morning.
Here are some good affirmations for anxiety:
- I have the power to decide what I will think about. My thoughts do not control me.
- Right now, I release my obsessive thoughts and let them go.
- I refuse to allow my imagination to show me disastrous futures.
- We all live in the present moment and appreciate the beauty of whats happening now.
- I am more than my negative thoughts. I can and will be happy.
You can also design your own positive daily affirmations. There are no set rules for the form they must take. In addition, try saying them into the mirror, looking straight into your own eyes. And smile, if it feels natural.
Change Your View Of Fear
Whether you’re afraid because you’ve failed in the past, or you’re fearful of trying or overgeneralizing some other failure, remember that just because things did not work out before does not mean that has to be the outcome every time. Remember, every opportunity is a new beginning, a place to start again.
You May Like: How To Fix Anxiety Naturally
Why Wont My Fear Go Away And Leave Me Feeling Normal Again
Fear may be a one-off feeling when you are faced with something unfamiliar.
But it can also be an everyday, long-lasting problem even if you cant put your finger on why. Some people feel a constant sense of anxiety all the time, without any particular trigger.
There are plenty of triggers for fear in everyday life, and you cant always work out exactly why you are frightened or how likely you are to be harmed. Even if you can see how out of proportion a fear is, the emotional part of your brain keeps sending danger signals to your body.
Sometimes you need mental and physical ways of tackling fear.
Tip : Practice Mindfulness
Worrying is usually focused on the futureon what might happen and what youll do about itor on the past, rehashing the things youve said or done. The centuries-old practice of mindfulness can help you break free of your worries by bringing your attention back to the present. This strategy is based on observing your worries and then letting them go, helping you identify where your thinking is causing problems and getting in touch with your emotions.
Acknowledge and observe your worries. Dont try to ignore, fight, or control them like you usually would. Instead, simply observe them as if from an outsiders perspective, without reacting or judging.
Let your worries go. Notice that when you dont try to control the anxious thoughts that pop up, they soon pass, like clouds moving across the sky. Its only when you engage your worries that you get stuck.
Stay focused on the present. Pay attention to the way your body feels, the rhythm of your breathing, your ever-changing emotions, and the thoughts that drift across your mind. If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular thought, bring your attention back to the present moment.
Basic mindfulness meditation
Click here for a free mindful breathing meditation.
You May Like: What Does Anxiety Look Like
Ways How To Stop Overthinking Everything
Are you an anxious person who overthinks everything? Chances are, you are according to a recent online poll we conducted. The poll, which ran from July 4 to 11, 2019, showed 99.6 percent of respondents said they overthink everything.
And its not just the anxious who overthink. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, PhD, found 57 percent of women and 43 percent of men are overthinkers.
She also found that overthinking is much more prevalent in young and middle-aged adults than it is in older adults. For example, 73 percent of 25-35 year-olds overthink compared to 52 percent of 45-55 year-olds and just 20 percent of 65-75 year-olds.
Talk Yourself Out Of It
Becoming self-aware can go a long way in helping you deal with overthinking in the long term. Carbonell suggests a strategy. “Pay a little more attention,” he says. “Say something like: I’m feeling kind of anxious and uncomfortable. Where am I? Am I all in my head? Maybe I should go take a walk around the block and see what happens.” You have to recognize your brain is in overdrive mode, and then try to snap out of it. “Do something in real time and real life rather than sitting and thinking,” says Carbonell. Moreover, in these turbulent times, it can be impossible not to spend an inordinate amount of time stressing about the state of the world. But let’s face it: some problems are better left for others to solve. Ask yourself: should you really be mulling over this specific problem? “Is there going to be a nuclear attack? Unless you work at the Pentagon, you don’t need to solve that problem,” says Odessky. Just remember that you won’t overcome the habit of overthinking in a few days. But with repeated practice, you will teach your mind to be calm during times of stress and not go into overdrive.
You May Like: How To Know Your Having An Anxiety Attack
Anxiety And Overthinking Everything
Anxiety and overthinking tend to be evil partners. One of the horrible hallmarks of any type of anxiety disorder is the tendency to overthink everything. The anxious brain is hypervigilant, always on the lookout for anything it perceives to be dangerous or worrisome. I’ve been accused of making problems where there aren’t any. To me, though, there are, indeed, problems. Why? Because anxiety causes me to overthink everything. Anxiety makes us overthink everything in many different ways, and the result of this overthinking isn’t helpful at all. Fortunately, anxiety and overthinking everything doesn’t have to be a permanent part of our existence.
How Does It Differ From Other Meditation Styles
All meditation styles and practices overlap and build on each other. Their basic foundation is the same: to bring the practitioner insight and introspection.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate, however, the various types of meditation can enhance particular qualities. Based on your personality and needs, one type of meditation may be more useful to you than the other. The 9 types of meditation are:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Loving kindness meditation
- Visualization meditation
Focused meditation, specifically, is the practice of focusing on one single object for the duration of the practice. How this differs from other meditation styles is that it gives the practitioner something tangible to do: focus. Its almost like giving your mind an action to performlisten to this sound, repeat these words, watch this flame, etc. This is also one of the reasons why this particular meditation style is great for beginners!
One of the biggest challenges in any meditation practice is that the mind gets carried away and we lose ourselves to random thoughts. This obstacle is actually a style of meditation in and of itself called Vipassana. However, in focused meditation, we give the mind something to do so that its not simply left to its own devices. This type of meditation is beneficial for beginners and for practitioners who prefer some structure and guidance to their meditations.
Recommended Reading: How To Reduce Stress And Anxiety
Don’t Miss: Can Anxiety Cause Ocular Migraines
Be Aware Of Your Thought Process And Anxiety Triggers
Obsessive overthinking is different for everyone, so its vital to know your anxiety triggers. It helps to cultivate a deeper level of awareness of your overthinking, asking questions about why and when it occurs.
Start paying closer attention to your thought processes, and notice when youre thinking in an unproductive way. Note down what youre thinking, and the form it takes.
For example, are you replaying a previous conversation on a loop, analyzing it for your failures?
Alternatively, are you picturing future disaster scenarios in your imagination? In addition, write what you think instigated the overthinking. Was it something to do with a social interaction? Uncertainty? Going to a new environment?
Your notes will quickly help you pick out specific triggers for your anxiety. This gives you ammunition to challenge the underlying limiting beliefs through reflection or journal work. In time, you will be able to preempt triggers before they cause a serious episode of overthinking, intervening with some of the further techniques listed below. Eventually, the hope is that the triggers will also become less powerful because youll understand their origins and know how to fight back in your mind.
Be Patient And Live In The Now
Learning how to stop overthinking and worrying also involves cultivating ways of better living in the present moment. Firstly, dont allow yourself to be held hostage by vague fears about what might happen to you. Instead, confront the toughest question: What is the worst that could happen? Often, it wont be as bad as you think.
In addition, youll typically discover you actually have the resources to deal with the worst-case scenario. Secondly, use techniques that anchor you in the present moment, such as hypnosis for anxiety. When youre overthinking, slow down physically. Try to notice every movement of your muscles and everything around you. Your brain will slow in response. You can also try narrating the present in your head to pull yourself back to the present.
Also Check: Can Anxiety Last For Days
Use Stuck To Unstick Your Thoughts
S:Stop: Stop. Take a Pause. Focus on your breath.
T: Tell: Tell yourself what emotions you are feeling right now and name them. Dont run away from it, just feel it.
U:Uncover: Uncover the rationality behind your thoughts. Make of the thoughts, challenge and validate them by asking is it 100% true? If not, scrape it out.
C:Consider: Consider a bigger and different picture. Look at the other angle of a situation and consider it
K:OK: It is okay: Tell yourself its okay for the way you have felt and thoughts that you have built. Practice self-compassion here. Do say it to yourself- I am Enough!
Focus On Your Breathing
When youre overthinking, shifting your focus to your breathing can be a powerful tool.
Sit down in a quiet place. Close your eyes and put your hand over your chest. Take deep breaths in through your nose and exhale out through your mouth. If this doesnt work, try the box breathing technique, which focuses your concentration and acts as a stress reliever.
Read Also: How To Ease Anxiety Naturally
Read Also: Can You Have Anxiety In Your Sleep
Identify Your Ruminative Thoughts
When a person ruminates, they chew on the words or experiences playing over in their mind. It is not surprising, therefore, that this label is derived from how cows digest their food: By chewing, swallowing, and chewing again. While it is an effective way for cows to obtain the nutrients they need, it isnt quite as helpful a way for humans to digest their thoughts. Rather, ruminative thoughts are exhausting and can make a person more susceptible to anxiety and depression.
If you are unsure whether you are ruminating over something, consider the examples below for some common overthinking patterns:
- Hesitancy and inability to contribute to conversations because you are thinking about potential responses to your statements before you even speak them
- Constantly comparing yourself to people around you, to see how you stack up
- Fixating on worst-case scenarios involving yourself and/or your loved ones
- Feeling concern over your future goals and ambitions, so much so that it leaves you feeling dismayed over whether they are even possible
- Reliving traumatic experiences over again in your mind particularly in vulnerable moments or situations, such as falling asleep for the night
- Lacking an ability to slow down vague, racing, irrational thoughts
Tip : Interrupt The Worry Cycle
If you worry excessively, it can seem like negative thoughts are running through your head on endless repeat. You may feel like youre spiraling out of control, going crazy, or about to burn out under the weight of all this anxiety. But there are steps you can take right now to interrupt all those anxious thoughts and give yourself a time out from relentless worrying.
Get up and get moving. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment because it releases endorphins which relieve tension and stress, boost energy, and enhance your sense of well-being. Even more importantly, by really focusing on how your body feels as you move, you can interrupt the constant flow of worries running through your head. Pay attention to the sensation of your feet hitting the ground as you walk, run, or dance, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the sun or wind on your skin.
Take a yoga or tai chi class. By focusing your mind on your movements and breathing, practicing yoga or tai chi keeps your attention on the present, helping to clear your mind and lead to a relaxed state.
Practice progressive muscle relaxation. This can help you break the endless loop of worrying by focusing your mind on your body instead of your thoughts. By alternately tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in your body, you release muscle tension in your body. And as your body relaxes, your mind will follow.
Relaxation techniques can change the brain
Recommended Reading: How To Know I Have Anxiety