Do your thoughts seem trapped in a vicious cycle, consumed with a single problem? 


Do you imagine and reimagine how you should have responded to a  difficult conversation?


Do you often feel overwhelmed and wish you could turn off your mind late at night?


Many people will struggle with overthinking throughout their life. Although this is perfectly normal, if it becomes a routine, overthinking can be a futile practice that weighs on your mental health.  


If this describes you, consider utilizing a few of the tips below to stop overthinking and create better, more productive thought patterns today:


1. Consider the source. Before tackling the habit of overthinking, try discerning the origin of your stress. Do you often overthink social events, work expectations, or relationship struggles? Or do your thoughts turn into a negative cycle because of daily stress and anxiety? Discovering a root cause can give you a better awareness to address the issue with greater intentionality. 


2. Take time. If a situation has sent you reeling, take a moment to refresh your mind before any deliberation or problem-solving. Consider pulling away to do something you enjoy. Go on a short run, cook a special meal, or curl up with a good book. Set new habits to find your inner calm. Take a hot bath, breathe deeply, or listen to your favorite tunes while walking around the block. By refreshing before reacting, you can make difficult decisions with a clearer mind. 


3. Record your thoughts. Putting pen to paper can help to examine your emotions and viewpoints in a different light. Write down all of your repeated thoughts, emotions, and concerns and review them purposefully. Doing so regularly may highlight specific thought patterns that could use some adjustment, such as negativity, self-doubt, or judgment.


4. Stay in the moment. Concentrate your thoughts on the present tasks at hand rather than yesterday’s events or tomorrow’s problems. If old frustrations and fears come to the surface, acknowledge and release them. When you stop spending excessive time and energy absorbed in negative thinking, it may be easier to process reality and sort through emotions. 


5. Find a new angle. When you feel overwhelmed by a particular problem, try reaching out to an objective party. Sharing your dilemma and inviting another perspective may help you to deal with your thoughts and emotions more effectively. Be sure that you choose to speak to somebody that can maintain objectivity and respond honestly, be it your spouse, a friend, or a counselor. Remember that you want feedback, so listen to their ideas and opinions without anger or offense.  


Overthinking is a difficult habit to overcome. However, by implementing a few of the basic strategies outlined above, you can put an end to old habits and create healthier thought patterns. By choosing to step back before reacting, journaling your thoughts, purposefully focusing on the present moment, and seeking other perspectives, you will be able to face difficult circumstances and decisions with calm, practical wisdom. 


What steps will you take to stop overthinking today? 


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