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How To Stop Yourself From Overthinking Too Much

Because worry too much = unwanted stress

Have you ever experienced not wanting to think about something, yet not being able to stop thinking about it either? You might as well have been Cillian Murphy’s character in Inception, forced to think about your father’s death and what it would mean for you and the incredible inheritance it would leave you with.

Some may consider overthinking as a rather strange special ability, but it’s just an unwanted weight for many people. Worry about a particular plan months ahead could cause unwanted stress, preventing you from focusing on the present. And what could be worse is that overthinking might lead to depression if not addressed.

Like most things, the way to help yourself starts with taking baby steps. Here are five ways to help you navigate through your busy and overthinking brain:

1 Accept that some things are just out of your control

For your employer, your perfectionist nature might be a good thing. But for you, with your inability to stop until every little detail is properly in place, perfectionism might be a curse. Having to go over every report and every presentation countless times to makes sure that you’re meeting goes well can weigh heavily on your shoulders and might even deter productivity.

Just try to keep it in your head that there is no such thing as perfect. So instead of trying to control everything, you can put your best efforts on what you actually can control. Make progress the goal, not perfection.

2 Learn when to take a step back

Yes Man may have given us the impression that agreeing to all things can open up new doors for us, but experience proves it can get overwhelming almost to the point of insanity—or even detrimental to personal growth.

When you feel the ceiling start to fall on you, don’t be afraid to take a step back and give yourself a little more room to breathe. And when you have to make a really big decision and your mind just won't stop racing, give yourself the opportunity to sleep on it. That way you’ll get to clear your mind and make wiser decisions.

3 Get moving

Fitting in a workout might not seem like the most ideal way to overcome overthinking, but studies have shown that even a moderate exercise routine will decrease stress levels. Moreover, those who do engage in workouts have more self-control and are more likely to stay calm in otherwise overwhelming situations.

And it doesn’t have to be a full-fledged cycling or boxing class either, it can be something simple and done almost anywhere. There’s no need to suffer through the paper work and financial shackles of a gym membership. Don’t even want to think about it? Try this 7-minute home workout.

4 Hit the bed

People always say that more doesn’t necessarily mean better and the same can be said for sleep. Sleeping a full 10 hours in a noisy neighborhood is no better than sleeping six hours in a pitch black environment with the proper ventilation. So don’t just consider the hours that you go into bed, think about how your mind will be during that time, too.

If you have a hard time calming yourself down as your mind often runs a marathon while you’re in bed, try this simple trick to slow it down and give you the rest that you deserve.

5 Surround yourself with people that know how to calm you down 

Not all of your friends will understand what you’re going through, so make sure you have someone in your life that does. Maybe it’s a friend from a different cir le who has gone through the same thing and has overcome the voice in his or her head. It could also be a mentor or life coach who can help you come up with solutions that can work for your situation.

Worrying too much and too often is exhausting. Make it easier for yourself and focus on what you can control. 

Art Alex Lara

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