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What Is Overthinking and How to Overcome It


What Does Overthinking Mean?

Overthinking is exactly what it means, thinking too much.

When you think too much, instead of acting and doing things, you are overthinking.

When you analyze, comment and repeat the same thoughts over and again, instead of acting, you are overthinking.

Merriam Webster defines this word as: To think too much about something, or to put too much time into thinking about or analyzing something, in a way that is more harmful than helpful.

This habit prevents you from taking action. It consumes your energy, disables your ability to make decisions, and puts you on a loop of thinking and thinking over and again.

This is a mental habit that wastes your time and energy and prevents you from acting, doing new things and making progress in your life.

It’s like tying yourself to a rope that is connected to a pole and going in circles again and again.

In this situation there is more likelihood for worry, anxiety and lack of inner peace.

On the other hand, when you don’t overthink, you become more efficient, peaceful and happy.

What Happens When You Overthink?

  • You just can’t stop thinking about an event, a person, something that happened in the past, or on a problem. Instead of looking for a solution, taking initiative and being active, you just keep thinking and cannot get it out of your mind.
  • At times, when something bad happens, you think about the worst scenarios, with thoughts like “what if?” or “why?”.
  • You slip now and then into negative thinking patterns.
  • You worry about past mistakes or current problems and issues, and how they might lead to negative outcomes.
  • At times, you obsess about or over-analyze your day-to-day experiences and interactions with people.
  • You inflate every word, thought and event beyond really and reasonable proportions, reading into it things that aren’t actually there.

If this happens often, you are what psychologists call a ruminator, or over-thinker.

Psychologists have found that over-thinking can be detrimental to performance, and lead to anxiety and depression.

Calm Down the Chatter of Your Mind

Do you wish to free your mind from endless thinking?
Discover How to Stop the Constant Chatter of the Mind

How to Overcome Overthinking?

There are various ways to get rid of the habit of over thinking, like watching TV, playing video games or listening to music. For a little while, your mind is occupied with something else. These are only temporary means.

Here are a few simple things you can do to free yourself from this habit.

  1. Walking, swimming or exercising the body can take your mind off temporarily, from the habit overthinking. Anything that keeps your mind occupied with some activity that doesn’t allow you to overthink is okay.
  2. Watch yourself when you overthink and see how time and energy consuming it is, how you are behaving passively, instead of actively.
  3. Realize that thinking once about something, or a just a few times is enough. It leads you nowhere thinking over and again the same thoughts. You need to make a decision and act.
  4. Refuse to re-enact in your mind unpleasant events from your past.
  5. As difficult as it might seem, don’t take too much time making up your mind, especially with unimportant matters.

  6. When you catch yourself ruminating, think about the time and energy your are wasting, and about the opportunities you are letting disappear.
  7. Develop a certain degree of emotional detachment
  8. Try to fix your attention on what you are doing and avoid being absent-minded.

Practicing the above can help overcome the habit of overthinking. However, you need to keep repeating the tips, since you might revert to overthinking – ruminating over and again. It require practice to stop this habit.

The above tips would help you, but if you want to completely overcome this habit, you will need to go one step further.

You will need to learn to focus and calm down your mind, so that you can easily prevent it from revolving around the same thoughts over and again.

Practicing concentration exercises enables you to control your thoughts and focus your mind on what you want to think, not on restless thinking and on ruminating.

You can find here, concentration exercise that you can practice to improve your authority over your mind.

If you want to learn more about focusing the mind and about overcoming overthinking you will find the following two books most practicable and useful:

Focus Your Attention
Calm Down the Nonstop Chatter of Your Mind

The above resources contain all the information, advice and instructions you need, so there is no need to repeat them here.

Overthinking Quotes

Did you know that quotes can often provide concise and to the point useful advice. Here are few quotes about the topic of the article.

“You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks and months over thinking the past. Trying to put together pieces, imagining what could have been, should have been or would have been. Or you can pick up the pieces off the floor and move on as a stronger, smarter person.”
– Nicolas Sparks

“Don’t get too deep, it leads to over thinking, and over thinking leads to problems that don’t even exist in the first place.
– Jayson Engay

“I have realized sometimes I do better working under a crazy schedule. It gives me less time to overthink things and forces me to be present.”
–Torrey DeVitto

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”
– Erma Bombeck

“Stop thinking there is a hidden meaning in everything people say. Most of the time, people just say things without any hidden intention or desire to hurt you.”

“Taking things too personally and getting hurt by words people say is a waste of time and energy.”

Find more quotes on overthinking.

Calm Down the Chatter of Your Mind

Do you wish to free your mind from endless thinking?
Discover How to Stop the Constant Chatter of the Mind