Overthinking is the repetitive and often unproductive process of thinking. These thoughts can focus on several aspects of one’s life. Research has identified rumination, which involves thinking of the past, and worry about future events.
Overthinking about the past can include regrets and resentments one has about their lives, or even about one’s actions. Some of the thoughts that come under this category are: “why did I say that?” “Why did I pick this career path?” Overthinking about the present can be around aspects of relationships or personal life circumstances. They include thoughts such as “Am I in the right relationship?” or about identity. Overthinking about the future can be long-term such as finances or life fulfilment and short-term, such as about upcoming presentations.
Some signs of overthinking include:
Inability to relax
Feeling constant worry
Racing thoughts centred around a few topics
Some of the ways to stop overthinking or reduce its impact include the following.
Distracting yourself: Rather than thinking about the same problem repeatedly, one can distract themselves by taking part in a hobby or listening to music or even reading. These techniques help to get the mind more focused on other things and away from the problem.
Challenging negative thoughts: Reminding yourself that your thoughts are thoughts and not facts can help stop the spiral into overthinking. You can challenge these negative thoughts and replace the negative ones with more positive and productive thoughts.
Practice self-acceptance: Overthinking is often centred around past mistakes or regrets, and instead of focusing on berating yourself, working towards being more accepting of these mistakes can help reduce overthinking. This can involve practicing gratitude and forgiving yourself.
Importance of Professional Counseling: A friend or family member may listen to you, but they aren’t professionally, technically qualified or experienced to offer you professional advice. If you wish you can contact us at MindTribe to receive help from our team of expert psychologists.
MindTribe Founder Dr. Prerna Kohli, India’s eminent psychologist, established the company to leverage the strength of the online to make counseling affordable and accessible to everyone. MindTribe provides counseling, workshops, support groups, forums, and eLearning.
About the Author.
Shreya Shankar is a psychologist at MindTribe.in. You can learn more about her by clicking here
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MindTribe.in, the Founders, or management team.
Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.