Kimber Shelton, a psychologist and owner of KLS Counselling & Consulting Services in Texas, said people are often trapped in their own thoughts because they strive for perfection, or try to find a way to control the situation.
“We want to understand every angle and be able to control what can happen, so we stay trapped in our thoughts,” she said.
“When people overthink, their thoughts start to spin and they can’t find a result,” Shelton added.
She added that thoughts about embarrassing or mishandled past events can upset people and lead them to rethink these events over and over again.
Deborah Cerani, a psychologist and senior faculty assistant at the Gordon F. Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University in New York, said overthinkers have a hard time prioritizing their problems and understanding the problems that are within their control.
How can you challenge excessive thinking?
The first step: It helps to be aware of yourself when you overthink.
The second step: Try to take a step back and think about whether you can control the thing you overthink.
Cerani said that if it’s something you can’t control, you can say to yourself, “I have to really prioritize what I have the power to change, beyond my ability to change.
The third stepIf the situation is under your control, try to live in the moment and isolate the individual problem.
The fourth stepOnce you have identified one problem, the next step is to set a time limit for how long you will give yourself to solve the problem.
Fifth stepRecognize the small steps you took to solve your problem, even if you weren’t able to solve it completely.
“You will celebrate the fact that you took a stand, realized that you were thinking too much and that you tried to solve the problem,” Sirani said.
Many people may not succeed the first two times they practice this method, and she stressed that it is normal to feel this way.
Relax at night
Overthinking hits many people at night when they roll over in their beds. And if these thoughts keep you awake, Shelton recommends setting a time limit to overthink.
“I’ll give myself five minutes and let my mind go wherever it wants,” she said.
Another strategy, Shelton explained, is to write down your fears to allow your thoughts to escape your mind, where they can be written as you think of them, or you can create a pros and cons list.
Overthinking while meditating
Meditation is a common subjective practice that focuses on having a mind free of thoughts. For someone who thinks too much, this can be difficult.
And if you’re a beginner, try starting with 30 seconds of meditation, then you can slowly work your way up to longer times. As soon as you notice thoughts starting to cross your mind, refocus your attention on your breathing.
Sirani explained that meditation is not something everyone can do, and she doesn’t want people to think they are failing when they can’t.
She noted that calming activities such as reading, walking or listening to music are a great alternative for hyperactive minds.
Know when to ask for help
If you find yourself thinking a lot for weeks or months on end, it may be time to seek professional help, says Cerani.
She said that you can have a mental disorder like generalized anxiety disorder, adding: “Generalized anxiety is a very common experience, especially since the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic, because there is a lot of stress with the epidemic and life changes,” according to “cnn.”
Shelton noted that overthinking can result from previous trauma, and can be cured with treatment.