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Many individuals openly acknowledge their inclination toward overthinking, a trait that frequently becomes entangled with persistent procrastination. Immersed in deep contemplation, they discover themselves immobilized, unable to translate their thoughts into purposeful actions. This predicament not only nurtures anxiety and stress but also stands as a formidable impediment to progress and accomplishment.
Stop thinking “what if” and start taking action with these 12 tips.
1. Keep a Daily Journal
One user offers his favorite solution: journaling and jotting things down. “For me, overthinking is usually thinking the same thoughts in a useless cycle. So writing down the thoughts helps me stop from thinking them again.”
This can help a ton with processing what’s going through the brain on repeat.
2. Stop Worrying
Practicing “it is what it is” is easier said than done for a procrasinating overthinker. One man reports what helps him most.
“Practicing mindfulness, self-control, and acknowledging that worrying about something ultimately will not change the outcome. I’m so envious of people who have the “it is what it is” mindset.”
3. Stay Busy
There’s nothing like an active mind to make the days drag on and nights impossible to sleep.
One writer suggests, “Get busy, get distracted, do distracting things, but also make sure you give yourself time to think about it. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck thinking about it in bed and can’t sleep for hours.”
4. Get Your Heart Pumping in Nature
One user has some great advice: “I know it’s different for everyone but for me, swimming, running or mountain biking or hiking has such an effect on me that it’s almost like a reset. Much of the time what ever is bothering me, by the end of a session or number of sessions, I’ve got a solution to my problem and or processed and dealt with my issue mentally.
Over the years, I’ve noticed if I stop with the exercises my mind becomes messy again.”
5. Find a Meaningful Mantra
Keep in mind the following words, “Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.” Every time you start to overthink, remember this. It can be a great mantra to recite daily for optimal effectiveness.
6. Take Deep Breathes
When stuck in a loop of anxiety, it’s easy to start breathing shallowly without realizing it. To combat this, follow this writer’s insight:
“Serious answer…take double breathes…like inhale normally like you usually do and then inhale once again… you’ll realise we don’t use our lungs to their full capacity…now keep it in for a 2 to 3 seconds and slowly exhale…repeat it a couple time and you’ll find yourself more calm and relaxed and less anxious.”
7. Laugh It Off
In certain situations, there’s only so much you can do when feeling frozen into inaction. In that case, try this: “Learn not to give a fu**. Honestly if you are overthinking means you are bothered too much, or even start getting paranoid. Laugh and sh** on the problem and when the time comes, gather courage and just face it.”
8. Accept What You Can’t Control
“Trying to distinguish what you can and can’t control about a situation and getting to a point of acceptance with what you can’t control is important.” Another one that is easier said than done but very valuable as a skill.
9. Practice Mindfulness
One man reports getting some great advice recently, “Practice mindfulness: Focus on your breath or engage in a grounding exercise to bring yourself back to the present moment. For example, you can try the 5-4-3-2-1 technique: Identify five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.” Great ways to get grounded include going for a walk or a swim, too.
10. Keep Your Eyes Still and Stare Straight
One user offer unique advice he learned. “Stare straight without moving your eyes. This overrides part of your limbic system and brain that is responsible for over thinking. Found this out last year and it has been a game changer for ADHD.
Try it next time you are overthinking. Pay attention to how much you move your eyes when you are overthinking and then stop moving them and the thoughts stop. Blew my mind.”
11. Know Your Why
Being able to achieve the things you want in life is much easier when you have goals in place. If you don’t know why you’re waking up each morning or going through certain motions, it’s impossible to stay motivated.
12. Break Big Goals Up Into Bite Sized Steps
Long-term goals can be motivating initially, but they can also feel overwhelming and vague after a while. Setting short-terms goals and daily tasks that act as stepping stones to the bigger goal are important to keep you moving toward your goals when you feel lost or unsure of what to do next.
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