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How to Stop Overthinking | How to Stop Thinking Too Much


Overthinking is “thinking about something too much or for too long”. In simple words, When you think too much it is called Overthinking. Overthinking is a mental process that revolves around the idea of ruminating, going over something in your head over and over again, replaying it in your mind, and eventually feeling overwhelmed by it. When we are overthinking we are not able to think the right thing at the right time.

Overthinking is the act of spending time dwelling on problem instead of the solution. This could cause us to think about it too long and over-analyze a problem. It is a good way to avoid a problem but also a bad way to solve a problem because you will spend way too much time to solve a problem that is not worth solving.

How to recognize overthinking? The person is experiencing difficulty concentrating because they are thinking too much. The person is unable to do anything else but think about the problem because they keep thinking about it. Also, it is a feeling of being overwhelmed by the amount of work to do and being unable to handle it.  

Overthinking can be very debilitating. It can result in you feeling down, anxious or depressed due to the thought process that is associated with it. Overthinking can also lead to indecision and procrastination.

Is overthinking a mental illness

Overthinking is not a mental illness in and of itself.

Overthinking is quite a common part of the human experience, and many people engage in it from time to time. Research shows 73% of people ages 25-35 chronically overthink, and 52% of people ages 45-55.

But, when someone consistently overthinks. i.e.,  when overthinking becomes chronic, it can lead to negative thought patterns and feelings of overwhelm, which can interfere with daily functioning leading to negative consequences, such as insomnia, fatigue, and decreased productivity. It can worsen existing mental health conditions.

However, overthinking can be a symptom of various underlying mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, PTSD, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and even certain personality disorders.

What Causes Overthinking

Overthinking can be caused by anxiety, frustration, boredom, loneliness, perfectionism, and other mental disorders such as depression, ADHD, PTSD, etc. Other causes of overthinking could be a lack of sleep, not eating properly, or being stressed out.

6 Steps to stop overthinking

1. Accept that overthinking happens.

Overthinking can be triggered by a lot of stress, but it's important to accept that it happens. Understand that overthinking is a natural part of life.

Accept that you will overthink.

Accept that you will have ups and downs.

Accept that some things will always require effort.

Accept that you will not always be the best in everything.

Accept that you will not always be able to solve your problems.

Accept that everyone goes through a period where they overthink.

Accept that overthinking will not totally go away.

2. Distract yourself.

Take a walk, run, exercise or do something that will take your mind off of the problem/thought. Do something you enjoy, like reading a book, drawing, dancing, or watching movies. This will give your mind something to think about other than the problem that you are trying to solve.

3. Take a break.

Eat a good meal or take a relaxing bath. This will help to clear your mind and allow you to get back to your life.

4. Set aside a special “thinking time”.

Set aside about five, fifteen, or thirty minutes a day and spend that time only thinking about your problem. This may be difficult, but it will help you to solve your problem.

5. Write it down.

Writing down your overthinking can help you get it out of your mind. Writing down the problems that you thought about overthinking will help you to get rid of the negative thoughts and get back to your life.

6. Talk to someone about your problem.

Find someone, a friend, or a family member that is a good listener and ask them to listen to you when you are having an overthinking problem. Talk to them about your thoughts. They can help you to process it and talk things through with you when you are thinking about it.

If you are finding it hard to solve your problem, then ask for help. Friends, family, or a professional can help you to solve the problem.

8 Ways to Stop Overthinking

First, here's a video for you... ⇩


Build awareness by giving it a name. Let's say 'Jack'. Every time you go into an overthinking spiral, be conscious that Jack has arrived. You trick yourself by separating the thoughts from you and gaining some control.


Putting thoughts on paper allows you to process them and possibly look at them from a different perspective after you read them back. It is a good tool to organize your thoughts and a good outlet for venting.


Rather than ignoring the overthinking, choose a time everyday where you allow yourself to overthink. Gently remind yourself that you will come back to your thoughts at the scheduled time.


Give yourself a chance to distract in several ways. It could be a creative outlet (music/art), physical outlet (shower/sports), fun outlet (game), social outlet (call a friend), or even a spiritual one.


Challenge your thought by asking yourself these questions:

Is there any solid proof to the thoughts?

What is the probability it will happen?
Could there be any other explanation?
What might go right instead of wrong?


Mindfulness is a great tool/practice to stay in the moment while accepting your thoughts without judging them. One way is to focus on your senses: Name 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you smell, and one thing you taste.

  Read more here onMindfulness Meditation


The sooner you accept the fact that nothing will ever be perfect, and that not having control over every situation is OKAY, the less these thoughts will have control over you.


Seek the objective help of a friend or a therapist to help you see things differently. You can also do so alone by asking yourself:

Will this thought help me in any way?

Will it matter in a week?

Will it matter in a year?

What would I advise a loved one in a similar situation?

Hope this article on How to Stop Overthinking was useful. If you have any more ideas do comment below.


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