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  • Writer's pictureClaire Hadfield

What is overthinking and how do we stop?

Overthinking is going over the same thought again and again. It can be disruptive to your day, your productivity, and your sleep creating feelings of stress and anxiety. It can also go hand in hand with ADHD, anxiety or OCD.

If you are an overthinker, you’ll know that it’s exhausting… there is plenty out there to overthink about! It could be that you are ruminating on the past, it could be anxieties about the future, or it could be something in your current circumstances that you play out in every scenario possible.

Overthinking is often linked to our fears and it can creep up on us at any time, particularly when there is less to distract us. Overthinking tends to fall on the negative side and the vibe this brings with it can affect our wellbeing. The worst of it is, we often don’t realise at the time that we are slip-sliding our way down the overthinking ramp. So, if you are prone to overthinking, what can you do to bring yourself back to the moment?

7 ways to stop overthinking

  1. Develop an awareness. Having awareness is often the first step to making a change. Next time you feel anxious, angry, or fearful, take a step back and think about whether overthinking is the cause. Notice how your body feels in this moment and start to become aware of when this is happening.

  2. Make a choice. If you catch yourself on the slippery slope of overthinking or become aware it is happening, choose something different. Tell yourself a different line – say it out loud if you need to and use a firm voice: “I am in control of my emotions/thoughts and I choose to do something different.”

  3. Look at the bigger picture. If you are stuck on one thought or moment and keep replaying it ask yourself how it will affect you in 5 or 10 years from now. This can give you an entirely different perspective. Don’t let minor issues turn into massive hurdles.

  4. Realise that you can’t control everything. Trying to do so does not work because no one can predict all the possible scenarios in advance (yes, even if you give it a REALLY good go!). It may be that you are doing this so that you don’t make a mistake or fail. Those things, however, are a part of living a life where you truly stretch your comfort zone. We often learn invaluable things when we make a mistake and this helps us to grow.

  5. Become a person of action. Set small goals to complete through the day. Task yourself with having 5 minutes to consider a decision, make it, and act on it (practice this with small decisions first).

  6. Change the channel. If you’re in your bedroom and notice that you are overthinking, change what you are doing – exercise, work on a task, get outside, or have a conversation. This will distract your mind from being overrun by thoughts.

  7. Set an overthinking time. This is great if you are struggling to stop overthinking. Give yourself 10-15 minutes a day to overthink, and let your anxieties out. Set a timer and when the timer goes off, go and do something else. It can be a good idea to write down your thoughts as you are doing this and rip the paper up when the time goes off!

Let us know how you get on,

The OutdoorCure Team x

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