You’ve probably done it a thousand times, and you may be doing it right now. The act of overthinking a situation can cause a host of problems. It may undermine your confidence, make you question a previous choice, or fail to make an important decision. However, you don’t have to accept overthinking as a normal part of life. Here are five tips to help you combat it and take charge of your choices.
1. Establish Your Priorities
Setting priority is a great first step in breaking an overthinking habit. You are probably wondering why it would matter. The answer is pretty straightforward. Once you know what really matters, you can focus your decision-making powers on those things.
For example, if saving for a new house is a top priority, keeping that in the front of your mind will make deciding whether or not to work that extra shift next week much easier. If taking time off to prioritize rest is more important, then you would likely come to a different conclusion on your schedule.
2. Learn How To Manage Stress
Like it or not, stress is a permanent part of life. There is no way to fully avoid it. However, this is not a cause for despair. Stress can be helpful, and it may even motivate you to make choices more quickly. The trick is learning how to manage — and even harness — the stress you experience so it doesn’t;t overwhelm you.
There are so many different ways to manage stress that it may take time to find one that works for you. Here are some methods that others have found helpful:
- Try hemp products, such as CBD gummies and edibles
- Practice mindfulness or breath meditation
- Take a walk
- Spend time outdoors
- Enjoy aromatherapy
- Get creative with adult coloring
- Start a gratitude jar
3. Recognize Negative Thought Patterns
Negative thinking can quickly undermine your decisiveness and spiral out of control. If you find yourself experiencing automatic negative thoughts, know you are not alone. Unfortunately, it is the default thought pattern for many people.
When you gather the tools to counter ANTs, you take control of your thought processes and your emotions. Luckily, it is easier than you might think. Try these steps to stop negative thoughts in their tracks the next time they pop up.
The first step is to recognize the thoughts and their negativity. It may be helpful to write them down in a journal along with how they make you feel. This gives you the clarity needed to acknowledge the habit and how it is impacting your thought process. Then, take it a step further and acknowledge whether or not they are rooted in truth. Hint: they usually aren’t.
The final step is to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. Turn, “I failed at that task” into “I worked really hard and learned a few valuable lessons.” Document these in your journal.
4. Find an Outlet for Your Frustrations
If you find yourself frustrated and overwhelmed, it may be time to vent. Find a constructive method that works for you. A few ideas are hitting the gym, taking a run, having coffee with a friend, or writing in a journal. The need to vent is becoming more socially acceptable than ever before and “rage rooms” are popping up in cities across the country.
5. Be Willing To Ask for Help
This may very well be the hardest tip to execute. After all, no one really likes to ask for help for fear it will be judged as a weakness. The truth is, asking for help is actually a big sign of strength and awareness. By doing it, you are recognizing your limitations and acknowledging that you can’t go it alone.
Help can take many forms. You may need advice to make a decision or you may need someone to help you stop those spiraling thoughts. Either way, know that there is help available if you ask for it.
Overthinking can immobilize you and hold you captive. Counter it by setting priorities, managing stress, venting, and banishing ANTs. If you are still overwhelmed, be willing to ask for help.