Before knowing the causes of overthinking, you should know that everybody thinks, analyzes or reflects. It is better to spend quality time being critically analytical as well as being curious about our thought processes.
However, some of us strive to exceed expectations! Everything works best when it is within limits. This is true here as well, but with more intensity. Most people do not realize how negative their mental space has become until it has gotten worse. Our goal is to understand what overthinking is and prevent me from spiraling into it.
Overthinkers can easily confirm that the process of overthinking causes them to suffocate and exhaust themselves, and, at the end of the day, all that thinking has been a total waste of time. Overthinking can lead to rumination, which is characterized as unproductive. Our emotional regulation and sleep patterns are disrupted, which makes it difficult to enjoy daily activities.
Stress and anxiety are the two main causes of overthinking. Overthinking can also be caused by issues with one’s self-esteem and self-doubt. Stress and anxiety are natural responses to fear; these have been caused by social distancing. We are worried about your futures, including illness and death, among others, in this pandemic. We have to overthink in these situations.
Overthinking can also be caused by trauma. Overthinking is more common among those who have experienced trauma. Children abused or neglected as children can alter their brain to stay in a state of constant hypervigilance. We are on high alert, which means we react in dangerous situations by fighting, fleeing or freezing. Therefore, traumatized individuals may exhibit obsessive thoughts under such conditions.
Individuals with perfectionistic values or who are obsessive tendencies, and those who are strict about their control, may find themselves overanalyzing too quickly. These individuals may ruminate over past mistakes or those they might make in the future. People around them tend to judge them.
Once you have identified the causes of overthinking, you must take steps to eliminate it. Be aware of both your thoughts and your body’s reaction when you overthink. Try the following strategies and see what works best for you. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for this; therefore, you will have to experiment.
Related: Types of Overthinking
How to control overthinking
Mindfulness and meditation
Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to improve psychological well-being. The exercise improves the ability to remember, concentrate and regulate emotions, as well as reducing stress. Mindfulness is simply about focusing on the present moment.
Mindfulness enables you to acknowledge your thoughts exist, and you can choose whether or not you want to accept them. Making mindfulness meditation a habit will make it easier for you to handle overthinking as well.
Focused breathing helps your heart slow down, which calms your mind. A calm mind will assist you in starting over with a healthy thinking style and a new thinking pattern. Start by taking a few deep breaths and holding them. Exhale slowly and then take a second deep breath after feeling a desire to inhale. Repeat this until you feel relaxed.
Check: Anxiety Breathing Exercises
It’s all about awareness. You must become aware of what you are thinking. By keeping a journal, you can become aware of your thinking patterns, and once you know them, you can change them.
Change your perspective
Fear leads to overthinking, and we become obsessed with all the negative things that might happen. You will be able to stop overthinking once you become aware of it. Take the time to think about what could go right.
Put your energy into something productive. Diverting your attention from negative thoughts by doing something enjoyable such as a hobby can sometimes help.
Recommended: 9 Strategies to Overcome Overthinking
Count your blessings
You should be grateful rather than regretful because regret cannot change the past. Gratitude helps you appreciate all the things that are good and positive in your life.
It is common to overthink. Although you cannot change the past, you can change the present and convert all negative feelings to positive, pleasant ones. Don’t waste your time worrying about things you don’t even know are going to happen, and don’t try to predict the future. Learn how to transform pessimistic thinking into productive, practical, and correct thinking.