Overthinking: How to control negative thoughts?


Are you among them who ruminate about their past? Do your thoughts control your actions? Then well, you are an overthinker! Overthinking is a psychological condition where you have no control over your thoughts. Overthinking can mess up one’s life. Feeling sorry for yourself can wreak havoc in your mental-wellbeing and eventually, your whole life.

Overthinking is a condition where the more you think, the worse you feel.

Meanwhile, conditions like misery, anxiety, anger, aggression make the situation worse. The two common thoughts are– ruminating about the past and worrying too much about the future.

What causes overthinking?

People fail to realize that it is also a consequence of psychological conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, and PTSD. Anxiety is when the person often worries about the future. On the other hand, overthinking makes you susceptible to those conditions.

Overthinking is a vicious cycle of mental health decline. People tend to overthink about feeling anxious, eventually leading to anxiety disorders. You tend to realize that you are stuck in this cycle when you are in the middle. At this moment, you fail to conclude if your mental problems are causing you to overthink, or overthinking is pushing you into a cycle of mental health decline.

Hypochondria is another condition that makes you overthink. Hypochondriacs are those who think there is something medically wrong with them. They usually falsely diagnose their condition by reading online or listening to someone else, eventually ending up at the clinic just to find out that they are perfectly fine.

Sleeplessness

It can disrupt your sleep at night. Sleep deprivation in turn results in anxiety, which leads to overthinking and the cycle goes on. You overthink not being able to sleep, worsening the condition. The best way is to get up from your bed and try some relaxing activities. Don’t stay too long on your bed. Also, stay away from your mobile and social media. Interaction can stimulate your strength, making it difficult to fall asleep.

Thinking vs. overthinking

People often fail to realize the difference between introspection and overthinking. Introspection is when you think and learn about your actions and create a better perspective. It’s an approach for problem-solving. Overthinking, in contrast, is when you have no control over insights. The perspectives are always almost negative.

The difference between “It shouldn’t have gone that way!” and “What should I do to make it better the next time?” helps you differentiate typical overthinking and introspection– Dwelling on your problems isn’t helpful, but thinking for solutions is.

Tips to control overthinking

Apart from psychological conditions, you are also susceptible to physiological changes. It includes headaches, migraines, memory complications, cognitive deficits over time, and chronic sleeplessness. These are usually the consequences of stress due to overthinking. So what can you do to stop overthinking?

1.Train yourself mentally

To stop overthinking, it is vital to train your mental health. This primarily includes mindfulness or meditation. Just as it takes you a few minutes of workout for physical fitness, it takes only a few minutes every day for mental fitness. These few minutes of meditation can train your mental health for emotional well-being and productivity over time.

Moreover, mental fitness routines like yoga can reduce cortisol levels (the reason behind stress) and induce melatonin (the hormone regulating sleep).

Whenever you feel anxious about something, analyze your emotions and your body. Take a moment to see what’s going on around you. Start to focus on what you are doing right at the moment.

If you are alone and all you think is negative, change your focus to an activity that needs both physical and mental work.

Practicing meditation can also help you take control of your thoughts without spiraling out of control. Meditation is also a method of diaphragmatic breathing. A couple of slow inhales and exhales can make you feel calmer. This method helps you reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

2. Take control over your negative thoughts

The best way to take control of your negative thoughts is to counteract it with the better soothing reality. Overthinking takes you onto a path full of negativity.

Remember to train your mind that reality is not as bad as you think it is. Moreover, these negative thoughts over time make reality look bad too. Hence, you have to start taking control of your negative thoughts.

Change your thinking from “Why nothing works out for me?” to “What can I do to make it work?”

The negativity you encounter visualizes your problems out of control. At the moment, one starts to undermine their capability. Hardiness, on the other hand, can change our perception towards problems.

Consider the negativity you face with overthinking, as challenges. Working hard through these challenges can make you more resilient and stable. It makes you feel powerful unlike the opposite in overthinking. Moreover, it helps you take control of your thoughts.

If you try really hard to take control of your thoughts while overthinking, you may fall into the cycle of severe overthinking. “When you try too much to stop something, it comes back in full force”. You should know when to let go.

If considering thoughts as challenges won’t work out, start taking control of your present. Stop focusing on your thoughts and divert to an activity that requires complete engagement. Enjoy each moment as it passes without the need to rehash past problems or tomorrow’s worry.

3. Listen to your inner voice

Listen to the self-attacking and self-soothing inner thoughts. Once you start to realize these thoughts, start analyzing what triggers your thoughts. You may be surprised to find that all these thoughts are merely a replay of what your parents or your granny had towards themselves or towards you as a kid.

Understanding where these thoughts arise from, helps you differentiate reality and negativity. At the same time, you can learn to be more compassionate towards yourself.

4. Take time-off just for overthinking!

Take some time off your schedule just to overthink and worry. Yes, you read that right! Instead of reminiscing about your thoughts, which interrupts the quality of life, give your thoughts some time to themselves.

Allow your mind to overthink peacefully. Allow it to throw all the tantrums at a time. Let it out for as long it desires. Eventually, it will shut off as your reality strengthens.

During this time, write down your thoughts. Observe and verbalize the inner thoughts. Jot down all your negative and self-attacking inner voices. Similarly, talk therapy also helps you let go of your thoughts and the burden. As your reality strengthens, your self-soothing thoughts gradually come alive. You might start to feel better.

If you are thinking of maintaining a journal, you might as well prefer a gratitude journal. Write about all the things that you are grateful for. A study also proves that people who maintain a gratitude journal tend to be less aggressive and less of an overthinker. Being thankful is second nature. You start experiencing the benefits soon, which also includes better night sleep and better immunity over time.

Don’t block your thoughts. There always comes a moment when you need to accept the fact that all your thoughts are passing clouds and can’t control you. It is the key to happiness.

Related: Migraine headache symptoms: What should you do?

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