How to stop overthinking: 11 tips that actually work

Every day we miss opportunities to move our dreams forward because we are stuck in our own heads.

If you have ever found yourself worried about what others thought of you or what they might think and it prevented you from moving on your dreams, then you know where we are coming from – it’s a hard knock life when you are always overthinking things.

Here are 11 ways to stop overthinking that actually work. Give them a try and see how much more effective you are at moving projects, relationships, and your life forward.

1) Look at the Big Picture

Rather than focus on what is happening in your life right now, that is causing you to overthink, try to step outside of the moment and consider how your choices will impact you in positive ways.

When we overthink, we tend to focus on the negative, but try looking at things from a positive perspective and a broader approach.

2) Set a Deadline to Make a Decision

When you are faced with overthinking a decision, one of the best ways to move on is to set a deadline or a timer for how long you can think about a particular project or problem.

This way, no matter what you decide, the act of decision making will force you to move forward. In many cases, any action is better than no action.

3) Start Your Day off on the Right Foot

When you start your day with a plan and a routine, you are far more likely to find success than if you start your day feeling frazzled and unorganized.

When you don’t know how to spend your time or don’t know where to focus your energy, you end up wasting a lot of time and effort trying to decide what to do next.

Get yourself a morning routine that involves eating breakfast, checking your calendar, and writing down three things a day you want to get accomplished.

4) Take Action, However Small it May Be

Sometimes the fear we feel from overthinking things can be paralyzing. It robs of us living our lives on a daily basis.

People get to the end of their lives wishing they had done things differently, but when you start to take small steps toward your goals, you can work through the anxiety and overthinking that occurs as it arises, rather than not taking any action at all because of what feelings might come up as you carry forward.

5) Accept That There are Things Beyond Your Control

While we have plenty of control over our own lives, we don’t have control over much else. Our bosses will fire us; our banks will raise our interest rates, our dog could get hit by someone’s car. We can only look after ourselves.

So, if you find yourself overthinking about all that could happen in your life, trying bringing it back to center to focus on what you can control.

6) Ask For the Time to Think if You Need it

If you are faced with a big decision and find you can’t make any progress with it, ask for some more time. There’s no shame in taking your time, especially if it is an important decision.

However, be sure to use the time productively and remember to set a deadline for any decision that is stalling you from moving ahead in your life.

7) Don’t Get Swallowed Up By Your Fears

Don’t let the little voice inside of you stop you from pursuing your dreams. There are plenty of times when it’s perfectly okay to fight against your brain; for example, when you are trying to watch your weight, and you blow past a drive-thru in an attempt to avoid eating it.

That’s a good use of avoidance. Not starting that business or asking that girl out because you are afraid is not a good use of avoidance.

You’ll find out soon enough that your fears almost never come to life anyway, so why let them have space in your head?

8) Exercise Your Way to a Clear Head

When you are feeling stuck, go for a walk. The fresh air and movement will help create space in your head and heart to make better decisions, or at least, prevent you from getting caught up in an overthinking spell.

9) Sleep

Sometimes it is best to put off making decisions until after you have had time to process the information.

Sleeping is the best way for your brain to process any new information it has gotten throughout the day.

When you sleep, your brain gets to work on all the problems you faced, and you can subconsciously manifest solutions you didn’t even realize were there.

10) Make an Effort to Be Present

If you find yourself overwhelmed by your choices or by the threat of having to make a choice

11) Be Mindful, But Don’t Fill Up Your Mind

Stay on top of what is making you feel overwhelmed, but breaking it into smaller chunks of information and dealing with one piece at a time.

This works much better than focusing on the whole problem at once.

RELATED ARTICLE: 3 powerful hacks to stop overthinking so you can start living again

NOW WATCH: 5 simple ways to stop overthinking (that actually work)


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Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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