Tips And Coping Strategies For Overthinking

Tips And Coping Strategies For Overthinking

Worrying too much can be controlled if you follow these steps

Tips And Coping Strategies

We all worry about things like jobs, health, family, relationships, and a variety of other things.

But is there a limit to how much you can ponder and worry?

Overthinking is a bad habit that usually leads to increased stress since it focuses on the negative, dwells on the past, and worries about the future.

Instead of fixing a problem, you obsess about it without coming up with reasonable answers. It’s almost like a broken record of negativity playing over and over in your thoughts.

So, how can you avoid overthinking?

Natacha Duke, MA, RP, a registered psychotherapist, discusses some possible solutions.

Why do I overthink everything?

Overthinking is a difficult habit to quit.

It’s a never-ending cycle of negative thoughts that seems like you’re falling down a rabbit hole. For example, you may get concerned about a specific scenario at work, which leads to concern about money, which leads to concern about losing your job.

But why do you overthink things?

Overthinking is a sign of stress, anxiety, or despair.

Overthinking is not a mental condition in and of itself, although it has been linked to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD patients frequently worry excessively about a variety of issues and may have the following symptoms:

  • For at least six months, I’ve been worrying excessively about a variety of irrelevant issues.
    Controlling the concern is difficult. For at least six months, I’ve been worrying excessively about a variety of irrelevant issues.
  • Controlling the concern is difficult.
  • Anxiety impairs one’s capacity to operate.

You may also feel restless or agitated (as if you’re “revving”), have difficulty focusing, and have sleep problems.

Different types of damaging thinking patterns

We frequently grow more worried when we overthink. According to Duke, this is frequently related to cognitive mistakes, which are essentially logical reasoning flaws. Here are a few instances of typical cognitive mistakes.

Catastrophizing

This is when you picture the worst-case scenario as the unavoidable consequence of a problem.

“When we get caught up in overthinking, we tend to jump right to the worst-case scenario and overestimate the chance of that event really happening,” Duke adds.

Everything-or-nothing thinking

You may feel as if you’re struggling at work, or as if you’re the employee of the month. There is no gray area in this way of thinking.

“However, most things in life are somewhere in between,” Duke observes.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for reducing overthinking and detecting cognitive mistakes.

“It teaches people how to spot flaws and then recast their thinking in more rational and balanced ways,” Duke explains.

Everything-or-nothing thinking

You may feel as if you’re struggling at work, or as if you’re the employee of the month. There is no gray area in this way of thinking.

“However, most things in life are somewhere in between,” Duke observes.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for reducing overthinking and detecting cognitive mistakes.

“It teaches people how to spot flaws and then recast their thinking in more rational and balanced ways,” Duke explains.

Overgeneralizing

This is when we have a setback or failure and generalize it to all circumstances. We may mistakenly believe that things have always gone wrong for us and will continue to do so.

While anxiety is primarily focused on the future, you may sometimes experience overthinking about the past.

“Doing so is more associated with depression,” Duke adds.

However, you might be suffering from both sadness and anxiety. Comorbidity refers to the presence of two mental health problems at the same time.

According to Duke, “working with a CBT-trained therapist can help reduce both anxious and depressive moods.”

How to Get Rid of Overthinking

Duke offers some advice and solutions for overcoming overthinking.

Duke recommends cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT).

“CBT teaches you how to identify, confront, and reframe your negative ideas, as well as how to manage worry and anxiety in better ways,” she says.

Make A Concerning Period

Set a time during the day for a concerning period, aiming for 30 minutes.

“You write down all your anxieties at that period,” Duke suggests. “Then, go over your list and underline the problems that you can fix, the things over which you have power.”

After that, spend some time thinking about possible solutions. Work on letting go of things over which you have no control (such as how others may respond to a scenario) until your next worry phase.

“You’re attempting to worry solely during your concern time. “It takes some time,” Duke admits. “However, over time, you learn better control over your worries.”

Reconsider Your “What Ifs”

Do you frequently ask yourself, “What if I lose my job?” or “What if I become ill?”

While these ideas are reasonable, they become a problem when you exclusively consider the worst-case situation.

“For every ‘what if’ concern, modify this to an ‘if then’ statement in which you come up with a ‘then I will do/say’ if that ‘what if’ or even worst-case scenario occurs,” Duke advises. “Make sure you have a solid plan in place.”

Confront Your Negative Ideas

You may believe your boss despises you or that you will never achieve your health objectives.

Rather than allowing negative ideas to dominate, confront and reframe them into good, uplifting beliefs.

“Ask yourself if that thinking is useful,” Duke recommends. “What is the proof that my negative thought is correct?” Is there an alternate option? The idea is to get a more balanced viewpoint.”

Divert Your Attention

“A healthy diversion may be beneficial,” Duke adds.

Meditation, reading, and going for a stroll can all help you manage your stress.

“It’s preferable to be proactive and incorporate these exercises into your routine,” Duke advises. “They can lower your baseline anxiety level and make you less inclined to overthink.”

However, if you are already overwhelmed and unable to find relief through healthy diversion, it may be beneficial to communicate your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust.

“Resist the desire to hold things that distress you within,” Duke advises. “Speak with a friend, family member, or therapist.”

Exercise self-compassion

You’ve undoubtedly shown compassion to your mother or a friend. What about you, though? When you encounter a difficulty or a task, how does your inner conversation sound?

“It really comes down to being able to provide love, kindness, and forgiveness to oneself,” Duke adds. “By doing so, you will really calm your body’s internal danger system and have a clearer mind with which to problem-solve your circumstance.”

When To Seek Assistance

While everyone overthinks at times, if you can’t control how much you worry and it’s interfering with your ability to function, it may be time to seek professional treatment.

You may also begin to experience physical symptoms such as irritation, exhaustion, concentration or memory problems, and sleeplessness. Excessive anxiety and stress can also develop or worsen stomach problems, as well as tightness in your shoulders and neck.

“If you find it difficult to regulate your worrying, focus at work, or fall asleep at night, I would absolutely seek professional treatment,” Duke recommends.

According to Duke, one thing you will learn in therapy is how to not get caught up in your worries.

“You don’t necessarily realize it while you’re in the thick of worrying,” she explains. “You will learn how to notice when you are spiraling and indulging in unhelpful rumination with CBT.” You will practice writing down and confronting negative thoughts. Essentially, you will create a useful toolset for dealing with overthinking.”

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