How you can STOP yourself from overthinking, according to psychologists

A record high: 40% of adults worldwide are overstressed.

  • According to an annual report on the emotional state of the population, overthinking affects nearly half of adults worldwide.
  • Psychologists note the main reasons for overthinking and suggest several things you can do to manage it.

In 2020, stress hit a terrifying record high. According to the annual Gallup Global Emotions Report, people in most countries are experiencing extreme levels of stress, anxiety, and anger. The report reveals that 40% of adults worldwide are stressed out.

So, how can we tackle the issue and stop overthinking so much?

As per Unilad, Dr. Elena Touroni, a consultant psychologist and co-founder of the virtual psychology clinic My Online Therapy, may have the answers we need. In an interview with The Independent, the expert illustrates some of the reasons why we are prone to overthinking, as well as how this process affects our wellbeing. What’s more, Dr. Touroni also advises how we can avoid letting negative thoughts crush our mental health.

Why are we constantly overthinking? 

The consultant psychologist explains that people often get stuck while thinking about things that haven’t even happened yet.

“The way many people start to overthink is in the guise of ‘preparing’ for a situation. While this is normal and can be helpful, it’s when this preparation turns obsessive that we may find ourselves in the unhelpful overthinking phase.”

Another reason may be the absence of distractions, which is why many of us, the overthinkers, get trapped in our minds late at night. Dr. Touroni says:

“When your mind is idle, it’s more likely to obsess about topics that you wouldn’t be considering if you were doing something engaging.”

Just like most things in this world, overthinking has its advantages. For instance, it can help you establish your priorities and focus on your goals. However, overanalyzing every single detail of your life can also be incredibly harmful.

What can we do to stop? 

Niels Eek, a psychologist and co-founder of wellbeing app Remente, notes:

“If you find that you are often fixated on small and insignificant things in your life, leading to heightened feelings of anxiety, perhaps it is time to step back and reassess what it is that is causing you to overanalyze.”

Dr. Touroni adds:

“Finding yourself unable to stop playing images over and over again can lead to trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating on the situations you’re actually in. This in turn can cause irritability, more stress and anxiety.”

To avoid that, the expert suggests distracting yourself with a hobby. It can be going to the gym, attending dance classes, reading a book, doing DIY projects – whatever floats your boat. Focusing on these things will push the unnecessary self-destructive thoughts out of your mind.

Taking time to improve your self-care habits, such as journaling, may also help you lessen the overthinking. Dr. Toutoni shares:

“Mindfulness is almost the antithesis of this. The premise being mindfulness is not overthinking.

When we write things down, they feel more manageable. Journaling can be a way of scheduling ‘worry time’ – a dedicated time each day that we devote entirely to worrying.”

In case you are a chronic overthinker, and none of these tips work for you, you may consider speaking to a professional. A therapist can help you find the right tools and techniques for controlling your overanalyzing habits and turning them into something positive.

You can also contact the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) on 0800 58 58 58, as well as use their webchat service in case you prefer chatting over talking on the phone. They are available every day from 5 pm to midnight.

Are you an overthinker? What do you do to stop or at least control your negative thoughts? Let us know in the comment section!

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