Overthinking is the act of thinking about something in excess. It involves overanalyzing (analyzing something in too much detail) and rumination (engaging in a continuous repetitive negative thought).
Simply put: your mind is consumed by something you are thinking about.
Over-thinkers are problem dwellers. They experience difficulties with decision-making and problem-solving. They may be worried about making the wrong decision or beat themselves up for the decisions they’ve already made. They may experience difficulties looking for an effective solution to help soothe worries and fears. Because of this, overthinking is often associated with heightened feelings of anxiety, depression and PTSD.
If you’re prone to overthinking and you're feeling a bit stuck, here are a few practices that may be helpful in managing your thoughts:
Distraction: give yourself a break from overthinking by finding a distraction.
While it’s easy to access electronics as a means of distraction, this can sometimes lead to doom scrolling and other habits that may actually contribute to our anxiety more. We encourage you to practice healthy distraction such as meditating, exercising, crafting, cooking, listening to music, etc.
Challenge negative thoughts: recognize when you are experiencing negative thinking and practice reframing these thoughts into something more helpful.
Use the following questions to explore your anxiety and help challenge or defuse your anxious thoughts:
Do I have evidence that this thought is true? What are the facts?
Do I have evidence that this thought is not true? What are the facts?
Is this thought helpful? Is there a more helpful or realistic way of looking at the situation?
How likely is it that this worry or fear will come true? If my worry comes true, what will I do? How will I handle it? Will I be ok? Who can support me and what do I need?
What would I say to a friend who has this worry?
If my worry doesn’t come true, what might happen instead?
Practice self-acceptance and self-compassion: recognize when you are beating yourself up for past mistakes and practice being kind, loving and gentle towards yourself.
Tip: act the same way towards yourself as you would towards a friend: notice the suffering, empathize with it, and offer kindness and understanding.
If you’re experiencing difficulties managing overthinking on your own, it’s ok to seek help.
Therapists, such as ourselves, are trained to help you navigate through these difficult times. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or do it on your own. We’re here to help.
Let us know if this blog post is helpful. We’d love to hear from you!
Samantha & the team at PGH :)
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