5 Simple Ways To Stop Overthinking and Be Happy Again

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Many famous figures throughout time and history have said all manner of things about thinking. One of the smartest minds to ever live, Albert Einstein, once said “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” He was saying that we need to change our approach and our thoughts in order to work through life’s troubles. Years later, the immensely spectacular actor Bruce Lee said “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” His lesson was simple, stop thinking so much and get busy, just do what you need to do!

All these wise words to live by are sage advice and all, but if you happen to be an over-thinker then you know how seemingly impossible it can be to zone yourself out. Thinking too much leads to worrying, which leads to stress, and if you can’t stop thinking, the cycle is never ending. While we all reflect on the past and speculate about the future every now and then, constantly thinking about it 24/7 is not normal and definitely not healthy. Chronic worriers often end up depressed and anxious, they become obsessive, and many people find their negativity off putting to be around.

If you ever find yourself spiraling down into a black hole of endless thoughts that are leading you nowhere, try the following ways to put an end to it and stop yourself from over thinking:

1) Focus on Your Breathing- When you catch yourself getting stuck in your thoughts and worrying about all of the things that are bothering you or the long list of stuff you have to get done, stop and take a breather! Shift your focus to your breathing by taking measured breaths in and out. Try inhaling for a count of four seconds through your nose, then exhale through your mouth for another four seconds. Continue doing this for at least a couple of minutes in order to really help your body and mind slow down and relax. You can change up the amount of time for each breathe cycle you take of you wish, the key is to find something that works comfortably for you. Breathing evenly and in a controlled manner like this ups the amount of carbon dioxide in your blood, leading to less obsessive thoughts and more calmness.

2) Be Mindful and Self-Aware- Again, when you find that your mind is working overtime and your thoughts are jumbled, make a conscious effort to switch it into a lower gear. Acknowledge the fact that you’re over thinking, then try your best to move on. Take a look around and focus on the here and now. Living in the present makes you more present. Try meditating, do a crossword or soduku puzzle, reach for a coloring book, just try something simple and different, that can be done quickly and keep your mind occupied.

3) Quit Talking So Much!- If you tend to air your worries and like to talk to other people about all your problems and whatever it is that’s stressing you, stop! Oftentimes this just exacerbates the problems and nothing ever really gets solved. Also, other people will expect you to listen to their grievances and all this does is multiply the negativity. Keep your problems to yourself and write them down instead. Seeing them on paper puts them into perspective and while it sounds kind of lame, it also gets them out of your head. It gives you a sense of “now I’m free to move on and can get back to them later when I’m ready to actually deal with them.”

4) Stay Active and Keep Busy All Day Long- Do something physical and get moving. You can do anything and whatever it is that you’d like. Take a walk, go for a hike, play a game or cards, cook dinner, play fetch with your dog, do some gardening, clean that closet you’ve been putting off for months, paint a picture, wash your car, there’s always something that you can do. If you’re a procrastinator, make a conscious effort to do one thing a day that you’d normally put off until the last minute. Procrastination, worrying, and over thinking go hand in hand, so get moving, run all your errands, and get stuff done sooner than later!

5) Focus on Solving Problems and Moving on- Instead of worrying about problems that are out of your control and mistakes that already happened, look ahead at ways to minimize any harm done. Learn from whatever it is that you go through and use the experiences to make yourself a better person. Learn and grow from life’s trials and tribulations, don’t get stuck on one page or distracted by what could’ve been or should’ve been. Rather, work your way through it and come out a stronger, mentally tough, and prepared person. After all, history repeats itself and when it does, you’ll already have a solution filed away to deal with it.

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