Chronic overthinkers rehash conversations they had yesterday, second-guess every decision they make and imagine disastrous outcomes all day every day.
Thinking too much prevents them from getting anything done. And it wreaks havoc on their mood.
Overthinking often involves two destructive thought patterns--ruminating and incessant worrying.
Overthinking can become such a habit that you don't even recognize when you're doing it. Practice paying attention.
When you're overthinking past or future events, acknowledge that your thoughts aren't productive. Thinking is only helpful when it leads to positive action.
Remember that your emotions will interfere with your ability to look at situations objectively.
Take a step back and look at the evidence. What evidence do you have that your thought is true? What evidence do you have that your thought isn't true?
Incorporate 20 minutes of "thinking time" into your daily schedule. During that time period let yourself worry, ruminate, or mull over whatever you want. When your time is up, move onto something else.
When you start overthinking things outside of your scheduled thinking time, simply remind yourself that you'll need to wait until your "thinking time" to address those issues in your mind.
It's impossible to rehash yesterday or worry about tomorrow when you're living in the present.
Mindfulness will help you become more aware of the here and now.
Telling yourself to stop thinking about something will backfire.
Change the channel in your brain by changing your activity. Exercise, engage in conversation on a completely different subject, or work on a project that distracts you.
To avoid over-ruminating about a decision, give yourself a time frame to think about it.
If it’s a small issue such as what paint color to paint your office, perhaps a deadline of 10 minutes is sufficient; whereas a larger decision such as whether to accept a new job offer in another city may warrant a couple of days of thought.
When you are thinking and thinking about something ask yourself: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?
It allows you to stop thinking about something and to focus your time and energy on something else that actually does matter to you.