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| by Mai Atef

How to Overcome Overthinking: 10 Steps to Help You on a Daily Basis

How to stop overthinking? It sounds impossible, especially if it’s something you’ve been doing for as long as you remember. But, just like any work that has to do with your mental health, it takes awareness, patience, practice and being kind to yourself. I suffer from overthinking and I wanted to look for ways to help me learn how to overcome overthinking. These steps are simple, they just need the drive and energy to change how your mind is wired...

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10 ways to overcome overthinking:

1. Being aware of the problem

The first and most important step is having awareness and consciousness towards the problem. For example; being aware that you have the tendency to overthink, being conscious while you’re actually overthinking and understanding the triggers and what you tend to overthink about the most. Every time you find yourself overthinking, really sit with yourself and be conscious of what you’re feeling. Is it anger? Guilt? Anxiety? All this will bring you one step closer to having the push you need to change the habit and also closer to finding the technique you need to make a difference. 

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2. Distance yourself

Another way, but to temporarily distance yourself from overthinking, is to find a distraction. Find something to take your mind off of the issue that’s overwhelming you. It depends on what relaxes you or helps you escape your thoughts. For a lot of people that can be exercise, music or watching something. Any therapeutic form of activity can really help relax and ground your mind for a while so you can quiet it down.

3. Don’t regret anything

One of the things that can really trigger overthinking and anxiety is looking back, rethinking and regretting things that happened in the past. Try to bring yourself to the present moment and remember that you cannot change the past, but only learn from it. It’s always healthier to be in the here and now. Being present in the now is a very important thing to work on because it will help you worry less about the future and feel less pain and regret towards the past. What matters is only now. 

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4. Stop searching for perfection

One of the biggest reasons people overthink is that they’re constantly looking to find perfection in everything. But in reality, perfection does not exist. It is important to accept that life is the way it is. We cannot control life, we can only control our perception of iit and how it affects us. There’s nothing wrong with having ambitions and dreams, but try to always stay in line with reality and be open to accepting that thing won’t always go the way we wanted and that’s okay. Expectations can be really dangerous, so try as hard as you can to not build and live for expectations. Live for being happy right now, it is the only you know for sure. 

5. Try to stay away from fear

Fear is another big problem that occupies all our minds and can stop us from really living and being happy. Like fear of failure, if you have experienced it before in the past, it could be the reason why you’re struggling to achieve what you want. Give yourself time and do not hesitate to go through experiences in your life. 

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6. Accept today and ignore the future

With each new day, try to greet the morning as a new opportunity for you to live happily. Ignore the future. You can plan for it, but the implementation is not in your hands. All you have to do is enjoy the day and don’t waste the time you have now on overthinking about the future that you’re not actually living right now. Just give yourself time to accept the now and spend your time focusing on only today. 

7. Be open to facing problems and looking for solutions

One of the important things that you must keep in mind when facing the world is to be open and build the strength and energy to confront any problem and even search for solutions. But be careful not to overwhelm yourself by trying to think of solutions 24hrs a day. Dedicate a problem solving time and then take away the stress and anxiety by taking a break and completely isolating yourself from it for a while so you can recharge and feel able to face things again. Take control into your own hands.

8. Take a deep breath and try to relax

If you’re looking for a quick solution to help you get rid of excessive thinking, anxiety and stress, try closing your eyes, taking in a deep breath and trying to relax. Also try meditation, it helps you practice being present and training your mind not to overthink and worry. Try to do this at least 3 times and you’ll find yourself with practice, getting a lot better. 

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9. Give yourself a pat on the back

Most of us forget to look at ourselves and give ourselves credit for who we are and what we’ve done. You need validation from yourself. Be kind to yourself. You can even write down the things you like about yourself or the things you’ve achieved. They don’t have to be big things, the smallest things are as important, like smiling at someone or even getting out of bed. A friend once told me, "From time to time, you should think about what you’re achieved. See how you were at the beginning of the road and where you are now." This is what can help you feel fulfilled and happy with where you are and hopefully negate the feeling that you haven’t done enough. 

10. Accept who you are now

At the end of each day and before going to bed, try to focus on the things that you are grateful for in your life and accept your life with everything it has, from the good to the bad. No one’s life is perfect and what’s good or bad is completely relative.

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Tags: Mental health  Life lessons  Lifestyle  Healthy lifestyle  Life coaching  Anxiety  Happiness  Meditation  Self-love