It’s hard to realise if you are overthinking when you are in the middle of it.
Also, how are you supposed to come up with an answer without thinking about it.. right? We think it helps, however it actually might not help as much as you think.
“Analysis paralysis” is real. The more you think about a problem, the worse you feel and this makes it hard to take any positive actions as the thought will have clouded your judgement.
When you’re overthinking, you’re either thinking about the past or worrying about the future - in a negative way.
Overthinking means you’re dwelling on the problem, while healthy problem solving means you are thinking about a problem when you need to and coming up with possible solutions. Self-reflection is also different, as this would help you gain new perspectives, instead overthinking often means considering what you don’t have control over, which doesn’t give us any insight into the problem at hand. Time spent thinking is only productive if you are coming up with creative solutions and learning from your own previous behavior.
So how can you try and learn to stop overthinking?
the first step is to realize you are in fact overthinking, thus ruminating and worrying about something over and over, which will affect your mood - try and pay attention to the way you think
When you’re overthinking you’re either dwelling on the past or trying to make predictions about the future - you could ask yourself if whatever you're thinking about will matter in 5 years.
Try and be compassionate with yourself, acknowledge you are doing your best and consider positive outcomes
Nonetheless, telling yourself to not think about something won’t work, instead try to distract yourself by engaging in a different activity, which will make you focus on other things.
Studies show that planning time to think about something is more beneficial, as it decreases overthinking the rest of the day: try to find possible solutions or when you have no control over a situation, consider different coping strategies.
Adding to that, practicing mindfulness can keep you from staying in the present instead of switching from the past to the future.
Try and change your perspective. Instead of asking why did this happen? ask yourself what can I do about it? Instead of fearing the future, can you try and be excited for it?