How to Stop Overthinking: 10 Ways to Reduce Worry & Negative Thoughts

Plagued by doubt, fear, stress, anxiety, and an abundance of negative thoughts and emotions? Here is how to stop overthinking everything to improve your brain, positivity, mental health, and life!

Young adults contend with so many milestones, and it can be hard not to overthink everything. From work to school to interpersonal relationships, overthinking has almost become something of a rite of passage. 

There are many reasons why a person might overthink an issue. Perhaps they are afraid of making the wrong decisions or they are not sure what decision to make when it comes to an important area of their life. 

Some people overthink because they are prone to anxiety about all major areas of their lives, while others overthink things because they are concerned with how their decisions appear to others. Some people simply cannot control their inherent tendency for overthinking, even if they would rather not do it.

Unfortunately, overthinking can cause more problems than solutions, ratcheting up the anxiety and causing the person to become overly-reactive to the circumstances in question. As they say, ignorance is bliss, and it may be that overthinking, negative thoughts, and generally thinking too much about things you can’t control are the opposite of that age-old adage.

In this post, we’ll consider some ways to slow down, clear your mind, and learn to stop overthinking everything. If you’re ready for a future with less worry, negative emotions, and stress, read on below!


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Here are a few great ways for how to stop overthinking:

1. Develop Self-Awareness

When you realize that you are overthinking and worrying more than good for you, learn to better control it. Even if you cannot stop it once it’s happening, developing a self-awareness of over-thinking helps you to control the behavior over time. 

When you are in the midst of overthinking an issue, acknowledge what is happening. The first step to remedying the behavior is knowing how to identify it.

When you have self-awareness of the fact that you perpetually overthink things, you may stop yourself from doing it as often. This may help you to divert your attention to the issues that truly matter instead of overthinking everything in your life. 

2. Make Time for Reflection

Once you know that you commonly overthink issues, reflect on why you may do so. Think about what triggers you to overthink things. For instance, if you overthink work-related issues, does it have something to do with your professional confidence or lack of preparation? 

If you are thinking about something related to school over and over, is it because of pressure you put on yourself or pressure others may put on you? 

Once you reflect on your thoughts and what it is that you fear, try to come up with solutions to stop yourself from overthinking so frequently. 

Reflection is a different process for everyone, so go with what works best for you. For instance, if a quiet walk at the end of the day is the point at which you can reflect on the things you are overthinking most effectively, then make it a point to make time in your schedule for a walk. 

If talking things out or writing in a journal is your best source of reflection, then start (or continue) using those methods to release negative energy, thoughts, and emotions.

Related Read: 21+ Growth Mindset Quotes to Know for Success, Happiness & Fulfillment

3. Focus on Generating Solutions

If you find yourself overthinking, focus on generating solutions. Sometimes, this helps you to avoid worrying and negative thoughts because you instead use your brain to work on . 

One of the best approaches is to generate all solutions – whether they seem like they will work immediately or not. By throwing everything at a problem at first, you can then start to pare down solutions based on what will likely work and what may not. 

If it helps, talk to another person you trust about the issues you are overthinking. Sometimes, an outside perspective can help you generate solutions, or another person may be able to visualize solutions that you don’t. 

Even if you can’t resolve it at first, you may stop overthinking the issue simply by proxy of the fact that you are attempting to resolve it. 

4. Take a Break to Let Go of Negative Thoughts

One of the best ways to stop overthinking everything is to take a break. Get some exercise or spend time with a family member or friend. Volunteer to take your mind off your own issues and focus instead on helping someone else. While it may seem at first like you’ll just have more time to think, usually, you’ll improve your mental health by resetting the focus of your thought and feeling.

Take a step back. Make a schedule change. Set a time or date to come back to the problem you are trying to resolve at this moment. This will give you the freedom to stop thinking about the problems in question for a while because you’ve brokered a deal with yourself to revisit it at a later time. 

Just make sure that you revisit the issue because this is how you build trust internally. When you see that you really do discipline yourself to come back to the issue you internally shelved, you’ll trust yourself to do the same the next time around. 

Breaks are essential because they give you space from thinking so hard about issues that are impacting you. Moreover, they may allow time to pass, which can give you a different perspective. 

Related Read: 50+ Great Maya Angelou Quotes to Inspire, Empower, and Encourage

5. Meditate – One of the Best Ways to Stop Overthinking

You may find yourself overthinking everything – even if nothing is wrong. Your job may be going great, school may be running smoothly, and your relationships may be coasting along. 

Yet, you may still find yourself waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop. 

This is where meditation can come in handy. Not only is meditation calming, but also, it trains your brain to stop for a few moments each day. Meditation requires practice to get to the point where it is restorative, but, then, it becomes a powerful tool in combatting stress and anxiety and benefitting your mental health.

However, once you do, you will realize immeasurable benefit when it comes to issues of overthinking. If you’re a novice, start with guided meditation, as this will teach you how to harness the power of a quiet mind to dig in deeper to yourself. 

This, in turn, may help you to stop routinely overthinking everything. 

6. Give Yourself Credit for Overcoming Obstacles

One of the reasons your brain may be overthinking everything is because you are being critical of the things you are worried about accomplishing. Perhaps you are working towards a major goal at work and are worried you won’t be able to do it. 

Or, maybe you are pushing a school-related deadline and have concerns about your performance. 

One way to avoid overthinking is by reminding yourself of your successes. Ask yourself what you’ve accomplished, and focus instead on that. This is a good reminder of what you are capable of and will help lead you to preventing fear and negative emotions while benefitting your mental health.

If need be, leave yourself notes on your bathroom mirror or download an app that lauds your accomplishments in a daily text message or email reminder. Going through these steps to remind yourself of successes is essential because it ensures that when you overthink issues, you remember that, in the past, you’ve made the right moves in various areas of your life. 

Nothing quite removes an abundance of negative thoughts than by replacing them with positive thoughts to occupy your mind, instead!

Related Read: 5 Important Benefits of Volunteering & Community Service

7. Be Mindful to Stop Overthinking Everything

Be mindful of your present circumstances when you find yourself tempted to overthink something. Bring your mind back to the present moment and try to hold it there for a few moments, until you begin to calm down. 

Like meditation, this is an exercise in patience and dedication. It may take several tries before you nail the mindfulness approach enough to make it an effective method of avoiding the process of overthinking. 

8. Write It Down to Let Go of Negative Thoughts

Sometimes, thinking too much is a by-product of a busy life, just like its cousins, stress, anxiety, and worry. There are so many things you want to accomplish in a day that you end up overthinking everything because you want to accomplish it all. 

Clear your mind by getting your massive to-dos out of your head. Write down the things you find yourself overthinking about the most. Even if you can’t get to the task or issue in question at the moment, writing it down gives you a point of reference. Then, you may feel more comfortable revisiting the issue later. 

Related Read: How to Develop Your Interpersonal Skills

9. Trust Your Intuition

Thinking about something over and over is sometimes a result of doubting yourself. When you are unsure of what direction to take on an issue or if you just can’t stop thinking about whether you’ve made the right decision in a specific area of your life, remember to trust yourself and accept that your worrying and fear are just insecurities. 

This seems simple, but you likely doubt your intuition more than you think. When you are considering how to handle a situation, listen to that inner voice. Your intuition will guide you to the best solution for your circumstances. 

10. Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes

One of the most common reasons that people overthink decisions in their lives is because they are afraid to fail. Yet, some of your best learning moments in life have likely come from mistakes you’ve made, and accepting this truth is one of the best tips for removing doubt, fear, and negative emotions.

If you are constantly afraid of failure, then you’ll never be able to make a move in one direction or another. Even if you make the time to remind yourself of the ways that you’ve succeeded, it is equally important that you give yourself room to fail. 

Mistakes will only make you stronger and help you to learn that sometimes overthinking prevents you from taking action on an issue. In most instances, making a mistake is better for your mental health than taking no action at all. 

Related Read: How to Learn Anything Fast With the Feynman Method

Stopping yourself from overthinking everything can be a challenge, but if you can master some coping strategies, you can control how often you do it and what results from it. There are ways to harness overthinking into positive action and can help you to recognize when you are stressed about something or have unrecognized fears. 

It is what you do with it from that point that makes a difference in how much you overthink and how much it controls your life. Turning into positive action can make a significant difference in your mental well-being. 

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Goodwall Contributor
Written By Goodwall Contributor
This article was written by a contributor for publication on Goodwall. Goodwall is dedicated to helping students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals reach their full potential. We'll share thought-provoking and supportive articles on career advice, self-improvement, navigating the college landscape, climate action, social impact, and more. On the business side, we'll talk about SMB subjects related to community, diversity, talent acquisition, case studies, and enterprise.

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