Some people may edit a proposal 8 times before turning it in because they are not sure if it’s good enough. Some may dwell on why someone acted the way they did or spend hours replaying conversations in their head, searching for new insight into past events. It is often too easy to fall victim to thinking too much, but constantly over-analyzing things can be unproductive and harmful to your mental health. If you have a habit of thinking too much, try following these pro-tips to stop overthinking.

4 Tips To Stop Overthinking

1. Learn How Overthinking Can Hinder You

Overthinking takes up a ton of mental energy; when you continue to hash out things that have already happened or things you cannot control, you are using up space that could be used for more productive and healthy thoughts.

Rumination, or replaying the same thoughts over and over again, can actually take a big toll on your mental health, according to a 2013 study from the University of Liverpool. This study surveyed over 30,000 people from 172 countries and found that people who overthink things have higher depression and anxiety and lower self-esteem than those who did not.

Understanding how overthinking can harm your mental health in the long run can be the first step to overcoming this habit.

2. Catch Yourself In The Act

Acknowledgement is often the first step to acceptance. Catching yourself in the act of overthinking can help you start to tackle this tendency. Next time you find yourself replaying the same moment, action, or conversation over and over again, acknowledge it. Tell yourself this is an unproductive behavior and try to redirect your energy into one of the productive uses of mental energy below.

3. Redirect Your Mental Energy

One of the most productive tips to stop overthinking is to rechannel that mental energy into something productive. When you catch yourself in the act of overthinking, find an alternative to this behavior. Some productive ways to use this mental energy include:

4. Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness should be on your list of tips to stop overthinking. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us. The more focus you put on the moment at hand, the less you will reply previous moments over and over again. This may mean bringing your attention to something simple like the coffee you are drinking or giving your full attention to the task you are working on.

To start practicing mindfulness, explore these three mindful moments to have each day.

While ruminating less on things in your life may be difficult, knowing a few tips to stop overthinking may help you get started. For more ideas to bolster your mental health, learn these signs of self-sabotage and ways to stop this habit.

Megan Herndon

Megan is a Seattle-based writer who covers health and wellness. She has worked in content marketing and journalism for a number of organizations including The Seattle Globalist, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and The Jakarta Globe. She has a BA in journalism from the University of Washington and is currently working on her second UW degree, a Master of Communication and Digital Media. Born and raised in Hawaii and currently embracing the Pacific Northwest lifestyle, Megan loves all things active and outdoors including hiking, camping, outrigger canoe paddling, and yoga.

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