Overthinking doesn’t sound so bad on the surface – thinking is good, right? But overthinking can cause problems.
The golden rule is to think before you speak, but you can also get into trouble when you think so much that you fail to act or fall into a state of uncontrollable anxiety when you need to act.
When you think too much, your judgments become blurred, and stress increases.
If you’re looking for ways to think less, in this article we’ve shared 15 simple habits that will help you become a simpler and smarter thinker and live a happier life with less fear.
What are the signs of overthinking
Just like food, thinking is something we have to do to survive, so sometimes it’s hard to judge when you think unnecessarily too much.
However, there are a few signs that can show you if you’re stuck.
Here are a few of them:
- Do you relive the same thought over and over again? Don’t you make progress by thinking about something specific? If so, it may be a sign that you should move on.
- Did you analyze the same situation from a million angles? If you’ve found too many ways to look at something before deciding how to proceed, you may be counterproductive.
- Do people keep telling you to stop overthinking? Do people tease you for your overthinking, that you philosophize a lot, or are you constantly looking out of rain windows? If so, they may have a point.
15 simple ideas how to think less
If you feel like you don’t know how to stop thinking, you need to learn what it means to “let go” of your thoughts, so you can do it on purpose. Thought is like breathing; You do it all the time without even realizing it.
But if you need to, you can hold your breath. Meditation will help you learn how to get rid of thoughts.
Spending just 15-20 minutes meditating every morning can dramatically affect your ability to stay in the present and not give in to all your rushing thoughts. You can also meditate at night before bed to help yourself fall asleep more easily.
You may be interested in: 11 Best Free Meditation Apps
2. Physical activity
Running or even brisk walking can help you get rid of all these unpleasant thoughts and focus on your body.
If you participate in something particularly active, such as power yoga, martial arts or beach volleyball, you will focus so much on your body that you will not have time for your thoughts.
Here are some good things you can try:
- Train at home or enroll in a gym. Training or working on devices will prevent you from getting lost in your thoughts.
- Go hiking. When you are in nature and see the beauty and calmness around you, you will stand more focused on the present moment.
- Go for a swim. Swimming is such a physical activity that it is even harder to swim and think.
3. Say your ideas out loud
Once you’ve said it all out loud, even if you’re talking to yourself, you’ve started the release process.
Walk around and walk if you have to. Once you bring your ideas out loud, you have begun the process of bringing them out into the world and out of your head.
You can tell them out loud to yourself, your cat, or a trusted friend.
4. Ask for advice
You may have exhausted your own thought power, but someone else might offer a different perspective that makes the decision clearer.
This can help you let go of your worrying thoughts. Your friend can make you feel better, can ease your problems, and can figure out when you’re spending too much time thinking.
Besides, when you hang out, you think less, right? And that’s something.
5. Take control of your thoughts
Make a practical list of things that bother you. Whether you’re writing on paper or a computer, you should first define the problem, type in your options, and then list the pros and cons for each option.
If you see your thoughts in front of you, it will also help you stop chasing through them in your head.
Once you can’t think of more to write, the mind has done its job and it’s time to stop thinking.
If compiling a list still does not help you make a decision, do not be afraid to follow your intuition. If two or more options seem equally appealing, more thinking won’t make things clearer.
That’s the moment when you should listen to something deeper inside.
6. Keep a diary of things that bother you.
Instead of keeping your most persistent thoughts, write down all things in mind every day. At the end of the week, review what you’ve written and record the things that bother you the most.
You have to deal with it first.
Try to write in your diary at least a few times a week. This will help you get used to the idea of “thinking time” and will help you enjoy your thoughts, rather than causing you problems during the day.
7. Make a to-do list.
Make a list of all the things you have to do on a given day. Unless there’s an “eclipse” on your priority list, this will make you realize that you have more important things to do than sit around and think about the meaning of the universe.
The fastest way to organize your thoughts is to turn them into something effective.
If you think you haven’t slept enough lately, make a sleep plan, instead of worrying about it.
The list can be practical and can deal with bigger things, like: “spend more time with your family, friends, walks.”
8. Set aside “time to reflect” every day
This may sound crazy, but choosing time for yourself every day to worry, wonder, dream and get lost in your thoughts can help you control your thoughts in a more productive way.
If necessary, give yourself an hour, say, from 17–18:00 in the afternoon every day. If a disturbing thought arises earlier in the day when it is inconvenient to deal with it, just tell yourself, “I’ll take care of it at 5 p.m.”
9. Live in the moment
Solve as many problems as possible. If your problem is that you think too much about things you can’t control, just thinking won’t “solve” the problems that bother you.
Try to think of the ones you can solve and make an active plan for doing so, instead of thinking without going anywhere.
Here are some ideas of what you can do:
- Instead of thinking about whether you like sympathy or not, take action! Ask him or her out. What’s the worst that can happen?
- If you’re worried about falling behind in work or school, make a list of all the things you can do to succeed. And then do it!
If you like to think a lot in a way, “What if …”, try to do what is feasible.
10. Be social
Surrounding yourself with the people you love will make you talk more and think less.
Go out of the house at least a few times a week and make the point to develop lasting and meaningful relationships with at least two or three people in your area who you can hang out with. You will be much more inclined to think if you spend a lot of time alone.
Time alone is definitely a good thing, but it’s important to include some time in your routine to hang out with friends and have fun.
11. Find a new hobby
Take the time to explore something completely different and beyond your comfort zone.
A new hobby, no matter what it is, will keep you focused on tasks as well as interested in achieving results. Don’t think you already know what you like and don’t need even more load.
Try the following:
- Write a poem or short story.
- Enroll in a design course or DIY handicraft
- Start your own blog
- Learn karate
- Gardening is a great idea
- You’re in the surfbusiness business
- Try riding a bike instead of driving a car.
Trying out a new hobby can help you live in the moment and focus on your art, craft, or other.
12. Read more
Focusing on other people’s thoughts will not only give you insight, but also prevent you from thinking too much about yourself.
In fact, reading biographies of inspired men and women can inspire you to see that behind every great thought there is an equally large action.
Reading books also can’t make you want to do anything but escape to a new world, which is also beautiful.
13. Make a gratitude list
Make a list of at least five things you are grateful for every day. So you will focus on people and things instead of thoughts. If every day is too much for you, try doing it every week.
Mix. Every little thing counts, even a barista who gives you a free top-up of his coffeee.
14. Appreciate beautiful music
Listening to songs can connect you to the world beyond your own head. Play yourself some old records or CDs, close your eyes, drown in music and live in the present.
It doesn’t have to be Mozart or something meaningful or honest. Listening to Katy Perry can do the trick!
15. Laugh more
Be around people who make you laugh. Watch a comedy or TV show with a funny cast that you really like.
Do whatever you have to do to crack your head back, and not care about all the things that come to mind.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the role of laughter in your mental health.