Have you ever gotten so wrapped up in a situation that it dominated your every thought? You might be days, weeks or even years removed from it, but somehow the persistent memory keeps popping up. If you can relate, then you’re probably guilty of overthinking a situation—most likely, more than anyone else involved in it. Have you ever considered how to stop overthinking?
The tendency to ruminate on a situation is a common human trait, but that doesn’t mean you have to succumb to the persistent thoughts. If you want to learn how to stop overthinking, keep reading to learn more about what causes it and some tips for combatting it.
Overthinking and Its Effect on the Brain
When you decide you’re ready to learn how to stop overthinking, first you have to understand your own thought processes and how they’re holding you back. Overthinking negatively impacts the brain and can even leave lingering effects.
When you perseverate on a mistake or an awkward conversation, you’re actually putting yourself at a greater risk of developing a mental illness, according to the Journal of Abnormal psychology.
That’s because the consistent process of overthinking sends you into “over-analysis paralysis,” in which you’re simply unable to make moves in any direction. Overthinking doesn’t help you solve problems, it just causes you to become more and more distressed over a problem that has already unfolded. This can lead to anxiety, which is a little bit different than simple overthinking.
If you’re starting to panic because you’re an overthinker, don’t worry. Overthinking is typical in any human that breathes and interacts.
What isn’t typical, however, is anxiety. While replaying a conversation in your head is normal, anxiety puts you into that place of “overanalysis paralysis” and totally takes over your life, making it impossible for you to function due to worry. So, chances are, you’re just experiencing overthinking, not anxiety.
In contemporary society, it’s hard not to overthink things, especially relationships. That’s largely due to the advent of social media.
Once upon a time, people had to actually talk to their friends to catch up. Blind dates were actually blind. You weren’t constantly aware of everything your every acquaintance was up to.
The constant influx of information from contemporary social media can cause you to read into everything and overthink situations that are innocuous.
It’s also a big source of distraction, so even when you’re in the same room with a friend or a significant other, you might be so swept up in what’s happening online that you forget to interact. This can obviously result in some major issues, especially if the roles are reversed and you feel neglected by friends or family.
The Stress on Relationships
For some reason, overthinking tends to show up the most in relationships. Why? Probably because relationships are the perfect setting for making mistakes. And when you make a mistake in a relationship that hurts someone else, it’s easy to get hung up on it.
You also have to be vulnerable in a relationship, which can lead to difficult conversations and situations that you might overthink.
How to Combat the Urge to Overthink
Overthinking is an addiction that can become a terminal illness for your relationship, but you have the opportunity to stop it before things get that far. In order to stop overthinking, especially in relationships, talk out worries with your partner before they become huge issues.
Also, put the brakes on any over-analysis and try to live in the moment. Spend some time alone enjoying a hobby or passion every day, and surround yourself with friends who aren’t over-thinkers.
If you’re guilty of overthinking, particularly in a relationship, you’re not alone. But if you take the time to follow these tips, you can stop the overthinking dead in its tracks and keep your relationship happy and healthy.
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