5 Science-Backed Ways to Stop OverthinkingBy Kate Harveston
Do you question every decision long after you've made it? Have you obsessed for hours after a meeting wondering if your colleagues—and your boss—thought your comments were dumb? We all have moments where self-doubt creeps in and makes us unsure of ourselves. But when your insecurities and second-guessing start to weigh on your mind to the point that you find it difficult to move forward, you are likely overthinking—and that can negatively impact your life.
Overthinking occurs when decisions big and small kick off endless rounds of “What if?” questions. For example, “What if I had stayed in that other job instead of taking this new one? What if I'd followed my brother’s driving directions instead of following those from the gas station attendant?” Overthinking prevents your brain from shutting off. It keeps you stuck ruminating over the past and makes you lose touch with what's happening in the present. Fortunately, you can adopt the proven strategies below to help you break this habit.
Master Your Thoughts with Meditation
If someone tells you not to think about a pink elephant, guess what your mind turns to? Merely willing yourself to stop overthinking won’t work. Instead, you need to redirect your thoughts. Meditation gives our brains space to think freely about any number of things. During this practice, thoughts may bubble up to the surface of our consciousness; but, we just acknowledge their presence and let them drift away without allowing any one thought to overshadow the others.
Studies show that