Overthinking? What is it and why should you stop

Your brain has a mind of its own, and sometimes it gets you into trouble. You can get stuck in an endless cycle of worry, self-doubt, and negative thinking when your life isn't going the way you want.

Overthinking? What is it and why should you stop
Overthinking? What is it and why should you stop

As an overthinker, it's easy to get plagued with negative emotions because you create a million scenarios in your mind. Due to the overthinking tornado, you think about the future and forget to live in the moment.

The psychology behind overthinking

The reason we overthink isn’t because of an introverted personality. It’s because of our brain chemistry. Our brains are hardwired to anticipate danger, says psychologist Dr. Susan Weinschenk in Psychology Today:

Over time, your mind starts to anticipate future events that haven't happened yet based on past experiences that also hadn't happened yet.

When we worry about something—for example, saying something wrong at a presentation—our limbic system floods our brain with chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormone) to prepare us for fight or flight.

That prepares us for action if there really is danger—but overthinking can often make things worse than they actually are.

How neuroscience helps us understand overthinking

Studies show that two parts of our brain are responsible for positive and negative thinking patterns: Our right frontal cortex, which is responsible for positive thoughts. Our left hemisphere, which plays a larger role in negative thoughts.

Overthinking causes our left brain to work harder than usual, which can lead to emotions of melancholy or depression. The left brain also produces cortisol, a stress hormone. that can lead to feelings of anxiety. To battle overthinking and negative thoughts, refocus your energy on using your right frontal cortex to have positive thoughts.

An action plan

Overthinking? What is it and why should you stop
An action plan

You don’t want to change your ways because of a list. You need something actionable so that when faced with an overthinking situation, you know what to do. I suggest creating an action plan for yourself. For example, in my case, I now have a series of steps that help me deal with overthinking :

1) recognize.

2) breathe.

3) ignore.

4) distract.

5) sleep.

6) repeat.

These aren’t written in stone but are simply another way for me to control my emotions and break down big problems into more manageable ones. If I can focus on just one thing at a time—one step—it gets easier to think through difficult situations like these one by one. And while these six steps may not work for everyone, they work well enough for me:

Recognize that I am overthinking, Breathe deeply and count backwards from five (or whichever number works best), Ignore everything around me except any physical objects nearby (I take time to look at them), Distract myself (go walk outside), Sleep on it, Repeat if necessary.


We do not say much about what we cannot do, because everything looks difficult at first. This is especially true when it comes to self-improvement. It’s simple: there are some things in life that can take a few days, or a few months, or even years of practice.

Overcoming negative thoughts that haunt us through our every day lives can take longer than we initially thought. That’s okay—it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with us; we just have to put more work into it than we expected. Use these tips to get started, and remember: one step at a time! Stay focused on your goal and give yourself breaks whenever you need them!

SOURCE : Yasoquiz

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