When you overthink your judgment is bad and it can stress you out. When you spend too much mental time in a negative state of mind it becomes difficult to think and make decisions in an appropriate manner. Here are some things I do to stop myself from overthinking:
Aware of my behavior
Before I can begin to address a habit of overthinking, I need to learn to be aware of it when it's happening. Any time I find yourself doubting or feeling stressed or anxious, I try to step back and look at the situation and how I am responding. In that moment of awareness is when you want to change your behavior.
Don't think of what can go wrong, but what can go right.
In many cases, overthinking is caused by fear. When I focus on all the negative things that might happen, it's easy to become paralyzed. When I sense that I am starting to spiral in that direction, I stop. I visualize all the things that can go right and I keep myself in a positive mindset.
Distract yourself into happiness.
Sometimes it's helpful for me to have a way to distract yourself with happy, positive, and healthy alternatives. Things like working out work great for me. They help keep my mind busy on things that are productive and it becomes enough to stop me over thinking.
Put things into perspective
It's always easy to make things bigger and more negative than they need to be. When I catch myself making a big deal out of things I ask if it will matter in five years. Just this simple question, changing up the time frame, can help me stop from overthinking.
Stop waiting for perfection
This is a hard one for me because I want everything perfect. For all of us who are waiting for perfection, we can stop waiting right now. Being ambitious is great, but aiming for perfection is unrealistic, impractical, and debilitating. The moment you start thinking "This needs to be perfect" is the moment you need to remind yourself, "Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress."
Change your view of fear
Whether you're afraid because you've failed in the past, or you're fearful of trying or overgeneralizing some other failure, remember that just because things did not work out before does not mean that has to be the outcome every time. Remember, every opportunity is a new beginning, a place to start again.
Put a timer to work
Give yourself a boundary. Set a timer for five minutes and give yourself that time to think, worry, and analyze. Once the timer goes off, spend 10 minutes with a pen and paper, writing down all the things that are worrying you, stressing you, or giving you anxiety. I also like setting a time limit to make a decision so I don’t allow myself to overthink it.
Realize you can't predict the future
No one can predict the future; all we have is now. If you spend the present moment worrying about the future, you are robbing yourself of your time now. Spending time on the future is simply not productive. Spend that time instead on things that give you joy.
Accept your best
The fear that grounds overthinking is often based in feeling that you aren't good enough, not smart enough, hardworking enough or dedicated enough. Once you've given an effort your best, accept it as such and know that, while success may depend in part on some things you can't control, you've done what you could do.
You can't have a regretful thought and a grateful thought at the same time, so why not spend the time positively? Every morning and every evening, make a list of what you are grateful for.
Overthinking is something that can happen to anyone. But if you have a great system for dealing with it you can at least get rid of some of the negative, anxious, stressful thinking and turn it into something useful, productive, and effective.