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Stop Overthinking: 4 Ways to Start Living a Happier Life

Overthinking is something we can all relate to. We as humans are constantly thinking, about everything. Our minds are overly-effective time machines that tend to spend more time living in the past than the present. If we can learn to control the frequency of our thoughts, we can focus better on what we are doing and accomplish more.

How to Stop Overthinking by Controlling Your Thoughts

Oftentimes, we are our own worst enemies. We have the capability to sabotage ourselves using only our thoughts. By thinking about any single person or conversation for more than a single moment, we risk travelling into the danger zone. The danger of overthinking is that we can turn something positive or neutral into a negative. Thus we create problems that aren’t there. We can then get stuck on that feeling, making it follow us around for the rest of the day.

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Sometimes we can think ourselves to exhaustion. Family, work, school, friends, and relationships are constantly weighing down on our mind. Most of our thoughts serve no purpose and cloud our vision in the present. Being constantly sidetracked by thoughts is counterproductive for living in the moment. When we worry about things we cannot control, we waste time we could be using to take care of the things we can control. Stop overthinking and let go of things you cannot control.

In Order to Stop Overthinking, One Must Realize That Not Everything is Within Our Control: When We Understand our Limitations and Focus on What We Can Control, Good Things Start to Happen

It is a satisfying feeling when you learn to let go and start accepting things the way they are. Even the secret to finding true love is to stop overthinking. You are in control of your life; your life is not in control of you.

Rumination vs. Reflection

Ruminating is a term that refers to the inability to get your mind off a specific idea. In your mind, you ask yourself over and over why something happened and what it means. You are constantly trying to read in between the lines. Ruminating is an unproductive activity where we remain stagnant on one issue for far too long. There is a considerable difference between rumination and reflection. Reflecting is a productive mental activity meant to learn from the past to better our future.

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Overthinking is Unhealthy

Stress can be created just by the simple act of overthinking. That unnecessary stress weighs us down and manifests itself into possible physical and mental health issues later on. Overstimulation of the mind can sometimes be caused by ourselves rather than our environment. A racing mind can cause us to lose sleep or lose our appetite.

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Stop overthinking because you want to live a healthier, happier life Learn to let go and move on to the next phase of your life by using these 4 strategies:

1. Forgive and Forget

Forgiving is the first and most important step to moving on. If someone has wronged you, it benefits you as much as them to forgive them. Life is too short for grudges. By focusing on the negativity you are only hurting yourself, and you are making the other person more satisfied in the process. Some would say you should forgive, but never forget. I say that forgiving AND forgetting is the best option for your mental health. The less baggage you carry, the freer you will be when facing the opportunities future can bring.

2. Focus Your Energy on the Present

There is such a thing as being over-prepared. When we have too much time to think before a big event it can cause performance anxiety. Our minds replace what should be instinctive reaction and we gain immense pressure. That pressure causes all the muscles in our body to tense up and it becomes 10 times harder to perform. The kind of thoughts we have that lead to performance anxiety are usually related to whether we had prepared enough to deal with the situation in question, making us doubt our capability.

World-class athletes are able to perform under the pressure of being watched by millions of people because they have practiced their craft for so long that they no longer have performance anxiety. It is because they have learned to focus their energy on the present moment rather than on thinking about possible bad outcomes.

3. Fill Your Schedule by Any Means Necessary

Controlling your thoughts is as simple as filling your life with a schedule that keeps your mind active. A healthy balance of work and play will keep your mind occupied enough to make sure you aren’t constantly thinking about every little thing you did that day. Here are some ways to free your mind from unwanted thoughts that can affect both the body and mind:


Meditation fosters mindfulness and living in the present moments rather than ruminating. Set aside some time each day to clear our mind of all unwanted thoughts. Meditation is an excellent mind detoxifier.

Participating in Sports

Joining a local club or sports team does wonders for the mind. It focuses our mind elsewhere by allowing a mixture of the social aspects and physical benefits of playing a team sport. Sports provide a safe haven from the stressful life clutters your mind.

Pursue your hobbies

Take advantage of every opportunity you have to enjoy the “here and now” by doing what you love. Become lost in your own mind and lose track of time. Afterward you will feel refreshed and ready to move on to life’s next set of challenges.

4. Be Conscious of Your Emotions: Savor the Good and Filter Out the Bad

Regret and guilt takes a heavy toll on your wellbeing. You are powerless when it comes to changing your past, no matter how much time you spend thinking about it. All we have to look forward to is the future. Focus on making every day from this point on your best and most productive by eliminating self-defeating emotions.

Things Aren’t Always as Bad as They Seem

Remember that not everything is set in stone, not everything is black and white. Something that may seem like such an awful problem at one point might actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise at the other. Everything is not as always at it seems on the surface.

Wise people aren’t hasty to judge a situation or an outcome while it is unfolding. Take notes from that: Let time decide what is good and bad. Always be thankful for your good fortune and let go of the things that didn’t turn out in your favor. Choose to stop overthinking, choose to live instead.

By Kacia Nall

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