How to Train Your Brain To Stop Overthinking

If you are an overthinker, and it causes you difficulties in life, leaving you in a bad mood, anxious, and indecisive, this article will be of great help.  Overthinking negatively affects the everyday life of chronic worries, and does not allow them to enjoy their present.

According to Psychology Today, the “inner monologue of overthinkers includes two destructive thought patterns—ruminating and worrying.

Ruminating involves rehashing the past:

  • I shouldn’t have spoken up in the meeting today. Everyone looked at me like I was an idiot.
  • I could have stuck it out at my old job. I would be happier if I would have just stayed there.
  • My parents always said I wouldn’t amount to anything. And they were right.

Worrying involves negative—often catastrophic—predictions about the future:

  • I’m going to embarrass myself tomorrow when I give that presentation. My hands will shake, my face will turn red, and everyone will see that I’m incompetent.
  • I’ll never get promoted. It doesn’t matter what I do. It’s not going to happen.
  • My spouse is going to find someone better than I am. I’m going to end up divorced and alone.”

A study conducted at the University of California at Santa Barbara involved participants who were shown images of kaleidoscope colors and tested if they were able to remember if they had seen an image before.

Findings showed that those who did not focus on remembering details were able to remember colors and patterns more than overthinkers who used their brain power to recall the visual information that they were presented with.  According to researchers, this only shows ‘why paying attention can be a distraction and affect performance outcomes.’

Now, here are some easy strategies to help you stop overthinking:

Be Comfortable With Uncertainty

Overthinkers have a brain similar to the one of 2-year olds, full of uncertainty, and constantly seeking answers. Yet, remember that there will always be things you may never know, or, if you can, ask for clarification instead of trying to find out the meaning behind someone else’s words.

Find One Thing You Can Control

You need to find something that can help you restore the control. For instance, write down the problem, to help your brain to stop trying to remember the issue. Then, gradually find something else that can reduce the burden and pressure you feel, and additionally calm the brain.

Observe Your Negative Self-Thinking

Overthinkers usually have negative thoughts about themselves, but you need to find a way to reduce stress and change the unproductive thinking patterns. It has been found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can be of great help for people to feel more self-compassion rather than negative emotions.

See The Big Picture

Try to train the brain to remember all the details at once, just like you are taking a photo. Find a picture book, open a page and look at an image for 5 seconds. Then, close it, and try to recall everything that you saw. Repeat often to teach your brain to process information quickly.