You mull things over and over. Your judgment gets muddled, you stress out and everything seems bleak. You feel trapped, unproductive, paralyzed. You dwell on things too much and you’ve had enough of it. Here are 6 tricks to help you overcome this bad habit.

Slowly, but surely

Agonizing over details, doubting yourself, imagining the worst… these are just a few of the symptoms of the destructive habit of overthinking.

This affliction not only undermines family, professional and personal relationships, it hampers your ability to sleep and negatively affects your general health.

Ridding yourself of this bad habit is a long journey, but one from which you will come out a winner.

Be patient and go for it!

1. Acknowledge you have a problem

Oh no, you can feel it starting again! The gerbil is off and running. It’s time to stop what you’re doing and assess the situation.

Examine your behaviour to understand why you blow things out of all proportion!

Identify your feelings when you start overthinking.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step in overcoming it.

2. Think positive

More often than not, you worry about what could go wrong. Why not focus on all the things that could go well?

Try to see things differently. The reason your boss walked past you this morning without saying hello is not because you didn’t do an impeccable job on your last assignment – a bunch of other reasons might explain his attitude.

Turn a negative into a positive. Rather than thinking how miserable you are at work, imagine the type of job you’d rather have that would make you happy.

Ask yourself, will all this “drama” mean anything in five years…

3. Think “in writing”

Give yourself some time to think (approximately 5 minutes), then put your concerns on paper (10 minutes).

Once this is done:

  • Re-read yourself while focusing on patterns.
  • Ask yourself whether or not these concerns are truly worth fussing over.

Once you’re aware of your thoughts, tear up your paper and move on to something more fun.

4. Stop generalizing

In many cases, fear causes you to overanalyze things. Your experience and fertile imagination definitely influence this behaviour.

Live in the now!

It’s not because a situation was bad in the past that it will be so in the future.

5. Think about other things

Not thinking about something is easier said than done. However, taking control of your thoughts is better than letting them get the better of you.

Resist the urge to talk ad nausem about this with your family and friends. It will only increase your cortisol level (stress hormone)… and that of those around you.

There are plenty of other things to do, like:

  • Spend time with your family
  • Play sports
  • Meditate
  • Hanging out with friends

Get organized and start doing activities that make you happy.

6. Quit trying to be perfect

Perfection is not of this world, as the saying goes. Keep that in mind and just do your best.

Remember that success is not just up to you. No one can predict the future and many variables can play a part.

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