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Overthinking is something we all do, but it can be dangerous if we don’t control our thoughts.

Do you ever find yourself playing things over and over in your head, like an embarrassing moment? Or do you worry about things that haven’t happened? That’s overthinking, and it can cause a lot of unnecessary stress if you don’t get it under control.

Sleepless Nights

Some people think about the dumb things they said over the course of the day and it can even keep you from sleeping. Most of the time, you’re creating more stress by thinking about things because most of what we overthink about doesn’t end up happening. We’re not solving our problems, we’re just causing ourselves undue stress, lying awake at night for no good reason.

Tips to Stop Overthinking

There are lots of ways to work on overthinking. Here’s one: set a timer for five minutes and let yourself think about anything you want. Then for ten minutes, write down all the things you thought of. Rip up the paper and throw that sucker in the trash, because that’s what you need to do with your overactive thoughts! Think about them, give them their space to run, then release them.

Another tip is to make yourself think about good things instead of negative things. Work hard to focus and refocus on the positive. Don’t get negative thoughts and space at all to creep in.

[Related: How to Process Your Emotions]

No matter what, figure out what’s causing you to overthink and nip it in the bud. Talk to your friends, siblings, or parents about your overthinking. Talking helps a lot, and if the issue that concerns you is real, the people who love you can help you solve them. But nothing will happen if you don’t talk about it!

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Do you often find yourself overthinking? What sorts of things are on your mind? Why are these things on your mind?
  3. Think about the times in the past you’ve spent overthinking. How many of the things you spent hours and hours thinking about actually ended up happening? What should your answer to this question teach you?
  4. The tips we talked about in this topic were pretty therapeutic – rip up a paper with your overthinking thoughts on them – or work hard to think of good things instead of negative things. What are some other ideas that have helped you, or what do you think might be helpful additional tips?
  5. Who are some people in your life you can talk to about your overthinking? Why are these people trustworthy, and how can they help you?
  6. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
Written content for this topic by Daniel Martin.