10 Creative Ways to Stop Overthinking Things

10 Creative Ways to Stop Overthinking Things

via Thrive Global by Marina Khidekel

When an interaction or conversation doesn’t go your way, you’ll often walk away from the situation physically, but mentally, you continue to replay it. Holding onto those anxious thoughts can make you feel like you’re walking around with extra weight on your shoulders, and all of the overthinking you’re doing can take a real toll on your mental health.

We asked our Thrive community to share with us the small ways they avoid overthinking. Which of these strategies will you try?

Practice “thought stopping”

“I find that overthinking can make me anxious, and one way to begin to troubleshoot this form of anxiety is to engage in a technique called ‘thought stopping.’ When you realize your mind is about to play into several catastrophic scenarios, close your eyes and visualize a stop sign. Then begin to think of something that brings you peace. The goal is to distract your mind from focusing on the negative pattern, thus reframing your thinking.” 

—Marjorie Cooper-Smith, MSW, LICSW, psychotherapist, Washington, D.C.

Take a mini nature break

“When I find myself caught in the overthinking trap, I know it’s time to get outside for fresh air. I take multiple outdoor walking breaks throughout the day to ease the inertia from working at home all day. When I get outside, I pay close attention and listen for the sounds of birds happily chirping their way through the day. I make the happy sound of birds the focus of my walk and time outside. Before I know it, my mind is no longer looping around worried thoughts. These mini breaks always help me reset and continue on my day feeling more hopeful and happier.

—Emily Madill, author and certified professional coach, Nanaimo, B.C., Canada

Tap into a creative hobby

“I find that what works best for me is tapping into my creativity, either through writing, listening to music, or simply talking to a friend. I usually write poems about life and about hope, which helps me take control of my thoughts. Music has a way of putting me in a very peaceful state, especially songs that reflect a beautiful memory. And lastly, talking to a friend about my thoughts and receiving encouraging words can be healing and help shift my perspective.”

—Victor Dekom, guidance counselor, Jos Plateau State, Nigeria

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