Do you ever find yourself caught up in a cycle of overthinking? It can start with one anxious thought and spiral out of control. Before you know it, you may be obsessing over small things that really aren't relevant in life right now. This common habit of overthinking can have quite a negative effect on your mental health.
Overthinking can not only lead to anxiety and depression, but it can also cause people to turn to substance misuse to cope. If you are on your recovery journey, it can threaten it. This is why learning to break the habit of overthinking is crucial.
Breaking this habit of overthinking is possible, but it does take a conscious effort and some practice. You will find that by ditching this habit, you're probably going to feel a lot happier. You will also have a lot more energy and space in your brain to devote to more positive things.
How Can Overthinking Threaten Recovery?
When you overthink, you tend to overanalyze people, situations, and possible outcomes. You may find yourself discovering problems that don't yet even exist. As a result, you may start to become very overwhelmed. You may be searching for solutions to issues that have not yet even presented themselves.
Typically, this process tends to make an individual feel out of control. This feeling could cause you to feel compelled to turn back to substance misuse, despite being in recovery. It is because of this that it is so important to break this habit as fast as you can.
How Do I Stop Overthinking?
The best way to train yourself to stop overthinking is to learn to be more conscious of your thought processes. You likely have many thoughts swirling around your head at any given time. But you can learn to identify when your thoughts are positive and productive and when they are not.
As soon as you find yourself going down a path of overthinking or dwelling on negative thoughts, stop yourself. Remind yourself that going down this path is not positive or productive. Try to focus on only what you can control. Take several deep breaths and try to be as present in the moment as you can. A lot of people find that meditation or yoga can really help with this because it allows you to ground yourself.
During this process, any worries simply wash over you and pass you by without attaching any significant feeling to them. This process should help you feel more present and in tune with your body and mind.
What Else Can I Do?
There may be times when you feel as if you've done everything possible to stop overthinking but nothing's working. It's in those times that it is best to do something to distract yourself. Take a break and get outside into nature. Breathe in the fresh air and take a walk to get your blood pumping.
Consider doing something nice for someone else. Maybe you can drop off coffee to a friend at work, help an elderly neighbor bring in their groceries, or donate clothes you no longer wear to someone in need. All of these things not only benefit others but will help you feel better. They will also put your focus somewhere more positive.
It can also help you to take a break to do an activity that you enjoy. Maybe this is going shopping, reading a book, or playing a particular sport. It could also be spending quality time with a friend, listening to music, or watching your favorite television show. These things will not only boost your mood but take your mind off whatever worries you're struggling with.
Another thing you can do is simply take action. Sometimes thinking about potential problems instead of doing something to fix them can make anxiety worse. Sit down and make a plan for how you're going to handle these potential issues. Knowing that you are prepared can bring peace of mind.
When Is It Time to Seek Help?
Overthinking should not be consuming your daily life or cause you unnecessary fear, stress, and anxiety. Maybe you feel as if you've done everything possible on your own to break this habit but haven't been successful. If this is your case, it may be time to reach out to a doctor or mental health professional. They may recommend therapy or a certain type of prescription medication to help provide relief.
Don't forget to practice self-compassion, and don't be too hard on yourself. A lot of other people also struggle with overthinking and it can be a hard habit to break. But don't lose faith – through time and determination, you can leave overthinking behind for good and learn to be more present in your daily life.
Overthinking can make you feel overwhelmed and as if you don't have control over your own life. It can do a lot of harm and very little good. While it is good to be prepared, it's impossible to anticipate every single situation life may throw at you. That's why it is far better to learn how to be present in the moment and not focused on the future. Overcoming overthinking plays a major role in recovery. Are you struggling with drug or alcohol misuse? If you're ready to make a positive change in your life, our team at The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today to learn more.