Research has it that overthinking is more prevalent in women than men.
According to the American Psychological Association, overthinking (read: dwelling on your mistakes, real or imagined), is linked to depression which promotes negative thinking, stifles problem solving, interferes with specific behavioral patterns and diminishes social support.
A report by Yale University also reveals that overthinking can lead to emotional distress, which can in turn lead to coping strategies like eating your feelings or binging on drinks.
According to clinical pyschologists and associate professor in the psychology department at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, Catherine Pittman, ”telling yourself not to have a certain thought is not the way to not have the thought.”
She suggests trying to replace the thought, instead. So, if for instance you’re obsessing over the idea that your sister is mad at you, consider putting that thought aside and thinking about, say, the contestants on that guilty pleasure reality TV show you love watching.
Similarly, if you find yourself overthinking something, try distracting yourself from the thoughts by filling your time.
Call your parents, tackle a crossword puzzle, take your dog on a walk, pick up an engrossing thriller, volunteer, visit the library and load up on books. Do anything to keep your mind otherwise occupied.
Another option is, oddly enough, to schedule time to worry. Pittman told Headspace that she often recommends her clients schedule a strict timeline for worrying, for instance, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
During that timeframe, parse the problem, analyze every word, think of every angle, dig in to the details, but when the clock hits 2:30, time’s up and you have to convince your brain to move on.
Are you struggling with overthinking? Tell us some tips that has helped you.