7 Things You Need to Know About Overthinking
Do you tend to think about the same things over and over again? Or does it seem like you can’t get your worries out of your head, no matter what you try? If so, you might be overthinking. Even more significant, it’s time to take action if it starts happening chronically.
Overthinking is a common experience that many people deal with occasionally, some more than others. It’s also called rumination and is correlated with several different mental health conditions, like anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Not only is this method of processing information annoying and stressful, it can be potentially debilitating if you can’t get it under control. Here are seven things to know about overthinking to help you start understanding your overthinking.
7 Things to Know About Overthinking
1. It’s normal.
Overthinking is a normal part of being human. Everyone experiences moments when their thoughts spiral out of control, but it can impact mental well-being when they become persistent and intrusive.
2. It impacts decision-making.
When you’re overthinking, it’s hard to make decisions or be productive. Excessively analyzing every detail also makes it challenging to make confident decisions, creating a counterproductive cycle of anxiety and stress. You might hear this called analysis paralysis, something many people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) struggle with.
3. It’s related to anxiety.
Anxiety and overthinking often go hand in hand. When we’re anxious, our minds can become overwhelmed with worry and fear. Recognizing the connection between the two is the first step in addressing this thought pattern. If you notice that you start to become preoccupied with these thoughts, feel nervous, or have physical symptoms of anxiety (like stomach pain or headaches), you may want to schedule an appointment with a provider.
4. Mindfulness is important.
Mindfulness, or the practice of being present, is a powerful tool to combat overthinking. Exercises involving mindfulness help you to learn to be present in the moment, grounding yourself and helping you break free from the cycle of excessive rumination. Guided meditations and yoga routines are examples of things you can do at home to help overthinking.
5. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely used approach by mental health therapists to address overthinking. Reframing, one of the main principles of CBT, involves identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and replacing them with more realistic thoughts. Most therapists are trained in CBT, so it’s typically not difficult to find a provider in your area that uses it in their practice.
6. Set realistic expectations.
Overthinking is often fueled by unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our circumstances. By setting realistic goals and expectations, you can start having a healthier mindset and reduce the likelihood of overthinking. When you see one of our psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, they will work with you to establish accomplishable goals for your mental health treatment.
7. Be compassionate with yourself.
Practicing self-compassion is a crucial part of working toward better mental well-being. It’s necessary to treat yourself with kindness and understanding, especially when you’re dealing with anxiety or overthinking – both of which can cause you to be stressed and overwhelmed. Practice talking to yourself more kindly to help stop the harmful effects of self-criticism.
When Should You Talk to a Professional About Overthinking?
While overthinking every once in a while is pretty standard, persistent overthinking may need professional intervention. At Balance Psychiatric Services, our psychiatric nurse practitioners can provide guidance, support, and holistic interventions to help you find the proper medication and supplemental services (like mental health or occupational therapy) to help manage your thoughts and emotions. Contact us this new year to start your journey toward mental wellness!