Experts explain how to prevent thoughts from going into a loop and causing you to overthink

When you're anxious about something, you may have experienced the same thoughts looping in your head over and over again, unable to stop thinking about them even though you can't find the answer.

Kirsty Ross , an associate professor of psychology at Massey University in New Zealand, explains how to stop overthinking.

How can I stop overthinking everything? A clinical psychologist offers solutions

Ross, who also works as a clinical psychologist, said he often hears from patients that they 'can't control the loops of thoughts in their heads.' Regarding the flow from thought loops to overthinking, Ross points out that first, you fall into a state of ' rumination, ' in which you repeat negative thoughts in your head, and if you can't find a solution to it, you become 'overthinking.'

'It's like a record playing the same part of a song over and over again. In the case of records, this is usually due to scratches, but the reason why humans overthink things is a bit more complicated,' says Ross.

Ross points out that the human brain is designed to look for and respond to threats, whether they be past experiences or 'what if' situations that could happen in the future. If you think about a past that has already ended or a future threat that has not yet occurred, you cannot resolve it, so you will continue to repeat the same thoughts.

While anyone can fall into the trap of rumination or overthinking at times, people who have been exposed to painful or traumatic experiences in the past are more likely to worry about threats and overthink.

Ross also says that people who tend to think deeply, who are prone to anxiety or depression, or who are sensitive to small things are also more likely to overthink, and that when you're stressed or feeling unwell, the accuracy of your thinking decreases, making it difficult to break away from the same thoughts.

Ross offers three suggestions for how to stop overthinking:

◆1: Think about why you overthink things
Ross points out that it is important to think about why you are 'overthinking.' For example, you may be 'unable to sleep thinking about the future of your child who is about to become a college student,' or you may be 'feeling lonely or homesick in your new life and your thoughts are going in a loop.' By understanding the causes of these overthinking, you may be able to come up with ways to deal with them.

On the other hand, overthinking can also be a sign that you're entering a new phase in your life. For example, a parent who is worried about their child's future in college may be feeling anxious because they've moved from a place where they were able to do their best to educate their child to a place where their child is no longer under their control. Recognizing the source of these feelings can make it easier to talk to someone else about them, says Ross.

◆2: Let go of thoughts
There are three ways to control rumination and overthinking: change, acceptance, and abandonment. First, try to argue with your own thoughts and loosen up your rigid thinking. 'Change' is when you repeat the same thoughts, and things that are not necessarily true start to seem true, so it is necessary to break out of the loop by changing your thoughts.

And 'acceptance' means accepting your emotions, engaging in self-care, talking to someone, and getting social support. Even your own life cannot be managed 100% as you wish because it involves other people, and you can only control your own reactions and actions. By accepting this, 'giving up' your desire to know exactly how things will turn out, and finally believing in your own abilities, you can break free from overthinking.

◆3: Have some fun
A stressed and tired brain is less able to think, so you are more likely to ruminate and overthink. To improve this condition, it is important to eat well, exercise, do fun things, see loved ones, get plenty of sleep, and manage your stress levels.

'If overthinking is affecting your life, increasing your anxiety levels or making you feel depressed (impacting your sleep, appetite or enjoyment of life), it may be time to talk to someone and develop strategies to manage it,' said Ross. 'If you find yourself overthinking, ask yourself why you're doing it, acknowledge how you're feeling, engage in some forward-looking problem-solving, accept that life is unpredictable and focus on having faith in your ability to cope.'

in Note, Posted by log1h_ik