We have all been there: your friend made a silly comment about you, you can’t stop thinking about what they said, until eventually you are telling yourself that they hate you and you should move to Scotland right away. That’s what we call “overthinking”.
Now, you can’t stop yourself thinking, you need to think to live. The problem starts when you think about something too much. What happens is you think about something so much that you start believing something is true, when it is not true at all. So, when you finally talk to your friend, it turns out that don’t hate you and they certainly don’t want you to move to Scotland. (It’s far too cold anyway). In fact, they really like you, and want you to stay together forever.
In other words, you know you are overthinking when you get really worried about the thought of something and then later realise “oh I really didn’t need to get worried about that”.
Okay, so how do we stop overthinking? Well, firstly you must understand that overthinking is a habit; it’s a habit your brain uses to help you in certain situations. The problem is your brain sometimes gets it wrong – it tells you to overthink at times when it’s not helpful at all. (Like when your crush doesn’t respond in 4 seconds).
The good news is you can change your brain’s habits. This is what you need to do:
Label your triggers. Start thinking about what makes you overthink. In other words, when does your brain tell you overthink? Is it when someone is cold to you? Or is it when you think about school? When you notice yourself starting overthink, label it. Say to yourself “Oh my brain is wanting to overthink”. You can label it as “chatter”, “spinning”, “spiralling”, whatever you want. Just give your habit a name.
Next, blame your brain. Once you have noticed you are overthinking, remember it just your brain trying help you. Tell yourself “Hey, my brain thinks I need to overthink about this right now, but I don’t because it is not going to help me.” You brain is just acting out of habit, and one that is unhelpful.
Focus on something else. When you get stressed it’s easy to focus on your thoughts. “Oh my god, why haven’t they responded. They must not like me, because I said that thing the other day”. Instead of focusing on your thoughts, focus on something else that keeps your occupied. Something you enjoy. Could be as simple as talking with a friend. Whatever you do, don’t try and push the stressful feeling down; sit with the stress, but focus your attention on something else.
Lastly, don’t be hard on yourself. It’s easy to feel like “Ah I am broken, I can’t stop overthinking everything”, but remember it’s just your brain incorrectly trying to help you. Your brain is just doing its thing. It has got nothing to with you. You’re still great, don’t worry.
Change your perspective and uncover a way forward for you!
Here are some things that can help you with that.
My Anxious Mind by Katherine A. Martinez and Michael A. Tompkins
Tackle stress head-on and to feel more confident and empowered in the process. My Anxious Mind offers ways for you to improve their inter-personal skills, whether it be with friends, family, or teachers.
Fighting Invisible Tigers by Earl Hipp This book talks about pressures and problems you might experience and show you life skills, stress management, and methods of gaining more control over your life.
Emotions! Making Sense of Your Feelings by Mary Lamia, PhD
Thia will help you understand your emotions and who you are, how you appear to others, and what you can be. While your emotional life may feel out of control, your emotions are valuable. It's time to figure just what your emotions are telling you!
Kayla Day, is in the eighth grade. She is introverted but also posts videos about self-confidence online. Soon, she realises she is not the person she is pretending to be and has to accept that.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Charlie is an introvert. When he moves to a new school he has to face his fear: making new friends
A boy loves to sing, but his family won't let him. He stumbles into the Land of the Dead, where he learns about his great-great-grandfather who was a legendary singer.
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