How to Stop Overthinking And Relax – 7 Simple Ways

There are moments in life when we can think too much about a situation. We overanalyze our decisions and become trapped in our thoughts.

There’s nothing wrong with thinking about things. It’s when you’re no longer gaining more clarity and stressing yourself out, it becomes a problem.

Fortunately, it is possible to let go of your need to constantly ruminate over everything. The tools exist for you to simply quiet your mind and be at peace.

Here’s a few ways you can think less and relax more.

Woman with her face in her hands and stressed stop overthinking

1. Recognize when you’re doing it

As is the case in many situations, the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging that you have one. Recognize and be aware of the point when you’re beginning to overthink.

As mentioned in the introduction, stress or anxiety can be a key indicator of too much pondering. Another indicator of thinking too much is indecisiveness.

If you’re figuring out whether to do something in the moment, and you take longer than a few minutes to decide, you’re likely being indecisive.

When you’re able to notice these tell-tale signs, you can be more quick to address the problem and calm yourself.

2. Be still and breathe slowly

I find when I just sit still, everything else sits still with me. When I slow down my breath, everything inside of me slows down.

There’s a power in realizing you can physically affect your mental and emotional state. That it’s not some force that’s out of your control.

For most people at least, just a few simple actions can make a difference in silencing our inner-conflict.

3. Listen to relaxing music

It’s hard to hear your thoughts much when music is playing. Our minds can get distracted by the sounds of the instruments, the melody, and the lyrics in a song.

Music can be powerful in changing your mood and your outlook in life. It’s important to be mindful of what kind you listen to.

If you listen to a song with lyrical content, avoid anything negative that will further cause you to feel anxious.

Choose music that will get you to either slow your energy down, or help you imagine a more positive outlook.

While it may seem logical to choose music that matches your mood, it can ultimately slow your progress to inner-peace.

4. Use the 10 second rule

This can be a great tool for more minor decisions you may debate over too much. Make it a point to decide on something in 10 seconds when you catch yourself pondering too long

If you’re deciding between two things to eat and struggling, start counting to 10 and make a choice.

If you’re debating what to wear for tomorrow, and start stressing, count to 10, and choose an outfit.

Obviously, you don’t want to do this with major decisions in life. But if you do it with all your minor decisions, it’ll save you a lot of time.

5. Calm your fears

One of the reasons many people dwell on certain things too much is because of fear. We worry about so many scenarios that might result in a situation not going well.

One of the tricks in life I appreciate having learned is cognitive behavioral therapy. Here’s where you can learn more about CBT.

The gist of it is you learn to cope with fear through challenging and adjusting your thought patterns. You recognize how to put things more into perspective.

As an example, when I struggled with social anxiety, I learned to recognize how I would be okay if the worst-case scenario happened.

One of my fears would be I’d faint or pass out. But if that were to happen, I would still be okay, because there would be people around to help me.

Consider seeking out a therapist to get more useful ways you can challenge the thoughts that repeat in your head. It can be very useful in reducing the amount of worrying you do.

6. Let good enough be good

In some cases, people can have perfectionist tendencies in their thought patterns. They analyze a lot so they can get things 100% right.

Learn to let good enough be good. You’re not always going to find the perfect solution to every problem or situation.

Sometimes you just have to accept that the solution you’ve come up with is the best you could figure out.

Be okay with not everything going right. Be fine with things being good for the most part, even if a few minor mistakes occur.

When you choose to let good enough be good, you won’t dwell so much on getting every little detail right.

7. Let it out

When a situation or circumstance upsets us, it’s hard not to rerun it over and over in our heads. You might need to just release it all somehow.

One way you can do that is by talking to somehow. Let them know what you’ve been feeling about whatever recently happened to you.

Tell them the things that you’ve been unable to just stop wondering about. Talking everything out can help reduce how much you dwell on an event.

You could also write your musings out as well. I’ve utilized journaling in the past to get stuff that’s been stuck in my head out.

Whichever outlet you choose, taking time to release those words circling around inside will help ease your emotions.

Pondering something too much doesn’t have to be a problem you live with. When you take a few steps to comfort yourself, you’ll find that you won’t dwell so much on negative emotions.

You’ll be more able to relax and be at peace with yourself.

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  1. Maria Pinto says:

    Wow Eric, this is very timely for me, not that I overthink much these days, but one of my sisters does and it rattles my nerves. She quite honestly thinks of the worst case scenario in certain situations, some things being quite personal. I then try to tell her in the simplest terms to please not overthink it, and then it can get worse. Then she goes and talks to other siblings about an issue that is not their concern. She can also be controlling to the point of mothering, but when I point this out she projects it back onto me.

    Just like you pointed out so clearly, we cannot get everything right, and the elusion/delusion of perfection can suck the joy out of life. I love life’s little imperfections, I don’t strive for the perfect home, for a good housekeeping stamp of approval, & as I chuckle here knowing that I have never felt that life is one big popularity contest. I try to please myself first and don’t worry too much what others think. We are all individuals and that is what makes it interesting.

    Like I said before about music, if I am stressed I would not normally play some Black Sabbath (although they are on the top of my list). I would put on some meditation music and light a candle, and try to tell myself that this feeing will pass.

    1. Relationships with family can be pretty complex and challenging at times. I hope your sister will eventually learn to overthink less and have more peace in her life. Perhaps your words and example will come through to her someday, Maria. It’s amazing to be able to master a way to manage our thoughts and emotions when we’re most stressed.

  2. Maria Pinto says:

    I think it is like anything, we have to admit there is a problem, and that is having adverse affects on our health. Then we have to go about how to deal with and resolve that problem, otherwise a simple idea can snowball into a major drama that no one benefits from.