A co-worker said something to you which was meant to be harmless but you can’t stop thinking about it. You think about the incident in all its details and then you rethink it and this time you add a few details of your own and then you rethink it and add a few remarks of your own or you think about what others who were present must have thought about then you think about how this will travel and go to other co-workers and on and on it goes.
This sort of thought process is all too common and can be recognised as overthinking or rumination.
Overthinking is getting stuck in loops of thought which are unproductive and may cause worry and anxiety or maybe as a result of them.
Here I will share with you a few techniques which can slow down the process of overthinking. That’s all that it is though it is always best to seek help of a mental health professional to understand and recognise better ways of coping with overthinking.
Recognise and acknowledge – the first thing to do is recognise that you are overthinking. This is easier said than done. When you have faint moment of realisation that you maybe overthinking just acknowledge that you are doing it. There’s no need for judgement just acknowledge. That slows down the process a little. You may still be overthinking but the recognition can help slow it down
Write it- we think faster than we can write and just to write down the thoughts gives you a little distance from them.
Make a little space- Take some time out and just give yourself a little space to exist outside of your thoughts you can do this by practising mindfulness, relaxation exercises or breathing exercises. Just something to calm yourself down.
Revisit- after you have given yourself some space you can revisit whatever you wrote down. Understand what the cause of your worrying thoughts is. The thoughts we pen down can provide an insight into the real issues which may be bothering us.
These techniques are something to help you slow down the overthinking they won’t help you stop completely for that we need to untangle the emotional knots (Petric, D. Emotional knots and overthinking). A mental health professional can support you through that process.