Katherine Lund shares her tips on how to deal with overthinking.
I overthink EVERYTHING. I worry all the time. I worry about what I said, what I didn’t say, whether to go to a party or stay in and watch a film, what to wear, how to act, how to be and what to say. I ask myself so many questions. I think of the what-ifs and should-I-have’s. I over-analyse and I self-destruct. I make mountains out of molehills. But I can’t help it. Or can I?
Over the last few years I’ve come up with ways to stop myself overthinking.
They’ve helped so much that now I am able to stop myself, pause, and have more control. So here are my tips…
I stop comparing myself to other people.
I used to do this especially around my sister. Now, I say we’re completely different people. We’ve had different experiences. I’ve had various issues I’ve had to deal with and those have been massively important in shaping who I am today. Everyone is different. What might be your strong suit might be your best friends’ weakness and vice versa. Don’t compare when you don’t have a reason to compare.
I stop thinking about the worst that can happen, and start thinking about the best outcome.
When I get into that horrible mindset of thinking about all of the negative things that could happen, I shift my focus to what could go right. It’s all positive.
I try not to be a perfectionist.
It’s great to be ambitious. That’s fantastic. But perfection is not going to happen. It’s like ‘fetch’ in Mean Girls… It’s never gunna happen. Just face it. Tip: Mean Girls is a great film. Watch it.
I found friends that love and support me for who I am.
They help me challenge that inner critic, so I can be a more confident, and less self-deprecating human being. Choose your friends wisely. A good friend is someone that appreciates you for who you are, not who you pretend to be.
I try not to think about the future too much.
I find that instead of making me feel good, it makes me anxious and worried. Live in the present. The ‘here and now’, as my therapist used to say. If you’re constantly thinking about the future, you’re not spending enough time focusing on yourself now. And what’s going on in your life now. Or what’s making you happy now. Live in the moment. Try not to look ahead too much. It’s tiring and isn’t actually that productive in the long run.
When I find myself overthinking something, I ask myself how much it will matter in the next few months, or days, or even hours.
Usually, it doesn’t matter in the slightest. Something like which biscuit to buy at Tesco – yeah I might not have the best type of biscuit for dipping in my tea, but does it really matter? Will it ruin my day? No. You can dip any biscuit into tea. It’s still going to be yummy. Next time you’re worried about overthinking something, take a step back and work out how much it will affect you in the long run. I bet it won’t be as much of a deal as you thought it was.
Finally, I don’t think about plan B, because that makes me feel rubbish.
Instead, I tweak plan A a little. In fact, I screw plan B all together.
Katherine is a mental health blogger from Norwich. You can find her at mywhyme.com