Overthinking is a common problem for many people, but if you suffer from Depression, it can keep you from doing normal daily activities and plunge you deeper into a bad state. If you find that this is you, we have some tips to help you stop overthinking and get back to your life.
1. Realize when you are overthinking. Sometimes this is easier said than done. However, awareness of a problem is the first step towards addressing it. Paying attention to how your mind works can give you the solution to overthinking. Whether it’s playing negative events over and over in your head, or worrying about how someone may have interpreted something you said, your ability to understand yourself is key. Once you start noticing patterns, you can take further steps to address them and changing unhealthy habits.
2. Schedule time for thinking about your concerns and stick to it. It’s ok to think about your concerns, worries, and problems, but they shouldn’t take over your thoughts for long periods of time. Setting a time limit for those thoughts can really help to keep you out of your head and in the moment. For example, allow yourself five minutes every hour to worry or think about how to address the problem. Once that five minute is up, go back to your daily activities. If the issue is something you can actively address, do it when your time is up but when it’s still fresh on your mind.
3. Ask yourself if your thoughts are constructive towards finding a solution. Do not be afraid to challenge your thoughts. Is your thought process constructive? Are you any closer to finding a solution? Are you going in a positive direction by over thinking, or are you becoming overwhelmed? If you ask yourself these questions and answer “no” to any of them, it is time to change your thought process. This can be difficult, especially with Depression, but it is also essential. Staying in control of your thoughts can drastically improve your quality of life and day-to-day functioning.
4. Focus on active ways you can “fix” problems in your life. Rather than allowing your thoughts to circle the negative, find ways in which you can actively participate in changing your situation. Depression is a complex and difficult illness to combat, and negative thought patterns often keep people in a depressive state. When you can turn your thoughts into positive actions in your daily life, you gain confidence, self-esteem, and positive reinforcement in your thought-action process. You are in control of your thoughts, activities, and life. Depression may make you feel like you aren’t, but even taking a small step towards positive change and action gives you back that power.
5. Do activities which keep you at the moment. Meditation, exercise, yoga, and mindfulness are all excellent ways which require the mind to leave itself and focus on the body and breathing. If you are living fully in the moment, the mind will not be able to over-think or dwell on negative thoughts. With Depression, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to do these things, but it is essential for shifting your mindset in a positive way. Taking baby steps at first can help you establish healthy patterns in your life. You can meditate for as little as five minutes a day to start with and gradually increase the time spent. Similarly, twenty minutes of yoga can stimulate blood flow, focus the mind on your body and breathing patterns, and help you relax. Find activities which work best for you!
Depression is characterized and deepened by near-constant negative thoughts. Overthinking can create a negative feedback loop about who you are as a person, where you are going with your life, and how others view you. Taking steps to stop the overthinking allows you to jump out of the feedback loop. Even if it’s just for a short time, you will still have that positive change to focus on instead of the constant negativity. You can do it, you can make concrete changes in your life to create positive experiences and increase your confidence in yourself!