How to Stop Overthinking with Exercise, Meditation, and Breathing

Nate Boyle
how to stop overthinking

“File:The Thinker Rodin Phila.JPG” by Sdwelch1031 is licensed under CC BY 3.0

How to stop overthinking is the practice of non-judgmental awareness. The act of being aware of the present moment, with no attachment to what’s happening. It’s about acknowledging your thoughts, then letting them go before an overthinking habit can take root. This is not easy. It’s a skill that takes practice.

Fortunately, more than a few techniques can help quiet the mind, manage analysis-paralysis, and avoid overthinking. Start small and slowly incorporate them into daily rituals.

Take a deep breath

Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our thoughts that we lose touch with our bodies. That’s when the urge to overthink creeps in.

As soon as you feel that you’re losing control, please take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Try to let go of whatever is triggering you by merely concentrating on something as fundamental as breathing.

A 2013 study found rumination is a mechanism underlying the relationship between stress and mental health. If you’re stressed out, your mind will start to wander and overthink.

To avoid this downward spiral, take a moment to meditate to consciously breathe or find a way to deal with the noise through meditation.

Schedule time for meditation

Once you get into the habit of overthinking, it can be hard to break. But, there are a few things anyone can do to minimize its impact on destructive thought patterns.

The first step is to identify that you’re thinking patterns. You may not even realize it, but you can start to take steps to fix it once you identify the problem.

The best way to stop overthinking is a consistent practice of mindfulness. Start small and gradually build up your mindfulness practice to handle everyday life challenges.

Meditation gives permission to avoid negative self talk, but exercise actively quiets those negative emotions.

Exercise is a great way to get out of your head

One of the simplest ways to quiet the mind is to exercise and focus on physical health.

When you’re busy with aerobic exercise, you don’t have time to overthink. You’re also less likely to fall into the trap of making mental to-do lists. Instead, you can focus on the present moment and enjoy the sensation of being in your body.

In addition to helping reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, exercise improves overall well-being. Likely because exercise reduces stress and boosts endorphins.

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