Adapted from the article: How to Survive Overthinking (93% Helpfulness Votes & Expert Reviewed)
  1. You don't need to feel this way
    You deserve better!
  2. Believe that you can do it and you will; the pain and breathlessness will fall away
    Some people who overthink things tend to believe they cannot perform well or that they will fall behind and be looked down upon. Don’t fall into this trap!
  3. Step 1. Learn Different Cognitive Distortions
    Before you can begin to address or cope with your habit of overthinking things, you'll need to learn what kinds of thoughts occur when you're engaging in this damaging behavior.
  4. The most common cognitive distortions include:
  5. *All or nothing thinking
    - believing things are absolute and seeing every situation as being black or white.
  6. *Overgeneralization
    - seeing one negative event as a continuous cycle of defeat or embarrassment.
  7. *Mental filtering
    - dwelling only on negative things (thoughts, feelings, outcomes) while ignoring all the positive elements of those situations or scenarios.
  8. *Discounting the positives
    - believing that none of your admirable qualities or accomplishments matter.
  9. *Jumping to conclusions
    - either assuming that other people are reacting/thinking negatively towards you without any real evidence (called "mind reading") or believing that an event will turn out badly without any evidence for this conclusion.
  10. *Magnification or minimization
    - blowing bad things out of proportion or reducing the importance of good things.
  11. *Emotional reasoning
    - believing that the way you feel reflects an objective truth about yourself.
  12. *"Should" statements
    - chastising yourself or others for things that should or shouldn't have been said/done.
  13. *Labeling
    - turning a mistake or shortcoming into a character attribute of yourself. (For example, turning the thought "I messed up" into "I'm a loser and a failure.")
  14. *Personalization and blame
    - internalizing fault for situations or events you aren't responsible for, or blaming others for situations/events that they had no control over.
  15. Step 2. Identify how you overthink
    There are numerous ways to overthink, many of which are caused by cognitive distortions.
  16. *One form of overthinking is the thought pattern known as "catastrophizing"
    Catastrophizing occurs any time you automatically predict a negative outcome to some event or series of events, and jump to the conclusion that such an outcome would be devastating and unbearable. Catastrophizing is a combination of jumping to conclusions and overgeneralizing.
  17. Step 3. Take note of how you're feeling
  18. Step 4. Challenge your automatic thoughts
  19. Step 5. Replace cognitive distortions with real facts
  20. Step 6. Alter your view of failure
  21. Step 7. Try not to dwell on the past
  22. Step 8. Realize you can't predict the future
  23. For the full article: How to Survive Overthinking