How to Stop Overthinking: 5 Simple Strategies for a Clear, Peaceful, and Confident Mind

How to stop overthinking

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Do you constantly find yourself overthinking? Do you feel like your mind is cluttered, jumbled and unfocused? If so, you may be suffering from an overthinking mind.

Overthinking can deeply affect to our mental health, making it hard to focus on individual tasks or live in the present moment.

Fortunately, there are simple strategies we can use for how to stop overthinking and bring clarity back into our lives. In this article, we’ll explore common obstacles to making decisions and five of the best strategies to overcome them – from mindfulness techniques to cognitive reframing practices – so you can start cultivating peace and tranquility within yourself. Let’s get started!

What are signs of overthinking?

Signs of overthinking

Overthinking is when you repeatedly think or worry about a topic or decision in a way that causes stress and prevents action. When this happens, it’s challenging to make decisions, complete tasks, work, take care of yourself or others, and it often makes it so you cannot progress on your goals or to-do list.

When it comes to overthinking, there are common signs that can indicate you’re spiraling into a state of rumination or worry.

Some examples of overthinking are:

  • Obsessively rehashing past events
  • Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
  • Feeling overwhelmed and anxious in social situations
  • Constantly seeking approval from others

These are all signs you may be overthinking. Additionally, if you’re having trouble making decisions or taking action regarding essential tasks, this could be a sign that overthinking is getting the best of you. Remember, it’s completely natural and human to experience these feelings from time to time. If overthinking starts interfering with your daily life, it’s time to find the root cause.

Why do I overthink?

Many factors, such as fear, perfectionism, difficulty with uncertainty, or trauma, can cause overthinking. These factors are often the result of anxiety and depression. Therefore, treating underlying mental health issues is vital to reducing their effects on your thoughts and clarity.


Fear can be a powerful trigger for overthinking. Fear of the unknown or fear of failure can lead us to ruminate and worry, denying us the ability to make decisions. We may also fear disappointing others or making mistakes if we do not think through every possibility. It is important to acknowledge that fear exists and to allow yourself some grace in uncertain situations.


Perfectionists often strive for an unattainable level of excellence and are afraid to make mistakes or fail. As a result, they may find themselves stuck in a cycle of rumination, unable to move forward. Perfectionists should recognize that mistakes are part of the learning process and celebrate their successes more than worrying about what could have been done better.

Difficulty with Uncertainty:

When faced with situations that are unknown or uncertain, it’s easy to get lost in a cycle of worry as we try to prepare for potential outcomes. It is important to remember that even if something is uncertain, you can still find ways to move forward and be mindful of the present moment.


When faced with overwhelming emotions or memories of traumatic experiences, the mind may try to protect itself by ruminating on various possibilities and scenarios to cope or protect a sense of safety. If this is the case, it’s essential to seek help from a mental health care professional.

Take time to identify the thoughts and beliefs that cause you to overthink. By knowing your triggers, you can learn to be more aware of when those thoughts pop up and consciously learn to disarm them one by one.

How analysis paralysis kills your progress

Analysis paralysis

Analysis paralysis is one way we overthink to make the right decision and avoid the wrong one. The premise of this effort is that the more information you gather, the better decision you can make.

What makes this strategy fail is that:

  • There is an unlimited amount of information at our fingertips. How much information is enough?
  • This coping mechanism stems from fear of making the wrong decision. The problem is no longer the decision itself but the root of the fear. This fear prevents you from making decisions confidently, which can affect other areas of your life.
  • There is no such thing as one right answer. More often than not, there are multiple answers to a single question.

For example, suppose you are choosing a pediatrician for your child. In that case, there are multiple excellent providers you can go to who will offer you thorough care. If you get caught up in who the “best” doctor is, you may get stuck in a loop of analysis paralysis. This type of overthinking inhibits your ability to make peace with any decision.

Down the line, you may realize that a different doctor better fits you and your family. If that situation arises, know you can always change your pediatrician when you see fit. It’s sometimes best to make a decision and change it later than it is to believe there is one perfect answer to search for.

By all means, do your research and make informed decisions. But understanding when to stop the research phase, clear your mind of worry, and stand by your decision is an important lesson to learn.

5 Tips for how to stop overthinking

Tips for how to stop overthinking

When you are a chronic over-thinker, it’s hard to believe that you could ever not be an over-thinker. The truth is you can use many strategies and techniques at home to help ease your symptoms.

Here are five practices you can implement today for how to stop overthinking and increase your ability to get things done.

1. Practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a mental exercise that helps us recognize and be aware of our thoughts without judgment or attachment. It can help us return to the present moment, allowing us to respond rather than react to stressful situations. This practice can also teach us to observe our thoughts without getting caught up.

2. Practice cognitive reframing

Cognitive reframing is a powerful tool for quieting the mind and controlling our thoughts. It involves replacing negative, self-defeating thoughts with more positive and realistic ones. For example, if you think, “I’m never going to accomplish anything,” reframe it to “I may make mistakes, but I can learn from them and try again.”

3. Set aside time for reflection

Reflection is an integral part of managing our mental health, as it helps us check in with ourselves and understand what’s happening in our minds. Setting aside time every day or week to reflect on your thoughts and feelings without judgment or attachment can be helpful. The practice of reflection can help to keep our minds clear and focused.

4. Take breaks when you need them

When we’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, taking breaks during our day is essential. Taking some time away can help clarify the situation and give us a chance to recharge and reset our minds. Whether taking a few minutes for yourself or going for a walk, breaks are essential in managing our mental health.

5. Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial for keeping our minds clear and focused. Not only does it give us the energy we need to tackle tasks throughout the day, but it also helps us to process information better and think more logically.

These are just a few strategies to stop overthinking and bring clarity back into your life. By committing to regular mindfulness practice, reframing negative thoughts, setting aside time for reflection, taking breaks when needed, and getting enough sleep, you’ll be well on your way to cultivating peace and tranquility within yourself.


Online therapy for overthinking

Overthinking can be a normal part of life in moderation. Still, when it chronically inhibits your ability to get things done, it can cause concern. Remember that taking action is the direct antithesis of overthinking; more often than not, intentional action is better than no action at all.

Knowing how to stop overthinking in your daily life can feel daunting. Sometimes, the only way to know what will be the best option is to see an option that needs tweaking. Identify your triggers, understand the root cause, and decide that you deserve more by taking action to end the cycle.

If you’re struggling with persistent overthinking or feel like your mental health is deteriorating, seek help from a professional. A counselor can provide valuable insight and guidance on how to manage your thoughts and feelings in a positive way. With the proper support, you can find lasting clarity and confidence within yourself.

For one-on-one guidance on how to stop overthinking, give us a call to talk to a licensed counselor today. At Makin Wellness, we have many counselors who specialize in anxiety and stress management who understand how overthinking is holding you back and how it affects your mental health. Your path to wellness starts here.

Picture of Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

All articles are written in conjunction with the Makin Wellness research team. The content on this page is not a replacement for professional diagnosis, treatment, or informed advice. It is important to consult with a qualified mental health professional before making any decisions or taking action. Please refer to our terms of use for further details.

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