May 20, 2022

Overthinking

Overthinking. We all do it; some more frequently than others. We fixate on an awkward interaction or an upcoming event. It can be uncomfortable to feel the tornado of thoughts that swirl in your head when you are overthinking. This type of thinking can breed anxiety, which leads to further fixations. This is a cycle we can break by recognizing the signs of overthinking and actively managing them before they become overwhelming.

Here are a few of the telltale signs that you are overthinking:

  1. Being unable to stop thinking about a certain event or subject
  2. Developing irrational thoughts and fears surrounding the event or subject
  3. Replaying moments and interactions in your head surrounding the event
  4. Being stuck on thoughts about the things you cannot change or control about the subject
  5. Thoughts about the subject are impacting sleep and daily functioning

A few tips to manage overthinking:

  1. Ask yourself how this overthinking serves you. Is it changing the situation, or is it just upsetting you further?
  2. Create a helpful phrase that you can repeat to reset yourself. An example of this could be, “I am here” or “keep calm”.
  3. Do grounding exercises, like mental math, rubbing palms together, or putting hands under water.
  4. Try Box Breathing (https://www.webmd.com/balance/what-is-box-breathing):
  • a. Step 1: Breathe in counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.
  • b. Step 2: Hold your breath for 4 seconds. Try to avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.
  • c. Step 3: Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
  • d. Step 4: Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you feel re-centered.

Written by Jessy Pucker, LMSW

Photo Cred: Canva

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