How to stop overthinking


#1

Hey everyone,

I struggle with overthinking things. It’s usually about my emotions. I start worrying, then I’ll compare how I feel in one situation to another, fearing I feel another way, and I’ll just snowball and snowball my mind to death and it’s CRAZY frustrating to the point where I don’t know how I feel about anything anymore. It’s hard to explain. I’m just sick of questioning everything in my head all of the time. I know I just need to leave it alone and just trust God I’m the present moment, but sometimes that difficult. I’m a thinker and all I want to do is think things out, catch myself before I fall, plan ahead, etc. Can someone please give me some advice for just chilling out? In the meantime, pray for me as well please.

Thanks


#3

This is what happens to me. Maybe you might have anxiety. I’d suggest you see a therapist as I soon will too because I know overthinking is tiredsome and hard to stop if you don’t get help. But, one thing that has helped me is to not be alone and idle. Going out with friends or just a walk helps a lot.


#4

Exercise—Whether a walk or a marathon—can help a lot.

And sometimes you need a therapist.


#5

Catholic meditation is good: http://catholicism.org/talk-mentalprayer.html

I find that treating my recurrent negative thoughts as I do temptations helps me. When worries come, I pray about them instead of fret about them. The other kind, I just pray to God, to Mary, and to St Michael the Archangel until they go away.

They became greatly reduced, then went away, but a couple of weeks later, some different thoughts came into my head. It took me a few days to realize they fell under the umbrella of bad thoughts. Again, I prayed and they eventually stopped.

But they do always come back from time to time, I don’t know why.


#6

You may wish to take this up with a clinical psychologist or your family physician. This forum is not the place to seek advice as to how to handle these issues.


#7

There’s no such thing as overthinking. Please keep questioning. Only once you’re found answers for yourself, can you truly trust them.


#8

Friends used to tell me that I think too much. Then I wandered in the desert for 10 years and found the end of myself and my ever thinking mind. I nearly died, as the logical end to it all (including my addictions) was to drive off a bridge. The grace of God allowed me a 2nd chance to live and my recovery began. My mom suggested I pray the rosary and my life has been transformed. I found in the rosary the connection between my head and my heart. I have since been confirmed and received into the faith. My gift to others now, is in the rosaries my wife and I make for missions near and far. Thank you.


#9

When you feel crazy thought coming on do this

  1. Observe the thought the same way you’d observe an object in the room (from third party perspective). Think “there is the thought and here I am observing it”

  2. Do NOT judge the thought (don’t conclude “I shouldn’t have this thought” or “I’m angry this is bad”, etc, ONLY observe the thought)

  3. The thought will dissipate if you simultaneously do 1 & 2


#10

Advice to do yoga and meditation (as commonly understood by Westerners) is bad advice. These methods are completely misunderstood by Westerners both with regard to their purpose and with regard to the proper method. Stay away from them until (and unless) you’ve gone very, very far along your spiritual journey, and are introduced to them through authentic transmission.

Advice to seek therapy, counseling, psychiatry, etc., is bad advice. Psychology’s understanding of what a human being is, and what mental health is, is utterly incompatible with an authentic religious view of man and the meaning of life. Your therapist will declare you “healed” when you have become average again, and are “functioning normally”. God, by contrast, will declare you healed when you are perfect – and He will help you get there.

Advice to do sports and exercise to get your mind off of things is moderately good advice. It isn’t a real solution but it does give you respite.

Advice to pray is good advice. If you can, pray in a place of worship, or outdoors. It’s better than praying at home. In general, spend more time outdoors. Home and work environments tend to trigger excessive thought.

Advice to wander in the desert (or the forest) until you meet your own End, is good advice.

Now, for my own advice: what you need first and foremost is not to have your thoughts reduced, but to have them clarified, ordered, and strengthened. Reducing them should not be a priority, for as a natural thinker you will need a lot of help from your thoughts on your spiritual journey. (This is one reason why advice to meditate is bad advice.) What you need is less doubt, not less thoughts.

OK, so how can you have your thoughts clarified, ordered, and strengthened? You cannot do this yourself. Any mental effort (i.e. your thoughts) to fix your thoughts will spiral out of control. In fact it is this unhealthy loop that is wearing you out.

The only one who can order and clarify your thoughts for you is the Holy Spirit, also known as the Spirit of Truth. And as you know this Spirit proceeds from Christ. So you need to get closer to Christ, so that the Spirit of Truth may flow into your mind and start fixing it. This will clarify, order, and strengthen your thoughts.

But how does one get close to Christ? Well, do you know Christ intimately? (I don’t mean, do you know about Him. I mean, do you know Him?) If you do, just follow John 15:4: “Remain in Me, as I remain in you.” If you don’t, then the best thing you can do is pray intently, which is almost as good are remaining directly in Christ.

I hope the above makes some sense to you. God bless.


#11

@brit_2911 , if your overthinking relates to negative and anxious thoughts which cause you unnecessary worry , I would start to think of when this has happened before and it resulted in nothing , and all that the worrying thoughts produced was unhappiness .


#12

I am also an overthinker but had an epiphany just yesterday. I was listening to Gloria Purvis on the SonRise morning show on the Catholic Channel and she was talking about this very thing. She said something on the order of: “Think of all the things that you are not responsible for: The birds singing, the dawn breaking, etc. These are all gifts from God to you. Relax, even for a minute, and enjoy them.”

You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to do everything. Trust in God. Surrender to Him.

Or, in a lighter vein, remember Dory’s chant in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do, we swim. Swim…”

I’m directing this post as much to myself as to the OP.


#13

To echo someone else’s thoughts. It’s not possible to overthink, I think, when praying the Rosary properly. It is reverential, prayerful and develops your own spiritual growth. A wonderful way to cease overthinking too.


#14

If your overthinking is starting to disrupt your life (e.g. interfering with ability to work, causing significant anxiety, or interfering with relationships) then I would encourage you to see a family physician. Techniques such as CBT may help to give you tools to control it.

But I’m not suggesting everyone rushes to a physician with ‘over-thinking’, but rather recognise if or when it has crossed the line into a disruptive problem that cannot be controlled by common suggestions people may have.


#15

Ooo, I disagree on the the notion that one cannot overthink. Overthinking can be a big obstacle to over come in a decision making process. Some people are very susceptible to mulling thoughts over and over, as if their brains get caught in a loop. Like an old broken record, (which many people aren’t familiar with anymore, I know. :wink:)

You can get caught up in “what if?” “what if?” “what if?” and never take action. :thinking::thinking::thinking::thinking::thinking::thinking:


#16

All you have is this moment. Not a minute in the past nor a minute in the future. Just the present.

I can’t recall the exact number, but something along the lines of 70% of our thinking is wasted outside of the present moment.

Practice mindfulness, tune into your senses and give full attention to what you are doing in the now, whatever that may be.


#17

I can relate to this ,from last year.Overthinking was totally exhausting.I was going through break up and my mind would not stop analysing the past and present.I learnt to set aside a certain time of day and a certain amount of time .
Being with others and doing things for others lifted me out of myself.
God bless.


#18

My first thought for you was - get your sleep.
Try your best to get seven hours sleep.

Isn’t there a statue of “ the thinker “ ? ( on the camode )
As strange as it may sound, for me, I don’t think twice.
I just don’t have the time.

The only time I really overthink - is at church !
Church is very slow paced…and you kinda have to think about mass…
Or the rosary …the joyful mysteries…Jesus was found in the temple…
I think of Nicodemus maybe being a young priest, listening to 12 year old Jesus…
But it’s always creative…at church.

You sound like your being hassled and may even lack faith. Who knows.
But it sounds like your sick of it - lol - that’s a good start !


#19

No… submit to Him. There’s quite a difference. Surrender is what you do in defeat, to an opponent. Submission is what you do to a legitimate King, happy to be able to serve Him. Furthermore, when you surrender you accept whatever happens to you – it is a passive attitude. When you submit, you accept whatever duty your King assigns to you – it is a readiness to do what is asked of you.


#20

‘The more recollected a man is, and the more simple of heart he becomes, the easier he understands sublime things, for he receives the light of knowledge from above. The pure, simple, and steadfast spirit is not distracted by many labors, for he does them all for the honor of God. And since he enjoys interior peace he seeks no selfish end in anything.’ - The Imitation of Christ


#21

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