How I Stop Overthinking When I’m Anxious

March 28, 2024 Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

When I'm anxious, one of the hardest things to do is to stop overthinking. After all, this seems to be what anxiety is about, beyond, of course, the physical symptoms. Anxiety causes you to worry about what you are experiencing stress about. Therefore, you end up overthinking about the situation and about various scenarios. It's hard to stop overthinking.

Overthinking, though, doesn't make anything better. If anything, it just makes me feel worse. Any physical symptoms that I experience, like a racing heart and shakiness, end up getting worse instead of getting better when I overthink. In other words, my anxiety turns into a downward spiral where I am experiencing both physical and psychological symptoms.

Strategies I Use to Stop Overthinking

At some point, I realized that this was no way to live. Since I often dealt with anxiety, this also meant that I spent much of my time overthinking about things, which would make it difficult to concentrate, sleep, and relax, especially during times when I needed to. Also, I would find that my thoughts would become chaotic and uncontrollable, and then my feelings would follow, and sometimes I would end up feeling depressed because of those troublesome, racing thoughts.

So, I started taking steps to stop overthinking. Using what I learned about anxiety, I started to put a lot of effort into using strategies to calm those thoughts and to calm myself overall. These strategies have included:

  1. Deep breathing -- Focusing on my breathing helps me to slow my heart rate, so it helps to calm the physical symptoms of anxiety. Also, it requires me to focus on my breath, which helps to draw my attention away from what I am overthinking about, and it becomes calming. Additionally, deep breathing is something I can do in any setting. So, if I find myself overthinking in a situation that isn't ideal, I know I can still focus on my breathing because it is always there.
  2. Mindfulness meditation -- I have found that practicing mindfulness meditation in an area that is free of distractions in my environment helps to calm me. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on what I am sensing in the present moment and doing so without judgment. This also helps me relax my mind, and guided imagery can help achieve relaxation as well.
  3. Distraction -- Sometimes, distraction can be extremely helpful in reducing those racing thoughts and anxious feelings. While distraction is not always the best strategy for coping with every situation, if there is nothing you can do to change a situation in the moment and you feel anxious, distraction can sometimes be the best way to deal with it.

These are the main strategies I use to help stop myself from overthinking. While I wouldn't say that I am always completely successful or that it isn't something I still struggle with, I have experienced significant improvements in this area over the years.

What strategies to stop overthinking do you use? Share them in the comments below.

APA Reference
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2024, March 28). How I Stop Overthinking When I’m Anxious, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

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