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Coping With Rumination and Overthinking

How do I stop overthinking?

Overthinking, or rumination, is part of the human experience that is your brain’s attempt to catch an error or anticipate discomfort. However, it is a largely unproductive and destructive thinking pattern.

Here are some tips for managing or stopping overthinking and rumination:

  1. Notice the thinking when its coming up (“I’m overthinking this”, “This is rumination”)

  2. Send compassion and gratitude to that part of you that is trying to protect you and prevent or correct an issue (“Thank you for trying to protect me, but I’m okay/I can let this go for now/I can take a different action”)

  3. Remind yourself of the unproductive nature of overthinking/rumination/worry (“This is not productive to keep thinking of it this way”)

  4. Take an action step to get away from just the thought loop:

  • Relaxation strategies (ex. deep breathing, warm shower, grounding)

  • Cognitive tools (ex. perspective-taking- look at the bigger picture, thought replacement- go to a happy place, a happy memory)

  • Expression (ex. Journal it out, talk it through)

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