Overthinking can be destructive as it causes a non-stop stream of intense and negative thoughts, similar to an over-caffeinated mind that won't shut up. However, it's possible to prevent overthinking from ruining your relationships. This article will explore the reasons behind overthinking and offer tips to overcome it.
Why You Tend To Obsess In Relationships
1. You're scared of being hurt
It's understandable to overthink your relationships if you've experienced heartbreak in the past and fear it happening again. Healing from a painful breakup can be a challenging process that can leave lasting effects like self-doubt and mistrust. However, constantly overthinking your relationships won't necessarily prevent negative outcomes, even if it's hard to accept.
2. You need to feel in control
You might believe that by obsessing over every aspect of your relationship, you can maintain control and safeguard your heart. Additionally, if you tend to be controlling, you may be more prone to overthinking in all areas of your life, including your relationships. However, it's crucial to understand that no amount of mental analysis can alter the course of events.
3. You have low self-esteem
Maybe you tend to overthink your relationships excessively because you lack self-confidence. You may feel insecure about your appearance, intelligence, or other qualities and worry that your partner may lose interest in you. Instead of constantly searching for ways to keep your partner's attention, it's essential to work on building your self-esteem. Remember, you are deserving of love and respect.
How To Stop Overthinking Your Relationships
1. Accept that thinking plays a legitimate role in life but may not always be useful
Thinking is a critical aspect of decision-making and keeping our lives in order, like paying bills or leaving unhealthy relationships. However, when we start obsessively worrying about things that are beyond our control or completely irrational, useful thinking can turn into overthinking.
2. Stop trying to read between the lines and instead take your partner at their word
Overthinkers often engage in mind-reading, fabricating scenarios about others that are not rooted in reality. It's common to feel helpless against the urge to overthink. A helpful practice is to take people's words at face value. Start by assuming that friends or family mean exactly what they say without reading into hidden messages. This approach can reduce the mental strain and exhaustion that comes with overthinking relationships.
3. Distinguish between what you can and can't control
If you find yourself worrying about your partner's fidelity while they're away on a business trip, try making a list of what you can and cannot control in the situation. Focus on what you can control, such as keeping yourself busy, communicating with your partner about your feelings, and requesting regular communication from them. Acknowledge that you cannot control what your partner is doing while away. Accepting this reality can help you regain some peace of mind.
4. Question if your lack of trust is an indication of an unhealthy relationship
If you constantly find yourself overthinking and questioning your partner's loyalty or affection, it's worth taking a closer look at your relationship. Trust your gut instincts, as they may be guiding you towards the truth that your partner is not worthy of your trust. While this is not always the case and trust issues can arise from other factors, it's important to examine the root of your doubts.
5. Be sure to have a life outside of your partner
Engaging in hobbies or sports can help quiet the overactive mind, especially when you're alone and prone to overthinking your partner's actions. Having a fulfilling life outside of the relationship can benefit both you and your partner, as it allows you to focus on your own growth and happiness, rather than solely fixating on the relationship.
6. Talk to friends about how you're feeling
While it's important to be emotionally intimate with your partner, it's also important to avoid smothering them with excessive discourse about your thoughts and feelings. Instead, consider talking to trusted friends or gal pals about what's going on for you. They can provide a valuable resource and support system, but be mindful of not overwhelming them with your concerns, as this can lead to them becoming tired of hearing about your problems.
7. Know that uncertainty is a fact of life
Change is a constant in life, both externally and internally. The world is always in flux, making it difficult to hold onto anything for long. However, according to author Pema Chodron, embracing uncertainty and letting go can bring greater peace. While this is easier said than done, it's a worthwhile endeavor in the end.
8. Ask yourself questions that will bring you to the present moment
When overthinking, your mind is often focused on the past or the future, rarely on the present moment. However, the present moment is a safe space from overthinking. To bring yourself back to the present, ask questions like "Where are my feet?" or "What emotions am I feeling right now?" This can help you come out of your head and into your physical body, providing temporary relief from overthinking.
9. Start using self-love quotes and mantras to ground you in reality
Your mantras can be tailored to counteract the negative thoughts that dominate your overthinking. If you tend to be self-critical, try using self-affirming mantras such as, "I am enough," "I am worthy," and "I am lovable." If your overthinking fixates on your relationship, use mantras such as, "My partner loves me," "I trust them," and "I believe in their words." Although it may feel like you're deceiving yourself initially, these mantras will gradually seep into your psyche and positively impact your thoughts.
10. When you find yourself worrying, redirect your attention to something else momentarily.
Overthinkers often make the mistake of treating their thoughts as facts, even when they're negative. Instead of getting caught up in these thoughts, try to ignore them. Although it's challenging, distracting yourself can help you overcome overthinking. Take a hot shower, call a friend, or listen to music to divert your attention momentarily.
11. Don't beat yourself up when you do find yourself overthinking
Overthinking is a natural human tendency that affects everyone, regardless of their efforts to avoid it. So, it's important to be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you're trying your best.