How to stop overthinking

The fast pace of modern life combined with the current state of world affairs is enough to induce stress in even the calmest of souls.

Accordingly, overthinking is becoming a very common issue within society, with many struggling to get over past problems or becoming fixated on the future. In time, such behaviour can worsen mental health problems and lead to anxiety and depression.

Finding that your brain won't give you a moment's peace? Wellbeing, fitness, and nutrition expert Penny Weston ( has offered up her top tips for combatting the problem.


Taking time to meditate, even for a few minutes, can help tackle overthinking and stress.

"Meditation is a brilliant way to tackle overthinking: it is essentially trying to control our thoughts to focus our attention on the present moment: sit or lie still and take note of all the sensations your body is aware of, from the sounds around you to the feel of your clothes against your skin," she advised. "Tune into your emotions and thoughts and try to observe them like a bystander, without any judgement."


This simply refers to looking at an issue from a different perspective.

"Many people are terribly hard on themselves and can be prone to jumping to the most negative interpretation of a conversation or situation. It's so easy to do. For instance, you may see others' harmless comments as criticisms and ruminate over them, when they don't warrant a moment of our attention," explained Penny. "Acknowledge your primary response and then take a step back - how else can you look at this? Could the comment have been meant as a compliment? Could the consequences of the event you're dreading actually be positive? Even if you're still drawn to the negative interpretation, at least acknowledge that it is not the only possibility."

Get outside

Taking in some fresh air can really help change your state of mind.

"Forest bathing is a fairly new term, but people have always enjoyed the calming effects of nature. Open your eyes and be soothed by the colours of nature - blue and green are thought to be the most relaxing colours," the expert noted. "If you can get into nature, so much the better, but even if it's just a walk around the block the change of scene can help break your cycle of unhelpful thoughts."


Whether it be running outdoors or taking a yoga class, exercise can be grounding.

"It's hard to overthink when you're out of breath on a running machine or trying to execute a perfect mountain pose, so just the distraction exercise creates is going to be beneficial," noted Penny. "Adding in the endorphins that it releases in your body, a workout or even a brisk walk is always worth a try when you're trapped in your own thoughts."


When your brain just won't stop, try tricking it.

"Find an activity that will occupy your mind - it could be anything from reading a chapter of a compelling book, sketching, walking the dog, playing a game or making dinner; it could be almost anything, so long as it will take enough concentration to stop the train of thought you're trapped in," she added.