Someone texts you a bad news in the middle of the day. You are sad and you ruminate over it. One thought leads to another and before you know it, you are upset about things that are not even related to the news you received.

That was just one example of overthinking. There can be hundreds of instances when you pull your mind into a whirpool of thoughts without your awareness. 

Overthinking causes a temporary paralysis because the mind isn’t able to move forward. Too much of overthinking can shut down the mind completely, causing severe anxiety and degrade 

How to stop overthinking?

Overthinking blurs perception as the bombardment of thoughts is often resentful and obsessive. To tackle this, some people see psychologists and try to resolve the source of their mental duress. Some people resort to medications so that they can chemically shut down their mind for some time so that they can take a break from the deluge of thoughts. A drug-free, and significantly cheaper, method that is gaining a lot of popularity is meditation

Meditation as a tool is highly effective as it requires no extensive training, is accessible to all, can be freely practiced and deals with a lot of psychosomatic issues like depression, anxiety, hypertension.  

With just 20 minutes of meditation, the flood of thoughts can reduce and you can find yourself again. Whether it is meditative music, listening to chants or doing easy guided meditations, that crucial break for sometime realigns the mental process and calms down the mind.

Following are some of the ways how meditation helps those troubled with overthinking.

1) Sets the perspective right

A healthy perspective towards stressful situations saves the mind from overthinking. But when you are stressed, your perception screws up. You will invite a deluge of thoughts even when the situation is not as bad as it seems.

In other words, overthinking blooms like weed in a stressed mind. And meditation is your go-to tool to de-stress and find a healthy perspective when you need it the most. 

2) Helps in overcoming negative thoughts

Negativity needs a hook. The hook can be a person, situation or thing. It can be something that happened ten years back or someone that you bumped into five minutes back. Meditation removes your hooks. It does not eliminate that what is bothering you. Instead, it removes the hooks from your mind. Simply by shifting your focus from outside to your inside source of happiness. 

3) Decluttering the mind

People usually experience that it is easy to locate something in a clean room. However, if the whole space is cluttered and full of junk then it is difficult to find something specific. This case is similar to the mind. While overthinking, the mind gets cluttered with so many thoughts and unnecessary information that it becomes difficult to categorize and place them. In that situation, looking for a specific piece of information is very time and effort consuming. 

Students often experience this during exams. If their mind is stressed and they have been worrying about their exams, their mind would take a lot of time to remember even the easiest of facts. And suddenly, after the exam when the storm has passed, the mind would remember the same knowledge easily. The calming experience of meditation brings an order to the thoughts. Therefore, instead of each thought jumping on top of each other to be seen/heard, there is an order in which the specifics are a lot clearer.

4) Freedom from painful attachments

Overthinking is just the mental manifestation of one’s attachment. Attachment can be described as strong likes or dislikes towards people, situations, words, thoughts, and ideas.

As your attachment strengthens, overthinking is likely to increase. Meditation relaxes this attachment and shifts your attention from what your attachments to the present moment. 

Don’t wait for the episodes of overthinking to start before starting to practice meditation. The benefits of this practice are immense and making it a daily custom ensures that stress hormones, anxiety disorders and the habit of overthinking stay away. 

3 quick tips to remember to stop overthinking

1. Don’t wait for overthinking episodes to pop up to begin meditation.

2. Meditate regularly for 20 minutes twice a day to release your anxieties. When stress builds up, it leads to overthinking and overanalyzing. If you are a beginner, guided meditation for stress relief can help prevent overthinking.

3. Overthinking around a good feeling can be counterproductive. You will constantly try to match every new experience to the superlative one. More often than not, you fall short of your expectations. So, be aware of the pitfalls of overthinking.

Practice this Guided Meditation to Stop Overthinking