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I Can’t Stop Overthinking Everything. This Trick Helps.

I’d been sitting around obsessing about things I couldn’t control and stuck in a spiral of feeling sorry for myself.

I Can’t Stop Overthinking Everything. A Simple Trick Helps.
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I was born an overthinker. I’ve always been extra sensitive to things, people, and situations. So much so that friends often ask me, “How do you even have the energy to think that much about something?”

If you’re an overthinker, you get it. It’s as if your mind won’t shut off, even if you want it to. You also know that it can make you feel extremely anxious. It’s hard to pull away from your thoughts that are on repeat — day in and day out. But over the years, I’ve found that something pretty simple that makes a huge difference: talk to somebody. Anybody. About anything.

Once I was having a tough day, when a friend of mine reached out and wanted to have lunch. I was overwhelmed and stressed, thinking about myself and the things I had to get done. I declined.

“It sounds like you need an hour to decompress,” she said and talked me into meeting up anyway. After all, I was only spinning my wheels sitting at home. I was overwhelmed as a single mom; I was worried about my kids, and trying to juggle everything at once.

I learned something from that experience: I’d been sitting around obsessing about things I couldn’t control and stuck in a spiral of feeling sorry for myself. It helped immensely to leave my house, step away from my usual environment, and meet a friend for a coffee, lunch, a walk, or anything.

It gets me out of my head, and instead of obsessing and falling into a pattern of only thinking about myself, interacting with others reminds me that the world is so much bigger than me and my problems. It makes me feel better because I can gain some perspective about what’s important in life.

It’s not because I think I have magical powers or I’m so amazing because I’m gracing people with my presence. I think it’s because we are social creatures, and technology has isolated us more than ever. That’s a perfect recipe to stew about our problems, compare ourselves, and not get out to socialize. I need a face-to-face connection to process things, and I’m far from alone.

It doesn’t have to be deep conversations, though. I love going to the gym every morning to be around people. Even if I wake up that morning feeling overly anxious, changing scenery, interacting with people, checking in with my gym buddies, and moving my body helps tremendously.

On my way home from the gym, I always stop at my local McDonald’s to get a fountain Diet Coke — I know... but it’s my thing and fountain Coke is the best! Striking up a conversation at the counter lifts my mood. They keep me updated about their kids and their lives, and I genuinely love visiting, chatting and getting out of my head.

I can’t step away from my life, problems, or the things that make me anxious. But sitting and stewing about them is unhelpful and always makes me feel worse. And there is nothing else quite like getting outside my own head by interacting with other people.

Katie lives in Maine with her three kids, two ducks, and a Goldendoodle. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, at the gym, redecorating her home, or spending too much money online.