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how do i stop overthinking

recently i have been overthinking almost everything and i dont want to and i cant stop myself. i have tried to talk to people but they all just tell me just to stop and i try my hardest and cant. it is now starting to make me physically unwell and the doctors dont know why. i cry almost every 30 mins and have no idea why and just feel down most of the time but sometimes i feel the complete opposite. i would like some help on how to stop and not have any panic attacks.

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Sam

Hi there,

When we are stressed or under pressure it's common for people to overthink things. Overthinking means you get stuck thinking about a particular worry or situation and can't stop. Sometimes you might overthink something so much that you can't really focus on anything else, or you might have panic attacks. When something is on your mind this much it's a sign you may need to get some help.

You've said you've talked to people about overthinking, but that's different to talking to them about what you’re thinking about. Sometimes a way of stopping yourself from thinking too much is to either write out or talking through your thoughts. If you keep things your worries to yourself, it's very easy to have those thoughts spiral out of control. Sharing them with someone else can help to keep your thoughts more grounded.

One technique for coping with your thoughts is to plan time every day to spend 20 minutes thinking about your problems - you can call it your "worry time". Anytime you find yourself thinking about something, make a note of it and say to yourself that you'll think about it during your worry time. You might find that by the time you get to your worry time, it's not something you need to think about anymore. If you’re still worrying about it, then the worry time is limited to 20 minutes instead of the whole day.

It can also help to think of a next step for the problems you think about. That next step might be to talk to someone, to do something or to research something. Whatever that next step is, anytime you think about the problem you can remind yourself that you've already got that next step planned - and anything beyond that step is going to come later.

We have a couple of games which can help with this as well. One of them is called the Wall of Expression - you can write whatever you want on the wall and then smash it down. Doing this can help you to put thoughts to rest for a while. Childline also has some advice about coping with stress  and managing anxiety.

I hope these techniques help. If you want to talk more or want more advice, you can always talk to a Childline counsellor.

Take care,

Sam

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