Pathways for Positivity: Overthinking

Do you ever find yourself overthinking? Y’know, that feeling of being a hamster endlessly running on a wheel, constantly revisiting the same thoughts.

The unrelenting, draining process, of a never-ending cycle that offers no progress or relief, no matter how many times it’s repeated. A problem with more questions than answers. A bottomless well of worry…

This exhaustive process involves dwelling on the past or persistant, problematic worry about the future. A study conducted by in May 2023 revealed that 73% of the UK population experienced anxious thoughts in the preceding two weeks, and one in three individuals reported that anxiety was interfering with their daily lives.

Anxious overthinking seizes the present moment, hindering the ability to experience and appreciate what truly matters. The mind becomes overwhelmed with unhelpful memories from the past or persistent worries about the future, preventing focus on the present. The constant mental chatter of a dog gnawing a bone, the physical unease of a million angry wasps buzzing in your stomach. Overthinking steals the simple pleasures in life and hinders deep, meaningful, connections with loved ones, you simply can’t quiet your mind enough to focus on what’s going on around you!

Overthinking amplifies problems, leading to unnecessary mental tension and physical distress. Without meaning to, overthinkers often catastrophise situations, envisioning the most out there, unlikely worst-case scenarios. This burden eventually takes a toll on physical wellbeing and depletes mental and emotional reserves, especially when overthinking persists into late hours, hindering much needed restorative, restful, sleep.

This perpetual mental turmoil prevents overthinkers from attaining clarity and making rational decisions. It can result in analysis paralysis, where it’s almost impossible to take action or make decisions due to being consumed by thoughts and fears of getting something wrong or the outcome.

So what can you do if you’re struggling with overthinking?

  1. If it’s a written task that you’ve been procrastinating about, because you’re worried about it going wrong, just go for it and make a start. Do as much as you can, and edit afterwards. Dolly Parton wrote two of her best selling singles “Jolene” and “I will Always Love You” in the same evening. Overthinking hinders creativity
  2. Don’t tell yourself NOT to think about what’s worrying you. Nothing surer than it’ll make you think about it more, not less. Instead, do something that focuses your mind elsewhere. Jigsaws, colouring in, gardening, painting, something that doesn’t involve the problem.
  3. A tired mind has a problem for every solution. Find a sleep routine that works for you. Visit NHS/Sleep for practical advice.
  4. If the problem is persistent, pervasive and problematic, seek professional advice.
  5. Set yourself a challenge, every time you find yourself thinking of the worst possible outcome, think of the best possible outcome. Imagine them on either side of a child’s see-saw. Try and focus your mind into tipping the see-saw with the best outcome on top.


Shannon Humphrey is a First Aid for Mental Health Instructor working within the education sector, businesses and private clients. Visit for more information or to enquire about a booking.

Photo: Shutterstock


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