18 Weird But Effective Ways To Stop Overthinking

If you’re an overthinker, you’re not alone — it happens to the best of us. The problem is that if you don’t nip it in the bud, it can become debilitating. While standard advice like meditation is helpful, sometimes you need weirder tools to break the loop. These might feel silly at first, but the goal is to shift your mental state, which then allows space for calmer, clearer thinking to emerge.

1. Scream Into a Pillow.

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Pent-up frustration compounds the mental chatter. Let out a primal yell into that pillow (where only your dog will judge you). This physical release disrupts the overthinking pattern. It won’t make the problems vanish, The Guardian admits, but it might lessen their emotional charge enough to approach them with a bit more rationality.

2. Talk to Yourself in a Ridiculous Voice.

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High-pitched squeak? Fake foreign accent? The more absurd, the better. It’s surprisingly hard to take your worries seriously when they’re narrated by a cartoon chipmunk. This injects levity into the situation, reminding you that you’re not always your thoughts, especially the overly dramatic ones.

3. List Your Worries Alphabetically.

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This forces a shift into your rational brain (which likes order) instead of swimming in the emotional soup of anxiety. The very absurdity of alphabetizing your fears creates some distance, revealing how often they’re repetitive and blown out of proportion.

4. Have A Dance Party for One (The Dorkier Your Moves, the Better).

songs about falling in love

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Blast upbeat music, try to recreate old music video choreography – badly. The focus on your body and the pure silliness interrupts the self-critical headspace. Remember, the goal isn’t to become a skilled dancer, but to get unstuck from the mental rut through joyful movement.

5. Narrate Your Surroundings in a Boring Monotone.

Red-haired girl sitting at the table indoors with boring face and looking away through messy hair, leaning on her elbow

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“There’s a beige chair. The carpet is blue-ish. A speck of dust is floating…” This extreme mindfulness exercise pulls you into the present moment. Overthinking thrives when fixated on the past or th efuture. Noticing the mundane details anchors you in the here and now, where most things are actually just…fine.

6. Draw Your Fears as Terrible Cartoon Monsters.

woman writing in notebook on chair

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Stick figures are your friend here! Big googly eyes, lopsided teeth… turn anxiety into something laughably absurd. Externalizing the worry through art makes it feel less all-consuming and gives you a sense of power over it, instead of it controlling you.

7. Intentionally Try to Make Yourself MORE Anxious.

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Sounds counterintuitive, but hear me out. Think about your worst-case scenario, magnify it to comical extremes. Often overthinking stems from the illusion of control – that if we worry HARD enough, we can prevent bad things. Letting the worry spiral out of control reveals this is impossible, allowing a sense of surrender…which paradoxically lessens the anxiety.

8. Eat Something With an Extreme Flavor Burst.

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Atomic fireball candy, a super sour Warhead… something that shocks your taste buds. This intense sensory experience grounds you in your body and forces a break in the mental chatter. Similarly, a few drops of peppermint essential oil under your nose can have a focus-shifting effect.

9. Zoom Out Your Perspective to Cosmic Proportions.

A beautiful woman meditates on a poppy field at sunset. Wellness well-being happiness concept.

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Stressing about a work email? Imagine Earth as a tiny dot from space. Now think of those intergalactic documentaries with swirling galaxies, and suddenly your problem feels much smaller. This doesn’t diminish its importance, but it helps cultivate a sense of the vastness of existence, reminding you that your worries are a small part of a much bigger picture.

10. Clean One Messy Little Thing.

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Overthinking flourishes amidst chaos. Pick a minor eyesore — that cluttered drawer, pile of dishes, or overflowing trashcan — and tidy it up fully. This small act of restoring order and cleaning your space creates a sense of control that translates to your mental state. Bonus: you’ve done something actually productive towards improving your life, not just spinning in worry.

11. Personify Your Overthinking as an Annoying Character.

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Is it a naggy old lady? Pesky mosquito buzzing inside your head? Giving your worry a form makes it feel less like your core being. You can then mentally tell that character to shut up with more humor than when the thoughts feel like inescapable truths.

12. Try the “Spotlight” Technique for Social Anxiety.

friends at a massive dinner party

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If overthinking centers on how you’re perceived, remember this: most people are too busy worrying about themselves to scrutinize you. Imagine a literal spotlight following you – notice how other people are absorbed in their own lives, not yours. The spotlight technique helps you step out of that self-conscious mental loop.

13. Do Something Repetitive and Slightly Difficult.

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Knit a row of a complex pattern, untangle a knotted necklace, build a miniature model… Something that forces focus onto the task at hand and has a visible outcome. This quiets the mind and the reward of accomplishment (even a small one) combats the “I’m useless” feeling that often fuels overthinking.

14. Use the “Phone a Friend and Vent” Trick.

woman looking over shoulder on phone

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But do this with a twist: Talk about your worry in the third person. “My friend has this problem…” Distancing yourself forces you to simplify the issue for clarity. Often, by advising your “friend”, you realize the advice you’d give them applies to your own situation as well.

15. Write a Rant, Then Destroy It Spectacularly.

woman writing in journal in bed

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Uncensored venting onto paper – profanity encouraged! Then theatrically shred it, burn it (safely!), flush it… The physical act mirrors the mental release you need. Those overwhelming feelings don’t vanish, but this ritual acknowledges them, then symbolically lets them go, preventing them from festering.

16. Find the Humor in Overanalyzing a Pop Song.

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Take those cheesy lyrics that typically go in one ear and out the other: “What exactly does ‘my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard’ even MEAN?” This redirects that analytical energy onto something frivolous, flexing the logic muscles in a way that makes you laugh rather than fret.

17. Have a Staring Contest With Your Pet (If You Have One).

couple with dog in kitchen

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Try to outlast their adorably determined, slightly confused gaze. Animals live fully in the present, and their uncomplicated focus can be contagious. Plus, ending an overthinking spiral with laughter over your pet’s ridiculous antics is a major win for mental health.

18. Have a Cold Shower Blast in the Middle of Your Worry Session.

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For serious overthinking emergencies only! This is pure shock therapy. The discomfort jolts you into your body and the urgent task of surviving the cold, interrupting the thought loops. NOT for the faint of heart, but sometimes that’s what it takes to break the cycle.

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Brad grew up in St. Louis and moved to California to attend Berkeley College of Music, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in Music Production and Engineering. He still plays in a band on the weekend and during the week does a lot of writing and coffee-making to pay the bills. He's also been married for 7 years now, so he figures he must be doing something right.
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