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Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress

Overthinking is a common challenge that many individuals face in their daily lives, leading to heightened stress levels and negatively impacting mental well-being. Fortunately, numerous techniques can help alleviate overthinking and promote a healthier mindset. 

This comprehensive blog will explore 23 techniques to relieve stress and stop overthinking. And no, we aren’t summarizing the book, we come equipped with research. So, without further overthinking (joke intended), let’s dive right in!

Importance of 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress

Importance of 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress

Incorporating these 23 techniques to relieve stress is paramount for maintaining mental well-being in the face of overthinking. From mindfulness meditation and deep breathing to goal-setting and social connections, each method is a crucial tool in breaking the cycle of stress. 

These 23 techniques to relieve stress provide immediate relief and foster long-term resilience, promoting a positive mindset, healthier thought patterns, and a sense of control. By embracing this comprehensive approach, individuals can actively manage stress, enhance their overall quality of life, and cultivate greater inner peace.

1. Mindfulness Meditation

The first one on our list of 23 techniques to relieve stress is Mindfullness. Mindfulness meditation involves training the mind to focus on the present moment. Set aside at least 10-15 minutes daily to sit quietly, close your eyes, and bring your attention to your breath. As thoughts arise, observe them without judgment and gently guide your focus back to the breath. This practice cultivates awareness and reduces the grip of overthinking by grounding you in the present.

2. Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing or mindful breathing takes the second spot on 23 techniques to relieve stress. Practice deep breathing exercises to activate the body’s relaxation response. One effective technique is diaphragmatic breathing, where you inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your diaphragm to expand and exhale slowly through your mouth. This rhythmic breathing pattern calms the nervous system, lowers cortisol levels, and provides an immediate sense of relaxation, countering the effects of overthinking.

3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

The third one on our list of 23 techniques to relieve stress is PMR. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a systematic technique where you tense and then gradually release different muscle groups. Start with your toes and work your way up to your head. This physical release of tension can signal to your mind that it’s time to relax, breaking the cycle of overthinking and promoting a sense of calm.

Read: How does exercise reduce stress

4. Journaling

Write it down! Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal can be a therapeutic way to gain perspective on your concerns. Set aside time daily to reflect on your emotions, challenges, and successes. Analyzing your journal entries over time can help identify patterns in your overthinking and provide insights into triggers and potential solutions.

5. Set Realistic Goals

Overthinking often stems from setting unrealistic expectations. Break down larger goals into smaller, more achievable tasks. Celebrate small victories along the way, reinforcing a positive mindset. This approach makes the journey less overwhelming and helps shift your focus from potential obstacles to actionable steps.

6. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is one of the most important techniques of all these 23 techniques to relieve stress. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a goal-oriented therapeutic approach that helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns. Working with a qualified therapist, you’ll learn to recognize distorted thinking, reframe negative beliefs, and develop healthier cognitive habits, effectively addressing the root causes of overthinking.

7. Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is one of the best ways to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. Cultivating a gratitude practice involves regularly acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of your life. Start or end your day by listing three things you’re grateful for. This practice redirects your focus from overthinking what’s lacking to appreciating what you have, fostering a more optimistic and content mindset.

8. Limit Information Intake

The next on our list of 23 techniques to relieve stress is limiting information intake. Information overload can contribute significantly to overthinking. Set specific times during the day to check news and social media and avoid excessive exposure to negative or distressing content. Being selective about the information you consume helps maintain a balanced perspective and reduces the mental burden of overthinking.

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9. Establish a Routine

Creating a daily routine provides structure and predictability. Knowing what to expect can alleviate the uncertainty that fuels overthinking. Include dedicated time for work, self-care, and relaxation in your routine to maintain a sense of balance and stability.

10. Mindful Walking

Mindful walking is vital to stop overthinking and is one of the most recommended on our list of 23 techniques to relieve stress. Incorporate mindful walking into your routine by paying attention to each step and the sensations in your body. This form of moving meditation can be done anywhere, providing a quick and effective way to redirect your focus from overthinking to the present moment, promoting mental clarity and calmness.

11. Social Connection

Regularly engaging with friends and loved ones provides emotional support and diverse perspectives, essential for breaking the cycle of overthinking. Share your thoughts and concerns with trusted individuals, fostering a sense of connection and reminding yourself that you’re not alone in facing challenges.

12. Learn to Say No

Another important way to relieve stress is by learning to say no. Overcommitting to various responsibilities can contribute to overthinking. Practice setting boundaries and learn to say no when necessary. Prioritize your well-being and recognize that declining additional tasks or commitments is okay to avoid overwhelming yourself.

13. Visualization Techniques

Visualization techniques are also one of our 23 techniques to relieve stress. Visualization involves creating vivid mental images of positive outcomes. When faced with overthinking, visualize a scenario where your challenges are overcome and you experience success. Engaging in positive mental imagery can shift your perspective and reduce anxiety associated with persistent overthinking.

14. Mindful Eating

Practicing mindful eating involves being fully present during meals. Chew slowly, savor the flavors, and pay attention to the textures of your food. This deliberate approach to eating extends mindfulness to other aspects of life, helping to break the cycle of overthinking and promoting a more mindful, balanced mindset.

15. Establish “Worry Time”

Designate specific times in your day for worrying, typically 10-15 minutes. When intrusive thoughts arise outside these designated times, remind yourself that you have dedicated time to address concerns. This practice helps prevent overthinking from consuming your entire day, allowing you to categorize and manage worries more effectively.

16. Self-Compassion

Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes and encounters challenges. Practicing self-compassion involves speaking to yourself as you would to a friend, fostering a more nurturing internal dialogue that reduces the harsh self-criticism often associated with overthinking.

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17. Hobbies and Creative Outlets

Engage in activities that bring you joy and satisfaction. Hobbies and creative outlets provide a positive distraction from overthinking while allowing you to express yourself. Whether painting, writing, or playing an instrument, these activities offer a valuable respite and contribute to a more balanced, fulfilled life.

18. Focus on Solutions

Shift your mindset from dwelling on problems to seeking solutions. When faced with challenges, brainstorm actionable steps and focus on what you can control rather than what you cannot. This solution-focused approach redirects your energy away from overthinking and towards constructive problem-solving.

19. Grounding Techniques

Grounding techniques involve bringing attention to the present moment through the senses. When overthinking escalates, focus on the physical sensations around you. Feel the texture of an object, listen to ambient sounds, or concentrate on your breath. These grounding exercises interrupt the overthinking cycle and promote a greater sense of presence.

20. Limit Perfectionism

Accept that perfection is unattainable and mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. Embrace a mindset of continuous improvement rather than striving for flawless outcomes. Reducing the pressure to be perfect can alleviate the burden of overthinking and promote a healthier, more realistic perspective.

21. Affirmations

Affirmations are also one of the most recommended ways to relieve stress and are, sure, a part of our 23 techniques to relieve stress. Create positive affirmations that counteract negative thoughts. Repeat these affirmations regularly to reinforce a positive mindset and challenge the habitual patterns of overthinking. Whether written down or spoken aloud, affirmations build a more optimistic and empowered thought process.

22. Seek Professional Help

If overthinking becomes overwhelming and persistent, consider seeking support from a mental health professional. Therapy provides a safe space to explore underlying issues, develop coping strategies, and receive personalized guidance in managing overthinking and related stressors.

23. Mindful Breathing Apps

Since we mentioned mindful breathing in our list of 23 techniques to relieve stress, let’s also give you a way ahead for it. Utilize mindfulness and relaxation apps that offer guided breathing exercises. These apps provide accessible support, helping you manage overthinking in various situations. Incorporate them into your daily routine or use them as needed to promote relaxation, mindfulness, and a break from the overthinking cycle.

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Incorporating these 23 techniques to relieve stress into your daily life can significantly reduce overthinking and promote a healthier, more balanced mindset. Experiment with different strategies to discover which resonates most with you, and remember that breaking the cycle of overthinking is a gradual process that requires patience and self-compassion. 

By prioritizing your mental well-being and implementing these techniques consistently, you can cultivate a more resilient and stress-resistant mindset, ultimately leading to a happier and more fulfilling life.

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