85 Quotes to Help You to Stop Overthinking (+ My 5 Favorite Tips)

One of the most common things that gets people stuck in inaction and in not doing what they deep down would like to is the destructive habit of overthinking.

You can overthink a small problem or challenge until it looks like a huge and undefeatable monster.

Or overthink something positive in your life until it doesn’t look so positive anymore.

And sometimes you may even be zapping a simple moment happening here right now out of all it’s joy and magic by overanalyzing and dissecting it.

I’ve done all three of those things. All too many times.

So in the first part of this week’s post I’d like to share 85 of the quotes that I’ve found the most helpful myself when I’ve gotten stuck in overthinking.

And in the second part I’d like to share 5 of my own favorite tips. The ones that have helped me the most to stop overthinking in the past 10+ years.

Quotes That Will Help You to Stop Overthinking

Overthinking Quotes

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte

“Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.”
– Robert Herjavek

”Spend eighty percent of your time focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday.”
– Brian Tracy

“Rule number one is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it’s all small stuff.”
– Robert Eliot

Overthinking Quote by Jayson Engay

“Don’t get too deep, it leads to over thinking, and over thinking leads to problems that doesn’t even exist in the first place.”
– Jayson Engay

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.”
– Leo Buscaglia

“My mother said the cure for thinking too much about yourself was helping somebody who was worse off than you.”
– Sylvia Plath

Overthinking Quote by Dean Smith

“If you treat every situation as a life and death matter, you’ll die a lot of times.”
– Dean Smith

“I think and think and think, I’ve thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.”
– Jonathan Safran Foer

“Overthinking, also, best known as creating problems that are never there”
– David Sikhosana

Bonus: Download a free step-by-step checklist that will show you how to quickly stop overthinking (it’s easy to save as a PDF or print out for whenever you need it during your day or week).

“Thinking too much just brings it back to me, me, me—but thanking takes my eyes off myself and my mistakes and puts them on others, on things bigger than myself. I can’t stand here very long without being humbled at how small I am and amazed at how big and beautiful our world is.”
– Elizabeth Musser

“Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.”
– Buddha

“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, “What else could this mean?”
– Shannon L. Alder

We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.”
– John Newton

Overthinking Quote by George Bernard Shaw

”People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them.”
– George Bernard Shaw

 “To think too much is a disease.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“When you’ve had a life of overthinking, you have the same reaction time and time again. Shyness becomes habitual. When you’re put in an unfamiliar situation, all you want to do is retreat and hide by default. You watch but don’t participate. You listen but don’t respond. You read, but rarely comment. You take a photo, but you rarely post. You write, but you rarely publish. All of this is because your overthinking mind cannot stop thinking about how you will be perceived by the outside world.”
– Joel Annesley

“Although difficult, change is always possible. What holds us back from making the changes we desire are our own limiting thoughts and actions.”
– Satsuki

“The more I think about it, the more I realize that overthinking isn’t the real problem. The real problem is that we don’t trust.”
– L.J. Vanier

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
– Steve Jobs

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
– Winston Churchill

Overthinking Quote by Habeeb Akande

“The more you overthink the less you will understand.”
– Habeeb Akande

“It’s a good idea always to do something relaxing prior to making an important decision in your life.”
– Paulo Coelho

 “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
– Napoleon Hill

“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

“You only have control over three things in your life, the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take.”
– Jack Canfield

“Remember, the talking about the thing isn’t the thing. Doing the thing is the thing.”
– Amy Poehler

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”
– Erma Bombeck

“Trust the still, small voice that says, “this might work and I’ll try it.”
– Diane Mariechild

Overthinking Quote by Albert Einstein

 “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
– Albert Einstein

“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
– Benjamin Franklin

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
– Karen Lamb

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain

Insightful Overthinking Quotes

“Thinking has, many a time, made me sad, darling; but doing never did in all my life… Do good if you can; but, at any rate, do something.”
– Elizabeth Gaskell

“We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.”
– Anthony Hopkins

“Overthinking is just a painful reminder of the past failures that you fear will happen again. It’s hurtful, not very helpful.”
– Rip Miller

“I’m not thinking about anything when I’m climbing, which is part of the appeal. I’m focused on executing what’s in front of me.”
– Alex Honnold

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”
– Lao Tzu

“If my mind is busy thinking about things like how someone hurt or upset me and how I can protect myself or get back at them, I’m too busy in my head to enjoy the present moment.”
– Ankush Jain

“If you get stuck, draw with a different pen. Change your tools; it may free your thinking.”
– Paul Arden

“The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking.”
– Wayne Dyer

“If you want to conquer overthinking, bring your mind to the present moment and reconnect it with the immediate world.”
– Amit Ray

“Overthinking ruins you. It ruins the situation. And it twists things around. It makes you worry. Plus it just makes everything worse than it actually is.”
– Karen Salmansohn

“Overthinking ruins friendships and relationships. Overthinking creates problems you never had. So, just calm down and breathe.”
– Unknown

“Nothing in life is more remarkable than the unnecessary anxiety which we endure, and generally create ourselves.”
– Benjamin Disraeli

“Worrying about every little thing will eventually stop you in your tracks for good. Take a chance of yourself. Start living without fear. Stop missing out on your own life. Just go for it!”
– Christine E. Szymanski

“I get anxious about everything. I just can’t stop thinking about things all the time. And here’s the really destructive part — it’s always retrospective. I waste time thinking of what I should have said or done.”
– Hugh Laurie

“Stop worrying about what tomorrow may bring. Focus on what you can control. Stay positive. Enjoy today. Expect good things to come.”
– Karen Salmansohn

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”
– Marcus Aurelius

“You know, it is a little known fact that thinking is entirely overrated. The world would be a much better place if we all did a lot less of it.”
– Laurie Viera Rigler

“There is a great difference between worry and concern. A worried person sees a problem, and a concerned person solves a problem.”
– Harold Stephen

“They say, “Look before you leap.” So look. But do not look for too long. Do not look into the void of uncertainty trying to predict each and every possible outcome, to evaluate every possible mistake, to prevent each possible failure. Look for the opportunity to leap, and leap faster than your fear can grab you. Leap before you talk yourself out of it, before you convince yourself to set up a temporary camp that turns into a permanent delay on your journey into your own heart.”
– Vironika Tugaleva

“That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.”
– Chinese Proverb

“Stop overthinking everything. Just let it be. Relax and go with the flow more. Worry less. And don’t take life so seriously… live a little!”
– Mandy Hale

“Nothing in the world can bother you as much as your own mind, I tell you. In fact, others seem to be bothering you, but it is not other, it is your own mind.”
– Sri Ravi Shankar

“The sharpest minds often ruin their lives by overthinking the next step, while the dull win the race with eyes closed.”
– Bethany Brookbank

“Put your thoughts to sleep. Do not let them cast a shadow over the moon of your heart. Let go of thinking.”
– Rumi

“Most of us never stop to consider our blessings; rather, we spend the day only thinking about our problems. But since you have to be alive to have problems, be grateful for the opportunity to have them.”
– Bernie Siegel

“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”
– Norman Vincent Peale

Short Overthinking Quotes

“Only about two percent of one percent of our thoughts deserve to be taken seriously.”
– Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“Overthinking kills what could be before you have even given it a fair chance.”
– Eloise Green

“There is nothing more exhausting than going through the same pattern of negative thoughts over and over again.”
– Parmita Uniyal

“Overthinking is often a product of underdoing.”
– Yehuda Berg

“It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.”
– Mandy Hale

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”
– Elbert Hubbard

“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“My father taught me not to overthink things, that nothing will ever be perfect, so just keep moving and do your best.”
– Scott Eastwood

“Somehow our devils are never quite what we expect when we meet them face to face.”
– Nelson DeMille

“If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.”
– E. Joseph Cossman

“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.”
– Randy Armstrong

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.”
– Epictetus

“A great many worries can be diminished by realizing the unimportance of the matter which is causing anxiety.”
– Bertrand Russell

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
– William Shakespeare

“Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.”
– Mark Twain

“You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.”
– Olin Miller

“Don’t get too deep, it leads to overthinking, and overthinking leads to problems that don’t even exist in the first place.”
– Jayson Engay

“The more you rationalize, the more you move farther away from your authentic self.”
– Shannon L. Alder

“Try not to give the driving seat of your mind to anyone. People are happy to drive you to regrets.”
– Vineet Raj Kapoor

“A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.”
– Aesop

“Your focus determines your reality.”
– Qui-Gon Jinn (from Star Wars)

“If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too.”
– Ivan Nuru

“There were many terrible things in my life and most of them never happened.”
– Michel de Montaigne

“While you were overthinking, you missed everything worth feeling.”
– Nitya Prakash

“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.”
– W. Clement Stone

How to Stop Overthinking: My Top 5 Favorite Tips

1. Use a reminder to save yourself from winding up there in the first place.

Motivate Yourself 3

Staying aware of your negative habit and catching yourself as soon as you start falling into that trap of overthinking as you go about your day can be a big help.

But just trying to keep it in mind at work, in school or in your private life tends to not work that well in my experience. Because we forget all the time.

So what’s needed for this to work a lot better is a reminder.

When I focused on getting a handle on my own overthinking I used a whiteboard on the wall in my home office. The message I wrote on that board was this:

Keep things extremely simple.

This helped me greatly to more often and quicker snap out of overthinking and reduce the number of times that the destructive habit grabbed a hold on my thinking.

Two other kinds of effective reminders are in my experience:

  • A small note. Put a post-it or something similar with your reminder somewhere where you cannot avoid seeing it every day. You may even want make a few copies and put them in strategic places like your workspace, bathroom mirror and on the fridge.
  • A reminder on your smart phone. This is the kind of reminder that I use the most these days. I use the free Google Keep app and usually set a reminder to pop up 1-3 times a day to help me to stay on track.

2. Reframe the situation and see it from a wider view.

When you’re thinking and thinking about something then ask yourself:

Will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?

Zooming out in this way will help you to see things with clearer eyes and from a more level-headed perspective.

It will help you to not let medium-sized issues become something that causes more stress or concern than is necessary.

To more quickly let go of situations where you’re honestly making a hen out of a feather (or out of simply nothing) and to not waste any additional energy on them.

And if you want more tips on how to stop overthinking then check out this post.

3. Get out of your own head.

Motivate Yourself 2

When you’re stuck in your own head and thoughts then it can be hard to break out of an overthinking loop about something.

A simple solution that works well but can be a bit counter-intuitive is to then direct your focus fully outward instead of inward.

Two good ways to get outside your own head are:

  • Help someone else out. Listen and encourage someone close to you that is in a negative situation. Help a friend to plan for a party or for an upcoming meeting or date. Or help out physically by for example lifting moving boxes as your friend is moving into a new house.
  • Exercise. I find that lifting weights or going somewhere on my bicycle and simply focusing on the exercise and my surroundings and nothing more to be a great way to get out of my own head and to find new energy and a sharper focus once again.

4. Simply small step it.

If overthinking becomes a way to procrastinate or to not face the fear of getting out of the comfort zone you’re in then small step it.

Find just one small or tiny step you can take to move forward. One small action that takes 1-5 minutes. Do that and focus only on that one step until you’re done.

This will get you moving, build momentum and often leads to more small steps being taken (as the first step is most often the hardest one).

5. Just realize and accept that you can’t control everything.

Inner Peace 2

Not even if you think a situation through 50 times or more.

To try to control everything or cover any possible eventuality through overthinking so you don’t risk making a mistake or looking like a fool can be appealing. It has sometimes been the biggest reason for why I’ve thought things through all too many times.

But I’ve also learned that accepting that it simply doesn’t work is the honest truth. To prepare and plan is helpful but going overboard with it isn’t.

A better and healthier way forward is in my experience to understand that making mistakes, failing and sometimes looking like a fool is natural part of stretching your comfort zone.

It has happened to everyone that has wanted to live life fully and to anyone you may admire.

And for most of them those experiences have been very valuable.

Because such situations have helped to them to learn game-changing lessons, to grow and are often invaluable ingredients to their success.

Here’s the next step…

Now, you may think to yourself:

“This is helpful information. But what’s the easiest way to put this into practice and actually make a real change with overthinking in my own life?”

Well, I’ve got something special for you…

A free step-by-step checklist with 14 of my favorite tips and habits to stop overthinking… save it or print it out so you have it for your daily life and for the next time you need it.
Download it now by entering your email below.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

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