Overthinking Symptoms: CBT for Anxious Thoughts


For people living with persistent anxious thoughts, it can feel like being trapped in a negative thought cycle. According to Forbes, research suggests that 73% of 25-35 year olds chronically overthink, and 52% of people ages 45 to 55. Onebright sheds light on overthinking symptoms and explores the efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in managing unhelpful thought patterns.

Paralysis by analysis

Symptoms of overthinking can be triggered for many reasons. Common areas where overthinking arises are when having difficulties in relationships, major life transitions, and being constantly on the go without downtime. While overthinking itself is not a disorder, it is sometimes associated with mental health conditions, particularly anxiety and depression. It is also common in people who have chronic pain and illness, with rumination taking control of how an individual experiences and responds to pain.  

An overactive mind can also trick itself into believing that overthinking is productive and beneficial. Some people might believe worrying shows how much they care about something or how prepared they are for the worst outcome, but in reality, it often hinders productivity and prevents a person from feeling connected to the present moment.

While it’s human nature sometimes to get lost in the ‘what ifs,’ it’s far more beneficial and empowering to equip oneself with tools and mindset to manage the natural uncertainty of life. One way of doing this is through a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist at Onebright to talk you through how to manage anxious thinking patterns. 

Symptoms of Overthinking

The signs of overthinking can present themselves in certain behaviours and unshakable feelings. If you suspect overthinking is playing a more significant part of your life than you would like, take a look at some common symptoms: 

  • Perfectionism
  • Constant Self-Criticism
  • Inability to think about anything else
  • Unable to relax 
  • Constantly feeling worried or anxious 
  • Second-guessing decisions 
  • Fixating on things outside of your control 
  • Feeling mentally exhausting 


Physical symptoms of overthinking can include:
  • Fatigue 
  • Headaches 
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Fatigue 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Gastric problems 
  • Muscle tension

How does CBT help ease anxious thoughts?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a structured approach to addressing overthinking by identifying and restructuring negative thought patterns. 

CBT is particularly effective for overthinking because it:

Addresses Cognitive Patterns: CBT is based on the principle of replacing unproductive thought patterns with more balanced, flexible, and alternative ways of thinking.

Provides Practical Strategies: CBT offers concrete tools and strategies for individuals, making it a solution-oriented approach.

Is Evidence-Based: Numerous studies have shown the efficacy of CBT in treating anxiety, depression, and other conditions where rumination is a significant component.

Can Be Short-Term: For many individuals, CBT doesn’t need to be a long-term therapy to be effective. Some people benefit from just a few sessions, while others might engage in CBT for extended periods, depending on their needs and the complexity of their issues.

Embracing Peace of Mind

Overthinking can be debilitating, but with awareness, support, and the right tools, breaking free from this habit is possible. Remember, it’s okay not to have all the answers, but seeking help is the first step towards a healthier mental state. 

To explore how Onebright’s CBT therapists can alleviate overthinking symptoms, visit our CBT London page for more information.




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