How to Stop Overthinking After a Breakup [My 11 Tips & Rules for Healing]

Let’s face it, breakups are the worst. One minute you’re planning your summer getaway together, the next you’re drowning in a sea of “what-ifs” and “should-haves.”

That post-breakup anxiety can be brutal. I remember replaying every conversation in my head to try and figure out what went wrong.

But that can’t be healthy, right?

If you’re anything like me, you might be wondering how to stop overthinking after a breakup and finally move on.

The good news? I learned there is a way out of this overthinking loop and towards a brighter future (without them in it!).

So, if you’re ready to let go of the past and reclaim your awesome self, let me share the strategies to help you begin the healing process.

  • Reduce contact with your ex and avoid social media stalking. This allows you the mental space you need to move on from the relationship.
  • Focus on yourself and your well-being. Take care of your mental and physical health through activities you enjoy.
  • Healing takes time, so be kind to yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a therapist or counselor if overthinking becomes overwhelming.

11 Steps on How to Stop Overthinking After a Breakup

Breakups often leave our brains in overdrive. For me, it’s like trying to solve a puzzle with missing pieces, and it’s frustrating!

Good thing, I found a way out of that overthinking maze. Here are 11 steps that helped me finally move on:

1. Embrace Your Emotions Without Judgment

I know firsthand how tempting it can be to shove those post-breakup emotions deep down. But to overcome overthinking, it’s important to allow yourself to feel your feelings.

It might sound counterintuitive, but if you give yourself permission to be sad, angry, or confused, that’s when you start processing everything.

Think of it like a pressure cooker. If you keep all the steam bottled up inside, it’s bound to explode eventually.

So, let yourself feel the pain, and slowly but surely, its intensity will fade.

2. Share Your Feelings With Trusted Friends or Family Members

Trust me, talking it out can be a huge weight off your shoulders.

Now, I know talking about your ex with everyone isn’t always the answer, but venting to a friend or family member with a supportive listening ear can be incredibly helpful.

They can offer a shoulder to cry on, a different perspective, and maybe even some good old-fashioned tough love (when you need it!).

3. Create Boundaries by Reducing or Eliminating Contact With Your Ex-Partner

It’s easy to fall into thought spirals and wonder what your ex is up to after a breakup.

But the tough but necessary truth is that, sometimes, creating space is what you need to heal.

I get that setting boundaries by reducing or eliminating contact with your ex can be hard, but you’ve got this!

It gives your mind the space it needs to move on and helps prevent those late-night text messages that only set you back.


Whether it was a good or messy breakup, be honest with your ex about needing space to heal. It’s important that you prioritize your well-being during this time.

4. Stay Grounded in the Present and Engage in Mindful Activities

Can’t stop thinking about the past or worrying about the future? Look into practicing mindfulness!

In my experience, I’ve found that focusing on the present moment instead helps quiet those racing thoughts.

Engaging in activities like yoga, meditation, or even simple breathing exercises can bring you back to the now.

It’ll also help to try mindfully noticing the world around you, and practicing gratitude for what’s here and now.

5. Write Down Your Thoughts and Feelings

Believe me, I tried everything to quiet the post-breakup chatter in my head. But sometimes, the simplest solutions are the most powerful.

Pen and paper became my secret weapons! Journaling, or simply writing down your thoughts and emotions, can also be helpful.

Seeing them on paper can help you gain perspective and reduce anxiety. It’s like giving your worries a physical form, and then letting them go.

6. Fill Your Time With New Hobbies or Activities

When you’re stuck in a breakup rut, it’s easy to ruminate on negative thoughts. But what’s really happening is that your brain is craving stimulation.

So, why not fill the void with new hobbies or activities?

It could be anything that sparks your joy. You could try learning a new language, take a dance class, or watch your favorite shows.

Engaging in activities you enjoy distracts you from overthinking. Who knows? You might even discover a hidden talent (or rediscover an old one) along the way!

7. Focus on Setting and Accomplishing Small Goals

When getting over someone, shifting your focus from overthinking to setting and accomplishing small goals can make a big difference.

I’m not talking about conquering Mount Everest right away, but about taking those daily steps. Each accomplishment, no matter how small, gives you a little win. 

Whether it’s completing a workout or finishing a book, these seemingly small tasks can help you regain a sense of control and boost your self-confidence.


Start a daily to-do list of things you want to accomplish. Make sure you focus on progress, not perfection. Small steps add up over time.

8. Avoid Obsessing Over Your Ex’s Social Media Activity

I know it’s tempting, but did you really think you’re going to find closure by stalking your ex’s social media? No, right?

In fact, doing this only exposes you to triggers that make you feel anxious, which then leads to more overthinking.

On the other hand, avoiding this habit can help you focus on the good things in your life that truly matter. So, unfollow them and tell mutual friends to stop giving you updates.

9. Prioritize Your Well-Being by Engaging in Self-Care Activities

The anxiety after a breakup can make you feel overwhelmed, so much so that even basic tasks seem impossible to do.

This was when I realized the importance of self-care.

Taking care of yourself physically and mentally will help you cope with the rollercoaster of emotions that come after the end of the relationship.

Normalize making healthy choices for yourself. Get nutritious meals, sleep in, and do exercises you enjoy. These things set the foundation for healing.

10. Consider Relationship Counselor if Overthinking Becomes Too Much

Sometimes, even with all your best efforts, the overthinking monster can feel impossible to tame. And that’s okay!

After everything I’ve gone through, I’ve realized that there really is no shame in seeking professional help.

A relationship expert, for example, is trained to provide a safe space to process your emotions such as sadness, anger, and confusion.

They can also equip you with tools and strategies to manage those unwanted thoughts and help you move forward with your life.


Mental health is just as important as physical health. Talk to a mental health professional to help you develop healthy coping mechanisms during this difficult time.

11. Take What You’ve Learned From the Relationship and Grow From It

Breakups can feel like endings, but they can also be powerful beginnings. Looking back on my own experience, I realized I could view the breakup as an opportunity for growth.

To do this, take some time to reflect on what you learned about yourself and what you need in future relationships.

Every past relationship teaches us something valuable. Did you learn better communication skills? Did you realize the importance of certain boundaries?

Use these insights to work towards healthier, happier relationships in the future.

Is It Normal to Overthink After a Breakup?

Yes, it’s completely normal to overthink after a relationship breakup. It’s a natural response as you process the end of a significant relationship.

However, if these thoughts become obsessive or lead to compulsive behaviors, it may be time to seek help from a licensed therapist.

Breakups are never easy. They can trigger a range of emotions and thoughts that make it challenging to move forward.

It’s common to fixate on the past, replaying memories and conversations in your mind, trying to find answers or make sense of what happened.

To save yourself from this rut, focus on self-care, reconnect with friends and family, and or seek guidance from a therapist.

My Best Ways to Heal After a Breakup

While overthinking is common, I didn’t let it hold me back from living my best life. I worked on my healing and trusted that what was for me would come my way.

Here are practical tips to help you do the same:

  • Allow yourself to grieve and feel your emotions (my favorite): There’s no right or wrong way to grieve a breakup, but bottling things up is not it. It’ll only prolong the healing process. So, cry, feel sad, get angry!
  • Surround yourself with supportive friends and family: During my breakup, it was my best friend who became my hero. She was always there with a shoulder to cry on and a pep talk to boost my self-doubt.
  • Engage in activities and hobbies that you enjoy: For me, doing sports not only helped me focus on myself but also allowed me to sweat out my emotions.
  • Prioritize self-care and wellness, including exercise and healthy eating: Breakups can wreak havoc on all aspects of your life. To regain control, I nourished my body with healthy meals and got back into a regular exercise routine.
  • Consider seeking professional counseling or therapy: As soon as you notice anxiety symptoms, consider seeking professional help. I didn’t need it, but my friends found it incredibly helpful.
  • Avoid contact with your ex to allow for healing: I know, this one can be tough, but you’ll need that space to heal. Going cold turkey on texts, social media stalking, and even running into them at your favorite coffee shop can be incredibly beneficial for healing.
  • Reflect on the relationship to understand why it didn’t work out: Taking a deep dive helped me identify some communication issues that I can work on for future relationships.
  • Focus on what you want out of life and work on yourself: I reminded myself that that breakup wasn’t the end of my dreams. Rather, I looked at it as a chance to chase them with even more passion!
  • Give yourself time and be patient with the healing process: Healing isn’t linear, and it won’t happen overnight. So, remember to treat yourself with self-compassion. Embrace the good and bad days, and with time, you’ll feel like your fabulous self again.

Let Go of the Need to Know Why

Breakups can be confusing, leaving you yearning for answers and replaying every detail in your head. But here’s the truth: sometimes, the answer you seek just doesn’t exist.

So, instead of focusing on the “why” of it all, flip the script and figure out how to stop overthinking after a breakup.

These tips helped me move on, and I hope they help you do the same! Remember, you’ve got this, and you deserve to rewrite your happily ever after.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the overthinking phase typically last after a breakup?

The duration of the overthinking phase can vary. It can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the individual and the circumstances of the breakup.

What are signs that your overthinking after a breakup is becoming unhealthy?

Red flags include constant distress, inability to focus on daily tasks, and neglecting self-care. If thoughts become obsessive or lead to compulsive behaviors, seek professional help.

How can you distinguish between normal grieving and prolonged emotional distress after a breakup?

Normal grieving involves sadness and reflection. But in prolonged emotional distress, you constantly replay memories, struggle to function, and feel hopeless.

Are these healing strategies applicable to both recent and past breakups?

Yes, these strategies can help heal wounds from recent and past breakups. They provide tools to process emotions and move forward positively.

Are there resources to guide you through the post-breakup healing process?

Yes, many resources such as books, online articles, and therapy offer guidance and support for post-breakup healing. Finding what resonates with you is key.

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