Alex's Answer

How can I stop overthinking and worrying about what people think about me?

Your Question

How can I stop overthinking and worrying about what people think about me


Hi, and welcome to Ask Alex. 

We would like to thank you for bringing your deepest thoughts and worries to us. It takes a lot of courage to say/write what is going on for you, and you have taken a big step in putting it out there. Well done for that. 

You want to stop overthinking and worrying about what people think of you. It sounds like this is incredibly draining, no wonder you want to find ways to stop this pattern! Let’s see if some of the following tips might help you to free your mind from overthinking and worrying. 

Have you heard of the Three R’s”? Give this method a try, you might find it useful. 

  1. Record – Try writing down the thought that you have in your head. An example “Mary didn’t say hello, she must be annoyed with me over the joke I made last week” Here you have recorded what is going on for you, what your mind is telling you is going on.  
  2. Rationalize – Take the time to truly examine the scenario and try to see what actually might have happened in the scenario. For example: “Mary actually laughed at the joke at the time, and we talked every day since”. 
  3. Replace – Look at replacing the negative thoughts that we often allow into our head to take over, and call it out; tell it you don’t need it and then replace it with a more positive thought (which is often the reality anyway). For example “I was standing behind something and Mary obviously didn’t see me. When I shouted hello, she didn’t hear because she had her ear pods in. Mary isn’t ignoring me; she isn’t annoyed with me”.

Remember, it takes a bit of time and a bit of practice, and you will need to learn how to train your mind to see things in a more fair and balanced way but keep at it and no doubt you’ll feel the positive effects soon.  

You have spoken about worrying what people think of you. This is not uncommon amongst young people so you are certainly not alone in having this worry. Remember this, this is important: when you truly see yourself for who and what you are and become comfortable with this, what others think won’t matter. We can do certain things to boost our self-esteem. For instance, it is so important that we all take time to look deep within ourselves and examine ourselves in a balanced way, with fairness and honesty. Make a list all the wonderful traits we are confident you have, and this will help take away the worry you have about what others think of you because you know who you are and appreciate these qualities about yourself.  People who matter will appreciate these positive qualities about you as well and for those that don’t, chances are you’re better off without them in your life. Finally, remember that thoughts aren’t facts. You may think that other people are thinking negative things about you, but it doesn’t mean that they are, and it doesn’t mean that their thoughts are true. 

It can be very difficult carrying your thoughts and worries on your own and having a trusted adult you can offload it to is very helpful. Would you be able to talk to a parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle or teacher (whoever you feel comfortable with) about your concerns? Often the trusted adults in our lives can help us when we can’t see ourselves in a fair and balanced way and they can help us rationalize things, to see things as they are rather than what we may have created and expanded in our minds. Given the opportunity, this adult could support you through the hard bits and help guide you towards appreciating yourself and reduce the need to overthink things.  

You can always contact Childline through our webchat at, contact us by text on 50101 or you can call 1800 66 66 66 if you’d like to chat to us on the phone. The Childline team is there to listen 24 hours a day, every day. Our services are free, confidential, and non-judgemental. A member of our Childline Listening team will support you and explore the different options available to you without telling you what to do.     

I hope that you have found some of the information useful, thank you for sharing your question and keep safe. 


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