When you think too much, instead of acting and doing things, this is called “overthinking.”
Sometimes your thoughts prevent you from taking action. They consume your energy, disable your ability to make decisions, and put you on a loop of thinking and thinking over and again.
Everyone falls into the trap of overthinking sometimes, but when this starts to consume our lives it can turn into a serious, chronic problem. Below are
1. Be Aware
Learn to be aware of your habit of over-thinking when it’s happening. Any time you find yourself doubting or feeling stressed or anxious, step back and look at the situation and how you’re responding. Keep notes of your observations in a journal so you can reflect on them and learn from them later.
2. Practice Visualization
In many cases, overthinking is caused by a single emotion: fear. When you focus on all the negative things that might happen, it’s easy to become paralyzed. Next time you sense that you starting to spiral in that direction, stop. Visualize all the things that can go right and keep those thoughts present and up front.
3. Invite Distractions
It’s often helpful to have a way to distract yourself with happy, positive, healthy alternatives. Things like meditation, dancing, exercise, learning an instrument, knitting, drawing, and painting can distance you from the issues enough to shut down the over analysis.
4. Get Perspective
It’s always easy to make things bigger and more negative than they need to be. The next time you catch yourself making a mountain out of a molehill, ask yourself how much it will matter in five years. Or, for that matter, next month. Just this simple question, changing up the time frame, can help shut down overthinking.
5. Embrace Imperfection
Stop waiting for perfection. Being ambitious is great but aiming for perfection is unrealistic, impractical, and debilitating. The moment you start thinking “This needs to be perfect” is the moment you need to remind yourself, “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.”
6. Acknowledge The Fear
Whether you’re afraid because you’ve failed in the past, or you’re fearful of trying or overgeneralizing some other failure, remember that just because things did not work out before does not mean that has to be the outcome every time. Remember, every opportunity is a new beginning, a place to start again.
7. Give Yourself Boundaries
Give yourself a boundary. Set a timer for five minutes and give yourself that time to think, worry, and analyze. Once the timer goes off, spend 10 minutes with a pen and paper, writing down all the things that are worrying you, stressing you, or giving you anxiety. Let it rip. When the 10 minutes is up, throw the paper out and move on–preferably to something fun.
8. Live in The Present
No one can predict the future; all we have is now. If you spend the present moment worrying about the future, you are robbing yourself of your time now. Spending time in the future is simply not productive. Spend that time instead on the things that give you joy.
9. Accept That You Can’t Control Everything
The fear that grounds overthinking is often based on feeling that you aren’t good enough–not smart enough or hardworking enough or dedicated enough. Once you’ve given an effort your best, accept it as such and know that, while success may depend in part on some things you can’t control, you’ve done what you could do.
10. Be Grateful
You can’t have a regretful thought and a grateful thought at the same time, so why not spend the time positively? Every morning and every evening, make a list of what you are grateful for. Get a gratitude buddy and exchange lists so you have a witness to the good things that are around you.
11. Get Support
Overthinking is something that can happen to anyone. You don’t have to struggle through it by yourself. Seek support from someone who understands what you’re going through and can help you.
As Your Health & Wellness Coach, I can help you create systems for dealing with “overthinking” so you can ward off some of the negative, anxious, stressful thinking and turn it into something useful, productive, and effective.
Click here to schedule your FREE consultation today!
Lisa M. McNally
Certified Divorce & Health Coach
Certified Divorce & Family Mediator
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst