Overthinking is like running a treadmill— lots of movement but going nowhere and it’s just as exhausting.
We’ve all been there: Everyone overthinks situations from time to time (or what seems like all the time). Sometimes it can be beneficial to think things through and look at a situation from all possible angles and then weigh the options. Hopefully then we can move forward with confidence. But overthinking can also become cancerous when we repeatedly playback past situations and proceed to second-guess every decision. This kind of overthinking can make us moody and anxious and keep us from getting anything done. Trust me I know from experience on this one.
Insert one of the thousands of overthinking quotes here.
If you’re stuck in your own mind loop, here are some ways you can free yourself from overthinking.
1. Take a Breath
The first step in addressing the habit of overthinking is to notice when it’s happening. When you start to feel anxious or doubting or questioning everything, take note of what you believe the cause of it.
2. Do Something Different.
Allow yourself to accept how your feeling in the moment, but pay attention to when your mind is going into overdrive and actually do something about it. Please don’t let yourself go down that rabbit hole. In other words, distract yourself if needed! This could be anything from reading a good book (personal fav), working out (second fav), watching Netflix, cooking, or going for a walk. Who am I kidding these are all favs of mine!
3. Challenge the Fear Of Failure
If you find yourself overthinking a decision at work, school, or personal life or worrying about any possible outcome, consider that your fear of failure may be holding you back from success. This is certainly a fear of mine that I work at daily. In reality, those who don’t fail never try and those that never try never learn so that those that never learn never succeed. How’s that for a motivational mouthful!Embracing the potential for failure gives us the freedom to try and eventually succeed.
4. Focus on What Can Go Right.
Overthinking tends to be negative and demeaning. Instead of focusing on all the possible ways a situation could go wrong, consider what could go right. This has been a challenge for me my whole life. As sad as it sounds, I was brought up to expect the worst, so I guess the bright side to that is everything turns out better than expected. Needless to say I tend to find myself focusing on the negatives.
5. Practice Gratefulness.
It’s impossible to have a grateful thought and a thankless one at the same time. Making and taking the time to practice gratitude daily can help you alter your way of thinking to naturally see the positive. Write down what you’re grateful for so you can look back on all the good things around you. Even make a gratitude journal if that’s your thinking, my planner actually has a spot for good things that happen that week so I joy mine down there.
6. Put Things In Perspective.
Lastly, it’s easy to make things out to bebigger and more negative than they need to be. I find this can be especially true of creative people, as an active imagination can create quite vivid and thought-provoking scenarios. But honestly, if you take a moment to really think about the situation and its importance in the grand scheme of things, will it really matter in a week? A month? A year? Five years? Creating a timeframe can ease overthinking as it diminishes the importance of the thing you were worrying about.
Let the watch as you move towards a better you!
Because the habit of overthinking will creep up repeatedly. And that’s okay, just know that you certainly aren’t alone.