How to Stop Overthinking
Do you ever find yourself overthinking things? Going over, and over, and over what you did, what you said, what someone really meant by what they said, or worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet. Do you feel like you have ‘paralysis by analysis’?
Being analytical is a great skill when it comes to problem-solving, where you need a step-by-step methodical approach for your job or a hobby. Unfortunately, when it’s to do with your health, life or relationships, it can have devastating effects and leave you feeling upset and anxious.
The ability to overthink every aspect of your life and health is a recipe for feeling well and truly stuck. For example, constantly questioning your health: what happened, why it happened, what are the consequences, what will happen in the future, and the list goes on. This type of over-analysis will immerse you further in the problems, keep you awake at night and leave you feeling exhausted.
Thinking like this causes more questions instead of providing useful solutions. People then try and justify overthinking by saying:
- Maybe I’ll find a solution and figure it out
- I don’t want to miss anything
- I just need to understand why and constantly search for answers that may not be available, or satisfactory
Overthinking causes people to spend too much time in their own head. They miss out on engaging with their life and enjoying it to the maximum. Overthinking rarely leads to a successful outcome and feels like there’s no way out. It’s a habit we get trapped in and as it’s a learnt behaviour, we can unlearn it.
If you find yourself overthinking, try out some of these tips:
- Recognise and accept that you have a tendency to overthink things. Denying this will just lead to you burying your head in the sand and avoiding doing anything about it. If you’re not sure if this is you, try asking a trusted friend for an honest opinion.
- Forgive yourself as this is just a habit or pattern that you have gotten stuck in. Being mean to yourself will not help you to resolve it.
- Identify the different things that you find yourself overthinking about – is it a particular aspect of your health, a specific person, or a world event? By understanding the focus of your overthinking and worry, you can start to explore other options instead.
- Stop talking about it – when we seek advice from others, it is impossible to stop thinking about it and we end up with more ideas and suggestions to think over.
- If there’s a decision to be made, take the best information available to you now and take action. Over analysing will stop you from doing or achieving anything given the chance.
- Accept that these are just thoughts, don’t allow them to have any more importance than they deserve.
- Change your posture, sit up, breath deeply and smile. Use the simple breathing technique of breathing in for a count of four, hold for a count of seven and out for a count of eight. It is a great way to calm your mind and body, so repeat a few times until you feel calmer.
- Surround yourself with positive things and thoughts. Allow your imagination to take you on good journeys and remember the great times you’ve had.
- Do something that you can really immerse yourself in and fill your head up with different information. This could be anything you enjoy, for example, exercising, dancing to music, creating art, playing with the children, watching a film or speaking to a friend.
- Practice being really present in your life. Many of our clients find mindfulness or yoga an amazing way to do this.
“The world is full of people who will help you manufacture tornados in order to blow out a match.” Shaun Hick
If overthinking is something you struggle with, contact us for a chat to find out how the Lightning Process can help you.