How To Stop Overthinking
Too Much Analysis Becomes Paralysis!
Before making a decision do you find yourself thinking? Of course you do. Thinking is part of human nature and we require thinking before making decisions because we strive to make our decisions stronger, better, and regret-less. However, if you find yourself thinking too much for a long time, you may be overthinking. Most people overthink because they may be making predictions about what might happen as a consequence of their decision, making them rethink their decisions over and over. Most of these predictions are related to events that are unlikely to really happen, however, they are real to them. A bunch of “should-have”s, “what-if”s, and “if-then”s cloud their judgment, making them overthink their decisions. If you are experiencing this, what you need to do is ground yourself to your decisions.
Identity your “what-if”s and “should-have”s – Focusing on the past is what leads us to overthink as we are stuck in a constant cycle of “what-if”s and “should-have”s. We have to understand that our past cannot change but we can change the meaning we give to it. Sometimes when bad things happen to us, we let the emotions coming with those take over us. We also let our past mistakes control our decisions about the future. However, recognizing that the past is in the past and exerting ways to let go of it, helps reduce overthinking patterns making decision making smoother.
Overcoming the feeling that something is wrong – Many people who overthink tend to mix fear with intuition. Sometimes it is the fear of making a mistake that makes us rethink our decisions over and over. After making a decision, do you have the constant feeling that something may be wrong? We have to see whether this constant feeling is coming from our fears or whether it really is an intuition! Knowing what is driving our behavior will help us get out of our heads and make decision making smoother as being aware would lessen the root cause of our indecisiveness- which is our fear. Taking deep breaths, meditating, and connecting with our bodies, and THEN really feeling what it would be like to take that decision will help us move towards further steps instead of feeling stuck in the overthinking cycle.
Master your emotions – I keep telling clients that ignoring emotions can make them come back stronger and hit them harder. There is no use of suppressing emotions. Instead, we have to find ways to release them in a healthy way. The first step in catering to our emotions is to acknowledge what we are feeling. Yes! You are feeling sad and you have to know that you are. The second step is to identify the root cause of our emotions. If you are feeling anxious, what is the reason behind it? Sometimes anxiety comes from beliefs that are difficult to identify so digging deeper into them helps. We may be feeling anxious because deep down we feel we are not good enough or we are not succeeding in a way we would like ourselves to be or when we feel we are not in control. Digging deeper makes us aware of where our anxiety is stemming from, hence, reducing anxiety and making us firm on our decisions.
Live in the moment – As cliché as it might sound, living in the moment can do wonders! As soon as you identify that you may start to overthink soon, hit the pause button and focus on what’s happening around. What can you see? What can you hear? What is the color of your shoes? What are the things you feel blessed for? Do this before the overthinking starts taking over you. Living in the moment can help us take control of our mind and stop negative thinking/self-talk that hinders our decision making skills. At first, doing this may require some conscious practice but soon you will notice how it will start coming to you naturally!
Putting a pause to overthinking will surely make your life calmer, relaxed, with smoother decision making and having a positive influence on those around you too! Good luck!