• Christopher Tanner

10 Powerful Steps to Stop Overthinking

Do you…

  1. Take an excessive amount of time thinking about decisions?

  2. Stay up at night, twisting things around trying to see every possible scenario?

  3. Over analyze something positive until it doesn’t appear very positive anymore?

  4. Immediately think of all the bad that’s going to happen if you do something?

If you answered yes to any of these, you aren’t alone. Problems making decisions because we fear being wrong or want to mitigate risk happens to us all at some point.

Psychologists call this rumination, or overthinking.

Overthinking is a learned habit; a defensive mechanism to the possibility of failure. Overthinkers are vulnerable to continued sadness, negative thinking, weakened ability to solve problems, and irrational thought patterns.

With our increased capacity to think, this is inevitable. Thinking things through in a logical manner is one thing, but analysis paralysis is another. Focusing on every small detail can make you lose sight of the big picture.

Thinking endlessly may sound like the right way to make a decision, but many find themselves focusing on the negative. They become anxious and end up talking themselves out of choosing a path. They’re unable to embrace the unknown and move forward.

This doesn’t have to be! You can face your fears, find your flow, and refocus your attention. You can break this spell. You don’t have to be held hostage by your next manic thought.

What’s in it for you?

  1. Better Decision Making

  2. More Positivity, Motivation, and Progress

  3. Less Helplessness, Negativity, Fear and Self-Sabotage

  4. Happier and Simpler Life

  5. New Experiences

  6. Emotional Stability

  7. Healthier Social Life

  8. Calmer, Clearer Mind

  9. Attention in the Present Moment

  10. Comfort With the Unknown

10 Recommendations to get you out of your own head.

1) Acknowledge that you overthink.

The first step in healing is to acknowledge that you have a problem.

Signs you may have a problem with overthinking:

  1. You constantly analyze things and prevent yourself from living a happy, productive life, or having meaningful relationships.

  2. You replay negative experiences and your thoughts predictably spiral into depression.

  3. You’re consumed by neurotic thoughts that distract you from the present moment.

  4. Your attention is hijacked by anxiety about the future or guilt about the past.

2) Put things into perspective.

Does this decision matter? Will it matter in 5 or 10 years? 

Think deeply about your college major, career move, retirement, or business start up; not your social media status updates.

3) Take action towards your goals.

What have you done today?Getting started is all that matters. You can either take action now or you can’t. Worrying past that point is allowing yourself to suffer unnecessarily.Draw up a plan of action, eliminate distractions, and take a small step forward. Small steps are less overwhelming and and don’t lead you to procrastinate.View yourself as a person of action.

4) Relinquish the illusion of control. 

It’s important to think things through, but contemplating all day does not guarantee control or eliminate the risk of failure or making a mistake. Things that keep you up at night usually stem from a loss of control in some area of your life.

You can’t foresee all possible scenarios. You have to confront the unknown at some point.

Overthinking is a result of feeling helpless.

5) Don’t decide when you’re not thinking straight.

Don’t make big decisions if you’ve had a bad day at work, your car just broke down, or you’re hungry.

When you’re vulnerable to negativity, small issues can get blown out of proportion. Make things easier by revisiting them when you’re thinking clearly.

6) Take the worst on.

What’s the worst that could happen?Try to avoid creating disaster scenarios or letting your mind run wild.After some thought, you may realize that the worst that could happen isn’t actually that bad.

7) Forgive yourself for making mistakes. 

Everyone that you admire has made mistakes; they have failed at a point in their lives. 

Mistakes are proof that you are trying. Use them as feedback. Some of the most negative experiences you have can be invaluable for personal growth.

No matter the choice, you’ll be ok.

8) Get off the couch and get moving.

Go play with the kids, take the dog for a walk, mow the lawn, or start a new project.Give you mind a break, manage stress and get rid of some pent up energy. Find your flow, take some deep breaths, and empty your mind from whatever is bothering you.

9) Reconnect with the present moment.

This is something we all struggle with.The great thing about mindfulness is that, with practice, you’ll become more sensitive to when you’re becoming distracted. You’ll be able to correct things much quicker and easier.Slow down, quiet your mind, and become aware of yourself and your surroundings. Smell your coffee before guzzling it down. Focus on beautiful scenery; pay attention to the details and really try to take life in.Notice how peaceful things can be when your mind stops wandering.

10) Spend time with people that don’t overthink things. 

Adjusting your social environment is important to initiate change.

This takes a little self-awareness. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people that aren’t complicating things. Avoid people or places that put you into a negative mindset.

Why This Matters

Your thoughts have power. What you’re telling yourself today shapes your tomorrow. You can do whatever want in life. Follow your dreams.Questions: What is holding you back in life? What topics would you like to see covered? I want to hear from you.  Please leave me any comments/suggestions.  Thanks!

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