What is overthinking?
Most dictionary definitions of overthinking is, “to think about something too much or for too long”. It’s natural to think through things when making decisions, and to carefully consider important, possibly life-changing decisions, like moving house or changing jobs etc., but if you can’t get the issue out of your head, that becomes overthinking.
We all experience events in our lives that cause us stress or worry, but there are some people who are unable to turn their worry or concern off. They worry about what people think, they worry about the future, they worry about the past, berating themselves for something they should have done, could have done or didn’t do, and all these thoughts run on a 24/7 loop.
An overthinker lacks self-confidence and has such low self-esteem they allow negative self-talk to flood their minds. Overthinkers worry about what people think, especially about them, they worry why people acted or didn’t act in a specific way, they are easily disappointment and their expectation of others is extremely high.
Overthinking causes all sorts of problems. It can lead to analysis paralysis, meaning that an overthinker is so afraid to make the wrong decision they make no decision at all and therefore stay stuck.
Chronic overthinkers are prone to depression. If your mind will not switch off because of overthinking, you probably sleep ill, which will only create more stress and worry and if left unchecked ultimately depression. Depression fogs your mind and clouds your judgment.
We are not born overthinkers. I have worked with many, some more chronic than others, and I have noticed a theme, that many of them have acquired this condition as a result of their life’s experiences, most of which stem back to childhood.
Here are some strategies to stop overthinking:
1 Let Go of the Past. There’s a school of thought which states the past does not exist, but only exists in the mind as it’s no longer happening. It’s a memory, but we keep it alive because we put our attention to it. I like that. Stop giving your precious attention to unhappy memories
2 Be present, spend time in the now. This is extremely important if you want to stop overthinking. In the 21st century, life is very much run on auto-pilot. We pay little, if any, attention to our thoughts, our self-talk, or our body. It takes conscious awareness to engage in the now. Breathwork and focusing on the present are really useful exercises to help you practice spending time in the present. You also might want to try meditation or mindfulness to help retrain your mind to live in the present.
3 Stop the negative self-talk.
4 Change your story. If you believe you are a born worrier or you are naturally an anxious person these are stories that you tell yourself. So change your story to one that you are a naturally calm and carefree person and you deserve to live a life of freedom.
If you’d like more information, grab a cuppa and hop on a no-obligation call to find out how I can help and, more importantly, if I’m the right person for you.