Overthinking Introduction

Have you ever considered you might be overthinking things a little too much?

While carefully considering a new idea can be an excellent thing, there comes a time when thinking about something needs to give way to action.

Sometimes, though, we stall ourselves out by getting so involved in our thoughts, we never act.   

At what point does serious planning become obsessive overthinking?

Ask yourself these questions to spot overthinking and find solutions. 

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How Many Times Have You Gone Over This in Your Mind?

Three Faces of Overwhelm from a negative worldConsidering a new thought or question 2 or 3 times is natural. If you’re thinking about this constantly for hours or even several days, you’re getting too caught up in your thoughts.

Have you ever had this happen to you?

I remember working on my first online course, The Affirmations Masterclass I delayed and delayed. I contracted out to a freelancer to create the PowerPoint slides because I thought they could do a better job. 

Plus I still needed to add more slides so I wasted time getting my first product to market. 

However, there seemed to be delay after delay in delivering the slides. And finally, when I did get them, I still put off getting the project finished. 

It was fear about releasing my first product and worrying about trying to make everyone love the product first.

“Put your thoughts to sleep. Do not let them cast a shadow over the moon of your heart. Let go of thinking.”

Practical Application

Positive Affirmation

I am making good choices quickly and easily.

Spot and Swap

Since the negative hang us up in the decision-making process. Spot the negatives and convert them to positives. 

How Many Times Have You Gone Over That Conversation?

Photo of a woman in a car overthinkingOverthinkers cannot let anything rest. When you find yourself rehearsing past situations to the point where you have memorized every piece of dialogue, and analyze it to death, you are overthinking.

Oh, how many times have I done this?

Tell me you haven’t created an imaginary response that sounds so much better than the one you gave at the time.

Perhaps you have a conversation just like that going on in your head right now.

These conversations are like those annoying tunes that get stuck on a loop in your head.

How do you stop them?

“The past is a stepping stone, not a millstone.”

Practical Application

Positive Affirmation

I am focusing all my abundant energy on the present moment.

 What Is Your Mindset?

Getting caught up in one of these repetitive mental rehearsals is often a sign of a fixed mindset.

Take a look at what you can learn from the conversation as it transpired rather than focusing on how bad it made you look. When we recognize we can learn from a bad situation we move toward a Growth Mindset.

If we look at failure as permanent our impulse is to try to go back and correct it, rather than learn from it. 

Learn More About Worry, Its Impact, and How to Stop it.

Where are the Shades of Grey?

People who overthink tend to concentrate on absolutes – everything is either all one way or another. There’s never any middle ground. If you cannot find the shades of grey, you’re overthinking things.

Can you recall a time, when you’ve given something up because you couldn’t get exactly what you wanted?

Perfectionists fall into this trap because it must be perfect before releasing it to the world.

When I was putting together my Affirmations Masterclass, I constantly found new slides to add to clarify a point or deepened my understanding. 

That went on for weeks until I remembered my coach’s mantra. Perfect is the enemy of done.

I am now working on a revision for the course because I’ve grown and learned from the experience. 

“If you keep thinking about what you want to do or what you hope will happen, you don’t do it, and it won’t happen.”

Practical Application

Positive Affirmation

I choose to see perfection as a way to stretch myself but not to stop me from achieving my heart’s desires. 

Ask yourself, “What shades of grey can I accept in making this decision or executing this plan?

Write down your answers. 

Find what middle ground you can accept. 

How Important is What Other People Think?

This goes back to the idea of repeating conversations in your head. Typically, we obsess over what the other person said because we are worried about their opinion of us. If you’re concerned about how the world sees you, you’re already in trouble.

The truth of the matter? At this point, you are thinking about them far more than they’re thinking about you.

I grew up in a family where you were chastised with these words: “What will the neighbors think?”

You’ve heard the expression, don’t rock the boat?

How many of these saying about deferring to what other people think have wormed their way into our thinking?

“I think and think and think, I ‘ve thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.”

Practical Application

Positive Affirmation

I wholeheartedly choose to follow my own passions and pursue my own goals. I treasure my independent thinking and actions

Journal Exercise

Write out three sayings about paying attention to other people’s opinions that you might have heard growing up.

Post one in the comment section to help others find these underlying programs. 

 

What is the Motivation?

Photo that suggest more posibilitiesIf you spend a lot of time figuring out why people are doing something, you’re venturing into dangerous territory. Unless you want to find something positive (such as how they did something you want to emulate), you’re wasting your own time. What does it matter if they decide to do a sure thing? Unless it affects you directly, it’s really none of your business. 

I remember when I worked in a corporate environment, we spent endless hours guessing the motivations behind why some executive did this or that. Overthinking what motivated the thinking higher up the food chain ate up valuable time.

Family is another source of speculation about what motivated various choices other family members make.

Can you remember a time, when you spent too much time wondering what motivated a friend, colleague, or family member?

“Stop thinking and end your problems.”

Practical Application

Positive Affirmation

I chose to focus on bringing the best of me and my gifts into the world. 

Exercise

1 Write out five qualities you appreciate in yourself. 

If you find yourself stuck in thinking about what is motivating someone else.

2 Write out five qualities you admire in them. 

How Are You Sleeping?

photo of a sleeping cat at demonstrates Self-care Habits for mental careitIf racing thoughts keep you up at night, you’re overthinking. Bedtime is when you’re supposed to let go and allow yourself to rest.

This is a fundamental problem in our society. We’ve lost that ability to close the door to our thoughts and just be in the present moment. 

And if tonight my soul may find her peace in sleep, and sink in good oblivion, and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.

Practical Application

Positive Affirmation

Sleep comes to me easily, quickly, and deeply. I love the deep relaxation my sleep gives me. 

My Single Biggest Tip for overthinking when you go to bed.

 

A brain dump journal. 

  • Always keep a small notepad or journal with you.
  • This is to record random thoughts, brilliant ideas, chores, and anything that comes to mind while doing other things.
  • Use your mind dump journal just before going to bed.
  • Turn off all your digital devices.
  • Physically write down all the things that are whirling away in your mind. 
  • Things you must do in the morning, people you need to call, bills playing on your mind, anything. Get it all down on paper. 
  • Keep it close on your bedside table and add it to the journal if more thoughts arise.

Doing this over the course of a week will help you close the door on those constant treadmilling thoughts.

If this is a particular problem for you, go to 11 Bedtime Rituals to Support Mindful Living.

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Next Steps.

Whenever you allow yourself to be caught up in a spiral of worry and anxiety, you allow your thoughts to take control of your day.

Over time, your overthinking can take over your life, keeping you from the things you want. When this happens, it is definitely time to take a solid step back so you can restore the appropriate balance once again.

Make use of our Practical Application sections to find the best tools to combat overthinking. 

“Too much thinking leads to paralysis by analysis.”

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Further Resources

My name is Nick Grimshawe. I help people seeking to live extraordinary lives to use the tools of affirmations, gratitude, mindfulness, and Meditation to live the life they envision.

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