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I'm an emotional health mentor, edu-preneur and coach who loves teaching you how to understand, manage and embrace your emotions.
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One of the things that can get in the way of progress to your goals is overthinking. But how can you stop when you catch yourself doing it? Read on to find four quick ways to stop overthinking.
First of all, overthinking happens to everyone. But when you have anxiety, you probably overthink a lot more often. This can paralyze you when you’re trying to achieve something.
I personally have a lot of experience overthinking. And it definitely can be a stumbling block sometimes.
But when you overthink, it means you’re not taking action. It can also just be a distraction because you’re afraid to do something, or you’re afraid of doing things imperfectly.
Stop whatever you’re doing. Sometimes distance and time can help clarify a decision. You can take a walk, switch tasks or just stop and take a few deep breaths.
One of the things I like to do is just stand up from my computer and do something that’ll give my brain a break. I’ll go sit outside on my balcony or clean something in my house. That way, I change the channel in my brain and get myself thinking about other things.
Whether you’re agonizing over a decision or wondering if you did something right, give it a time limit.
Say, “By noon I’m going to make a choice between taking this course or giving myself a break by chilling with my friends tonight.” Or, “I’m not sure if that was the best Instagram post. But I’m only spending 3 minutes to think about it before I move on.”
By giving yourself a time frame, you eliminate endless obsessing so that you can move onto other things. And the chances are that this ONE thing doesn’t matter as much in the big picture.
Sometimes I’ll obsess past my time limit. Then I try to pull myself back. “No, we’re not thinking about that anymore. Thanks though, Brain.” Then I think about other things.
Ask myself: what am I afraid will happen if I do this? Sometimes we overthink as a way of stopping ourselves. Acknowledging any fear you might have can help you relax about it all.
One way to do this is to talk to someone about it like a friend or therapist. Sometimes it’s easier to figure things out by bouncing your thoughts off of another person
Another way would be meditation. That can help you uncover things you haven’t realized yet and gives you time to relax.
Lastly, take out that journal. Spilling out you brain onto a page can help get out some excess thoughts.
One of my favorite books, The Artist’s Way, recommends journaling three pages daily to keep the door to your creativity wide open. And I can definitely say it makes a difference for me. When I do my three pages, my brain does a lot better.
Overthinking can block progress on the road to achievement. But it doesn’t have to paralyze you. So, if you find yourself overthinking often, try one of the above.
What do you do when you catch yourself overthinking? Let me know in the comments!