Overthinking is an endless cycle of worry, anxiety, and indecisiveness, and it can affect a person's entire well-being. Overthinkers don't get to sleep well as their mind is too amped. Too much overthinking can cause emotional distress, making the subject feel miserable and causing them to miss out on making real connections with others.
Other aspects of a person's life, such as career or business, can also greatly suffer because overthinking hinders them from taking necessary and effective action. Too much worrying is not productive and is certainly not helping you make better decisions.
What many overthinkers don't realize is that their overthinking has already become second nature to them – they don't even know that they are going down the worry spiral. Most of the time, their negative thoughts lead them to become indecisive. As a result, different areas of their lives have been affected because of their overthinking and indecisiveness.
But the brain is powerful too. Much like a muscle, we can train our minds to break the destructive mental habit of overthinking. Here are some steps that can prevent you from proceeding further down that endless anxiety loop.
Become Aware Of Your Negative Thoughts
The first step to breaking this bad habit of overthinking is to recognize when we begin to worry too much. Being aware that we have this habit helps us to be on the lookout and catch ourselves as soon as our minds begin to overthink. Once we become aware of our own negative thoughts, we can implement the following steps to reduce their impact.
Refocus Your Thoughts
When caught in an indecisive train of thoughts, it is more difficult to make a decision that will make us happy and content. Instead of poring over the details of each choice over and over again, which can overwhelm us and cloud our judgment, what we can do is to take a brain break to refocus our thoughts.
It may be as simple as taking deep breaths, walking outside, getting a cup of coffee, or talking to a colleague. By replacing the worries in our head with something else, even just for a few minutes, we can stop becoming too fixated about the small details that prevent us from seeing the big picture.
Give Yourself A Specific Time To Think
Making a decision, whether big or small, requires some time for thinking. It is understandable to think about our decisions carefully. Allowing yourself to think also reassures you that you have made the right decision. But spending too much time making a decision is neither helpful nor productive.
Prevent yourself from spending too much time and energy in thinking too much by setting a time limit. Decide on a reasonable and realistic deadline to your decision-making, and strictly follow it. Once your time is up, make your decision, stand by it, and be confident that you have made the best decision based on the circumstances given.
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Reconstruct Your Thoughts
Overthinkers tend to dwell on their negative thoughts constantly. Being indecisive stems from an individual's insecurities and lack of self-confidence. One way to get over these pessimistic thoughts is to rephrase our negative self-talk into a more positive tone by thinking about the positive outcome we want to achieve. Visual people can write down their negative thoughts in a journal and rewrite them to reflect the positive outcome they intend to realize.
Overthinkers tend to ruminate and mull over the different choices so repeatedly that it paralyzes them and prevents them from taking action. Overthinking does not help solve the problem nor help them make sound judgments. Instead, they should let go of their negative thoughts and focus on finding ways to solve the problem. Instead of asking why this problem happened, think of what you can do about it now in order to address it. Doing something in reality, rather than just being stuck in your head can help you to avoid overthinking.
Take Mistakes As Learning Opportunities
Accepting our limitations makes a big difference to our way of thinking. Most of the time, overthinkers find that having to make a choice is almost impossible, because of a fear of committing a mistake or wanting to achieve perfection with every decision they make. The reality is that their fear and their perfection mindset makes them unable to make a sound decision.
Instead of focusing on fears and anxiety about making the wrong choice, we can look at our mistakes as an opportunity for us to learn something new about ourselves. By not allowing ourselves to make a mistake, we actually prevent ourselves from growing and becoming a more positive individual.