Funny how a skatepark brought connections to real-life situations. I was watching my kids cruising around, challenging themselves and I could notice when the overthinking started and what it did to them at that moment.
The moment when they took too long when they started to analyse any possible outcome, losing their easiness. One could see that they started to worry and didn’t look relaxed anymore. It became more difficult for them to act and one could feel the fear kicking in.
But even though they were uncomfortable at times, they had set their minds to it and they edged closer and closer to the drop and went for it.
They challenged themselves and did not allow overthinking to take control over what they wanted to do and achieve.
Very admiring! And that made me wonder how we as adults deal with the overthinking.
One definition of overthinking is “to put too much time into thinking about or analysing (something) in a way that is more harmful than helpful”. (www.merriam-webster.com). I find overthinking a nasty mind-play that blocks me.
And yes, that’s for sure not helpful. It’s counter-productive and can play a scrutinising role in one’s personal behaviour and lead to
- becoming overly cautious
- tiptoeing around
- losing trust
- sleep problems
- lack of decision making and
- unhappiness. Just to name a few.
Do you recognise any of these reactions and feelings in yourself? I’m certainly guilty of all of them at times.
Like many others out there I have faced uncomfortable situations, made mistakes and wrong judgments, been burnt by what I thought were friends, and had moments when asking for advice went the wrong way. And while others might just shrug it off and still go for it, like the kids at the skatepark, I let situations like those loom over me for a long (long, long) time.
Instead of taking action, I lose my easiness.
Instead of just asking or doing something, my mind starts playing games:
- But others…
- are more experienced,
- already wrote about it,
- have established businesses.
- have been there and done that!
- Shall I really ask the new parent to meet up?
- Do I try too hard, do I try too little?
- He/She offered help and advise but can I really take him/her up on that??
- What will others think if I do….
- It’s / I’m not good enough…
- I need to do more -read more – ask more- write more – study more – learn more…
Overanalysing, second-guessing and fear of failure are all in good company when it comes to overthinking.
The funny-sad thing about overthinking is that comes from only within us and it is blocking only us! It’s blocking and holding us back, in being the way we want to be and doing the things we want to do. And we are missing out on opportunities and exhaust ourselves, as our mind is in constant overdrive.
We might not always have control over what is happening around us but we do have control over our own mind. And if we listen carefully and are really honest to ourselves we know when it’s playing its games!
- Deep breathing and grounding can help to calm down and put thoughts into perspective. And it helps to focus on yourself again!
- Allow yourself to follow your gut feeling! More often than not, it is showing you in the right direction, trust yourself!
- Break down the big picture! Taking small steps does help to break the barrier of overthinking and to move forward.
- Sharing with and connecting to others helps as well to shift your mindset.
How about you? Do you often overthink, in private and/or business life? And if so, what helps you to get over it – only time or real actions?
I am working hard on not playing the mind-game of overthinking. I try to change the rules when my mind starts playing that game.
Like my kids, I find myself pushing towards the edge and let myself drop. But it is a challenging step to take, and sometimes, well sometimes, I keep standing at the edge, unable to move.
Tired of letting overthinking take control? Here are some more tips on how to stop yourself from overthinking:
And if you want to say NO to overthinking, perhaps you want to use the “No-vember” to start saying “no” to other things, too? I invite you to look back on a previous post here and get inspired to say no again this No-vember.
I hope you have a nice day, wherever you are.