I recently mentioned the word “overthinking” to a group of women and it resonated with every single person. We all seem to think our obsessive overthinking is our own little secret shame but it is something we all struggle with.
You might be tempted to think overthinking offers you something positive – maybe a chance to improve on mistakes or figure out how someone else feels about you – but it doesn’t. Just like negative self talk, overthinking is a way we keep ourselves from our best selves and most fulfilling lives.
You can’t overthink your way to self love and an amazing life.
Ready for some relief? Here’s 5 ways to overcome overthinking.
Notice & replace.
One of the keys to ending the madness of overthinking is to catch yourself in the act and replace the thought spiral with a new thought. Something as simple as “no thanks” will do. You can also reassure yourself with the concept that everything happened just as it was meant to. We have this idea that things should have gone a different way, but it can be freeing to know that they were only ever meant to go the way they did – that’s why they went that way.
Acknowledge the feeling.
Overthinking often begins when we have an uncomfortable emotion. Maybe you feel shame after a conversation, or fear that you will be rejected, or just generally off. You replay the situation or conversation to understand why, which honestly just leads to you searching for evidence to support why you feel so terrible. Instead, acknowledge the feeling – you may just be feeling a little vulnerable or exposed after sharing outside of your comfort zone or revealing yourself to someone else, and that’s ok. Vulnerability is how relationships deepen.
Create some boundaries.
I once heard the advice to not allow yourself to replay a conversation for more than 7 seconds. I’d challenge you to take it further and try to break the habit altogether. Go for one week without allowing any mental replays and analysis. When you accidentally find yourself overthinking, don’t beat yourself up. Just kindly remind yourself that overthinking is off limits this week.
Limit information intake.
This is totally counterintuitive because in our society, more is better. More information, more opinions, more input has got to lead to better decisions and actions, right? Nope. There is a threshold you hit where there is too much information and too many opinions to be able to make any decision at all. I’m guessing you are like me and have been there before. Limit yourself to the opinions of 1-3 extremely close and trusted people and then make your own decision. It’s not ever possible to be 100% prepared and make a 100% risk free decision.
Get in touch with yourself.
The root of overthinking is a lack of deep self-knowledge and self-love. What is most important to you? What do you love about yourself? What unique contribution do you offer to the world? Knowing these types of things will give you the freedom to be comfortable in your own skin, make mistakes without beating yourself up, and have way more healthy self confidence. You can boost this by spending time alone, being in nature, journaling, doing activities you loved as a kid, and working with a life coach.
Remember, overthinking is a way you are holding yourself back. Your brain thinks it’s keeping you safe, but it is really preventing you from reaching your true potential and living your best life.