The idea of overthinking a situation seems like a good idea but what does it really do? What is it doing to your brain and what is it doing to your thought process and actions?
Overthinking causes the body to react in a stressful state. Stress puts your body in the fight or flight mode and not in a natural state of good judgment.
The biggest lesson I learned as a Marine Corps combat veteran when dealing with my PTSD was understanding that your mind forms these natural reactions, good or bad, whether you like it or not.
Good news! Negative reactions that we form can be altered and created into positive reactions! Isn’t that an interesting concept?!
So let me share with you 10 ways to stop overthinking:
1. Change starts with awareness.
Like the onset of PTSD in stressful situations or even calm situations, the number one rule to cope is understanding what is happening and being aware of the onset. Stress, anxiety and doubt are common reactions when we overthink a situation or problem. The more you can step back and see the big picture the quicker you will learn to overcome it.
2. Is your cup half empty or half full?
The old adage of ignoring the negative and focusing on the positive helps to push out the most common negative emotion: fear. Fear causes paralysis because we are focused on what harm could come. Rather, visualize on all the things that could go right and keep reminding yourself of these things
3. The happiness distraction
Everyone has a passion for something that brings them joy and happiness. What is one thing you can do today to distract yourself with that happy medium. It can be playing an instrument, drawing, exercising, writing or quality time with a friend. Keep repeating these joyful activities.
Human nature is to contemplate the extreme outcomes either positive or negative of a situation. Most often reality lies somewhere in the middle of those extremes. When you’re faced with overwhelming circumstances ask yourself if this will matter in three years or even in three months. Putting things into perspective can help with overthinking
5. Action not perfect action
We all like enjoying the finer things in life and often we confuse perfection with progress. Go ahead and stop waiting for perfection because ambition is awesome but perfection is unrealistic. There will always be room for improvement and moving forward is a smart move. Perfect action is just impractical and debilitating.
6. Change your fear glasses
Let’s be honest, we have all failed in the past, we all have doubt before trying something and fear will never go away. Fear will always exist but your circumstances can change and eventually you won’t fail when you try new things. As long as you keep allowing fear to hold you back from greatness, you will continue getting the same outcomes.
7. Break out your stopwatch
Creating boundaries is a good idea to compartmentalize your overthinking brain. Start your stopwatch and think, worry and analyze for five minutes. Now spend ten minutes writing out your stress triggers, your worries, and anxieties. Really dig deep. Once the timer goes off grab your paper, crumple it up and toss it in the trash. But don’t wallow in your sadness, do something fun (see #3).
8. Believe that you can’t predict the future.
“Always prepared” is the boy scout motto but understand we can’t predict the future. When you worry about the future you are only stealing your time you have now. Useless time worrying about the future is not productive. Spend time moving toward the future and doing purposeful, positive producing activities.
9. High five 3:05
Set an alarm on your phone to go off at 3:05 pm and everyday give yourself and others’ around you high fives. Accept that your best effort is good enough. Overthinking is loosely based on fears that we’re not good enough, not educated enough, not dedicated or qualified. Everyday remind yourself that your best efforts will bring you prosperity and your failures are straightening you out on a clear path to wild success.
On your narrow path to clear thinking understand most people around you are complainers and ungrateful. Again, why waste your time on negativity when you can utilize your time for gratuity? Make lists of what you are grateful for and exchange them with a “grateful buddy.” Sharing your gratitude builds strong gratitude muscles and gives perspective when you see others doing the same.
Overthinking happens to us all, especially us analytical types. Use these ten points and share them with your friends to get out from under the shade of worry, anxiety, doubt and fear and move into the light of productivity, peace and freedom.
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by Dave-O www.onpointproject.com