Do you feel like your mind is out of control? Overthinking is one of the most common obstacles we, as a human race, deal with. If you have ever wondered how to stop overthinking everything then this article is for you!
We all have instances in our everyday lives that lead us to overthink a situation. When we overthink, we get stuck in a rut spinning our wheels. We go nowhere and we make no progress.
Often times our overthinking will hold us back from success. When we allow overthinking to takeover we allow our fixed mindset to invoke our self-doubt. Today we are learning how to stop overthinking everything and why overthinking prevents success.
Hi, I’m your coach Jenn Summers! I’m the owner of LivingABossLife.com & The Living A Boss Life Tribe Academy where you can find all of our resources and courses. Helping you live confidently, happily and with clarity. Love your guts!
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Overthinking Is More Common Than You May Think
Did you know that overthinking is a common obstacle every single person deals with in some form or another, at one time or another?
In fact, it is extremely common in young adults! Perhaps that is why overthinking everything and imposter syndrome go together so “well”.
Over 70% of young adults experience the inability to stop overthinking everything, by the time an adult hits their mid 40’s the occurrence of overthinking drops to 50%, as you age into your mid 60’s the occurrence drops even lower.
You are not alone!
Overthinking is a coping strategy when we feel our fears are taking over. Whenever we feel like we need to make a big step or a big change our fixed mindset starts to seep in and try to take control.
Please check out our Imposter Syndrome article for more ways to deal with overthinking when you are experiencing self-doubt.
We react to this loss of control by doing what our mind feels is natural, we overthink the hell out of it. Many people struggle in the area of business, especially entrepreneurs.
Overthinking May Present Itself In Many Forms.
The list below is compiled with some of the most common forms overthinking presents itself. Each list item links to an article to help you with that given obstacle.
If you require further information, tips and strategies drop it in our search bar or check our categories for more great materials.
- imposter syndrome
- lack of motivation
- not finishing anything
- anxiety and depression
- sense of failure
- low confidence
- inability to focus
- lack of sleep
Overthinking Causes Us To Become Stuck
Imagine this: we have a confrontational moment ahead of us, it is time for us to use our voices but instead the fear of confrontation seeps in and we begin to overthink the situation.
Our fight or flight senses kick into overdrive and if you are afraid of confrontation your mind takes it to a whole new level.
Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to tell someone something you ‘knew’ they wouldn’t like?
Maybe it was your boss, maybe it was your significant other, maybe your best friend or maybe it is someone toxic you need to cut from your life. You knew you had to have this confrontation and you procrastinated the shit out of it. You allowed your fixed mindset to stir up your self-doubt.
Your mind told you
- “you are wrong”,
- “Just shut up”,
- “no one wants your advice”
- “you are going to tarnish this relationship”
- “you will be scolded”.
The fear of confrontation made you put it off and the more time that went by the bigger it grew in your mind. Overthinking grew it into a huge gloomy cloud that floated over your head wherever you went.
Then one day, you came to a breaking point and you had to take action. You had to face the confrontational moment head-on. So you did, you took action, you spoke your mind. Way to go you, by the way, great job!
The other person’s response was in no way like the situation you played out in your mind. It was well-received, they did not tell you to shut up or that they thought you were stupid.
Your relationship felt empowered from finding the confidence to talk with them and relief set in and you were glad it was over.
Overthinking that situation caused you pain while you kept procrastinating and putting it off. Maybe you spent days, weeks or even months letting your pain grow only to realize you had no idea what other people think and you were stuck in a rut due to your own self-doubt.
Overthinking Inhibits Progress
Most human beings have a self-motivational aspect when they are truly passionate about something and sometimes we can go ahead and get things done quickly, especially when it is routine things we have done before (autopilot).
When we decide to step out of our comfort zone and try something new, like start our own business, go back to school, apply for a job in a new field etc, our overthinking says “hey over here!” Boom, the imposter syndrome starts.
Again, the fight or flight decision must be made and if we do not take action immediately it seeps in and flight becomes our coping strategy.
We all experience the flight response differently and it is often something that we learnt worked well for us as a child. Therefore, if it worked as a child we instinctively keep using it today. Which for obvious reasons, can be irrational at times and ineffective.
So we decide to let flight, invoke our overthinking and we talk ourselves out of it.
- “You are not smart enough”
- “you do not know what you are doing”
- “It is too hard”
- “It will take too long”.
- common but excuses.
This negative thinking needs to stop in order for you to take action and make progress.
Why Overthinking Prevents Success
Overthinking is a form of control believe it or not. When we overthink a situation we allow ourselves to believe we are in control by protecting ourselves. Protecting ourselves from change, from failure or maybe even success.
Some fear deep inside of you is causing your overthinking and you will not gain control of it if you do not find where it is inside of you.
We often hear many people do not succeed in life and that is because many people allow fear to win and overthinking is a common fear coping mechanism.
Just like I mentioned above, overthinking will kill your progress it will also kill your motivation, and it will prevent you from succeeding.
How To Stop Overthinking Everything
The key to eliminating overthinking is to think some more, ha.
- What the heck is causing you to overthink the situation?
- Is it appearing in more than one area of your life or focused around your career, or maybe relationships only?
- When do you feel the overthinking kick in?
- Did you feel scared before it started?
- What does fear feel like to you?
Once you can pin-point what it is that you are afraid of then you can deal with it.
How to stop overthinking with mediation
A great tool for finding this insight into fear is mediation.
Stop moving so fast and following the motions in life, just slow down and meditate. Seriously, if it is even just five minutes a day that you can manage, do it.
Look into your mind, body and soul and see what it is that is holding you back.
The next time you feel fear invoking your overthinking stop and try one of our stress and relaxation methods, cause girl, you’re moving too fast.
Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to silence our mind, so we need to try some practices of regaining focus.
How to stop overthinking with a breathing technique
Picture a square in your mind, give it a nice tranquil colour in your mind’s eye or maybe your favourite colour. Get a clear picture of it in your mind. Now imagine each side is numbered one through four. I like to start at the top.
Side number one is taking a deep breath in, imagining your lungs filling with revitalizing air, take notice of the full feeling. Hold for five seconds as you imagine in your mind that you are tracing your finger along the side as you count to five.
Side number two is holding your breath in imagining the fullness is one of tranquillity. Again, imagine tracing the side as you count to five.
Side number three is exhaling deeply concentrating on the feeling of your lungs emptying and cleansing themselves of any negative pressures. Once again draw your line along the side as you count.
The final side number four is to allow yourself 5 seconds of noticing the cleansed feeling, your lungs are empty and they are resting you are drawing the final line and thinking of nothing else.
Repeat your tracing of the sides 3-5 times until you feel your mind slow.
The most commonly suggested technique to ease stress and anxiety of course is to focus on your breathing, but when you are riddled with anxiety and you try to focus on a breathing technique it can cause your anxiety to grow.
You are already breathing too fast and sometimes the focus on it can make it more severe and quicken your breathing. I recently experienced this when trying to help my daughter deal with anxiety.
Stop Overthinking By Giving Yourself A Round Of Applause
We have recently discovered a new technique that works for her and it works for me too. Clapping our hands. Yep, sounds strange, I know. But next time you feel yourself overthinking and a tightness in your chest give it a try.
Clap your hands together, where do you feel the contact on your hands? Can you focus on the part where you felt the most impact more than another?
What did it sound like? Can you make it louder? Try clapping your hands in a cupping formation. Focus on the sound.
The loudness of a clap can startle your mind into refocusing. The focus on the feeling can help your mind take notice and quiet the world around you.
Stop Over Thinking With Relaxation & Self-care
Sometimes we just need to lay down and close our eyes. Allow happy thoughts to fill our minds or perhaps think of some gratitude affirmations. Using relaxation techniques can be invaluable when our overthinking is causing us to stress and fill with anxiety.
This is also a good time to evaluate how much self-care you are practicing.
If we are not getting enough self-care into our daily lives we will burnout and stress will overcome us.
How To Stop Overthinking By Utilizing Distraction
Sometimes we just need some distraction. Maybe it is a tv show that you love to watch, or perhaps a new book. Maybe you just need to give your bestie a call and talk about some random thing. Perhaps a healthy venting session is in need.
Whatever it is you choose, allow yourself a minimum of 30 minutes to be distracted. I promise you whatever is on your to-do list can wait! It will much easier to get back to it with a fresh mind.
Empower Your Growth
Once we take a look at overthinking and get a feel for how common it is and a sense of how often we use it in our lives it can be pretty eye-opening. If nothing else I hope you realize that you are not alone in this.
We realize that we often get stuck in a rut because of fear and anxiety. We know that our body’s natural instincts learnt as a child and written in our DNA are our mind’s way of dealing with our fears. It is what our minds are trained to do!
We talked about losing motivation and not making progress due to overthinking a situation and self-doubt helping to take over in our fixed mindset.
We learnt that success is often not achieved because of fear and that too often people are not willing to face their fears. Perhaps not even aware that it is their fears causing this destruction.
We also learned that the first step to defeating overthinking is to find out the fear that starts it. Once we know the fear we can face it head-on by taking action, big or small and make the steps to changing our lives forever.
We discussed 5 additional techniques to help you stop overthinking everything. I hope you find some solace and some peace in your mind. Let me know what techniques you use or which of these you are going to try. Best of luck overcoming your overthinking!
Take care and chat soon;
Living A Boss Life