Do you spend a lot of time in your head overthinking and overanalysing? Maybe you replay past events in your head while you lay in bed at night? Maybe you rehearse future events in your head before they’ve even happened? You find yourself consumed trying to find answers and wanting to know why and you get a lot of satisfaction and relief when you figure things out.
In this post I will share why we do this, the gifts and the problems it brings and how you can get out of your head and reduce stress and anxiety.
What is Overthinking?
Overthinking is simply thinking or ruminating too much or for too long. It's normal to think through things in order to make decisions but overthinking is where we're stuck dwelling and obsessing so much so that it becomes unproductive and unhealthy. We become unable to take action to achieve positive outcomes.
Why Do We Overthink?
We overthink because it gives us clarity which gives us certainty and that gives us control.
The Hidden Gift...
Being a thinker has also given you a great gift! You’ve trained yourself to be an amazing problem solver.
The Hidden Problem...
Unfortunately, being a problem solver comes with its own problems. It slows your progress because you strive for perfection, you have high standards which means you can be critical of yourself and others, and you’re often left feeling frustrated, hopeless and confused.
Why can’t I lose these last few kilos…
Why do I comfort eat…
Why do I lose control around food and other times I’m really good...
Why do I care so much about other people’s opinion…
Why do I feel guilty saying no?
If I could find the answer and understand why then I could do something different. I won't feel frustrated, annoyed and angry with myself anymore.
I would feel amazing. I would be happy. I would have more confidence, I would feel so free!
I totally get it. I hear you. I was like that too. I would lay in bed at night and think about my day. Most of the time I was thinking about what I could have done differently so I could do better tomorrow. I would mentally rehearse future scenarios, so I was prepared and ready.
All this did was create pressure, stress, anxiety and fear. I was either worrying about the past or feeling anxious about the future. If it didn’t go well, I would beat myself up and feel guilty. There seemed to be this constant pressure to be a certain way, to get it “right”.
Don’t get me wrong, thinking through things is important when making decisions. Getting answers and knowing why can be very helpful for the healing process. It also allows you to understand a bad habit or behaviour you’re doing that’s keeping you stuck.
A Change In Mindset
BUT…What if your quest and your “need to know why”, your need to “get it right” was the very problem that’s keeping you stuck?
What if you were unknowingly using this strategy to stay stuck because you’re afraid of the unknown?
Afraid of getting what you want?
Afraid of how your life will change if you actually get what you want?
What if I said you could be procrastinating, self-sabotaging, staying small unconsciously because what you want requires that you do something you’ve never done before?
As Tony Robbins says, “change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change”.
What that means is that you’ll endure suffering, dissatisfaction and unhappiness for a period of weeks, months, even years until eventually you move and do something different. How crazy is that?
We are more comfortable with living in our comfort zone because the fear of the unknown is much bigger than discomfort you’re feeling in your comfort zone.