3 Reasons Why We Are Addicted to Over-Thinking
Overthinking is the enemy of success because success is only possible with actions.
I've been addicted to the habit of overthinking for as long as I can remember.
I remember my friend telling me that I'm too analytical when I was about 11. ELEVEN!!
And of course, as an addict, what do I do about this?
I analyze WHY I overthink... HA!
Are you surprised?
I started thinking about it deeply because of one reason:
it was taking over me.
I realized that it was controlling me.
I was overthinking about things that really didn't need to be and instead of it being helpful, I felt more stressed.
I had to get to the root of it so that I can use to my advantage and not let it be a disadvantage to my well-being.
So, here are my reflections on why I think we get addicted to over-thinking and I also share with you some tips that have helped me on my journey!
Hope you enjoy it :)
What is overthinking exactly?
Here's my version of it:
The act of thinking about something to the point where the thinking is no longer helpful,
and rather creates negative emotions such as anxiety and feelings of overwhelm.
Why do we get addicted to the habit of overthinking?
Basic human behavior 101 - everything we do, we do it because it's helpful to us.
We have habits because it BENEFITS us in some way - even the most toxic habits.
So, how has the habit of overthinking helped me?
Benefit 1 - Overthinking makes me feel like I'm making the best decision (when it's really not)
When making any decision, I research, a LOT. Research is great but when you do it too much it's not helpful because there is an infinite number of possibilities.
Research after a certain threshold begins to feed self-doubt.
I continue to research and overthink on all options, not because I haven't found the right solution but because I DON'T TRUST MYSELF.
Overthinking simply gives us the time to avoid the fear of having to trust ourselves and being okay with our decision, no matter the consequences.
Every decision has its' own positives and negatives.
The truth is that, there is no such thing as a mistake.
Even if a decision turns out to be "unfavorable", it can't be a mistake because you learned something from it.
Benefit 2 - Overthinking allows me to hide my imperfections.
I overthink because I don't want to make any mistakes.
Deep down, my mind believes that making mistakes is a bad thing.
It's scared to face the pain of admitting its imperfections.
It's scared to face the pain of showing other people that I am not perfect.
Our deepest desires as human beings comes down to two things:
- we want to be accepted
- we want to be loved
So, the mind have picked up the habit of overthinking because it wants to be perfect so that we are accepted and loved by others.
There is no such thing as perfection.
The belief that we need to be a certain way to be accepted and loved is an illusion of the mind.
What makes us human is that we make mistakes and sometimes fall on our faces.
And we do this because we are meant to grow from our mistakes.
Overthinking isn't going to hide our imperfections.
Rather, it's going to prolong the anxiety and overwhelm that comes with it.
The truth is, our imperfections is the very reason that allow us to connect with others on a deeper level.
Benefit 3 - Overthinking allows me to avoid taking the actions that I know I should.
Overthinking buys us time.
Which means we get to procrastinate.
Which means we get to avoid the pain of taking an action.
Overthinking TRICKS you into thinking that you are preparing for an action.
Chances are, you are done with preparing.
Chances are, you are ready to take that action.
You are just afraid.
Not taking the actions that we know we should will only drain our energy.
The truth is, the only thing that will destroy negative over-thinking is by taking an action.
So, how can you deal with overthinking?
1. Realize this.... You are NOT an over-thinker.
You simply have a HABIT of overthinking.
It's a habit that you picked up because it benefited you at some point in your life.
This is huge.
This is where change can happen.
Because it means that you have this habit because you are choosing to hold onto it.
It means that you can CHANGE it.
So next time, take caution with the choice of your words:
See how DIFFERENT it feels when you switch from:
"I am an overthinker"
"I have a habit of overthinking."
2. Write it out or talk it out without analyzing
Do a brain dump of your thoughts or share your thoughts with someone else.
It's therapeutic and will help you realize that there really isn't a point in engaging in the habit of overthinking after a certain point!
(Just be aware of becoming too analytical about the things that you are overthinking about - this will just add fuel to the fire!)
3. Physical Movement/Distract yourself
I find that when I'm getting stuck in the loop of negative overthinking, I tend to stay in one physical space.
Personally, I found doing something with my body is TREMENDOUSLY helpful.
Get out of your head and drop into your body. Engage your body!
Go for a walk.
Get out of the house.
Go for a drive.
Dance around the room.
Do something with your body and you will shift away from your busy brain into the present moment.
4. Put a time limit on how long you think about one thing
Give yourself a deadline.
How long are you going to take before you make a decision or take the action?
This simple exercise will help to put the overthinking into perspective.
If you've given yourself 1-hour to decide where you are going for the weekend and you realize it's been 4 days, you will realize that you've been overthinking for way too long.
Now I'd love to hear from you.
What was your biggest take away from this?
What's your tip on dealing with over-thinking?
As always, thanks for your time and until next time.....!