Thinking things through properly is a wise thing to do, and sometimes it saves us from making poor choices.
When you overthink to the point where what was meant to be an exciting and positive idea becomes over analysed and deconstructed, the joy that comes from taking action disappears, and it could lead to overthinking disorder. This disorder can make you stagnant in many aspects of life.
Up until recently, I use to overthink a lot, I always have lots of 'what-ifs', 'buts', 'maybes' for every thought and I'll spend days or months in that rabbit hole. Now I'm more about taking action and learning every step of the way.
In this article, I'll like to share Habits you can start building to stop overthinking and becoming a smarter thinker so you can enjoy a happier and fearless life.
Identify relevance with Duration
Check the viability of what you are thinking by how relevant it will be in 3-5 weeks or 3-5 years.
What this does is
- Put things in perspective for you
- Snap you out of overthinking
- make things easier to let go
- save you valuable time as refocusing your energy and time on something will 'move the needle.
Set Actionable Deadlines
Without a time limit on when you should take action, you'll just be turning round in circles. While this is happening, something very crucial is going by - TIME.
Here's what you can try:
- for most repetitive routines/task you typically do daily, give yourself a maximum of 45 sec to make the decision on what to do.
- For Bigger decisions, that takes you days or weeks think through, use a deadline between 45mins to the end of the day.
Re-evaluate your to-do list
Most time we set ourselves up for overwhelm and stress by the tasks we set up every morning.
Steps you can try out:
- Give your mind and body a healthy treat. For your mind, feed it with some positivity and uplifting details. For your body get some exercise and then a simple healthy breakfast.
- Check your to-do list and pick one very important thing to do for the day, focus your effort on that and take short interval breaks to rest and recharge. With a relaxed mindset, you can think clearly and focus better.
- Avoid Cluttering your mind with too much information during your day. A sneak peek into Facebook, a click on the email notification on you phone or computer which then leads you to a website that takes you through to Instagram and before you realise you are on Pinterest and next stop Youtube (you get the idea). You need to focus on that one thing you've set to do and work on achieving the goal for that day, and then every other activity comes in.
Stop trying to control everything
sorry to burst your bubble, you are not a superhuman and trying to be in control of so many things at the same time will burn you out faster than you might want to admit.
Most entrepreneurs fall into this pattern, and the likes of Marie Forloe and Arianna Huffington can attest to this, and they've shared lessons learnt on this. Be kind to mind, concentrate on what is humanly favourable to control.
Postpone your thinking and revisit it at a good time.
Trying to think things through when you are tired, hungry or sleepy could make your mind vulnerable to unclear thinking and negativity.
So when you are tired and sleepy, and negativity can start to taint the thoughts flooding your mind, give yourself the permission to postpone those thoughts and let your mind rest, and revisit the thought in the morning when your head is clear.
I must admit, it is not as easy as it sounds but with consistent practice, you will become good at it.
Exercise to Clear your Mind
Had to sneak this in cause working out can help you with letting go of inner tension and worries.
So, to change your mind from any thought you are overthinking to a more constructive one, try working out.
Get Quality Sleep
if you don't sleep enough, you will become more and more vulnerable to worrying and pessimism. As mentioned in an earlier point when are sleepy the tendency to create negative though is increased, sleep is one of the main factors to consider in other to maintain a positive mindset.
To enjoy good quality sleep:
- Sleep in a dark, cool room
- Switch off your phones, laptops, iPad, an hour before bedtime
- Don't toss and turn, if sleep is not coming, wind down for another 20-30minus by readying a book.
You can replace more of the time you spend overthinking 'what could have been' or 'what will be' by staying connected with the present moment.
- take things easy and slow down, so you are aware of what is happening around you and how you use your body
- inform yourself about what you are doing in the present moment. Doing this stops your mind from wandering off, and you can refocus it back to the present. For example. As I'm writing this, my mind drifted a few times, and I brought myself back quickly saying "I'm writing right now".
Evaluate the Sources in and around your life that has the opposite or negative effect on you.
You want to spend your time with people who don't overthink things and stay off resources (books, blogs, podcasts, music and forums) that strengthen your overthinking habit.
Stop Asking yourself the wrong Questions
If you keep asking and querying yourself about why you overthink over and over, you won't identify precisely what is going on in your thoughts and life, and this will increase your overthinking habit.
You should ask yourself Solution-Oriented questions that are proactive, not the ones that make you ruminate.
When you begin to ask progressive questions to make changes in your behaviour, you will start to reduce overthinking and see improvement in your life.
One last thought
We will always have justifications for thinking things through, what this article is all about is overthinking to the point where you aren't productive as you will love.
Give things good thought but let your thinking cripple your ideas, take action asap.
Don't overthink this article, if I can make a request, and that will be for you to see which of these habits you can quickly start. Take action today.