If you are overthinking all of the time, then you are on your way to fall into a negative cycle of rumination. I don’t know about you, but dwelling on the same thoughts over and over again is extremely frustrating and counterproductive.
Even worse, it can affect your emotional and mental well-being. Like anything else in life, thinking is useful when it is used in moderation. Unfortunately, a lot of people have lost touch with their present reality because they are too much in their heads.
Research has found that the average person has between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day. Unfortunately, 80% of those thoughts are negative and 95% are the same ones from the day before. Perpetual mental chatter is your monkey mind’s way of trying to take you away from the present moment.
Everyone overthinks from time to time. However, chronic overthinkers are incapable of getting out of their heads. Not surprisingly, they struggle to get anything done because they are stuck in analysis paralysis.
Taking action starts with making a decision. The problem is that we live in a world where we are bombarded with choices, making a decision that much more difficult. Thanks to the worldwide Web, we have access to an abundant amount of information at our fingertips.
However, this hasn’t made the decision-making process any easier.
It’s left a lot of people wondering what the right action even looks like. In his book, The Paradox of Choice, psychologist Barry Schwartz found that, while increased choice allows us to achieve objectively better results, it also leads to greater anxiety, indecision, paralysis, and dissatisfaction.
In his research, Schwartz found that, when asked about what people regret most in the last six months, people tend to identify actions that didn’t meet expectations. However, when asked about what they regret most when they look back on their lives as a whole, people tend to identify failures to act.
Related: How to stop worrying
It’s time to think less and act more because the reality is that inaction will only deprive you of living that life that you need and want. Let’s cut to the chase and talk about 4 ways how you can stop overthinking everything and start taking action.
1. Be Aware Of Your Thoughts
The first step to putting an end to overthinking is to be more aware of your thoughts. I’m not expecting you to stop your thoughts altogether. That just isn’t realistic. However, you can be more aware of the types of thoughts that you think about and learn how to become an observer of them.
What do you think about on a daily basis? Not a lot of people take the time to go inward and reflect. If it helps your process, write down your thoughts. If you notice that the majority of your thoughts are negative in nature, it’s time to reprogram. The present moment is all you have, and yet, most people continue to ignore it.
I see too many people obsess about the future, to the point where they forget what is happening in the here and now. As a result, they get stuck in their thinking minds. While you are reading this, be fully in this moment. Don’t try to label anything. Just notice what you are aware of and what is coming up for you.
As Steve Jobs once said, “If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is… If you try to calm it, it only makes things worse. However, over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things.”
2. Drop Your Perfectionist Tendencies
Overthinking and perfectionism go hand in hand. Perfectionists tend to fall into the trap of overthinking to the point where they don’t accomplish anything. Here’s the thing… being a perfectionist isn’t about wanting things to be perfect. Rather, it’s about thinking that things need to be perfect. Do you see the distinction?
As a recovering perfectionist, I know how challenging it can be to do a “good enough” job. My inner expectations used to be wildly unrealistic. If something wasn’t done perfectly, it meant that it was bad. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with working hard.
However, there comes a point when overachievement kicks in and you start to lose yourself. I hate to break it to you, but perfect doesn’t even exist. Hence, there is no point in trying to be perfect.
Once I finally accepted this reality, my entire perspective on work and life changed. Things don’t always go according to plan and that’s OK. Instead of overthinking about how things should be, try to find joy in the art of making progress. If you can do that, I promise that not only will you be more productive, but you will also be a happier person overall.
3. Create A Morning Ritual to stop overthinking
How do you wake up and move into your morning? I’m a big believer that how you start your day sets the tone for how the rest of your day will unfold. This is why my morning ritual is non-negotiable.
In my business, overthinking is an easy trap to fall into. I have a million and one things in my brain at all times. If I hit the snooze button a few times, roll out of bed, slam a cup of coffee and rush out the door, how do you think my day is going to pan out?
In my experience, a hectic morning leads to a hectic and unproductive day. This is why I always start my day on a mindful note. By engaging in grounding activities, like meditation, yoga, journaling, and cardio exercise, I feel more clear and focused for the day ahead. More importantly, it ensures that I am less likely to fall into unhealthy and destructive thought patterns.
By engaging in healthy habits, over time you will train your brain to think differently so that overthinking is no longer a part of your life.
4. Set A Time Limit For Making Decisions
Where a lot of people get stuck is that they overthink everything to the point where they are unable to make a decision. It’s important to carefully consider your options before following through on something. However, too much overthinking can put you into a state of paralysis and indecisiveness.
In my experience, this only leaves you feeling mentally and emotionally drained. For this reason alone, indecision is the greatest thief of productivity. It may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes any decision is better than no decision at all.
Give yourself a time limit for making decisions. Ask yourself, “How long do I think about something before I have to make a decision?” Keep in mind that some decisions are bigger than others, so don’t be hard on yourself. By giving yourself less time to overthink everything, you will get more done and feel less stressed.
This is how you stop overthinking everything and start taking action.
Overthinking comes from ruminating about how something is going to look or turn out in the future. This is a great way to waste time, which I’m sure you don’t want to do. Don’t wait until the perfect time to take action. The best way to stop overthinking is to dive into doing mode. If you can do that, you will start gaining momentum and the results will follow.
What is one thing that you can do today that will get you out of your head? Let me know in the comment below.