Have you ever been told to stop overthinking? Though It’s wise to think through your decisions, there comes a point where you try to figure out how long is too long?
Why Do We Overthink?
Overthinking is fueled by uncertainty – or even fear – of the future. You’re unsure about how something will happen or take place, so you anxiously conjure up circumstances and situations. However, this doesn’t really solve anything; all it does is keep you spiralling in a loop.
Eventually, you become stagnant, hesitant to move forward. By dwelling on the options and outcomes, you could lose sight of the big picture. At this stage, you’d experience a phenomenon called “analysis paralysis”, where you’d ruminate to the point where you’re afraid to make a decision at all.
How to Stop Overthinking
So how do you stop this endless cycle of worry and fear? Try using these 7 tips:
- Start your day with intent. Free your mind from the stress of information overload, and begin your day with clear intentions. Instead of checking your phone immediately after you wake up, prepare a healthy breakfast instead. Take some deep, relaxing breaths and recite intentions or affirmations for the day. This will make it easier to handle any decisions that come your way.
- Look after your body. Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating nutritious food can help you relieve stress and provide you with clarity when making decisions.
- Put a time limit on decision-making. This will prevent you from overanalyzing a decision or situation. For small decisions, give yourself one minute. For larger ones, try giving yourself one hour to make a choice.
- Strive for “imperfection”. It’s alright if you make mistakes; don’t be discouraged. It’s impossible to control everything, so take some pressure off of yourself. When you release your feelings of fear, you open yourself up to more opportunities.
- Focus on the big picture. In the moment, everything seems magnified. Take a step back and re-evaluate the situation from a different perspective.
- Let experience be your guide. Overthinking rarely leads to insight. If you want to know what the outcome of your decision will be, you’ll need to actually make that decision. It’s quite possible that what you’d imagined could be very different from what occurs.
- Be present. Live in the moment and be more mindful. Focus on the “now” and keep things simple.
Above all, learn to be confident in yourself and trust what’s unfolding. Don’t be afraid to make decisions that bring you closer to your goals. Use every instance as an opportunity to learn and gain experience, regardless of the outcome. Don’t let anxiousness or fear hold you back. Be clear in your vision, and let it go.
Live Your Life
We can’t help but to overthink, even when we’re told to stop overthinking; life can get complicated, and wanting to make sense of it all is normal. But overthinking – and trying to exert control over your life and the lives of others – is tiring and unproductive. Sometimes, the most beautiful moments in life happen unexpectedly.
So don’t worry about making the perfect decision – it will never be “perfect”. Move with boldness, even if you’re not sure of the outcome. When you let go of overthinking, you can start living instead.