- Why does it happen?
- How do you know if you’re thinking too much?
- How to overcome this condition
- Pay attention to your thoughts
- Learn to meditate
- Eat your salami in pieces
- Here and now
- Don’t wait for Monday
- Embrace uncertainty
- It’s okay to be afraid
- Discipline and daily routine
It would seem that what is wrong with thinking, even if it is too much. After all, to think – it means to reason, analyze, to approach things wisely.
It’s like this. But sometimes the thought process drags on, becomes excessive. A man is endlessly “chewing” thought cud. As a result, does not pass to decisive action.
For some people, the process of thinking becomes a bad habit that spoils the mood and drains energy. It is not only thinking that comes into play when it is needed for the cause. A thousand thoughts, usually disturbing, arise in the head on any occasion.
The American Psychological Association has suggested a name for this phenomenon: “overthinking”. There’s a lot of thinking, not enough action.
This state is characterized by heavy reflection, anxiety, self-criticism, expectation of negative results, Repetitive, lingering thinking about oneself, one’s problems and experiences is accompanied by irritability and nervousness. People prone to fruitless meditations are usually more depressed and anxious.
But it’s not just bad moods that result from overthinking. Worse, the more a person thinks, the less likely he is to take a step, to proceed to action.
Why does it happen?
Among us there is a special category of people – thinkers, philosophers. Their whole life is reflection and reasoning. But this article is about ordinary people who, for whatever reason, stuck in a never-ending thought process. They’re always getting ready to jump, but they never do. What it’s about? Where to look for the causes of such behavior?
The first thing to blame is fear.Whatever form fear takes, it will always be a part of our lives. Everyone gets scared. But for many people this does not prevent them from living a beautiful and fulfilling life. Fear need not necessarily lead to a stupor.
We experience fear when we set foot in unfamiliar territory, start (or are just about to) make changes in our lives. Very often, this fear robs us of our strength and prevents us from changing our life for the better. Psychology explains it simply. Everyone strives for security – that’s how our psyche works. Any innovations, innovations are perceived by us as unsafe, as notoriously out of our comfort zone. Having to rebuild, to do something in a new way. This is what causes fear. When we walk off the beaten path, we know what awaits us with each new step. But if you deviate a little from the usual trajectory, there is a lot of anxiety.
There is a way to deal with this feeling. The trick is to be afraid, but to do what you choose to do. Fear will not go away and will accompany you all the time. But it can be lived with.
Striving for perfection is another reason for getting stuck in the thought process. You want to “finish”, “figure it out,” to do better.
The desire to be perfect is very laudable. But it has a flip side. Trying to make everything perfect can never get anything done.
Perfectionism is the child of that same fear and is also a way of coping with it. The perfectionist is driven by the illusion that if you think over everything a lot, if you bring it to perfection, then you can feel safe. There won’t be any surprises. Only if you do it perfectly, you can be sure that no one will judge you or reject your work. Perfectionism is therefore closely connected with a sense of shame and fear of condemnation.
Thinking lovers prefer one-size-fits-all. Rejecting “imperfect solutions,” they keep pondering the same thing in search of the perfect way to deal with a problem that doesn’t exist in nature. The main recommendation for perfectionists is to do things the way they are done, and whatever happens, whatever happens. It’s better to do a “C” than not to do anything at all.
Procrastination, putting off some thing for later, or deliberately delaying. Long reflection can be considered a form of such avoidance of planned action. It is often a consequence of perfectionism: One lacks the resources to do something perfectly, so they keep putting it off until a better time.
Mistakes and failures made in the past can literally paralyze a person. A pathological critic in the head constantly reminds us of past failures and does not let us get down to business. For then the risk of being wrong again increases. The phrase “he who does nothing makes no mistakes” in this case sounds like an excuse for inaction.
How do you know if you’re thinking too much?
There is a difference between thinking through your actions before making a decisive move, weighing the pros and cons, and hyperreflexivity. The first one is a variant of constructive behavior. The second is already a deviation from the norm. It is often difficult to define the boundary between these states.
Chances are you give too much effort and time to thinking things through if:
- Scroll through one thought in your head and can’t switch or shift;
- Analyzed the situation first from one side, then the other and third, but never got down to business
- You’re often jokingly called a philosopher and teased for being too thoughtful;
- Often catch yourself doing some activity that you were doing automatically, at this moment in your thoughts.
How to overcome this condition
First of all, you need to recognize the fact that you think too much. Understand for yourself the reason for your overthinking. Then realize how fruitless thinking spoils your life and affects your emotional state. And only then begin to change it.
How? Here are some concrete steps.
Pay attention to your thoughts
Whenever you find yourself thinking too much about something, try to follow it first and then stop the flow.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has a great exercise for getting rid of unproductive thoughts. Imagine your brain is a white room. The walls, the floor, the ceiling–everything in it is white. The room is completely empty. There is only a window and a door opposite the window. The thought that has arisen in your brain is a bird that has flown into the room through the window. Visualize it as such, and then just let it out the door.
Sometimes, in order to get away from the usual rails on which you scroll through the same thought, it’s enough to say it out loud. It is even better to hear another point of view, a view of a problem or situation from the outside. So tell your thoughts to a loved one.
Learn to meditate
Secular meditation, the essence of which is directed attention, frees the brain from thoughts, relieves nervous and physical tension.
Eat your salami in pieces
Remember that famous “I see the goal, I see no obstacles.”? A very effective way to stop fearing, preparing, thinking, and starting to do something. Just set a concrete goal and don’t be distracted by doubts. If that doesn’t seem possible to you yet, divide the goal into small tasks that don’t instill a lot of fear in you. In psychology, this one is called the “salami method” – not swallowing a stick of sausage whole, but slicing it into pieces. Taking some small step toward a goal is not scary at all. For example, if you dream of spending a vacation abroad, but are afraid because you have never traveled beyond the suburbs. Start small – buy a suitcase.
Here and now
Overthinking and pondering is immersing yourself in the past or present. You are either scrolling in your head over your past experiences, mistakes, blunders, or worried about the future. In both cases, you are disconnected from reality, from the present moment. The more often you bring yourself back to the present moment, the more likely you are to focus on the action and not on thinking about it.
Don’t wait for Monday
Decide to do something – start now. Don’t put it off till tomorrow. It may never come. At least the first, smallest step. About to write a book? Turn on your computer, and create a document file. All. The beginning is made. ✅ Now it’s just a matter of thinking.
There is no such thing as absolute certainty in life. So no matter how much you try to model the future and exclude all risks, the reality will be different from your hypothesis. You can only test them by trying.
It’s okay to be afraid
Once again, be afraid, but do it. Fear is a normal reaction of the psyche.
Discipline and daily routine
This may sound trivial, but a well-organized schedule helps a lot to become more active. Plan your day. At what times, what issues will you be dealing with. Follow this regimen day after day. And don’t forget to incorporate rest and physical activity into your daily routine.
We are the arithmetic mean of our environment
To go from being a thinker to a doer, try to include as many of these people as possible in your social circle. Those who constantly go for new results and don’t sit still in one place for too long.
Timothy Peacile “Don’t put it off until tomorrow.”
Susan Jeffers, “Fear But Do.”