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DHP.Lazzaro Pisu: Why do I overthink everything?

Thinking about all the things you could have done differently, second-guessing every decision you make, and imagining all the worst-case scenarios in life can be exhausting. But, overthinking is a hard habit to break.

You might even convince yourself that thinking about something for a really long time is the key to developing the best solution, but that’s usually not the case.

In fact, the longer you think about something, the less time and energy you might have to take productive action.

Of course, everyone overthinks sometimes. Maybe you keep thinking about all the things that could go wrong when you give a presentation next week.

Maybe you’ve wasted countless hours trying to decide what to wear to that job interview and as a result, you didn’t spend any time preparing your answers.

Before you can put an end to overthinking, you have to recognize when you’re doing it.

What will I learn in this blog?

• That overthinking is something we all go through on occasion

• That these experiences can be controlled

• There are things you can do to have a better perspective

• How hypnosis could help you regain a better balance

Overthinking is exhausting.

When you overthink, thoughts run circles around your head and you find yourself stuck in reverse unable to move forward. More so, you start coming up with bizarre ideas that totally contradict each other.

“I’m so excited for this job interview” transforms into “I wonder if they liked me” and then morphs into “oh, I’m so stupid! I shouldn’t have said that! I’m definitely not getting an offer.” You start blaming yourself for things you didn’t do and worrying about scenarios that may or may not happen.

Overthinking is simply the act of “thinking about something too much or for too long.” I know the feeling, and it’s energy-draining. In fact, studies have shown that overthinking elevates your stress levels, reduces your creativity, clouds your judgment and strips you of your power to make decisions.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to handle overthinking. These don’t happen overnight—some will take time to develop and some can be implemented immediately. But all of them require conscious work from your side.

1. Change The Story You Tell Yourself

I always used to say out loud: “I can never be on time. I’m not a morning person. I can’t commit to anything.” Well, guess what? I was never on time to meetings, I was always grumpy in the mornings and I couldn’t commit to anything—a job, a relationship or a side project.

That’s because we are the stories we tell ourselves.

What you repeatedly say to yourself—and how you repeatedly describe yourself—is what you come to believe and be. Everything we do and experience stems from our identity and underlying set of beliefs.

The question is then, does the story you tell yourself empower you or hold you back? Thoughts like “I’m an over-thinker” or “I always worry because I have so much on my mind” or “I’m not really good with making decisions and I overthink everything” do you more harm than good.

If this is the story you tell yourself, you need to stop immediately because it’s stripping away your power.

Instead, do this:

Identify those limiting beliefs and make it a conscious effort to stop yourself whenever you catch yourself voicing them. Immediately replace those negative narratives with positive, empowering thoughts: “I am in charge of my emotions”, “I think clearly” and, “I’m a decision-maker.”

This is how you change your self-perception and begin to win back your power.

2. Let Go of The Past

Overthinkers often ruminate about the past. When they so do, they’re exerting energy on the “what if” and “I wish” and “I should have”… But that energy is removing them from the present moment. The past cannot be changed—but you can change the lessons, meanings and perspectives you extract from it.

When you accept the past for what it was, you relieve yourself from its weight. You will then free your mind from the burdens, mistakes or grudges of the past that stop you from taking action in the present.

Learning to let go of the past is something we must constantly work on because it’s so easy to slip back into the habit of rumination. This is essential as it clears up the mental space that was occupied by overthinking it.

3. Stop Your Thoughts in The Moment and Practice Being Present

In the heat of overthinking, stop and say: “No. I’m not going to have these thoughts right now. I’m not going to give in.” Bring your attention to where you are here and now. Breathe. Focus. Where are you? What do you feel? What’s on your mind? What’s stressing you out?

Open your journal and write down your thoughts. Research shows that the habit of writing what we feel helps us with metacognitive thinking.

Metacognition is “thinking about one’s thinking”, or in simpler terms, it’s our “awareness of our own thoughts.” That’s why you become more aware of your thoughts and what they’re trying to tell you when you write them down.

The goal is to become more aware and remove yourself from the “being” of your thoughts. You want to observe your thoughts so you can understand what they are and why you’re feeling them. Being present isn’t easy. It requires practice. But whenever you notice your mind ruminating about the past or wandering into the future, try to bring it back to this moment and think:

“The past doesn’t matter. The future is out of my reach. All I have in my control is this present moment. So I will stop thinking about the past or the present. I will only think about the here and now.”

Daily rituals like journaling, meditation, or writing one line per day help you retain control over your mind so that you can stay in the present and practice living in the moment. They also reduce stress, improve focus, and increase self-awareness.

This practice will be difficult in the beginning, but as with anything, in due time, it will begin to transform your life and come more naturally. Above all, higher awareness will help you reduce your overthinking.

4. Focus on What You Can Control

Author Amy Morin says: “When you find yourself worrying, take a minute to examine the things you have control over.”

First, acknowledge what’s on your mind. Second, take a step back and broaden your perspective. Ask yourself: “What can I control?”

“Focusing exclusively on what is in our power magnifies and enhances our power.”—  If you’re struggling financially and ruminating about how you’re going to pay the bills—that doesn’t help. What helps is looking at your expenses and thinking ‘what can I cut or eliminate from my bills?’ Then ask ‘what other revenue streams can I create?’ This is how you shift your attention from what you can’t control, to what you can.

5. Identify Your Fears

Very often, it’s the irrational fears that arise in our minds that lead to overthinking. We fear what others might think, we fear to make a mistake, we fear not being good enough to succeed. And living in that fear will tangle us in a well of indecision.

Roman Stoic and Philosopher Seneca said:

“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”

Fear, which often stems from the imagination of “what might be”, contributes to your overthinking. And one of the best strategies to beat fear is to simply take action. Take a small step in the direction of your fear and see what happens. The moment you take action is the moment you win a battle with your overthinking. Win more battles with more action.

6. Write Down (or Openly Share) Solutions (Not Problems)

High-performance expert Tony Robbins says:

“Energy flows where attention goes.”

To stop overthinking, you must address the problems at hand. When you feel overwhelmed, take some time to write down all your thoughts in your head, but then shift your attention to the solutions.

Give your power and energy to solutions

The problems and thoughts you list are the weeds creating stress and anxiety. After surfacing them on paper, or voicing them to a friend, now’s the time to brainstorm solutions.

Is your work causing you stress? Okay good. Now, what changes can you make to reduce it? Is your stagnation in life causing you anxiety? Ok good. What steps can you take to get more clarity on the goals you need to pursue?

Being open and honest about your thoughts and sharing them with someone you trust can offer a new “out of the box” perspective. Sometimes, we just need to “vent”—but don’t make this a habitual go to escape.

I always say to friends:

“I’m here if you need me. But come to me with solutions, not problems.” If you arrive with (at least) one solution, that means you’ve taken the time to think and swim through your thoughts. Coming with problems means you’re at square zero.

Learn to manage and regulate your emotions, thoughts, and mind. You can build the mental strength for it.

Get your thoughts out of your head so you can raise your awareness of them and observe them. Then shift your attention to the solutions you can create to relieve them.

7. Make The Decision to Become a Person of Action

There are two ideas at play here: making a decision and taking action. One of the challenges of overthinking is that you get lost in the circus inside your head—which then leads you to indecision. This is the worst place to be in. Because if you get stuck in the same place, spinning around in the carousel of your thoughts, forward movement eludes you.

What you need to do is practice making decisions and sticking with them. Point the arrow and pull the trigger. And do this for the smallest of decisions. Chocolate or vanilla? 3–2–1 Choose! Order in or cook dinner> 3–2–1 Choose!

Through the practice of being decisive, you automatically become a person of action. Because action stems from a decision—and the latter comes from you.

8. Manage Your Stress: Move, Unplug, Spend Time in Nature

A 2008 study that was published in Psychological Science revealed that the brain becomes both calmer and sharper after a person spends time in a quiet setting close to nature. Other research also concludes that walking in green spaces puts the brain in a meditative state.

Even a walk in a 5-minute walk in the park can have an immediate calming effect on the mind. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with thoughts, one of these three things can help you clear your head:

A walk in nature (or a nearby park). Exercise. It is scientifically proven to be an instant mood booster and stress-reducer. Sweating out your thoughts helps you think clearly.

Unplugging from all digital devices for a few hours.

Silence and solitude are most often the keys.

Learn to manage your stress rather than have it manage you.

Can you use hypnosis for Overthinking?

Yes – hypnosis is very helpful in allowing you to see more clearly the causes of any anxious behavior, and help you to make changes in how you react to any perceived threat.

I use hypnotherapy techniques to help you to rationalize what is happening to you when you start to get anxious, and do something about reversing the trend before it becomes a full-blown life challenging event.

What did I learn here?

That there are many challenges in life, however, there are things you can do to reduce your levels of worry and think about things in a call, rational way.

Sometimes people feel that their thoughts are simple, or silly, or not worth bothering anyone with, however, if it’s something that’s taking over your life, it really can be stopped.

For help:

Take the next step and book your session with DHP. Lazzaro Pisu in Vancouver, today,
Call 604 202 7938.

Lazzaro is dedicated to help your mental health. Contact him today.

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