Thoughts are things. For people who are ambitious, the desire for many things often leads to many thoughts. In most cases, we think hard when we are planning something. However, we can get stuck in this planning phase by falling into the trap of overthinking. This is where we spend too much time turning a plan over and over in our minds in search of mistakes so that we can correct them. This often causes us to find fault in plans that were good and begin to label them as bad plans. Overthinking can turn literally any thought from a good or neutral one to something negative. It is a practice that robs us of happiness and delays our ability to move forward. Overthinking is caused by being too careful and afraid of the future. Hence, it is one of the top dream-killers alongside procrastination. Thankfully, you can break out of this self-imposed trap. Here is how to easily stop overthinking and start living and doing more.
Understand that overthinking does not lead to insight
We think so as to try and see what our decisions can lead to. This is essentially a search for insight. We try to predict what our decisions will give us before we actually make them. However, pragmatic philosophy has shown us that this is indeed futile. The only way to know the true results of a decision is not to think about it but act upon it. You never really know how something will turn out until you go through it. Examples of processes that we can overthink about yet only require decisive action include attending a specific school, moving out of home, marrying a fiance, changing your career or getting a divorce. As much as you may overthink any of these activities, you will never truly know how they feel like or what results they give until you do them. As such, overthinking does not lead to insight but action does.
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Be brave enough to take a leap of faith
Overthinking is often caused by worrying that our actions may be the wrong ones. We can get fixated on planning out every little detail of our decisions so that we are not wrong when we finally make the step forward. This wastes time, scares us and does nothing but create stress. Simply judge a decision by assessing if it will be generally good for you or not. If it will be bad, don't do it. If it will be good, go for it. Take a leap of faith that all will end up well. If the decisions initially seemed good and turned out bad, then learn from your mistakes and move on. The lack of knowledge about the future should inspire you to find out through action, not motivate overthinking.
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Your decision is never final
We tend to overthink so as to come up with a great, correct, final decision that will permanently set our lives upon the path we desire. From a realistic point of view, this will never happen. No decision is final since conditions change and our point of view has to adapt. As such, a lifelong decision that creates a path of life that looks exactly how we want it does not exist. This makes overthinking pointless. It is important to perform some critical thinking before you make a decision. However, do not let it spill over and become overthinking. Be comfortable with the possibility that your decision could be wrong. Moreover, understand that life is a process of learning from mistakes.
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Stay as busy as a bee
One of the main causes of overthinking is idleness. When we have nothing occupying our attention, our minds begin to wander. We are wired to constantly notice what could go wrong in our lives. This is so that we can create solutions beforehand. It is an instinctive survival mechanism. Unfortunately, many of us are unable to get past the stage of identifying what could go wrong. We get stuck in this stage and create mountains out of molehills. It becomes destructive overthinking. To avoid this, stay busy. Create a daily schedule that is full of constructive activities. Moreover, ensure that you stick to it. Populate it with work and play in equal measure. This allows you to keep your mind occupied and prevents overthinking.
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Take one small step at a time towards your goals, dreams and aspirations
Our dreams, goals and aspirations can be very intimidating. This is especially so if they are big and seem almost impossible to achieve. It seems that we have to become giants so as to achieve these goals. Therefore, we often spend too much time overthinking about how to improve our capability so as to achieve them. Many get stuck in this phase and become unable to make any progress. However, we can break out of the process of overthinking by making a series of small steps every day towards our goals. We do not have to be perfect and possess every single skill required to achieve it. However, we can make gradual progress towards these skills one step at a time. Pick a pace, rhythm and method of taking these steps. Stick to the process and you will eventually grow into the giant capable of achieving your goal or ambition.
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Maintain all your attention on the present
We all have to face a few big events in our lives. These can be an important examination, interview or competition. Whenever we have to face such a situation, we want to be as prepared as possible. This leads to extensive thinking, preparation and self-assessment. It is a good thing to to do this. However, it can lead to over-preparation. This is where the process of preparing yourself spills over and begins to involve too much mental preparation. It becomes overthinking. This often leads to panic right before the big activity in our lives. It can cause performance anxiety and make us lose or fail at the endeavor. To avoid this, spend a lot of time practising or preparing for the event long before it happens. As such, when you get closer to it, you are at ease because you know that you are fully prepared. This allows you to focus on the present moment and adapt in real time. It is a sure way to achieve success.
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The Important Take Away
Overthinking is a major cause of bad moods, negativity and depression. It also prevents us from making any actions in pursuit of our dreams. Thankfully, it is a problem that can be identified, managed and eliminated. The steps above can help you to get rid of overthinking from your life. As a result, you will be able to enjoy peace of mind and boost your daily productivity.