We all do it don’t we – overthink things. From what shoes will go best with the outfit we’re wearing or why we’ve not heard back from that first date, the best mate or the email we sent to work.
It’s so easy to allow the negative committee in our head to give all their opinions why we shouldn’t do this or do that and before we know it we’ve ‘obviously said or done something we shouldn’t have or made the wrong decision about an important issue.
When we overthink it’s as though our brain is running on high energy fuel; our emotions can accelerate at a rate of 0-100 in no time. We might be happily sat in front of the TV ‘relaxing’ when, without warning that ‘issue’ pops into our head again and we’re drawn back to the ‘what if this’ and the ‘what if that’ scenarios and no amount of negotiating with ourselves tends to find the answer so it’s back on the hamster wheel of worry, doubt, fear, frustration and it can be exhausting.
The overthinkers among us will be feeling particularly challenged in the world we are living in currently as there are so many considerations to be thought out as lockdown eases off and the world starts to find its way back to ‘normal’. This is bound to create a feeling of vulnerability for most of us which is completely normal as we are all still exposed to the invisible threat beyond the safety of our homes but we also know that we cannot stay where we are for loads of different reasons, ‘do I have to go back to work’, ‘should I/we send the kids back to school, or ‘I’ve coughed four times today’ could it be .. arrgghh the stress! It really is dominating many peoples lives right now.
When we overthink our judgements become clouded and we can struggle to think straight and so our stress levels ramp up and by default we are plunged in to the negative, emotional part of our brain where logic and rational thinking becomes almost impossible to achieve. Does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, here are a few tips to help you turn the volume down on that wavelength of fear and worry that creates the overthinking.
Put things in to perspective
Following government guidelines when away from home will ensure that we are taking the right precautions and will keep us as safe as possible. Share any concerns, whatever they are with family or friends, with work or your children’s school to gain reassurance; remember a problem shared is a problem halved.
Become aware of when you are overthinking and when you find yourself questioning your decisions or worrying, stop and consider what you are overthinking about. Imagine a friend was asking you for the same advice or answers that you are asking of yourself? What advice would you give them? Write it down and keep it somewhere that you will see it often so that you can remind yourself of the answer. It so much easier to give advice when it’s not to ourselves !
Flip the metaphorical coin
One of my favourite suggestions is to ‘flip the metaphorical coin’ so instead of thinking what might go wrong, think about what might go right ~ the more you practice this, the easier it will become, you might want to keep a shiny coin in your purse or pocket and physically flip the coin to act as a prompt to ‘flip the script’ !
Play it forward
When we overthink the small stuff, think to yourself, will it affect my life in a year’s time ? If the answer is ‘no’ then ‘let it go’! When we overthink the big stuff, don't hold on to it as it will grow, so share your worries with someone you trust.
We all have the ability to do this even if we’re not lying on a sun drenched beach in the Caribbean, because we can go there in our minds. We know that because we can use our imagination to create the most scariest scenarios so that means we can create the good ones too. When you find yourself overthinking/over worrying, distract yourself by making a call to family or a friend, lose yourself in a good book, draw or paint, go for a walk or run, listen to a relaxing meditation app that will take you off to a warm climate or join my online MindSpace relaxation class, there are so many positive distractions that help us to relax.
Remember, you are not alone so reach out whenever you need to.
If I can help you in anyway or if you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch.