Let Go Of Overthinking
My Three-Step Process To Help Me Let Go of Overthinking
Sometimes, our thoughts get the best of us. They spin around in our heads to the point that we can't stop thinking about what's worrying us, no matter how hard we try. Our concern may be about another person, a big event, or ourselves. We may be overthinking a decision, big or small. It's a human thing to overthink or obsess about something that worries or challenges us. It's a sign that we're feeling fear and uncertainty about something, and our brain is trying to solve it. There's nothing wrong with this, however, overthinking has the potential to drain you mentally and emotionally and make things more complicated than they are. It can also interfere with your sleep and peace of mind. That's why knowing how to interrupt yourself when overthinking is important.
STEP 1: Notice when you are overthinking
When you're caught up in a loop of overthinking, don't judge yourself or your thoughts; just notice them. It may feel like obsessing over your thoughts will get you closer to a resolution, but I promise you it won't. On the contrary, it's actually the worst thing you can do because the more you overthink, the greater your fear and the deeper your fears are driven into your psyche, giving the concern more power than it's worth. The moment you notice that you're overthinking, take a moment to note what you’re feeling in your body and where you're experiencing tension in your body. Then, focus on relaxing each area of tension at a time. Acknowledging what's happening in your body is a way to bring awareness to how your emotions are showing up in your body so that you can calm the tension created by the feelings.
STEP 2: Focus On The Underlying Fear
Your overthinking is only a symptom of a deeper issue. Don't look at the object of your thoughts or the situation you feel you need to solve. Instead, look at what you fear about the situation. What are you afraid will happen? Are you afraid of losing something or someone? Are you fearful of your life changing in a way you're not quite ready for? The key is to look beyond what you think needs to be solved to discover the source of the fear underneath it.
So breathe deeply and slowly to slow your heartbeat and relax with your emotions. Name the feelings: fear, worry, concern, anxiety, nervousness, etc. Now bring curiosity towards them. Ask yourself a few probing questions like, “why do I fear this situation?”, “what outcomes am I worried about?”, “what makes me nervous about this?” You want to explore your fears. The key is to feel the emotions and sensations and to be present with the fear, not ignore or run from it. Ignoring your fears will not make them go away.
The beautiful thing about this honest reflection is in some cases you may discover that your fear has no merit. But if your fear does have merit, explore how you can move forward in this moment. You don’t need to conquer your deepest fears all at once, you just need to conquer the moment! Ask yourself what you need to do to support yourself now. Could it be self-compassion? Or maybe you just need to speak from your heart by journaling, creating an empowering conversation with a friend or maybe therapy? Also, you could take an action that would literally require you to face your fear head on! But just ask yourself, what can you do now to conquer your fear in the moment?! Overcoming your fear is about conquering your fear one moment at a time!
If someone who is afraid of heights wants to conquer that fear in its totality, one ferris wheel ride isn’t going to do that for them. But one ferris wheel ride will allow them to conquer THAT MOMENT and create proof in their mind that everything can be okay. Then one more ferris wheel ride in the next moment, a skyscraper in New York the next moment, therapy the next moment, climbing the eiffel tower the next moment. Conquering your fears is moment to moment. The proof of success in these moments will add up in your mind.
If you realize you are overthinking because you are afraid of loneliness, in order to conquer your fear at this moment you may want to call a friend or family member and tell them the truth about your fear, I bet someone relates. Maybe you want to journal about it to yourself or watch an empowering youtube video about the power of solitude. You could also go out to dinner alone to discover your inner courage and prove to yourself that being alone is okay. You have to trust whatever comes up in this part of the process. No matter what you discover. Keep breathing. Deep, slow breaths always help.
STEP 3: Break The Loop
AFTER you’ve allowed yourself to be present with the underlying fears and you’ve conquered the moment, you want to break the loop. The best thing to do is to step away from thinking about it. Find something else to do with your time. Go for a run, have a nice cup of tea, catch a movie with a friend, read a book, clock into work or work on your business. Just do anything that will naturally and easily take your mind away from worrisome thoughts. This does not mean you are ignoring or running away from your problems. You’ve done the hard work already by being honest with yourself, present with your fears and overcoming the moment. The point is that preoccupying your conscious mind with something else will allow your subconscious mind to work on the issue for you. You've taken a deeper dive into the issue at hand; now it's time to let it go. Breaking the loop is just an act of trust that your heart, your higher mind and/or God will reveal to you the answers you seek.
Doing this process does not mean you will never overthink again, it just means that you’ve found a more sustainable way to support yourself. This process is simply about being authentic, not perfect. I still get caught up in overthinking at times, but I accept it as a part of my humanity. Instead of being frustrated and trying to overthink my problems away, I use my three-step process. It provides me with the feedback I need, revealing the deeper programming at the root of my fears, and helps me on my journey to overcoming them. Once I overcome my overthinking, I can then face my challenges with more clarity.
If you struggle with overthinking and need some help getting out of the loop, book a discovery call with one of our coaches today. Let us help you break the overthinking loop and get to the heart of what's standing in your way.
- Ticola and Yaya