Monday, October 8, 2012

Reflection Exercise: Are You An Overthinker?

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~Elbert Hubbard

Are you an overthinker?  Do you talk yourself out of things that your heart is telling you really want?  Do you worry about making mistakes to the point that you end up not making any move at all?  Do you convince yourself that people don't like you or understand you?   Overthinking makes everything seem worse or more complicated than it is.

Today, I spent an hour thinking about how to tackle my to-do list. Where to start/how much time things will take/what's most important or least. It's not that those aren't good things to think about, but an hour? I could have accomplished a good chunk of the list in that amount of time.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't plan ahead and be thoughtful. When it comes to my children, I think about their safety all the time and I try to anticipate their needs. It's always a fine balance of holding on and letting go.

Being the self-conscious girl that I am, I tend to worry unnecessarily about too many things:

* How people perceive me (Do I come across as stuck up, selfish, timid or unintelligent? Did I just sound rude or pushy? Did I say thank you?)

* Random Accidents (never worried about these things until I had babies)

* Change (will I rejoice in it or regret it?)

* General Messing Up of Stuff (children, jobs, homes, cars, bills, credit, feelings, nutrition, exercise, politics, the environment, school, insurance, etc. I could literally go on and on and all of those categories can collapse into a zillion others. Being a grown up can be a serious buzz kill if you don't have an optimistic attitude about it all. But then of course, there's wine, so that helps.)

Your turn.  What do you tend to overthink about? Be honest with yourself.  Here are some ideas to help you stop analyzing and indulge more in enjoying your life.

* Pray. If you're worried about anything at all, just pray and immediately let it go. Remember that you are safe no matter how things may seem.

* Be thankful for the problems that you don't have. Instead of creating more worries by overanalyzing, flip it and think about all the things that you do NOT have to worry about.

* Learn to laugh at yourself. Don't take yourself so seriously. When you catch yourself doing too much - laugh at yourself and shake it off. Your life will only be as enjoyable as you allow it to be.

* Develop a thick skin. Work on yourself and build up your resistance to failure, embarrassment and sucky people. How many things have you not tried or not said because you were worried about the potential criticism?

* Trust your intincts. Even if things don't go as planned, you will learn from it. Believe in the process.

* Give yourself a time limit. Forethought is a good thing. But give yourself a time limit so that it doesn't turn into procrastination.

* Get out of your own head. Ask questions. Have a conversation. Do some research. Stop going around and around with it.

* Practice staying calm and centered in yourself. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. Don't allow hype and negative energy to invade your space.

Do you want to add anything? Please share in the comments.


Beebop said...

Great article and advice!!

Miss.Understood said...

Great article! I am definitely an over thinker and it's good to know that I'm not alone. I have been practicing most of the ideas that you suggested, but will make more of a conscious effort to stick to it now. Thank you for sharing! :)

Anonymous said...

Guilty as charged- overthink to infinity. I recently became aware that when I feel vulnerable or insecure especially in relationships I will turn it over millions of ways and then dissect it again leading to procrastination. The thing is I want o be perfect which is impossible. Now that I have identified my problems trying prayer, laughing at myself when I mess up and be less strict with myself. It is okay to mess up once in a while, i'm human. We all do.

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