What Is Overthinking?

Overthinking is the ability to take something fairly simple and beat it to death with thought patterns. It is examining something from every known angle, then making up a few new angles to look at it. Over at Productivity Goal, there was a great article about how to think less for more success.

How Can Overthinking Be Bad?

There is nothing wrong with thinking something through, particularly if it is a major issue. However, if you think past the point and into confusion, or you spend 15 minutes thinking through the options for socks to wear, you are over the line. Overthinking will paralyze you and shut you down. Worst of all, if you do it often enough, it will become habit and you will be immobile. Not a great way to get things done.

Tips for Fighting Overthinking

There are some specific ways you can fight overthinking:

  • Catch yourself overthinking. Awareness is the first step. Notice if there is a pattern, like a certain individual or situation that causes it. Or if it is a habit applied to everything.
  • Ask yourself what the worst thing that can happen is. If the worse thing that can happen is you have a bad lunch, stop thinking about it and go with your gut. If it is serious, take your time and think things through.
  • Use A Sounding Board. If you are truly stuck, talk it out with someone. The fresh perspective will catch the spinning of overthinking and stop it.

Overthinking can be stopped easily, if you realize you are doing it. Sometimes you just need to move rather than think!