“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”
I recently received the following from Dani who publishes Positively Present and it reminded me that overthinking can be as bad as underthinking. How often do we let opportunity pass us by as we are still thinking about what we might do? What can be even more debilitating is wasting too much time concentrating on what has gone wrong and who we might blame. Life is too precious to waste too much of it trying to think up excuses or agonizing over things we cannot control or influence. Look at what Dani offered and see if you need to find ways to free up your mind for more rewarding use.
The January 2012 issue of Real Simple had a great article on how to get over overthinking (a negative mental habit that too many people battle far too often). Below is my take on the six steps recommended to kick that cycle of too-much-thinking to the curb.
6 Steps to Stop Overthinking
Step 1: Take Action. As the article says, “If the problem is specific and solvable, try to turn it into a concrete solution.” Don’t focus on what happened in the past (or what hasn’t happened yet). Instead, focus on what you can do to improve the present moment.
Step 2: Challenge Your Beliefs. Ask yourself if what you’re thinking is definitely true. Try to think about other possible ways of looking at whatever you’re thinking about.
Step 3: Distract Yourself. My mom always used distraction on us as kids and to this day I find that it’s one of the best methods for dealing with almost any situation that has resulted in overthinking. Find something that will stimulate you mentally and focus your attention on that activity.
Step 4: Don’t Talk It Out. Sometimes you need to share with other people, but when you’re overthinking something this is a big no-no. The more you talk about something, overanalyzing it and allowing for others’ comments to take you in new thinking directions, the more you’re going to obsess over it.
Step 5: Practice Mindfulness. Focus on the present moment and you’ll take away the power your thoughts seemingly have over you. The present moment isn’t about what could have been or what could be. It’s about right now.
Step 6: Be Patient. Overthinking isn’t an easy habit to break so it’s important to be kind to yourself as you’re working on this problem. As the article reminds us, overthinking about how you can’t stop overthinking isn’t going to do anyone any good.
Overthinking isn’t something that can be stopped overnight. It takes time, patience, and practice. The more you work on the steps above, the more you’ll be able to avoid overthinking. And remember: there’s a difference between thinking and overthinking. Thinking is great — inspiring, motivating, necessary for survival — but overthinking brings nothing but stress and negativity into our lives. If you want to live a positive life, it’s important to have a handle on your own mind and these tips are a great place to start!
No matter where you go or what you do, you live your entire life within the confines of your head.
New York City rules of the road:
*Always look right and left before proceeding through a green light.
*When on a one way street, stay to the right to allow for oncoming traffic to pass.
*Never, ever stop for a pedestrian unless he flings himself under the wheels of your car.
*The first parking space you see will be the last parking space you see. Grab it.
*Learn to swerve abruptly. Manhattan is the home of slalom driving, thanks to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which puts potholes in key locations to test drivers’ reflexes and keep them on their toes.
*Never get in the way of a car that needs extensive body work.
*Double-park in the East Village, unless triple-parking is available.
*Honk your horn the instant the light changes.
*Never use directional signals when changing lanes. They only warn other drivers to speed up and not let you in.
*Making eye contact revokes your right of way.
There are only two things a child will share willingly: communicable diseases and their mother’s age.
The skydiving instructor was going through the question and answer period with his new students when one of them asked the usual question always asked: “If our chute doesn’t open; and the reserve doesn’t open, how long do we have till we hit the ground?”
The jump master looked at him and in perfect deadpan answered: “The rest of your life.”
When you are down and out, something always turns up — and it is usually the noses of your friends.
An English teacher at Iowa State University spent a lot of time marking grammatical errors in her students’ written work. She wasn’t sure how much impact she was having until one overly busy day when she sat at her desk rubbing her temples.
A student asked, “What’s the matter, Mrs. Sheridan?”
“Tense,” she replied, describing her emotional state.
After a slight pause the student tried again, “What was the matter? What has been the matter? What might have been the matter?
“A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree.”
At one point during a game, the coach said to one of his young players, “Do you understand what cooperation is? What a team is?”
The little boy nodded in the affirmative.
“Do you understand that what matters is whether we win together as a team?”
The little boy nodded yes.
“So,” the coach continued, “when a strike is called, or you’re out at first, you don’t argue or curse or attack the umpire. Do you understand all that?”
Again the little boy nodded.
“Good,” said the coach. “Now go over there and explain that to your mother.”
“My childhood was rough. Once for my birthday, my old man gave me a bat. The first day I played with it, it flew away.”
A college dean was berating a veteran economics professor for having used the same tests for the past 35 years.
“Don’t you realize, professor, that the students have been sharing these tests for decades and that all of your students know EXACTLY what’s on the test before they sit for it?”
“Doesn’t matter,” replied the professor. “You must realize that the subject is economics. The answers are different each year!”
[Thinking is] what a great many people think they are doing when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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