Avoid overthinking

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Hazards of overthinking

Avoid overthinking as it leads to ‘analysis paralysis’

Nupur Bartwal

Nupur Bartwal3 days ago·2 min read

“Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.”– Robert Herjavek.

Overthinking is not something you do occasionally. It is a habit that is very difficult to break once you get used to it. This is almost like training your mind to follow the same thought pattern every time you consider potential outcomes.

You will often come across peoplesaying, “I know how it is going to be.” Or “I can’t stop thinking about how my life could have been better if I’d done things differently.” Your mind is constantly ruminating about the past and worrying about the future. Overthinking ultimately affects your mental health. And as your mental health gets impacted, you see the after-effects in all walks of your life.

It’s a vicious downward spiral. When you overthink, you worry and ruminate over conversations and actions for far longer than helpful. It’s okay to practise some caution when making big decisions, but overthinking can kick in even while making small everyday decisions.

Once you are trapped in this pattern, your brain will start hunting for evidence to prove it correct so that you can hold on to your fear, insecurities, and angst. Sometimes the brain will make things appear in the way you want to see them, continuously feeding the evidence of failure you are looking for. It becomes a significant blockage that prevents you from moving ahead.

Because you subconsciously predict bad outcomes over good ones every time, overthinking encourages you not only to be super- cautious but to be more distrustful. Don’t fall into this misconception that overthinking is self-reflection. Because self-reflection is always purposeful. While this leads to some revelations about you, overthinking only damages your sense of self.

Overthinking thrives on how bad you feel about all the things you have no control over. It stops you from developing new insights. You are endlessly stuck in a cycle of worry. Your thoughts spiral long into the night, which can lead to insomnia. Everywhere you turn, fear and anxiety take over you.

So, what to do about it? Canadian-American motivational public speaker and self-development author Brian Tracy gives the answer when he says “spend eighty percent of your time focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday.”

What has happened in the past is over. There is no point in dwelling over it again and again. Instead, focus more on what is at hand in the present. Stop desiring certainty and be open to change. And let the beauty of future unfold.

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