How To Stop Overthinking And Start Taking Action

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Wondering How To Stop Overthinking? You’re Not Alone!

Are you an over-thinker? Yeah, us too. Bruce more so than Lisa – but we definitely are both at fault here. That constant thinking/worry about things in the past, present, and even the future. We know what that feels like.

We know that it’s silly to overthink things too much – but sometimes you just can’t help it. There’s a certain amount of consideration we need to give things – but after that it just becomes redundant and silly.

We’ve gotten better over the years – but we still have work to do. So, here are a few tips/tricks/realizations that we had to help us curb our overthinking. Maybe some of these will resonate with you!

Develop An Awareness For When You Are Overthinking

Back of woman standing in front of two streets crossroads stop overthinking tips
Are you overthinking?

It sounds difficult to do – but one of the ways to stop yourself from overthinking is to develop an awareness that you ARE overthinking.

Overthinking usually follows a certain pattern of thoughts. You just have to identify what that is for you (it’s going to be different for everyone). Once you know how your mind works a bit more, you can develop techniques or work on “fail-safes” that can keep you from diving into a hole of overthinking.

For example, if a certain playlist sets you off into a mood of deep reflection or you always sit in a certain spot to over-ponder life, then these are good things to recognize and avoid. By getting rid of – or at least limiting – these triggers, you allow your mind to do more productive thinking.

Work On Developing a Positive Mindset

Often, overthinking is linked to negative thoughts. Only the bad ideas are the ones that we really reminisce about for hours on end. Sometimes, we revisit them multiple times a day or week. It sucks.

Again, this sounds easier than it is – but developing more of an overall positive mindset can help kick overthinking/negativity to the curb. Over time, the more you change your mindset, the less likely you are to fall into a bout of overthinking in the first place.

Set Yourself A Time Limit For Making Decisions

White clock sitting on train tracks with blurry background
Sometimes you might need to set yourself a time limit!

Sometimes, overthinking can be caused by loose time frames and too much time to think about things. If you want to stop overthinking, give yourself less time to think about things!

This is great for things like tasks or decisions that require considering the pros and cons of the outcome. You can think all you want but eventually you will have to act and see what happens. So, give yourself a time limit for making these kinds of decisions.

For us, we try not to overthink business decisions. We think it through thoroughly – but then we act. Once we do, we live with the results and adapt/pivot accordingly.

Start Living In The Present

Shadow of man standing on top of mountain with fog and mountains in background how to stop overthinking
Sometimes it is important to let go of the worry about the past/future and live in the present!

Our worry lives up in our heads – and a good way to stop it from becoming too bad is to remind ourselves to “live in the present”. Living in the present is important because it helps center us to focus on the here and now – the things that are right in front of our face.

Living in the present is a powerful mindset/mental reminder that we love and try to incorporate into our lives more and more. That’s why we wrote a whole article on living in the present and how we try to do exactly that. You can’t overthink about the past or future if you are here in the “now”!

Related: 7 Valuable Tips for Living in the Present

Understand That You Can’t Control Everything

Parts of our overthinking (and maybe yours, too) are that we just think too much about things that we simply cannot control. Worrying/overthinking about these things is useless because no amount of worrying will change the outcome.

That said, there are things that you CAN control and that you can worry about. If they worry you enough, you can take action on these items. Simple as that.

Put Things Into Perspective

upwards view of trees in fall colors with blue sky in background
Is it really that big of a deal?

Getting a different perspective is really important to stop overthinking. In the past, it’s worked for us really well. Basically, you need to situate your thoughts, worries and ideas into the grand scheme of things.

Is what you are fixated on going to matter tomorrow? How about in one month? How about in a year? How much of the outcome can you control – all of it, or none? By asking these kinda of questions, you can pretty quickly determine just how important what you are thinking about is and how much mental capacity you should allocate for it.

If your overthinking is based on something that has an end point of next week, then you know it won’t go on forever. Realizing this should help give you perspective.

Stop Aiming For Constant Perfection

Sometimes, our overthinking is based on striving to achieve perfection. We’re overthinking about the little details, the tasks to be completed, the steps involved – all to get something “just right”.

We used to be big overthinkers when it came to tasks to complete (mainly work tasks) but we also did this when we were in school, too. In the end, we have learned that getting tasks done quick and to the best of your ability AT THAT TIME is far more important than aiming for perfection each and every time.

If you’ve ever heard of the 80/20 rule, it applies here! It basically means that tasks should get 80% done in 20% of the time. We’re not saying that you should get sloppy and not care about the results you are delivering. All we are saying is that it doesn’t have to be perfect all the time.

Accept Failure And Look At It As A Chance To Grow

Green vines growing on white wall
Sometimes failure can help you grow…

Lots of people overthink things when they “fail” at something. Could be in their career, relationship, whatever. Failure is seen as a terrible, terrible thing. However, failure is not something that we should be overthinking about. You should absolutely analyze it and learn from your mistakes – but you don’t have to get obsessed with it. If you see failure in life as something to get worked up over, it will be exactly that.

Others (and we’d like to be in that group, too) see failure as a learning opportunity. Failure still sucks – but it doesn’t have to consume you. Growing our business, we use failure as a means of measuring where we are at, what works, what doesn’t, and use it to grow and build from there.

Related: Growth Mindset Quotes To Help You Through Failure

Develop A Plan And Follow Through

Sometimes, the best way to stop overthinking is to actually get to the doing part. Taking action allows you to just dive into something (assuming you’ve been mulling it over for ages). From there, you can learn about what you need to do next or how you need to change things.

Overthinking comes from wondering about how something might go/turn out – and the best way to find out sometimes is to just go! If you need a bit more time to execute, then come up with a plan and execute accordingly. Setting goals can help with creating a plan, as well.

Related: Setting SMART Goals You Can Follow Through On

And there you have it – a bunch of ways that we believe can help to stop overthinking things. Again – we know it’s easier said than done… but it’s possible to start to re-wire your brain over time. Slowly but surely you can get better at overthinking! Let us know about your journey and any tips you might have!

As always, Stay Curious,

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How to stop overthinking and start taking action