May 16, 2020

Overcoming my addiction to overthinking

It was compulsive. I could focus on it to the point it took over my life.

The more abstract the situation, the more I would ruminate:

As a management consultant I had been trained to think. I viewed thinking as the ultimate approach to problem-solving.

And thinking is, of course, an invaluable tool. Don't get me wrong.

But it's just a tool.

I learned that we can put it down from time to time. We can step back and benefit from other forms of awareness.

Picture a jack-hammer. Imagine operating one of those things all day long, non-stop!

You'd be exhausted and overwhelmed. When you finally stepped back, you'd probably realize you made a big mess of things, too!

I was tied to my mental jack-hammer and it was controlling me. Not the other way around. I had a hard time letting go and not being attached to my thoughts.

I obsessed over them because I wanted answers, and I wanted them as fast as possible. So I chased my thoughts down a rabbit hole every time. If I didn't find an answer, my questions turned into problems and my anxiety and frustration grew.

After struggling with this for years, I finally learned how to stop overthinking.

The first tool I picked up was writing. Writing slows me down. I've learned to accept that I don't really know what I think until I've written it down. I find simple note-taking apps and Open Dialogue to be the best for this sort of introspective writing.

The second tool I found is even more simple. I use it for immediate relief from overthinking...

I'll share with you if you reply to this post via email. I'm curious to know what things you tend to overthink and how you deal with it.

You can send me a few words or a longer reflection. I read every email.

Read more from the blog

Get emails with insight

Sign up for my newsletter