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Wellness

How To Stop Overthinking Things: A Radical New Approach

What I believe is a basic human need is being completely ignored, for many reasons. It’s the same need we have to create meaning by taking ourselves out of the environment and living life as a whole. When we do this, we often experience anxiety due to the mental anguish that comes with not understanding and not knowing how we did something wrong.

The ability to find meaning is not a one-time process; it is an ongoing process we carry to and from all situations and people. As you can see, it does not always happen naturally. Many of us experience over thinking. It is one of the most common human responses to life’s challenges, a reaction born out of our need to feel in control, to know what to do next and to find a way out of any situation, to feel in some way right. It was not always so, but today we struggle with over thinking. To a degree, our over thinking results from our need to feel in control, like it means we can overcome anything we face. We do not have to struggle to become aware of these feelings, but they must become part of your experience, and they can be changed.

For the sake of our lives, we need and crave true understanding. That’s a simple idea and yet not many of us achieve it. One key element is taking the time to actually understand a situation first — understanding it. This helps us stop feeling so overwhelmed and confused and lets us realize that there is something we are able to do, or not able to do which is important, and then we start making decisions.

One of the key elements of the over thinking process is feeling in control over the situation. This doesn’t need to be to the point of wanting someone else to help manage our situations. It can be just to the point of saying that maybe we need to reread the instructions or start the process again. In that situation, you feel in control.

It’s important to always find a way out so you don’t over stress yourself. For me, I usually just want to take a few steps away from the situation and see what happens. This is always a good place to start. This does not always work though, so make sure you get out of the environment.

But to start over again, I have found that I need both the person I am with and my surroundings to create meaning. To create meaning, I have to get rid of the feeling of over thinking and see the real situation for what it is. When I think, “why did I over think anything?!” I start to look for the answer which has not been provided. Instead of asking, “what did I do right?”, or “how did I over think something?”, I start to look for the answer which has been given.

This is often the feeling of over thinking: there is no answer, but I just keep thinking I should have known that something was wrong to start with, I was in the wrong place, I should have checked my surroundings, I should have checked my equipment etc.

To stop this over thinking process I make every decision first and then consider the outcome. For instance, I might tell my partner if something is wrong and if that person is with me. Or before I ask someone if they have trouble, I tell them if I am there, and if they want to make sure I am fine, they can verify that. This gives my mind time to figure out the issue, the reason it is happening, and then help me see a solution.

In my opinion, it is much more difficult to stop over thinking than it is to stop making stupid decisions about the situation. This is why you need to be fully aware of what is going on, especially during over thinking.

What is important is to use every moment to learn something and learn it very, very well. When you start to understand something clearly, you no longer over think your decisions. You are ready to solve problems, or to change yourself if you need to do so. If you never get anything right, you will just keep on trying to figure out what you did wrong.