“I can’t stop overthinking.”
Most individuals I begin to work with in my coaching practice don't feel heard, feel alone, understood, seen, or wanted. Simply put, these individuals are in the thick of a large thought storm.
Perhaps one of these sounds familiar:
“What’s wrong with me?”
“Am I different?”
“I am I broken?”
“I am a shy person.”
“No one likes me?”
“Why am I so awkward?”
“Am I weird?”
“Why can’t I be like everyone else?”
“How come no one understands me?”
“Am I not good enough?”
Overthinking will decrease your problem-solving skills, keep you stuck, lower motivation, make you feel lonely, zap your energy, and leave you feeling like your life is out of control. When stuck in a deep state of overthinking, we become more (negative) ego focused, and our insecurities heighten. We tend to seek out what’s in it for me more, comparison, opinionated, and one-upping others in conversation. When the ego is in overdrive, it generates a lot of thinking about things that have gone wrong in the past or things that might go wrong in the future.
As a rule, every time you take something personally or add meaning to a situation, this is the work of your (negative) ego. Further deepening the feelings of isolation, feeling different, not seen or understood.
Where do your feelings come from?
(One of many of my favorite questions to ask myself and my clients)
How much do you believe the external factors in your life control your experience of life itself? For example, external factors might be viewed as a result of bad luck or fate, bad genes, unfairness, someone else’s fault, believing in conspiracy theories, believing you’re being discriminated against, refusing to take accountability for your actions or lack of and/or the world is just a bad, awful place.
When something goes wrong, what do you blame it on? Do you scapegoat (point fingers)? Is there always something that’s causing you to feel the way you do (people, situations)? Do you search for the cause of your issue in the world around you? Do you look for justification? Do you find the proof that it's not your fault? Do you ask your friends and family for advice, giving them evidence you have bad luck? Are your conversations with friends and family focused on the woes and poor me? Do you run to your network with proof or evidence of your challenges?
This could be a habit of overthinking. When we're spinning out of control and our mind is going 1,000,000 miles an hour, we often get stuck in this cycle of blaming and seeking proof, creating a victim mentality.
Overthinking and speeding up thoughts can lead to many mental health conditions over time. Overthinking is strictly an unhealthy habit that creates more stress, worries, greater concerns, and anxiety, ultimately lowering a person’s immunity, energy, happiness, and enjoyment of life.
I've been in that place. I've been seduced by overthinking. My health suffers as a result. My thyroid is compromised, not to mention loss of valuable time in my life in a dark hole. I used to blame my stress on people, my circumstance, pressures from my career, and pressures that I manifested in my mind by consuming thoughts that weren't real. I wore the badge of stressed-out burnout everywhere I went. Every conversation I had started by explaining how my situation was riddled with stress, pressure and how consuming it was, almost like a way to compare my stress to another. This was a habit. To the point some of my friends just started every conversation with: How are you doing? Anticipating a conversation about how bad off I had it, what is the newest greatest challenge that I am consumed by. I look back and wonder how I even maintained friends.
Now years into a shift in my understanding, I am proud to say I am free from the burden of being stressed out and consumed by overthinking, overanalyzing thoughts that I have it so bad. My circle of friends has shifted a lot as well. I attract happy, successful, fun people into my life that like to share experiences and memories, not doom and gloom.
We suffer more in our imagination than in reality.
What consumes your mind controls your life.
Are your thoughts consuming your life? Does your life feel heavy? Are you frustrated with circumstances, people, and things beyond your control?
I get asked an awful lot about how to stop overthinking. Right away, I recognize that question is someone seeking the typical quick fix pill or five-step program. But it's much simpler than that. I work with a lot of people through life coaching to create a life where they are empowered, energized, happier, and much lighter because they're not carrying around heavy thoughts and burdens.
We don't experience the world; we experience our thinking about the world. We are thinking feeling beings. Once this understanding is embraced, practiced with some support (coaching), and you see and feel the shift, it’s a powerful, healthier, happier way of living. Living life with a new perspective as a byproduct, you’ll discover you are creating your own reality every day and have WAY more power and control than you ever realized. We create our reality; it’s not something we achieve through a magic pill, a 12-step process, or a program with worksheets.
Many I have coached in the past come to me with the strategy to try super to control their thinking, but that results in more overthinking; it’s like adding more oxygen or wood to a camp fire.
No one is taught how the mind works. In fact, it’s my personal belief that we aren’t taught on purpose, so we are marketable, easy to manipulate, pliable, and conform. If we believe that outside or exterior factors create our pain, misery, and state of our life, we are also convinced that outside things or factors create our happiness, leading to buying things that we truly don’t need or want.
With some support, you, too, can be in a place where you're living your life from the inside out, not being controlled by external factors and a part of the blame and justification game.
"Thought is not reality: yet it is through thought our reality is created."