It’s fun to wonder about how much the slogan “Just do it” had to do with the enduring success of the Nike brand. The slogan is actually 30 years old—it was first launched in 1988—and the current generation of kids is as familiar with it as their parents and grandparents. You may want to think about just doing it too, especially if you’re prone to overthinking.
Overthinking is a destructive thought pattern, as it can keep work from getting done. It tends to have 2 aspects. One is about regretting something in the past and dwelling on the topic so much that they imagine it would have been better if the past mistakes didn’t occur. The other aspect is about persistently worrying about the future and imagining dire catastrophes that may not even become likely. Both aspects involve worrying about things you can’t control.
Overthinking is a bad habit, but that’s not entirely a bad thing. It just means that as you can develop the habit, you can break it as well. You just need to take the necessary steps to practice training your brain to think in different ways.
1. Know When You’re Overthinking
Are you overthinking right now? It can be so common for you to obsess about mistakes in the past and imagine doom in the future that you’re no longer aware that you’re doing it. So you have to pay attention to your thoughts. If they revolve around regrets about the past and fear of the future, you need to realize you’re overthinking. You have to tell yourself that you aren’t productive when you think this way so you can move on.
2. Look for Solutions Instead
So what should you be thinking about when you can’t think of regrets and impending doom? If overthinking is about obsessing with things you can’t control, you need to shift your focus on the things you can control, such as looking for realistic solutions to realistic problems. You can think of ways to solve a problem if it comes up, and you can even devise ways to prevent such problems from ever coming up in the first place.
As for the problems (and the past) that you can’t control, you can think of ways to cope with the situation. Focus on your attitude instead.
3. Challenge Your Worries
You always have to admit that your thoughts aren’t always accurate or true. They can be exaggerated or even downright false.
To do this, you first need to take a deep breath so you can try to look at the problem from a more objective perspective. Whatever your fear is, do you have any proof that your thoughts are true? Are the proofs for their inaccuracy more compelling? More often than not, when you start to think more rationally your worries may subside.
4. Give Yourself Some Time to Ruminate
Overthinking also implies that you take up too much time worrying. The excessive time is the problem. It’s not that you can’t worry, because that’s inevitable. But you should just reserve a 20-minute time period every day on such ruminations. Once the time’s up, you need to think about another topic altogether.
All in all, you have to pay attention to how you’re thinking all the time. This can help become aware of bad mental habits, and with practice you can develop more beneficial thought habits instead.