How to stop overthinking and make confident decisions

Our minds are a powerful tool. Our thinking and our focus creates the basis of our lives. From our thinking we get inspiration that fills us with joy and brings us new ideas and opportunities. What goes wrong when we start to overthink?

Overthinking is relative to the subject and personally I don’t like the term because I feel there is judgement in it. I don’t think scientists can overthink preparations for sending rockets into space. I don’t think that we can overthink a medical treatment choice for a child.

Overthinking becomes a problem when the effort of thought is greater than the benefit gained by taking the time to think. It becomes a problem when it stops you from taking action or achieving your goal. It’s only a problem when the thinking gets in your way.

So how do you know if you’re overthinking?

The simplest way to know if you are overthinking is to focus on how you feel. If you are feeling heavy or laboured about the thinking process then that is overthinking.

Thinking is a process that takes you to making a decision. You can get stuck in thinking when you aren’t clear what result you want or if you have no criteria for making the decision. When you aren’t clear on what you want then it is hard to leave the thinking the loop.

So how do you get out of the thinking loop?

To get out of the thinking loop you’ll need to discover what your approach to overthinking is. To do this you’ll need to be really honest with yourself. To be honest with yourself it’s often helpful to journal your thoughts as they come up. To solve a problem you need to first name the problem.

Firstly depression and anxiety are chronic conditions where symptoms are incessant thinking. I’m not talking about these conditions that would require special attention with support of professionals. I’m talking about your garden variety analysis paralysis.

These are some common underlying reasons that contribute to overthinking.

Fear of getting it wrong

You may get caught in a fear loop where you’re worried about making the wrong choice or driven by getting the choice right. Sometimes we can be driven by wanting to get it ‘right’ but we have never defined what ‘right’ is.

To get out of this loop take some time to write a list of the evidence you would see if the thing you are doing is working out just right, not perfect but good enough to do the job. The evidence may include how you feel. Let’s say you were spending some time choosing colours or fonts in your business. Your evidence may be that when you looked at the colour you felt the feeling you want that colour to inspire. That could be a spark of attention, a calm, a connection to nature or a connection to feel. Take a moment to feel pink, feel green and feel blue. Apply that to any topic you are working on.

Needing other’s opinions

You can get delayed in making a decision when you feel the need to seek the opinion of others. Sometime