How to stop overthinking

One key thing that clients bring to counselling and coaching is the problem of 'overthinking'.  It is very disconcerting when thoughts, especially negative problem thoughts, pop into your head all the time and at often inconvenient times like in the middle of TV programmes or downtime at work.


But it is a normal process for your unconscious mind, which holds everything from every day of your life to constant monitoring of what is happening around you out and about or at home, to find space when it can to 'consider your problems and find solutions'.

That is what’s happening for you. And yes, it’s true, you can’t stop it! But you can learn to manage it consciously.

How do I manage patterns of overthinking?

The answer: By choosing when you think about your problems to find solutions. Twice a day for example, find 10-15 minutes maximum to 'wallow in your worries' (not first thing in the morning or last thing at night, but mid-morning and afternoon or tea time maybe).   This allows your unconscious mind that specific time to problem-solve, space and time to bring up all your worries from now, the past and even potential issues in the future! It’s trying to help you. That is its job, or one of them.

It searches back in a tie for solutions that can help you now, even things you didn’t know you knew sometimes! Some weird and wonderful ideas too. And that also can be when people start to think "I don’t want to be here..." in this stress, worry, overthinking, anxious state (and not always necessarily 'not in the world'). That might be just one idea to achieve its objective or manage and reduce the stress you are experiencing – to escape the pressure.   

It will also help if you can make decisions quicker. We do tend, quite rightly, to weigh up the pros and cons of our options, to consider our options and ideas, over and over and over again!

That’s the 'overthinking'. Yet each time, each moment, we are working through those problems to find the best solution. And we often want an ideal solution – one that meets our needs, values, beliefs, and expectations of life and living. There will always be options but they may not always be the ideal ones you want! Sometimes you have to choose the best one of the bunch albeit not your ideal preference but a solution all the same.

And sometimes that overthinking comes from "What will happen now I can sort of see and risk assess? " But "Will that be the best option next year/in five years/20 years?" And we can never really know that or even what will change/happen tomorrow or in the next hour!

We can only work with where we are, what we know now, and what we can plan with foresight and our needs and tendencies here and now.  

That is how to manage your uncomfortable 'overthinking'. It is normal, it is healthy and it is uncomfortable or you wouldn’t even make any changes if you can 'cope with things' as they are right now. Hence, you have to make changes and be prepared to make mistakes possibly that don’t work as well as hoped in the future. That is our only 'personal power' over the situations and circumstances that arise or we choose in life.

And that is OK. We are human and not robots (even they are programmed by people too, so same as) and we are guided by needs, beliefs, values, hopes, dreams, aims and objectives for ourselves and loved ones, friends and colleagues. And that’s OK too.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Oldham, Greater Manchester, OL4 5SJ
Written by Julie Crowley, MBACP | Personal Development Coach | Registered Counsellor
Oldham, Greater Manchester, OL4 5SJ

Julie offers personal development life coaching for self-awareness that informs your options & opportunities at home and work, your relationships and actions, with insights and new perpspectives. "Live your life on purpose, with purpose - Change your mind, change your life"

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