Is Overthinking getting the better of you?

Overthinking is very common and involves continuously thinking the same thoughts, usually revolving around the same issue. It can feel like you are in a never ending loop unable to make clear decisions.

Why do It?

Overthinking can occur for many reasons, relating to a choice or challenge. You may feel a lack of confidence, fear of failure or missing out, internal conflict, high expectation from an external source or a lack of control in the decision making process. However the biggest driver for overthinking is uncertainty. The inevitable ‘not knowing’ what the future holds and the brain goes into overdrive to ponder, resolve and fix.

How do you break this cycle?

Here are 7 ways to recognise and take control of your thinking habits

1. Productive or Counterproductive

Distinguish between ’effective thinking’, are you able to focus, consider relevant information and be constructive at problem-solving? Or do you overthink, over analyse, think of the worst and focus on the negative?

2. Analysis Paralysis

Recognise when you have overthought a decision to the point you no longer see the wood from the trees. This leads to inaction due to an abundance of information that your mind needs to process..

3. To Be or Not to Be

Being comfortable with not knowing at times can ensure the problem doesn’t control you. When you feel threatened, anxiety picks up pace. Accepting you don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle yet is ok.

4. Fact or Fiction

Can you distinguish between fact, possible fact and an assumption. The mind has a tendency to exaggerate or twist the truth when you overthink and feel threatened.

5. Approach or Avoid

You can either engage in unwanted feelings or ignore them. When you engage you are more likely to identify the real challenge. Ask yourself;

  • What am I avoiding? What is motivating me to overthink this? What emotion is this challenge triggering in me?


6. Be Present

The ideal state is to be grounded and feel confident, this is where you can do your best thinking. Ask yourself:

  • What is important to me about this?
  • What is in my control right now?
  • What are my strengths that will support me through this challenge?


7. Press the Pause Button

Slow down, be mindful or meditate. A daily mindful walk, run, swim with no distractions for however long you have, is worth its weight in gold (in my opinion). When you feel like reacting, put space between you, the situation and your reaction.

‘The greatest barrier is the inability to give up what you have done before’ John Whitmore.

To change a thinking habit you must first become more self aware and be willing to take responsibility. To think clearly is a wonderful skill that enables you to navigate ambiguity more effectively. When you next feel overwhelmed with thoughts, emotions and decisions. I invite you to reflect on the 7 ways above to help change your thinking habit. Please share with me your thoughts and insights.

This article was written by Chloe Coburn one of our partner coaches who supports women and helps them to connect with themselves and their values, to make the next change/transition intentional and purposeful. You can get in touch via her profile page and book a free discovery call to learn more about coaching with Chloe.