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Does overthinking hold you back? - 20th June 2024


I know this territory well. Not so long ago, overthinking was my default setting for every single decision.




My overthinking was not limited to decision making. I overthought all incoming information as well. I'm sure this life-long pattern played a part in me getting adrenal exhaustion (similar to chronic fatigue) in 2015. I must have reached a point where my brain and nervous system could no longer function normally. My body pulled the plug. 

I chose this image of the mind as a fragmented jigsaw because it reminds me of how I often felt. If my rational mind had been a neatly completed jigsaw, my overthinking mind was a jigsaw with lots of pieces missing. The more I overthought everything, the more I felt that parts of that jigsaw were detaching and making me feel even more uncertain about what I should do for the best. I guess I was scrabbling away trying to find the right jigsaw pieces so I could make the best decisions. 

I wonder if this description resonates with you at all?

Why am I an overthinker?

I can't answer this question for you, but I can now answer it for myself. The only reason I'm able to do this is that I had sufficient self-awareness to notice this habit and was then bold enough to explore my own behaviour.

What was it that prompted my overthinking? There would always be some kind of trigger. 

I am a Highly Sensitive Person and people who are highly sensitive are proven to be deep thinkers. HSPs process everything very deeply compared with the average person. This can be a blessing on occasion, but sometimes it can be a curse. Going down the rabbit-hole with a thought can lead to anxiety and worry that was not inherent in the initial situation. "What if?" is definitely a part of overthinking. I was never satisfied until I'd explored every possible outcome and it was very draining to be this way. 


Fear of getting it wrong

Since learning how to work with my inner child I have come to appreciate that many of my challenges are rooted in a difficult childhood. Think about your own childhood experiences. Did you get lots of encouragement and praise from your parents? Or were you left feeling that you were never good enough? Maybe you simply felt unseen and ignored by your parents? Can you appreciate that when a person has this kind of start in life their child self would have been desperate to fix this situation. The child will do whatever they can to be loved, and that is bound to centre around very careful choices based on a whole lot of overthinking. Not for them the spontaneous "Yes". Far too scary because it might be wrong. Perfectionism is closely allied to overthinking. Whatever project you might engage in - it is likely to never be right or good enough, hence you spend a lot of time in your head judging yourself and coming up with different ways to finish the job or prove how you have badly messed it up! Then your voice becomes the voice of the dissatisfied parent. 


Managing overthinking

Note that I say 'managing' rather than curing! Like most things in life managing overthinking is a practice that you work at and if you stick at it you will get better at fending off those unhelpful thoughts. The challenge is that this is ingrained behaviour we are talking about here and it won't go without a fight sometimes. 

I have found meditation to be of huge benefit. I can't overstate this. If my head begins to feel like it might burst then I do what I can to sit in meditation for 10 minutes or more if possible. Meditation itself is a practice of course. If you need support getting started I can help, so please get in touch. Starting and ending the day with meditation is a good habit to get into. But any meditation is better than none. 

Finding places where you can step away from your thoughts is also of huge benefit. For me the quick fix is to go into the garden and just look at some flowers or watch the bees or birds. I can't be overthinking when I am witnessing nature. Going for a walk in a quiet place is also great. Trees are wonderfully calming especially. 


Healing your inner child

The above practices will make a big difference if you stick with them. But don't forget you might be walking round with a distressed child inside you. A child who thinks they are not good enough, or are unloved. This inner child will drive your reactions and choices without you even realising. This is why inner child work can be so helpful. It has transformed my inner and outer experience of life. If you would like guidance with this healing, then get in touch. I have been studying inner child work since 2019 with my own coach. 

Want to find out how I work with clients? Contact me to arrange your complimentary 30 minute chat.



Keywords: overwhelm


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