From time to time, we all overthink. Our thinking gets caught in an unhelpful loop and we struggle to see the best way forward.
Does any of the following sound familiar?
- You constantly have thoughts swirling in your head about what you could have done differently
- You agonize over making decisions, spending hours weighing up the pros and cons
- When you are able to make a decision you then second guessing the decision, wondering if you selected the right option
- You expect all situations to culminate in the worst case scenario
- You replay situations over and over in your mind
For some people, overthinking is a daily occurrence that is keeping them stuck and is damaging their career.
Overthinking Increases Anxiety Levels
When you focus your energy and attention on rehashing the same thing over and over again, your anxiety levels will increase. You might even find that when you feel anxious you are kept awake at night. This becomes a vicious circle. Being kept awake at night with these anxious thoughts, means you don’t get enough sleep and when you don’t get enough sleep you find it harder to cope with your emotions during the day and the circle continues.
A lack of sleep and inability to manage your emotions will have a negative impact on your performance at work.
Overthinking Impedes Your Ability to Make Decisions
Overthinking impacts your ability to make decisions. When faced with a decision you may spend a disproportionate amount of time exploring all options, weighing up the pros and cons and deliberating about which path to choose.
This process of deliberation may mean that you don’t act quickly enough which is frustrating for other team members and may mean that you miss out on potential opportunities.
Overthinking Makes You Unhappy
Overthinking can have a big impact on your happiness. My client forgot to add an attachment to an email that was going out to some senior stakeholders. She quickly realised her mistake and sent an email apologising and included the attachment.
My client spent 48 hours putting herself through torture. She was second guessing what people thought of her, concerned that there were going to be repercussions and feeling like she had let people down and that she wasn’t good enough.
There were no repercussions, nobody even mentioned the technical hitch and all was fine. But my client had wasted 48 hours of her life worrying about the situation.
When you overthink you dwell on a problem rather than come up with the solution for a problem.
- Overthinking: “I wish I hadn’t sent that email. This is so awful. My boss is going to be so annoyed with me and everybody that received it is going to think that I’m stupid. Why do these things always happen to me?”
- Problem-solving: “I will call my boss and let him know what happened. I’ll send out an email apologising for the confusion. I’ll make a not to double-check all communications that I send to this group in the future so that it doesn’t happen again.”
When you are in problem solving mode you are identifying productive actions that can make the situation better. On the other hand, when you are stuck in overthinking, you feel bad and don’t look for solutions.
The good news is that you can learn to be more decisive and put an end to overthinking.
To find out how I can support you to stop overthinking, book a time to talk HERE.