Why do we keep overthinking

Time: 2 minutes
October 14, 2021

Why do I overthink?

Overthinking can be one of the most EXHAUSTING experiences.

I remember one of my worst overthinking episodes. My parents didn't pick up their phone for a few hours, something very unusual. 

I called again and again, and by the time they called me back, I had already started to prepare myself to find out that something terrible had happened to them. My mum later explained that they had new phones and hadn't realised that the silent mode was activated. 

Yup, textbook overthinking scenario.

When we overthink, we pick apart every little detail, things we said or did, terrified that something bad has already happened without us even realising.

But before we start trying to stop overthinking so much, it can be useful to understand why we do it in the first place.

I shared a 4-min video on this too if you want to check it out (click here or on image to watch)

As counterintuitive as it sounds, there are several "benefits" we can get from overthinking, but we will focus on two of them today.

1. It gives us a sense of control.

We all know that overthinking isn’t exactly productive BUT...it does give us the illusion that we are problem-solving...Even if sometimes there was no problem to solve, to begin with! Trying to look for a solution ensures that we don’t end up feeling helpless. It makes sense.

2. Overthinking is a GREAT way to get ourselves out of making decisions.

Whether we are trying to stall because we don't feel ready to make a decision, or because we are afraid to make the wrong one, overthinking buys us time. Sometimes, taking too long to make a decision means someone else has to do it. That shifts the responsibility from you to the other person! 

How to stop overthinking?

In my experience, what works great is sharing the thoughts that are building up with someone I trust. That immediately interrupts the pattern.

That's right, because overthinking works like a monologue, inviting someone else into the conversation de-escalates it and adds perspective!

Two things that create an unfavourable environment for overthinking to develop.

Like any habit, learning to manage and eventually stop overthinking will take some time.

So please be patient with yourself and know that being aware of why/when it happens is half of the job done!

If you would like support on journey, I offer 1-2-1 coaching as well as an online group experience, The Confidence Bootcamp. Book your free discovery session today!