We spend every moment of every day “Thinking”.. Well, some of us. How can we stop overthinking, and start growing?
It comes down to recognizing the overthinking, applying practices to deal with the overthinking, and focusing on moments where possible.
GOOD NEWS! You’ve already completed this part, because you probably recognize that you are a chronic over-thinker. The tough part comes to noticing the overthinking in the moment… Trying not to get washed away by the cliche wave of overthinking.
Very simply, we have to intrude on the intrusive. To return to our cliche – if that wave starts rushing, throw some logs in there and build a dam.
Instead of telling myself to ‘stop overthinking’, I’ve taken to a very literal approach of interrupting overthinking with thoughts of “That’s overthinking.” – “Oh, that’s overthinking.”
You see, we as humans just naturally want to put things in order. Entire spectrums are expected to retire to boxes we build for them based on arbitrary labels. I’m usually against this notion… However, Minimizing the existence of something is only applicable to overthinking… By labeling these thoughts as simple overthinking, we get to shrink them – just a little bit.
The Raw Steak Method to Stop Overthinking
This really just means distract the thinking.
Just like in video games or movies – sticking with clichés on this one – to distract the guard dog you have to bring along your Raw Steak. When the guard dog is going to blow your cover, toss the raw steak to buy yourself time.
Another way to explain this is an analogy to ‘energy’. When overthinking, the mind builds up a lot of energy. This energy cannot be expected to stop, so we have to learn how to transfer that energy to something harmless.
My ‘Raw Steak’ is finding tall things. It works especially great outdoors. To stop the rushing of thought, I can scan my surroundings and find the tallest standing object. Usually a tree, and I get to bask in the stoic nature of it momentarily. There may also be a play of being reminded my size in relation to the world around me and beyond.
There’s more to this included in the video. We may not be able to stop overthinking, but once we channel it elsewhere and give it purpose, we begin to manage it better.
Here’s the original article that started all of this thinking.