The Overthinking Sliding Scale: Does It Matter?

The paradox of overthinking is that it creates both anxiety and a calming effect.

When we feel anxious about a decision or situation, we naturally reach for a calming mechanism to process the uncomfortable pressure. Overthinking makes us feel like we are doing something about the problem.

But it also perpetuates the anxiety that comes with overthinking, as we go down rabbit holes of more options and endless cycles that don’t resolve in an answer. I’ve been there; this cycle can get really overwhelming and paralyzing, especially when it starts becoming a part of every small detail.

Of course, thinking is one of our most important processing tools to feel confident about our choices. It’s how we understand the world around us. But like everything, it is only useful in moderation. ‘Thinking’ is like having a piece of chocolate; overthinking is eating the whole block.

Now, if you ate block after block of chocolate, you’d start to feel pretty sick. This is same with overthinking, the anxiety really affects you after a while (especially after years of this behavior). And, if you’re like me, you’d do anything to stop it… but it’s just not that easy.

This is why the first step to addressing overthinking is not about overthinking! It’s to start detaching yourself from your thoughts and creating your own system to sort the important thinking from ‘Things That Don’t Matter.’

This is now the question I ask myself 20 times a day: does this even matter? And when it doesn’t, I can create a new calming mechanism by simply putting that thought down and walking away. It really doesn’t matter.

If it doesn’t rate higher than a 5 on a scale of 1–10, then maybe it doesn’t need attention. Some people add a minute system, with a higher rating deserving more thinking time than little issues. You create whatever mental system works for you.

I love to hear about people’s different tips, so if you have one that really works for your overthinking and are happy to share, please hit send (yes to this email!) and tell me your story.

Next, I will look at some tools and aspects of your human design to help you stop the overthinking cycles.

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