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Ask Yourself These 3 Questions to Stop Overthinking a Problem

Overthinking vs. problem-solving

If you’re proactively trying to gain a new perspective, you might find thinking about an issue is helpful. If you’re repetitively thinking about how you wish things were different or imagining all the things that could go wrong, you’re overthinking.

  1. Is there a solution to this problem? Some problems can’t be solved.
  2. Am I focusing on the problem or searching for a solution?
  3. What am I accomplishing by thinking about this?

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Ask Yourself These 3 Questions to Stop Overthinking a Problem

Ask Yourself These 3 Questions to Stop Overthinking a Problem

https://www.health.com/anxiety/stop-overthinking

health.com

1

Key Idea

Overthinking vs. problem-solving

If you’re proactively trying to gain a new perspective, you might find thinking about an issue is helpful. If you’re repetitively thinking about how you wish things were different or imagining all the things that could go wrong, you’re overthinking.

  1. Is there a solution to this problem? Some problems can’t be solved.
  2. Am I focusing on the problem or searching for a solution?
  3. What am I accomplishing by thinking about this?

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Put a Deadline on Your Thoughts

To avoid over-ruminating about a decision, give yourself a time frame to think about it. 

If it’s a small issue such as what paint color to paint your office, perhaps...

Schedule Your Thinking Time

To avoid thinking about problems all day long, schedule a specific time where you give yourself the freedom to think about the issue you need to make a decision about. 

If thoughts about the issue creep into your brain before your scheduled thinking time, tell yourself “No, I’m going to think about that after dinner, not during this meeting”.

Problem Solving vs. Worrying

Dwelling on a problem, thinking “this is horrible, I can’t handle this” or rehashing things that happened in the past are an unproductive use of your time.

Thinking about what steps you can take to improve the situation or actively thinking of a solution to the problem are helpful toward moving forward. 

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Evaluate Your Core Beliefs

Over time we all develop core beliefs based on our experiences about ourselves and the world. Whether you’re aware of them or not, they influence your thoughts, behaviors and emotions.

Use Your Mental Energy Wisely

Ruminating about things you can’t control drains mental energy quickly, leaving you less energy for what you can control. The more you practice expending your mental energy wisely, the more it will become a habit.

Save your mental energy for productive tasks, such as solving problems or setting goals. 

Replace Negative Thoughts With Productive Ones

Exaggerated, negative thoughts, can spiral out of control and influence your behavior if you don’t catch them.

Replace overly negative thoughts with productive and realistic ones. Changing your thoughts requires constant monitoring, but the process can be instrumental in helping you become your best self.

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Paradox of Choice
Paradox of Choice
It means that while increased choice allows us to achieve objectively better results, it also leads to greater anxiety, indecision, paralysis, and dissatisfaction.
Overthinking lowers your performance

Our working memory is what allows us to focus on the information we need to get things done at the moment we’re doing them. It is also in limited supply. You can think of it like our brain’s computer memory. Once it’s used up, nothing more can fit in.

When you overanalyze a situation, the repetitive thoughts, anxiety, and self-doubt decrease the amount of working memory you have available to complete challenging tasks, causing your productivity to plummet.

Overthinking kills your creativity

A recent Stanford study suggests that over-thinking not only impedes our ability to perform cognitive tasks but keeps us from reaching our creative potential as well.

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