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10 Ways to Stop Overthinking and Start Living

Over-thinking doesn't lead to insight

You want an understanding of which decision will be best. For this, you need a level of insight into what each decision will lead to. Thinking this through, however, is futile.

Acting, therefore, leads to clarity. Thought doesn’t. Why? Because you never, ever know what something will be like until you experience it.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

10 Ways to Stop Overthinking and Start Living

10 Ways to Stop Overthinking and Start Living

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/10-ways-stop-overthinking-start-living/

tinybuddha.com

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Key Ideas

Over-thinking doesn't lead to insight

You want an understanding of which decision will be best. For this, you need a level of insight into what each decision will lead to. Thinking this through, however, is futile.

Acting, therefore, leads to clarity. Thought doesn’t. Why? Because you never, ever know what something will be like until you experience it.

Your decision will never be final

You must be aware that however much critical thinking you apply to a decision, you may be wrong.

Being comfortable with being wrong, and knowing that your opinions and knowledge of a situation will change with time, brings a sense of true inner freedom and peace.

Why over-thinking is harmful

Studies have shown rumination to be strongly linked to depression, anxiety, binge eating, binge drinking, and self-harm.

Keep active throughout the day

... and tire the body out. 

One of the reasons for over-thinking may be the fact that you have time to do so.

A mind rests well at night knowing its day has been directed toward worthy goals. So consider daily exercise—any physical activity that raises heart rate and improves health.

Become the ultimate skeptic

If you think about what causes thinking to be so stressful and tiring, it’s often our personal convictions that our thoughts are actually true. Ask yourself: “Can I be 100 percent sure this is true?

By seeing the inherent lack of truth in your beliefs, you will naturally find yourself much more relaxed in all situations, and you won’t over-think things that are based on predictions and assumptions.

Seek social support, but don’t vent

Research has long shown the powerful impact of social support in the reduction of stress. But even better than that is getting a fresh, new angle on the topic.

Better than confining your decisions to your own biases, perspectives, and mental filters, commit to seeking support from loved ones.

The skill of forgiveness

Forgiveness can induce the ultimate peace in people.

Forgiveness has also been shown on many occasions to help develop positive self-esteem, improve mood, and dramatically improve health. It’s a predictor of relationship well-being and marital length, and it has even been shown to increase longevity.

Plan for conscious distraction

When you know the time of day rumination will begin, you can plan to remove that spare time with an activity that engages your full faculties.

But be picky about what you distract yourself with, and make sure it fosters positive emotion and psychological wellbeing.

Get perspective

Solve another person’s problem first. 

Helping others puts your issues in order by reminding you that we all go through tough times, some much more than you ever will.

That’s not to discount the struggles you’re going through, but helping others will restore balance and harmony in your life.

"Perfect" decisions

Don’t worry about the perfection of your decisions. Be swift to move forward, even if it is in the wrong direction. Boldness is respectable; carefulness has never changed the world.

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You Are Not Your Thoughts
Our life situation is shaped by the quality of our thoughts. However, most of us assume that we are our thoughts.
You can decide what thoughts to ignore in your mind

The only way to stop identifying yourself with your thoughts is to stop following through on all your thoughts ✋ . Instead, decide to live in the present moment—where you don’t have time to think, only to experience.

4 Steps to stop overthinking 🧠

1. Raise your awareness throughout the day. 

2. When you raise awareness, immediately start observing your thoughts

3. Only limit your thinking to specific moments that you need it.

4. Enjoy your life! Let go of all your thoughts about yesterday and tomorrow. 

Write a vision

Write down exactly what you want your life to look like. Put it where you can see it every day. However, it is not set in stone. You can change it along the way.

Examine your current life

See how much of your life already matches your vision.  

You want to keep those things and remember that part of your vision is already happening.

Define your core values

Every decision you make about your life should reflect those values.

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Observe your emotions

... without judging. However you feel is fine. Emotions are attention-getting devices that the mind uses to help you observe your thoughts. 

Notice, especially, when you don’t fe...

Notice thoughts behind the emotions

Feelings are caused by thoughts. You can access these thoughts by asking “Why? I feel this way?” 

The thoughts behind the emotion can show you your mind’s misunderstandings, because any thought that causes an unpleasant emotion is likely caused by an assumption. And assumptions can be redefined.

Channel your inner toddler

Question everything. Ask yourself what you might be assuming.

Dig deeply, and look at every facet of that assumption. It might be helpful to type or write this out.

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Overthinkers

Chronic overthinkers rehash conversations they had yesterday, second-guess every decision they make and imagine disastrous outcomes all day every day.

Thinking too much prevents the...

Destructive thought patterns

Overthinking often involves two destructive thought patterns--ruminating and incessant worrying.

  • Ruminating involves dwelling on the past. "I should have stayed at my last job. I would be happier than I am now.""My parents didn't teach me how to be confident. My insecurities have always held me back."
  • Persistent worrying involves negative predictions about the future. "I'm going to embarrass myself tomorrow when I give that presentation. I know I'm going to forget everything I'm supposed to say."
Notice when you're stuck in your head

Overthinking can become such a habit that you don't even recognize when you're doing it. Practice paying attention.

When you're overthinking past or future events, acknowledge that your thoughts aren't productive. Thinking is only helpful when it leads to positive action.

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All fears are not created equal

Some are useful, and some are useless fears that you can't or shouldn't do anything about. 

They sap your strength for no reason, and you shou...

Fear can harm you

In scuba diving, for instance, fear can cause you to breathe too fast, swim too hard, move too suddenly, fail to take note of your surroundings, or rise too quickly toward the surface.

Knowing that fear has the potential to harm you can help you set it aside. Fold up that fear, put it in a box, and promise you'll get back to it later at a less dangerous time.

Fear and chemicals

You may think it's your judgment deciding that something is dangerous and you should be afraid, but what actually happens is that fear chemicals are flooding into your brain.

Experiments have shown that fear can be induced artificially by injecting certain chemicals. Do the chemicals know what you should and shouldn't be afraid of? They don't. You do.

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Denying Your Own Creativity

That’s a self-imposed and self-limiting belief. Stop that.

Creativity is a requirement for problem-solving and we all problem-solve. Acknowledge that you're inherently creative,

Being Afraid Of Being Wrong

We hate being wrong, but mistakes often teach us the most and allow us to innovate.

Think of the pros and cons of trying something and then free yourself to do it. If it doesn't work, take what you learn, and try something else. 

Being Too "Serious"

The persona of the fool allows the truth to be told, without the usual ramifications that might come with speaking against social conventions. Give yourself permission to be a fool and see things for what they really are.

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Making A Crisis Out Of Everything
Making A Crisis Out Of Everything

Our diminishing resilience and decreasing psychological threshold of handling pain and struggle is, in turn, making everything look like a crisis.

We are making a catastrophe out of eve...

Psychological Resilience

Psychological resilience is not about fake positivity and takes its power from our negative feelings. It makes our anger, sadness, failure and self-loathing into something useful and productive.

When we become sufficiently resilient, we are unstoppable and limitless.

Care For Someone Else

Our focus on the self has made us fearful and overwhelmed, especially in times of crisis. Part of our anxiety is the constant focus on oneself. Even if we do focus on others, it is only to judge them about how they feel about us, and what they think about us.

If instead of our inner selfishness, we find a greater cause to endure the crisis or risk, some deeper purpose or mission that eclipses our ego, then the crisis is taken care of.

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William Bridges

“Change can happen at any time, but transition comes along when one chapter of your life is over, and another is w..."

William Bridges
The Stages of Transition

The experience of Transition has 4 main stages:

  1. Disengagement: the feeling of separation from what is lost
  2. Disidentification: the destruction of the old identity
  3. Disenchantment: tearing out of the old reality
  4. Disorientation: the feeling of being lost and bewildered by the loss experienced.
Change is Inevitable

Change is the only constant in life.

It is always a certainty and failure to cope with change is not an option.

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Extrapolating our thoughts

A few examples of how we extrapolate our exceptions all the time:

  • “House prices will probably keep increasing.”
  • “That person will never change.”
  • “My busi...
We’re fast thinkers

But that doesn’t mean we should follow through on every single thought that pops into our mind.

Every time you start thinking about future events or start making mental movies, keep count on a post-it note or a small piece of paper. Be aware of your thoughts. But don’t follow through.

Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday
“It takes skill and discipline to bat away the pests of bad perceptions, to separate reliable signals from deceptive ones, to filter out prejudice, expectation, and fear.”

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Information that matches our beliefs

We surround ourselves with it: We tend to like people who think like us; if we agree with someone's beliefs, we're more likely to be friends with them.

This makes sense, but it means ...

The "swimmer's body illusion"

It's a thinking mistake and it occurs when we confuse selection factors with results. 

Professional swimmers don't have perfect bodies because they train extensively. Rather, they are good swimmers because of their physiques.

The sunk cost fallacy

It plays on this tendency of ours to emphasize loss over gain.

The term sunk cost refers to any cost that has been paid already and cannot be recovered. The reason we can't ignore the cost, even though it's already been paid, is that we're wired to feel loss far more strongly than gain.

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