For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an over-thinker. I will over-think every little detail until it drives me insane and my mood plummets fifty feet into the ground and I spend my evening crying over a problem I’ve conjured up in my head.
It’s come to my attention that my over-thinking has gotten worse since I started my blog. Understandably, I guess, as I put time and effort into writing and creating and then put it out into the world. A world where what I create might not be everyone’s cup of tea and my writing style might not match someones preferences and what if I say the wrong thing and offend someone? And oh, god, I’ve spent hours on this and people might not like it. Never mind spending hours writing, have you spent enough time reading blogs and supporting people today? It’s like my brain goes into overdrive and ignores all logic.
Throw social media and numbers into the mix and you have the perfect recipe for a meltdown. Will this photo get enough likes on Insta? Am I going to reach my follower goal on Twitter? Is anyone actually click the link and read this post? Will I get enough comments? Why hasn’t this person liked it? Ugh. It’s exhausting.
Why do I over-think?
I’ve always been a bit of a pessimist, so it’s no wonder that I’m better at rumination than introspection. For reference, introspection involves healthy self-reflection where rumination is more like a vicious cycle of negative and demoralising thinking. In simpler terms, I put myself down a lot and spend most of my time doubting myself.
My inner critic speaks very loudly, so instead of looking at what I have achieved, I listen to this little devil telling me ‘it’s not good enough’.
This year I’ve decided I want to try to put a stop to my irrational worrying, and so after a bit of research, I’ve come up with a few things to do when I start over-thinking.
1. Notice when I think too much
As with most things, the first step to overcoming something is to acknowledge it and actively take note. By paying attention to the way you think and noticing when you’re worrying about things beyond your control, you can acknowledge that your thoughts aren’t productive.
2. Challenge my thoughts
When you let one negative thought creep in, it’s highly likely that more will follow. Instead of getting carried away with them, it’s important to conclude that it’s possible you’re being irrational and exaggeratedly negative. So call out these thoughts. Putting up a fight before starting to spiral downwards into the negative frenzy that I’m so used to.
3. Distract my mind
There’s nothing worse than telling yourself to stop doing something you don’t want to be doing, it just adds fire to fire and makes it worse. The more you try to avoid over-thinking the thing you’re over-thinking, the more likely it’ll keep haunting your mind. So to overcome this, I’m going to make it my mission to do whatever it takes to keep my mind focused away from the negative thoughts; be it exercising, or reading a book or engaging in conversation with someone – sounds like the perfect way to keep up with my goals.
3. Focus on the solution
Dwelling on your problems is a bit like shooting yourself in the foot; annoying and counterproductive. It’s not helpful in the slightest, but looking for a solution is. So instead of obsessing over why something didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, I’m going to try to what I can do to avoid the problem in the future, or what I can do to make it better. Productive thinking, huzzah!
4. Unplug a bit more
Half of the obsession with the numbers game for me is being present online all the time. I’ve noticed my screen time go up a significant amount over the past couple of months and I’m not a fan of it. There’s definitely a fear of missing out with not constantly tweeting and engaging, but if people are going to up and leave because I haven’t been active for a couple of hours then they possibly aren’t real fans of what I’m doing, and that’s okay. So I’m going to take myself away from social media a bit more, and tell myself I don’t have to be guilty for it.
5. Stop comparing yourself to others
It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to other people and what they’re doing and how successful they are. The thing about blogging is that it’s different for everyone. Everyone has their own way of going about things and a different idea about what a blog post entails and their own niche of topics. What I’m getting at is that most of the time, one blog isn’t really comparable to another blog so comparing yourself to another blogger is pointless. When I start doing this, I’m going to remind myself why I started blogging in the first place and get back to that.
6. Schedule time for reflection
It’s highly possible that even when actively trying everything to stop stewing on your problems, we’re only human after all. So I read up about giving yourself 20 minutes a day just to ruminate and worry and mull over all the negative thoughts you have floating around in your head, and when that time is over, you snap yourself back into reality and move on with your life. When the negative thoughts crop up outside of this time, just remind yourself that you can think about it later – I’m a pro at procrastinating so this shouldn’t be too hard, right?
Do you have any tips./trick you use to stop yourself from over-thinking?