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Why Overthinking Is a Bad Way to Solve Your Problems

Melli O'Brien



Melli O'Brien



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Why Overthinking Is a Bad Way to Solve Your Problems

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Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

Today, I'm going to talk about

why overthinking is a bad

way to solve your problems.

So your mind is a little

bit like a muscle.

We, of course, want to use it regularly.

We want to use our minds to plan

our goals and the steps to move

towards them, to figure things

out, solve things and learn things.

But like any other muscle in

our body there is a point where

working at more is really just

unhelpful, even painful and damaging.

Just like overexercising,

overthinking can really end up

being quite counter-productive.

In fact research shows that overthinking,

which most commonly comes in the forms of

rumination and worry, often leads us down

the path towards anxiety and depression.

So Dr.

Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, a Yale professor who

has spent her life studying overthinking

calls it the secret to unhappiness.

She notes that the more we

engage in overthinking, the more

miserable we tend to become.

So what we really want to start to get

good at is recognizing anytime we're

getting stuck in overthinking, especially

when we are ruminating or worrying.

And then once we've recognized that

we want to choose a more empowering,

a more helpful way forward.

So start to try to catch yourself

in those times when you notice

that your mind is racing.

It's just sort of tossing a problem

around like a broken record or when you

start to feel more and more worked up and

stressed as you continue to think about

something for hours or days or even weeks.

And whenever you notice that

habit of overthinking, you catch

yourself, just mentally noting to

yourself, ah, I'm overthinking.

So mentally noting in this

way helps you step back from

the thoughts and let them go.

Then commit to constructive

problem-solving instead.

Constructive problem solving is

where you make a deliberate time to

just sit and think clearly about the

different options and possibilities.

Then, if possible, you make a decision or

a plan, and after that, you just leave it.


So conversely to that, rumination and

worry, is when you just toss around a

problem in your head without any true

intention to solve it in that moment.

It really isn't helpful or useful

to continue doing that all the time.

All it does is make us really stressed

and anxious and kind of mentally

cluttered so we actually can't solve our

problems when we can't think clearly.

So if this makes sense to you, resonates

with you and you want to try this in

your life, just every time you find

yourself overthinking, just remember

catch yourself, mentally note, and

then commit to making a time for

constructive problem solving instead.

You might be able to do that

immediately in the moment or you

can set a time to do it later.

After you set that time or do it in

the immediate moment, you can let

everything go knowing that you have

a dedicated time to work things out

and right now you can be in peace.

So by letting go of overthinking, you'll

be able to solve your problems more

effectively and maintain more inner peace.

You can take action on the

things that matter, let go of

the things that don't and be more

present to enjoy your daily life.

I hope this is helpful for you.

And as always, thank you for your

practice and your presence here.

Let's settle in for meditation.

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