Hello everybody, welcome to episode 119 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino and today we’ll be delving into a topic that pertains to a struggle that I share with our listener. We’re gonna hone in on over thinking today and hopefully put a whole new spin on it in place of the one we’re used to. Let’s take a look at this question and hear what our listener has to say on overthinking and judging herself…
QUESTION: “Even before someone else can judge me I tend to judge myself, and more often than not judge myself for them. I cannot help wondering why everyone is thinking X, Y or Z about me even if they probably are not.
How can I overcome or get over this OVERthinking? No matter what situation there is I begin to analyze it to the T and then when I realize what I am doing I start to analyze/judge myself on that as well. What is the best way to control my mind? Just a note – please don't say meditation or mindfulness because I've tried that and I simply cannot.”
Overthinking Might Be Part of Who You Are
Ok, so mindfulness and meditation are off the table. No worries. Oddly enough, I’m not sure I would’ve said them anyway. I mean they’re typically great for this type of thing, but certainly not what I would’ve leaned on for the duration of the episode.
Anyway, it sounds to me that being an over thinker is just part of who you are – which is ok. Some people can’t help but to be messy. Some people are naturally prone to addiction. And the list goes on. And the thing about all of these “downfalls” that we often don’t realize amidst all the trouble they bring is the fact that they’re all necessary flip sides of something much better.
If you want to be on the go, be present and have lots of free time, messiness is a common byproduct of that. If you want to have very high levels of focus and an ability to do things very thoroughly, addiction is a common byproduct of that.
Of course this isn’t always how this shakes out, but you can usually guarantee that each undesirable tendency we have is necessary because it mirrors a good tendency we have.
How Has Overthinking Helped You Previously?
I’m right there with you. I’m absolutely an over thinker. And for a while it was also the bane of my existence. Meditating was hard, as I was trying to abide by what I thought were these conventional rules of meditation and trying to shut my brain up. It was affecting so many areas of life that I saw everyone else doing seamlessly.
But do you think I could host this podcast if I wasn’t an over thinker? It’d be a lot harder if my natural tendency wasn’t to assess things from a lot of different angles. So what have I done? I’ve embraced this overthinking to the point that I make a living by doing the overthinking for other people, and in case you haven’t heard, I absolutely love doing this show.
And this what I think is how you start to heal your relationship with your overthinking – find your own version of Optimal Living Advice.
So to do that, take some time to reflect on over thinking in a way that I’m guessing you haven’t done before.
How has it helped you in the past and how will it help you in the future? Have you improved on certain parts of yourself that you wouldn’t have caught had you not been over thinking? How can you use this power to help others?
Advantages of Overthinking
Essentially what I’m saying is that it’s time to start looking for the advantages of overthinking, and the more you do that and use those advantages to create good in your life, you might even find yourself forgetting that you’re an over thinker all together.
As they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, so if you can start to take action like this, it will stand to change your relationship with the concept of overthinking, and all any of us ever have is our perceptions of things.
And please know that I say all this not to tell you to lie to yourself, but to encourage you to accept over thinking for what it is through and through. Like anything in life, it’s layered.
Negative Thoughts about Judging Yourself
It definitely came from somewhere – both the over thinking itself and the negative thoughts about judging yourself that come with it. As a matter of fact, wherever this came from may very well be found by tracing back through the things you think that others are thinking about you, and thus the ways in which you are judging yourself. But if you do want to stop being an over thinker, going down the rabbit hole (probably with the help of a counselor) needs to be preceded by the acceptance I’m covering today and by making an effort to work with what you’ve got.
I think you have to start on that before you stand a chance at any long term strategies to eradicate it, and mind you, once you’ve started to turn your over thinking into something good, you may not want to eradicate it at all. That might sound like an unrealistic or at least distant fantasy right now, but depending on how much good you’re able to extract from over thinking, it’s entirely possible.
Challenge Your Thoughts
Make your primary focus right now challenging your thoughts about over thinking as opposed to getting rid of it. You said in your question “No matter what situation there is I begin to analyze it to the T and then when I realize what I am doing I start to analyze/judge myself on that as well.”
That tells me that half of your battle is the judging of yourself, the feeling bad about feeling bad, the negative self-commentary. What you’re doing is doubling your struggle very quickly, and it’s more due to how you perceive your over thinking than the over thinking itself.
Judging Yourself and Overthinking: Cutting the Struggle in Half
The perception of over thinking is much quicker to get through than figuring out where it stems from, so start there. Your mind will be half as erratic, or twice as calm without all the self-shaming.
Work on that first, cut the struggle in half, and go from there.
To the woman who sent this question in, I thank you, from one over thinker to another. Maybe I’m not the best company to be in, but you’re stuck with me so get used to it. And don’t you worry, there are many of us out there, I promise you.
You might want to check on Dr. Neal's advice on Optimal Health Daily, where he recently answered another listener's question on how to deal with overthinking.
And I have a sneaking suspicion that a large number even tune into this show. Well good news for them and everyone is that we are always here to answer your questions, so send them on in, friends. Email your questions to advice AT oldpodcast DOT com
That’s where we take them, love them and turn them into episodes. So don’t hold back. That does it for now, though. Thank you for being here everyone, and I can’t wait to talk to you guys in the next one. Until then.