How To Stop Overthinking Things

A girlfriend of mine recently ended what was a very short-term relationship. To be more exact, he ended it, and he did it rather abruptly (this is not the same story from the last blog post:).

She was in shock. She didn’t understand what happened. He took a sharp left turn when she was headed straight.

She was confused and hurt, and she couldn’t stop THINKING about it, trying to FIGURE IT OUT what went wrong.

Now of course, one has every right to feel disappointed and sad when something doesn’t work out the way you had hoped. Letting your feelings run their course is so important.

But the non-stop thinking about it is often where we get tripped up. It’s as if we are certain that by mulling it over in our minds, non-stop, we will come up with a good solution.

This happens to the best of us when it comes to our relationships, our businesses and even our bodies.

When I was putting together a yoga inspired video for my Shrink Session members, I asked them what kinds of themes and mantras they felt like they most wanted.

A few responses were as follows:

If I could have a little recording of you, in my right ear saying, “STOP THINKING & WORRYING SO MUCH ABOUT THE DAMN FUTURE. FOCUS ON NOW.” That would be great.”

“I would love to find more freedom and less drama, rush, and worry.”

“I wish I could eliminate thoughts of guilt that I experience when I take an hour to myself to stay healthy.”

Whether it’s stress, worry, guilt or anxiety, almost all the responses were about wanting and needing permission to LET GO.

Not such a surprise that Frozen’s “Let it Go” is an all-time hit song.

So, let’s talk about worried overthinking.

Intrusive or worried thinking convinces you that there is actually an ultimate answer, a final destination, and if you got there you would finally feel relief, free from your stress and worry.

Here is how it usually works: A thought comes up that hooks you in. You feel a sudden sense of panic.

This panic may be mild or severe, but it takes you down the rabbit hole of doubt and discomfort.

While you are down in the rabbit hole, spinning in a deeper pool of worry, you desperately try to figure out, fix, or come up with a solution that will somehow quiet that first intrusive thought.

Before you know it, you have spent the last 30 minutes feeling uneasy, doubtful, and stressed.  Now no matter how hard you try, you can’t shut it down.

We have all been there and it’s no fun. It’s the ego’s way of having a field day. I am not saying that one shouldn’t carefully consider what’s been learned from an experience, or be a discerning and/or thoughtful human being; my sense is that most of us overdo it in the THINKING department.

So today, I want to give you a rather strange challenge.

NO THINKING ALLOWED. 

I realize this sounds extreme and nearly impossible, but hear me out.

I promise you with every ounce of my being that your subconscious mind, your emotional spirit, your cells, your body and TIME are already doing all the figuring out for you.

All of these things are actively finding solutions, healing things and working out big life questions. In fact, it is happening 24/7.  Even when (and probably mostly when) you are sleeping.

In some ways believing that you really need to ‘think about it’ or ‘figure something out’ is sort of like putting a packet of sugar on sugar donut.

Don’t get me wrong, I like sweets, but that extra packet would surely be overkill. It ALREADY has the sugar.

Your mind is always thinking, no matter what. You don’t have to encourage more of it.

So what does NO THINKING look like and how do you do it?

I invite you to feel into relaxation and trust that your mind/body/spirit will do the figuring out on it’s own, without ‘your’ help. (Isn’t that a relief?!)

I invite you to decide that it is safe for you to LET GO, with the assurance that you don’t need to do all the ‘work’ to get a wonderful outcome.

Every time you catch yourself taking one step towards that rabbit hole, you can simply say to yourself, “Nope. No thinking today.”

Funny enough, this is the assignment my coach gives me almost every week. Inevitably, when I follow the instructions, I feel lighter, more in love, and new ideas bubble up because I am not so consumed with the questions that really can’t be answered.

Early next week, I’m sharing something that will help you further experience the LETTING GO while also helping you to slow down and allow the flow of LIFE in a little bit more. I truly can’t wait for you to try it.

Here is a little sneak peak into some of the mantras we will be using. Feel free to use them for yourself today:

In the meantime, please, no thinking. It may be hazardous for your health:)

If you and have a friend who you know is an over thinker/worrier, be a pal and invite them to to join you in No Thinking this weekend. Two minds not thinking are better than one mind overthinking.

And of course, I always invite you to  leave a comment with your thoughts. Wait, I mean your non-thoughts. Your non-thinking thoughts.

Wow, this could get very meta.

Have a wonderful non-thinking weekend and see you early next week with the goodies.

Love
Erin

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16 Responses to How To Stop Overthinking Things

  1. Amy Hill says:

    Oh my goodness!!!!! YEA YES! This is what I need! I have mosts defiantly been over thinking the last couple weeks and stressing about not eating healthy enough and not working out enough. I am going to admit that I still haven’t lost the weight I have gained from my first 2 kids and get rather depressed about it quite often. I would like to have another one but worry and stress about getting my weight down before I get pregnant again. But I love my kids and if the weight I have gained is the price I paid it was totally worth it. But it also doesn’t have to be. I can change it, but I need to not stress about it! Just do my best and let go of the rest!!! And some days my best is definitely better than others. I definitely need to NOT THINK! And I am stoked to challenge myself with this not thinking weekend!!!

    Thanks Erin!!!! Your emails/posts are always exactly what I seam to need!!!!

    Amy

    • Erin says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Amy. Yes, I agree, the overthinking in this area of our bodies can keep us really stuck. Mostly because it is likely critical thinking and that is NEVER helpful, as you know.

      See if you can practice ‘no thinking’ this weekend and see how it feels. If it feels good, practice a little more.

      And when it comes time to planning a workout, no thinking before your workout either. Because it is very easy for us to ‘think’ our way out of it:)

      xo

  2. Lupita says:

    Reading this first thing this morning makes me bealive in Angels! Thank Thank you! Just what i need it! Thank you Erin for all you do <3 :))

  3. Liz says:

    I cannot wait for early next week. Love these mantras.

  4. renee says:

    Love this! I was just reading last night about being “awake” to our thoughts. The idea is that we begin to notice that our mind never stops, realize our thoughts are just thoughts . . . let them move (because they do, right! once second and they are gone!).

    This morning I put this into practice–getting the 6 of us out of the house by 7:30 am. Whenever I started the “OMG we are going to; miss, be late, forget, . . .” I instead opened up my inner Zen Mommy focused on one thing at a time giving my all to that one moment.

    Your mantras are so awesome! Thank you.

  5. Tim says:

    Perfect message for me today. Thx, E!

  6. Melanie says:

    This was exactly what I needed to hear today! Thank you!

  7. Kerry says:

    So strange! I am going through the same situation as your friend. My boyfriend broke up with me out of the blue after having been discussing marriage and our “future” about a week ago.

  8. Kirsten says:

    I have been compiling a list of mantras, and I’m adding this one to the list! Thanks, Erin!

  9. Jill smith says:

    Hey Erin
    Great message
    I’m 55 , 3 children 30,24,&20 yrs old, married for 35 yrs. Two years ago my husband told me he couldn’t live like this anymore. I had know idea what he was talking about. The only thing he has been able to tell me is ” he thought I didn’t love him and it’s just all that stuff”. He also said he was waiting to leave after our youngest daughter graduated from high school
    We are separated and we have gone to counseling but he was already checked out He was just going through the motion to he could say he tried. I have been trying to figure out the why! for two yrs. I want to STOP thinking about.
    It was a God thing that I opened up your email.
    Thanks

  10. Amie says:

    What a great post, Erin! It reminded me of something my yoga teacher would always tell us, “Stop having imaginings about further events.” I let this come to my mind as I am running for the rabbit hole!

  11. Emily says:

    Wow! Your blogs seem to be so timely in my life as of late. I took a chance and changed jobs, finding the new one to be stressful and my constant analyzing of whether or not I made the right decision. Being a worrier, I often struggle with living in the now. I would love a new workout or meditation with some of those positive mantras. Thankfully I have your videos and keep doing the summer workout routines to help me get physically relaxed and also with the positive mental boost that I (of late) find I need more of. Thank you for your wisdom, insight and positive views!

  12. Sherri says:

    It’s funny, i was just having a conversation with my mother the other day about wishing I had a button to shut off my thinking! I am a worrier and I overthink ALOT. My 4 year relationship with who I though was my soulmate just ended a month ago. Myself being the one that made the move because of a lot of conflict. My mind is spinning with ‘why, what if, is it all because of me(because he tells me it is), etc. I’m at the point where I dont even know where to turn or how to think. So I want to stop, so badly. Is it yoga or meditation that would help me best to slow my mind down so I can think…or I should say not think?
    It might sound a litttle crazy, but this assignment is probably the hardest assignment I could ever try to do. But I’m going to try!
    Thank you Erin!

  13. Jamie says:

    I don’t know how you do it, but lately your blogpost have been nailing it for me. I’ve spent most of this year trying to live in the moment and not let things that could happen, might happen, should happen worry me. It’s been helping a lot! I’m trying to apply that to my dating life as well and I’m hoping it helps more.

  14. Kevin Decoteau says:

    Ummm okay, I’ll think about doing it 🙂

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