I’m GREAT at talking myself into and out of things, convincing myself this meant that and that meant this, and that I SHOULD DEFINITELY do this, and definitely NOT do that. This kind of over-active solitary thinking is rarely in my best interest (I know this when I’m not doing it), but it often happens before I even recognize it. Like the heart beats, the brain thinks. We think because we’re human, and if we’re big thinkers, getting caught in a state of analysis paralysis is frighteningly easy, really. Add in Google and it’s a miracle any of us actually get anything done in a day. If you’re anything like me, to protect yourself from the never-ending spiral that is over-anazlyzing, try to avoid these five habits.
Making an important decision without actually talking about it first
With solitude and over-analysis often comes anxiety, which isn’t a supportive state to make any big decision from. Before arriving at any conclusion (like whether there was a jerk tone in that text or whether I did or didn’t deserve it or that I’m really NOT doing enough and so I definitely need three more jobs), talk it out with someone IRL. If nothing else, hearing yourself express your concerns out loud will bring more clarity.
Going to bed with your phone right next to you
The “unplug 30 minutes before bed” rule is even more important for over-analzyers. Drifting off to sleep 10 seconds after going over texts or emails keeps the brain in a humming state of activity. This is a recipe for a terrible sleep, which is a recipe for even more over-analyzing. Doing something that takes me out of my head and into shut-down mode is a must before sleep.
Not practicing mindfulness
Doing a 10-minute guided meditation (I heart Headspace) to start the day, and not doing it is the difference between night and day. This tames the monkey mind and makes frantic over-analyzing less likely to happen, I’ve found. It’s about bringing the focus back to the present moment, and the more you do it, the easier it gets to do it effortlessly, like a muscle.
Not knowing what scheduling system works for you
If you’re one of those crazy people who don’t need any sort of schedule to keep them from going off the rails and forgetting how to spell their own name, then disregard this one. But to me, keeping a paper agenda and having a wall calendar hanging in my place isn’t just about keeping myself accountable for my work and commitments, but also about reminding me that I’m actually in control of all this. It’s helpful to be able to remind myself exactly how much time I really have, and also that I have the power to make time, anytime, by scheduling something.
Not doing activities that get you back in your body
I spend so much time writing and researching for work, which I love. But it’s so important to balance this super-cerebral activity with something that requires using my hands and not so much my brains, when I want to relax. I have to make a point to do collage, do yoga, go running or do adult colouring, as opposed to something like “writing for fun,” or reading nonfiction, which doesn’t necessarily turn off my active mind. Getting back in my body is a daily need, and when I don’t do it, I definitely notice.