Tuesday, June 22

How to Use Overthinking to Your Advantage

If you’re anything like me, overthinking is a common, if not daily, occurrence. 

Your head is spinning a million different directions, filled with thoughts buzzing around. Some believe this pattern of thinking is bad, like it’s a one-way ticket to self-destruction. But in my own life, I have discovered it to be a superpower that if used correctly can bring endless opportunities into your life. 

As an entrepreneur, the list of decisions are endless; marketing strategies, financial decisions, hiring selections, to name a few. So knowing how to make decisions quickly, and not get stuck in a tornado of rumination could be the key to your success.

Being entrepreneurial, there is a level of craziness that lives within you. Instead of ridding yourself of this aspect, learn how to manage it, and use it to your advantage. After all, this is a characteristic that is truly a gift. 

When it comes to overthinking, I have identified these three tips for leveraging this thought process for good.

1. Establish boundaries.

It is okay to overthink as long as you are aware of where your mind is going and have structures in place to elevate, not hinder the process of progress. You need to have a solid foundation to allow your mind to grow.

Preemptively establish guardrails to bounce you back towards your internal compass when you enter a session of deep thought. This could look like applying time limits to a topic, removing certain external opinions, or establishing a specific time and place to allow your mind to freely think. 

2. Recognize your patterns.

Are you thinking from a place of anxiety and lack, or are you thinking from a place of abundance and power? To me, the answer to this question is what differentiates people who use their minds in brilliant ways, and people who simply overthink with no outcome.

When I’m overthinking, more likely than not, it’s stemming from a place of anxiety. When I start to recognize anxiety creeping in, my mind begins to pick up speed. Instead of coming from a place of power and inspiration, it is ramping up from fear. The more I begin to recognize this pattern, the easier it becomes to redirect and refocus back to a productive state of mind.

Start to recognize when you’re about to fall into a pattern that is operating from lack versus abundance, and lean on your established guardrails to send you back towards using your mind as the brilliant tool it is.  

3. Switch into gratitude.

Regardless of setting boundaries and understanding your patterns, there will be moments where you still need help to harness your mind. Oftentimes, overthinking sends you into thoughts of the past or concerns about the future. In these moments, it comes down to sinking into something that grounds you back into the present. 

Establish anchors within your mind that can replace the overthinking pattern. Instead of getting frustrated with yourself, practice gratitude. Think, “I am grateful for what I am feeling because it is allowing me to…”. Instead of sending your thoughts to frustration, anger, or anxiety, focus on the root of what is causing this emotional response. Oftentimes, this is where the gold lies, where you discover the problem as well as the solution.

When I’m in a happy positive and grateful place, I’m buzzing with ideas. There’s nothing negative about any of it. I’m allowed to live in this hyperdrive state because I know something great is going to come out of it. 

Breathe, affirm, relax, and then come back to the thought process with power.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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