041: Are You an Overthinker?

What is an overthinker?  My definition is the way I’ve lived for years.  Thinking and thinking about something and thinking that I would be able to solve a problem or figure out the perfect way to do something just by thinking about it more.  And then never taking action.

Sound familiar at all?

Spoiler alert:  Thinking is NOT action.

I mean, if we were to look really carefully about what makes us feel overburdened, is there a bigger piece to the cause of that than overthinking????

I googled overthinking, cuz why wouldn’t I, and this was the definition I found there:

Overthinking is when you dwell or worry about the same thought repeatedly. People who overthink can be paralyzed by their worries and may struggle to make decisions or take action. Overthinking can be caused by — and can contribute to — depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

Amen to that!  I would actually tweak that definition at the end a bit and say that the majority of depression and anxiety is caused by overthinking, not just a contributor. 

When you are caught in a thought spirial, thinking about all the things you could have done differently, second-guessing every decision you make, and imagining all the worst-case scenarios in life, it is truly exhausting.

Like me, you may have even convinced yourself that thinking about something for a really long time is the key to developing the best solution. I have come to learn that not only is that not the case, but nothing takes you further away from a solution than just thinking about it.

In fact, the longer you think about something, the less time and energy you have to take productive action.

Of course, everyone overthinks sometimes. It’s what our brains are designed to do.  The brain was created to solve problems.  I think the brain actually believes it can do it all on its own.

 Like that mass inside our skull can do anything on its own.  That’s actually pretty funny to think about!!!

I’ve talked about ruminating—which is rehashing the same things over and over again, on this podcast before and we all know that it isn’t helpful. In order to lighten the overburdened feelings we experience, overthinking has to go.

In my small way, I’m here to help with that.

Today I’m introducing our next Book Club Book:  Soundtracks by Jon Acuff

I laughed out loud reading this book on a drive home from a weekend vacation.  My husband kept side-eyeing me like…what is so funny?  I don’t think I’ve ever L O L’ed while reading a book before, especially in the small space of a car.  I just couldn’t help myself.  But this book isn’t a comedy.  It has really changed the way I think….literally.

I wanted to read to you from the front of the book jacket:

Overthinking isn’t a personality trait.  It’s the sneakiest form of fear.  It steals time, creativity, and goals.  It’s the most expensive, least productive thing companies invest in without even knowing it.  And it’s an epidemic. 

In Soundtracks, New York Times bestselling author Jon Acuff offers a proven plan to change overthinking from a super problem into a superpower.

If you want to tap into the surprising power of overthinking and give your dreams more time and creativity, learn now to DJ the soundtracks that define you.  If you can worry, you can wonder.  If you can doubt, you can dominate.  If you can spin, you can soar.

When I read this book, I felt like someone had scraped the inner most part of my brain and dissected it.  I knew I was an overthinker, but I didn’t realize how wide spread of a problem it is and how much of my life it was affecting.

I’m going to share more of my thoughts about this book when we do the review in 3 months but I wanted to share some quotes, just to get you excited to read the book.

-“Learn how to turn overthinking from a super problem into a superpower!”

-“One of the greatest mistakes you can make in life is assuming all your thoughts are true.”

-“Good days start with good thoughts.”

-“The flip side of criticism is curiosity.  The flip side of saying no is saying yes.  The flip side of declaring why it won’t work is discovering why it could.”

-“The antidote to overthinking isn’t more thinking—The antidote is ACTION!”

-“When you don’t choose a soundtrack to listen to, the music doesn’t stop.  You just hear a bunch of songs you don’t like”

  Jon Acuff

I also wanted to share a few things he listed as:

50 Turn-Down Techniques You Can Use Today When Your Broken Soundtracks Get Loud:

I’m not going to share 50, just a few of my favorites so even if you don’t read the book, you’ll have a few things to try to quiet down the negative soundtracks that play in your mind:

-Put something back where it belongs.

-Take a nap.

-Write a thank-you note to someone using actual paper and actual stamps and your actual handwriting.

-Text something encouraging to a friend

-Try a meditation app like Headspace or Calm for 10 minutes

-Spend a few minutes in a coloring book

-Write it out.  Don’t let the broken soundtracks just spin in your head.  Shrink them down to size by putting them on a piece of paper.

Here’s a thought of mine from that last one:

Maybe those thoughts just want to be seen!  Remember my book from my childhood I shared a few episodes ago…There’s no such thing as a dragon? 

Sometimes those thoughts just want to be recognized and when you give them a little bit of light, they go away. 

Nothing does this better for me than journaling.

Just write whatever you hear in your head.  Sometimes when I see them written out on paper, I realize how “not” true they are.  When they spin in my head, they just get bigger and bigger and cause emotions to build up in me that are just not necessary.  Usually, they’re not even true.  Just another plug from me for journaling.  Stop the spinning by taking a minute to write it down!  I was glad to read from another source that this method actually works.

I am excited to hear what soundtracks you take from his suggestions and what you create on your own.  Grab this book and a hand mirror(I’ll leave that to Mr. Acuff to explain that one to you) and get to work on changing the way you talk to yourself.  It’s Really good stuff!

I’ll leave you with one last quote from the book,

“When YOU pick the soundtracks you listen to the most, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.”

And I really like the sound of that!

041: Are You an Overthinker?
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