There are a lot of positive things about being analytical. Being analytical allows you to make better decisions, develop a deeper understanding of the world around you and become a more successful person.
There is a fine line, however, between being analytical and overthinking everything.
Overthinking is detrimental to a person’s happiness and almost never makes a situation turn out any better than it would have otherwise. It also leads to indecisiveness, which can prevent a person from taking action when action is needed the most.
According to Amy Morin, “Whether they’re beating themselves up over a mistake they made yesterday, or they’re fretting about how they’re going to succeed tomorrow, over-thinkers are plagued by distressing thoughts. Their inability to get out of their own heads leaves them in a state of constant anguish.”
Though, it can be a difficult cycle to break, here are three simple steps to stop overthinking and take back your sanity.
1. Accept that not Everything has an Answer
Not everything in the world is meant to be understood, and not everything has an answer. People who are overthinkers have a tendency to try and find the underlying cause and effect behind everything that happens.
Unfortunately, we live in a complex world, where cause and effect is often times a near-endless web. Trying to unravel this web and follow every line of cause and effect will only lead to heartache.
Just accept that not everything has an answer. Sometimes, things just happen, either for no reason at all or for reasons so complex and unrelated that trying to figure them out is pointless.
This is a difficult fact for analytical people to accept. As analytics, we want to get to the bottom of everything and find the underlying truth. Most of the time though, there is no underlying truth to find, leaving us searching down one rabbit hole after another for something that isn’t there.
Accepting that not everything has a clear-cut answer and not every effect has an easily identifiable cause takes a lot of patience and maturity. If you can come to truly accept this fact, though, your life will be a lot less stressful.
2. Think Big with Small Steps
You need to stay focused on the big picture. Too often, overthinkers get hung up on a single situation. It consumes them, keeping them focused on it for far too long and inhibiting them from seeing the bigger picture.
Don’t get so caught up in the details that you forget what’s really important. As long as you are staying focused on the big picture, you can avoid getting bogged down by the why’s and how’s of a single event.
At the same time, though, it’s also important to take life one step at a time. Overthinkers are as guilty of getting caught up worrying about the future or how it’s all going to come together as they are guilty of getting hung up on a single event.
The best way to approach this predicament is to keep an eye on the big picture while taking the small steps you need to get there.
Don’t get so caught up on a single step that you stop progressing forward. At the same time, don’t get so caught up on the big picture that you begin to wonder aimlessly and lose focus of the steps you need to be taking to get there.
Truth be told, it’s a delicate balance, but it’s one that’s well worth finding.
3. Have a Clear Vision
Overthinkers are often times easily distracted and sidetracked.
Their thoughts are hijacked and derailed, and it’s almost like the person themselves are suddenly trapped in a line of thought that they have almost no control over.
To prevent these distractions from taking over your mind, it’s important to have a clear vision.
This could mean having a clear vision for what you hope to accomplish today, a clear vision for what you hope to accomplish with the rest of your life, or anything in-between.
The point is that if you stay focused on your goals and vision for your life, it’ll be much easier to overlook situations and events that might otherwise hijack your mind and force you to dwell on them for far more time than they are worth.
Having a clear vision is crucial no matter what you are trying to accomplish, but it is especially important for people who have a tendency to overthink situations.
Develop a clear and concise plan for yourself, stick to it, and don’t let tiny roadblocks become so large that they get in your way.
Let Your Mind Be Free
Highly analytical people are born with both a gift and curse.
Though thinking through a situation before you act is an excellent trait, it’s often far too easy to slide down the slippery slope of overthinking.
Thankfully, there are ways to filter out the negative aspects of being highly analytical and leave yourself with only the positive.
Remember that almost no good ever comes from overthinking events and situations, and often times doing so only leads to even worse results. In most cases, the simplest answer is the right one, and in many cases, there is no right answer at all.
By accepting this fact, focusing on what’s important, and developing a clear vision for your life, you can avoid falling into the trap of overthinking.
As the saying goes, don’t make mountains out of molehills. Give each situation only the amount of thought that it really deserves, then move on. You’ll find that your life is much happier and stress-free if you do.
Kolyanne Russ is an Accounting Manager with CPA designation for one of the largest commercial real estate companies in North America. She is also a founder of Pinch of Attitude blog. It focuses on attitude-building, self-improvement, and lifestyle design to help people draw the right action plan and achieve a desirable balance between success and happiness. Her goal is to share her personal experiences as a guidance for others to learn from and build the life of their dreams and experience true happiness in every area of their life.