A person who thinks all the time – an overthinker – is in danger of letting life pass them by.
If you’re always trapped in your thoughts, you’re never experiencing the present moment. Instead, you’re stuck in the past or the future.
When this happens, you’ve lost touch with reality. You’re now in a fantasy world.
The present moment is the only space where real life happens. Everything else is just a world of illusion.
When people can get out of their heads and into the present moment, they’re far more likely to be living their lives to the fullest. It’s certainly when people are at their happiest.
The problem is: it can be tough to escape an overthinking habit. A lot of people stay stuck in a compulsive repetition of unhelpful thoughts throughout their entire lives.
In my role as a life coach, this is a problem I’m often helping clients to overcome.
That’s why I’m excited to publish this guide, illustrating six ways to coach yourself out of excessive thinking.
Let’s dive right into it.
6 Ideas To Coach Yourself Out Of Excessive Thinking
Below, I’ve listed my favorite recommendations for a person who thinks all the time. These tips should help them get back in touch with reality and enjoy a more fulfilling existence on this planet.
1. Understand The Power Of The Present Moment
Here’s a great quote to help you understand the power of living in the present moment.
“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu
Indeed, most negative thoughts come from dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. There’s almost no benefit to doing this. You can’t change the past, nor predict the future. Visiting these illusionary spaces typically does nothing to help you in the real world, other than spark fear, anxiety, nostalgia and other bad feelings within you.
What’s more, when you’re stuck in your thoughts, you lose touch with reality and fail to experience the joys of the amazing world you actually live in.
Have you ever failed to have fun at a great occasion, because you were too busy worrying about the past or future? No doubt, the event was spoiled. Perhaps it felt like you weren’t even there? We don’t become any happier for escaping reality like this. In fact, it usually makes our lives far more stressful.
Here’s another great quote that really puts things into perspective.
“A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So he loses touch with reality, and lives in a world of illusion.” – Alan Watts
The crazy thing is: most over-thinkers do this all the time.
On the other hand, when you let go of your thoughts, you put your mind at peace and it feels amazing.
This is the feeling most of us work hard and chase money to obtain.
We enjoy engaging in our hobbies because they help us escape our thoughts and enjoy the present moment. This is also why we like spending time with friends and family.
What about the other things we consider ‘fun’? Going on vacation. Listening to music. Watching movies, sports or other entertainment. We do all of these things for the same ultimate reason too.
Then, there are more toxic habits like drinking, taking drugs or stuffing our faces with comfort food, which we also engage in to numb our conscious thoughts. The only difference here is: these activities don’t make us more present to reality and are bad for our long-term health.
Anyway, before you continue reading, I urge you to reflect on these ideas.
Once you understand how happy that presence can make humans, it’ll hopefully motivate you to do whatever it takes to escape your habit of overthinking.
Related: Ways To Overcome Shallow Thinking
2. Understand Why We Overthink
A person who thinks all the time often does so out of fear.
The scholarly man might often fill his brain with unnecessary thoughts, so he loses the ability to confront his insecurities.
What do I really want to do with my life? What am I running away from? Why aren’t I happy in my own skin?
It can be painful to ask ourselves these questions – and one way of avoiding them is by consuming our minds with more shallow and ultimately unimportant data instead.
This video from The School Of Life explains more:
It’s also common to overthink due to fear of failure.
Most people understand that the best way to discover the path of success is by taking action, failing a few times and learning from their mistakes. After all, experience is a much greater teacher than theory.
Yet, many people are terrified of the shame and embarrassment that supposedly comes with failure. So, instead, they indulge in calculating the perfect way of doing something without ever having to fail.
Deep down, they know this is the wrong way of doing things; a fruitless diversion tactic that can easily result in them never taking the first step towards their dream lives. Still, it’s a phase that many people struggle to escape.
The first step to escaping this perfection trap is to logically understand that over-preparing comes from fear of taking action – and that the most successful people in this world are those who took relentless action and failed their way to success.
Once you understand that, it’s all about finding the bravery to do the same.
3. Realize You Can’t Think Your Way Into A Better Mood
If you’re feeling anxious, depressed or unmotivated, it’ll always be difficult to think your way out of it.
As Tony Robbins famously says: “Motion creates emotion”
These three simple words mean you’re far better off taking action to shift yourself into a positive mindset. This moves you out of thoughts into your body, and most likely into the present moment.
The 5 Second Rule is a useful exercise to help you avoid overthinking and engage in action-taking.
It’s as simple as realizing what you want to do, counting backwards from five and moving your feet to go and do that thing before you reach zero.
Author and motivational speaker Mel Robbins is such a strong believer in The 5 Second Rule that she wrote an entire book about its power.
In the book, she describes hesitation as “the kiss of death” for taking action. When you question yourself for even a short moment, your brain begins to flood with more excuses and ultimately stifles you.
“You might hesitate for just a nanosecond, but that’s all it takes. That one small hesitation triggers a mental system that’s designed to stop you. And it happens in less than – you guessed it – five seconds.” – Mel Robbins
So, if you want to break away from being the person who thinks too much, get in the habit of taking action without hesitation. Indeed, The 5 Recond Rule could be just the tool to help you.
Once you’ve started, don’t stop. Make a point of using the 5 Second Rule to keep the momentum going, until taking spontaneous action becomes a habit you perform naturally.
4. Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness exercises are designed to help you separate yourself from your thoughts.
The most basic form of meditation requires you to sit in a silent room for 10-20 minutes and focus on your breathing only.
When a thought inevitably pops into your brain, don’t panic. Accept it, then shift your focus back onto your breathing.
It’s simple, but not easy!
Frequent meditators become increasingly better at recognising when they are stuck in thought loops throughout their everyday lives. When they spot this, they can jump back into the present moment without too much resistance.
That’s part of the reason why meditation is frequently linked with improved mental health.
For more details on meditiation and mindfulness exercises, see this guide on 11 Proven Ways Of Emptying Your Mind.
5. Engage In Big Picture Thinking
Choosing to only focus on the things that really matter is another great way to soothe your over-thinking brain.
What are the handful of outcomes that you really care about right now? What are your most important goals? Write them down.
By choosing to tune out all thoughts that don’t support these goals, you’ll do a lot to quieten your mind and probably live a more satisfying life too.
Whenever a thought pops up that bothers you, ask yourself if it’s likely to affect you in five years time. If the answer is no, make a quick decision and let it go.
This will help you save your brain power for the things that really matter.
Author Mark Manson’s incredibly popular book ‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck’ is centred around this idea.
Here’s a lovely quote from his website.
“Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a f*ck about what’s truly f*ckworthy.” – Mark Manson
For additional guidance, you can check out some more posts by me on this topic.
6. Find Your Flow State
Flow state is a blissful feeling of absolute focus, where one becomes so engrossed in a task that the rest of the world ceases to exist. Time flies, fatigue disappears and all thoughts outside of the task fade away.
This state of mind is euphorically peaceful. It helps you forget all your fears and worries.
Athletes experience it on the field. Musicians find it when they practice, as do artists as they create their next masterpiece.
‘Flow’ – a book written by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – teaches you how to access this state of mind on a regular basis.
Here are some of the key elements you need:
- a task with a clear goal;
- a sense of control over the task;
- an appropriate difficulty level for the task;
- an inspiring reward for completing the task.
You can learn more about reaching flow state in this list of 11 strategies to develop absolute focus.
Related: 120+ Best Quotes For Overthinkers
Any More Questions About Being A Person Who Thinks All The Time?
I hope these words gave you something to reflect on.
It’s not that thinking is inherently bad.
As Alan Watts once said, it’s “a good servant, but a bad master”.
However, if you deem yourself as a person who thinks all the time, this is certainly a problem worth taking the steps to solve.
My hope is that this article inspires you to stop living in the illusion of the past or the future, and to start embracing the reality of the present moment.
If you have any questions about this topic specifically, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
I love to hear from visitors to my website – and it would be so cool to hear from you.