At one point or another it has happened to us all. For some of us it is a daily occurrence, a constant layer of gloom that blankets our every thought. For others, it flickers in and out of our lives, sometimes at crucial moments that detour us from the path we truly want to walk.
The overthinking, the worrying, being unable to live in the present moment. Your mind feeling like it’s at war with itself. No matter when it hits or how long it stays, it is a normal, human challenge. However, if left alone and uncontrolled, it can deter, derail and ultimately make us sabotage our own lives. So how can we stop thinking and start living? How do we make the leap from ordinary to extraordinary? Silence the worries and overthinking that often keeps us up at night as we over analyze every minute detail and convince ourselves that staying still is better than moving forward?
The answer is both simple and complex. Simple because it’s really nothing more than just doing what we set out to do. Complex because more often than not we work against ourselves. We prefer to remain comfortable rather than risk what we already have. We choose certainty over uncertainty. But is this really the better choice? Will we ever reach the stars if we do not allow ourselves to fly?
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We can convince ourselves all we want, but in the end if we never allow ourselves to stop thinking, we will never even have the opportunity to begin living. This not a matter of being motivated or encouraged. It’s about learning the techniques to overcome the natural human need to remain in “safety”. Safety is staying where you are, without risk, without making waves but also without being given the chance to improve ourselves.
Think of it like this. If the rabbit never leaves its warren, it will never be eaten by the fox. But if it never leaves, it will also die of hunger and thirst. When you never allow yourself to live, to pursue your dreams and the life you want, you will certainly never fail. However, it will ultimately be the death of your creativity, potential, dreams and true happiness.
So, what are the steps to ending the vicious cycle of overthinking? Obviously, there are many ways to overcome this but let’s keep it simple and start with the basics.
Here are four main steps:
1. Find a mentor
There are many leaders and teachers who have made it their mission to help others with this seemingly insurmountable task. Some will speak right to your heart while the words of others will go right over your head. Most say very similar things just in different ways. This is wonderful because each one of these great leaders appeal to different personality types. The beginning of your journey, should be about finding the people whose message speaks to you the clearest. Your neighbor or friend may be an ardent follower of Barry Long, while another may sing the praises of Brendon Burchard. It doesn’t matter, they are all great and they all have similar messages to share. Do your research and find the person who speaks to you. The one who helps you to stop overthinking and start living your life.
Then there is the matter of immersion. If you only read one book or watch one video, will you have enough to make a lasting change? You’d be fooling yourself to think that you would. The reality is that you need to immerse yourself on a constant basis to be able to truly master lasting change.
This means making it a constant in your life. Reading several books per year, attending conferences, watching videos, applying new techniques and meeting others who are doing the same thing. They practice makes perfect but in reality, practice makes progress. Immersion creates a daily progression towards your ultimate goal. That goal will also change as time goes by, rarely is it about the destination but moreover about the journey.
As a baby learns to walk, they fall many times but they never give up and abandon the idea. It is ingrained in our DNA to pull ourselves upright and walk. We are completely immersed by the world around us where everyone is walking and we instinctively know that we must do the same. Do the same to overcome excessive worrying. Immerse yourself in inspirational material and events that focus on getting things done rather than thinking about them. Start, make mistakes, adjust and continue. Just like the baby that is learning to walk. Sitting still and observing but never trying, has never helped anyone to accomplish something new.
3. Daily routine
You need to override old habits. If your previous morning routine was to wake up and immediately grab your phone and scroll through social media, then you are not setting yourself up for success. Social media is a great tool but it is an overview of people’s highlight reel. Too much of it will have you feeling badly about your own journey. Incessant scrolling keeps you focused on what others are doing and not what you are doing. It creates more worry, more concern and less action. It is the ultimate way to throw a wrench in your plans. So, what to do? Start a new routine. A positive and productive one that includes things like physical movement, a daily mantra, inspirational reading, journaling or whatever else it takes to get you on track to press the play button rather than the pause button.
All the mentors and teachers will tell you this. Each has their own morning routine that sets themselves up to move forward with courage. When you find your mentor, copy their routine.
4. Find your tribe
Surrounding yourself with the right people is crucial to your success. If everyone around you is forever bringing you down, suggesting that your ideas are not viable or derailing your life in favor of their own agenda, you will never get out of that loop, that cycle of negativity and paralysis.
That means that it’s time to find like-minded people! People who are movers and shakers, the kind of people that just go for it, instead of sitting around talking about what they would like to do all day.
Attending a conference is a great way to meet people. So is joining online groups that follow particular mentors or teachers. Maybe you know someone in your circle who seems to be on top of their game or who has recently made big changes in their lives. Reach out to that person!
Different Kinds of Mentors
As was mentioned above, finding the right mentor for you is crucial! It is the first step to get yourself out of that slump and start living. But, where to start? Here are a few great options.
Let’s take a look at a message from someone who has struck a chord with millions of people and is the creator of something called The 5-Second Rule -motivational speaker, author and talk-show host: Mel Robbins.
Mel Robbins is all about teaching people how to stop overthinking and start living their life and pursuing their dreams. She does through an incredible technique that she coined the 5-Second Rule. After years of personal and professional struggles, she noticed that she could override her brain’s justification for not doing something, if she just counted down like a rocket ship 5-4-3-2-1, then went ahead and actually started.
Most people are so busy planning for the future that they don’t allow themselves to truly exist in the actual present moment. Eckhart Tolle is fantastic at teaching us how to stop the constant turning of the hamster wheel inside our minds and stop time, so that we can live the moments that we are actually in. The following video, explains this in perfect detail. Watch it HERE
When we stop and think about it, it’s true. As we plan for all the things we want to accomplish, we miss the important moments that are happening right here and now. This is not to say that we shouldn’t be planning and working towards goals. But rather, we need to acknowledge that the only moment that we actually ever live in, is the here and now. Each moment is important and crucial as it’s only the present that we ever live in.
World renowned speaker Tony Robbins teaches people to take massive, determined action in order to make a change.
He explains it in the following quote:
“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular. Identify your problems, but give your power and energy to solutions.”
Instead of wallowing in indecision and never getting anywhere with a solution, one must decide what we want, focus on it and cut off all other options. By waking up every day and taking massive, determined action towards our goals, we can finally stop overthinking, worrying and being stuck in the same place.
There are motivational, inspirational life-coaches a dime a dozen but the key is finding the ones that speak to you. Head down to your local library or book store, filter through YouTube videos and TED talks to find your favorite speaker. Then immerse yourself in their work, their teachings, attend a conference, create daily habits. Then start filtering through your current tribe and see who is a positive influence and maybe those that aren’t as well. Sometimes the ones we love the most are not helping us to live our best life because they too have fears. To get where you need to be and to do so without the paralyzing over-analysis, you must surround yourself with people who will encourage you and support you.
Is doing what you’ve always done, helped you to get where you are now?
If you stop and think about all the times that you stayed up all night plagued by excessive thinking and worrying, can you truly say that any of that was ever productive? Did it help you to solve your problems? Become more successful? Make it to that next level? No need to answer, because we have all been there and the answer is always, no. No, it does not.
There’s a fabulous quote by Tony Robbins that pretty much sums it all up.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
So, if you have been stuck for some time, in a place that paralyzes you with fear, worries and excessive negative thought patterns-maybe it’s time to do something different.
The key to making life-changes is to start with small, achievable goals. Will you be able to automatically alter your way of thinking in one day? Of course not. It will take days, weeks and sometimes even months of consistency in order to see drastic change. However, if you are dedicated and you follow the four steps outlines above, you will be able to stop over-thinking and start living your best life.
What do you do to stop excessive thinking? Do you have a mentor? Do you prefer meditation, reading or exercise? I would love to hear how you “live in the moment”, so drop a comment beneath and share your experience with us!