How to Stop Overthinking

Procrastination is fear. Avoidance is fear. Overthinking, intellectualization, and excessive analysis are fear. Why is fear the driving force behind so many of our struggles?

Well, hiding, numbing, and running from our emotions is the main reason most of us started using in the first place. Fear is the most basic and instinctual of all our drives and upon entering recovery, we surrender our #1 coping mechanism.

“The good thing about being sober is you feel more, and the bad thing about being sober is you feel more.” How we react and respond to fear determines the lion’s share of what’s possible in our lives. Arguably, spending time in our heads trying to “figure it out” is the worst possible approach.

Overthinking occurs for a plethora of reasons. The majority of us in recovery are trauma survivors, which means we live with intrusive thoughts, flooding (overload of thoughts/sensory input/triggers), racing thoughts, and copious amounts of self-doubt.

Our thoughts become circular and nonproductive. No matter how many times we evaluate a decision or course of action, we don’t become more comfortable with it. It’s vital to bring them out in the open so that they become more amenable to change.

Journaling, blogging, and letter writing are excellent strategies for moving ourselves off of the proverbial hamster wheel and toward implementing solutions. Allowing those who support us to listen and point out our faulty thinking and self-deception is infinitely more efficient. Two heads aren’t twice as good as one, they’re a million times better.

As folks in recovery say, we need to “Move out of the problem and into the solution.” This is a common sense, problem solving approach. The emotional obstacles are too often our downfall. As one of my favorite memes dictates, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

It’s not brave to face our struggles along. It’s foolhardy and self-limiting. Treat your head like the bad neighborhood it is and stop spending time in there alone.