4 Little Lies That Keep You Trapped In Overthinking

A mini field guide you can depend on for daily happiness and performance.

Trapped in overthinking Gabriel Pontoon | Unsplash

I’ve had people continually tell me that I over-think. I would be inclined to agree. Years of being too in my thoughts created excessive anxiety, insecurity, and many missed opportunities. I’ve lost time, energy, and friendships because of it.

I can still over-think today, but my experience is vastly different than ten years ago. What helped me the most was not employing any specific technique. Rather, it was in realizing and letting go of these four lies.


Here are 4 little lies that keep you trapped into overthinking:

1. The more I think, the closer I get to a solution.

It may seem that our thoughts provide a powerful tool for finding solutions to problems. In reality, actively thinking is surprisingly ineffective and often makes us feel worse. Why? Because when we worry, we feel the emotion of worry. We feed a loop of negative thinking when we feel low. We then perform poorly. You know this — you’ve been there. We stunt ourselves.

You might notice that we rarely receive an insight or clear solution in our minds unless we are relaxed. Let go of the need to think intensely, and you will receive all the wisdom you need.


woman overthinking fizkes / Shutterstock

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2. The present moment has nothing for me.

Many of us prefer to stay in our heads, ruminating like a ping pong ball in a blender, because it appears the present moment is empty. It seems like the real excitement and progress happens in our thoughts. So we live there. But here, we are unconscious and dead to what is happening around us. We know the effects because those around us complain that we’re missing out on life — and we are.


We ignore the beauty, lucidity, and simplicity of the right now. The present gives us all the information in real-time we need. There are no pressures or problems here. We are much more effective here, and when we’re willing to spend more time here, life takes on a brighter tone, free of ongoing concern. Return. The world needs you back with us.

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3. This uncomfortable feeling means there's something wrong.

Many of us have a confused relationship with our feelings. For example, if we feel nervous on a call, we often buy into the idea that this reflects the ‘seriousness’ of the meeting or something wrong with us. But we do not feel ourselves. We feel our thoughts. It is as simple and direct as this.

Our feelings are our thoughts. When we judge something as a threat, whether receiving a bill or an invite to speak in front of a group of people, we literally fabricate our emotional experience. We often look for meaning in what we experience. If we feel fear, we can take the feeling seriously. When we deem something as ‘serious,’ guess what happens? We can overthink.


The solution, then, is to understand those bad feelings reflect our minds, nothing less. It’s OK to feel ‘bad’ thoughts. When I saw this, I felt far less inclined to overthink things.

RELATED: How To 'Think Positive' Without Pretending The Bad Doesn't Exist

4. I am out of control when I stop thinking.

Our lives are in continual flux. Everything is uncertain. Chaos is the norm, not the exception. As such, it can be tantalizing to want to exert control over our lives. Many attempt this through our (over) thinking of situations. Some preparation can be helpful, of course.


The problem can lie in thinking that we lose control if we’re not obsessively thinking. We do not. Life will continue to be uncertain regardless of the techniques employed. Acceptance, therefore, is the solution. When we accept and let go to life’s inevitable chaos, we’re in a far better position to adapt. How so? Because we’re no longer so uptight.

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Alex Mathers is a writer and coach who helps you build a money-making personal brand with your knowledge and skills while staying mentally resilient.