Overthinking(,) Living in the Moment

Overthinking prevents you from living in the moment.

Our minds are far more powerful than we give them credit for. Using our thoughts, we can fundamentally change the world around us, build a career, set free our imagination, and, unfortunately, trap ourselves in an invisible cage of self-doubt, emotional pain, and personal self-abuse. The ability to think things through in life is a great boon, and something, in my opinion, that determines how successful we will be. Though, just as with anything, excess can create just as much hardship as deprivation, and we can find ourselves living life in our mind. So a balance must be struck within ourselves. We must become a master of our thoughts.

Wait! What is overthinking? Well, if you are asking that questions, you might be overthinking…

Overthinking is defined as “thinking about (something) too much or for too long“.

Overthinking tends to be paired with the malicious dynamic duo: depression and anxiety.

I was talking with a gentleman at a coffee shop a few months ago, and he shared one of the most profound ideas I’ve heard in a long while. He said, “When we have anxiety we are overthinking our future. When we have depression we are overthinking our past. We must learn from our past, and we must strive to create a future for ourselves. But, we must do this by living in the moment.”

Take a couple seconds to let that statement sink in. I think we all experience depression and anxiety at different points in our life; unfortunately, some of us experience them daily. My heart goes out to all of you. I think it is important to take ownership of your mind, and realize that you are not your depression. You are not your anxiety. You do not have to define yourself by what you struggle with; instead create your definition of yourself by the habits and actions you take regularly.

Know that not everything that comes out of your mind is valid nor should be listened to. Encourage the more positive sides of your thoughts and dissuade the more negative ones.

What does your internal dialogue sound like? Do you have a positive relationship with yourself? Or a negative one? Be honest. Often we treat ourselves far less compassionately than we do our friends, family, and loved ones. We forget one really important truth: our thoughts can lie to us. Know that. Not everything that you think deserves your attention.

You see, we have two creatures within our mind: the beast and the angel. They both are hungry, and, it is up to you, which one you will feed. Let loose your shackles that hold you back and show yourself (and the world) what a powerful source of good you can be. I’m encouraging you, give attention to the more positive thoughts, and don’t give the time of day to the others.

Create a balance between participating in the world around you and your thoughts.

Self-reflection is important, but not when it takes over your day. Set time aside during the day or week for you to think on things.

Personally I always set time aside once a day as well as once a week. (Usually nothing more than 15 minutes or so daily, and, once a week, an hour.) In this time, I create a conversation between my subconscious and my conscious mind. Here is the time that I process through my emotions, experiences, and whatever my subconscious wants to throw my way. I find, when I give time to my inner thoughts, they tend to let me live my life. And, when I ignore them, they tend to bother me throughout the day. Day after day.

Utilize Occam’s Razor when you start to overthink. Then, move forward and live in the moment.

According to Wikipedia, Occam’s razor is the problem-solving principle that, when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the answer that makes the fewest assumptions.

To simplify that, the simplest answer is most likely the truest. So, when you get caught up in a problem, don’t spend too much wasted time overthinking. Just solve it and move forward. Occam’s Razor is a powerful tool. I cannot recommend it enough!

You are not alone, everyone overthinks. To overthink is very human.

Everyone overthinks. Thoughts are one of the best gifts that we have as creatures. It is no wonder that we can be captivated by them so easily.

So, my challenge to you, is over the next week I want you to set aside 15 minutes every day for you to listen and converse with your inner thoughts. I think you’ll be surprised with how much better you begin to know yourself.

Austin Hunt

Meet the Author:
Austin Hunt

Austin is the lead writer and creator of Points of Connection. He's been studying dating, relationships, and how to build authentic intimacy for over 9 years now. You can find him sipping away at a cup of coffee at a local shop making friends with the stranger next to him.

Leave a Comment