Overthinking things can lead to paralysing inaction and uncertainty. Analysis paralysis leads to holding on to worry and magnifying a problem in our heads unnecessarily.
Worrying and relaying past moments or experiences is normal. However, overthinking can spiral out of control which leaves you with a destructive thought pattern that fills you with fear and the inability to move forward or make a decision.
Chronic overthinking starts when judgement, reason and problem-solving functions of the brain are channelled towards the negative.
What is analysis paralysis?
Simply put, it’s a type of overthinking that leads to an inability to make a decision or reach a conclusion, often accompanied by fear of uncertainty.
This is often caused by some sort of trigger.
Identify your triggers, so you can enlist some coping mechanisms when you come across a situation that needs you to act. Avoidance is not very helpful as it will lead to an outburst or breakdown at a later stage.
Once triggered, the spiral into overthinking leads to one of two things:
- worrying about the future
- dwelling over the past
Constant worrying and ruminating can lead to depression, anxiety and chronic stress. The paralysing feeling of overthinking will eat away at your mental health and relationships. It can result in addictive behaviours, insomnia, panic attacks, low self-esteem and eating disorders.
How does Analysis Paralysis Hold you Back
Slows down productivity
Overthinking is a major cause of lack of productivity. This is caused by the procrastination of doing things and lack or overdrive of mental stimulation.
Thought of having to make a decision can lead to a halt in workflow and completing tasks.
Leads to low self-esteem
Analysis paralysis can be caused by but also causes low self-esteem. The act of delay and indecisiveness and eat away at your self-esteem.
This has the effect of causing more overthinking as a result of self-doubt and questioning every decision.
Affects your relationships
Imagine the dread of going out with someone who can never decide on where they want to go or what they want to eat.
Overthinking can lead to insecurities and strain on your relationships. As a result, people will get irritated by your indecisiveness.
How to break the cycle of analysis paralysis
Practice Mindful Meditation
Don’t fight or push your feelings away. Allow yourself to feel and think through those moments. Be mindful of what feeling the thought of having to a certain action brings up.
You may like: How to Practice Mindfulness
Mediation is a practice of focusing your thinking and being kinder and loving to yourself. It is not about being perfect or changing who you are. It’s about observing the motions and learning to gain a healthy perspective of how you feel.
Whenever you start to feel dread that makes you want to just leave it. Face it and do it. Be present.
Stop negative thinking
Ask yourself if your thoughts are a true reflection of reality.
Are they doing you any good?
Are they moving you into positive action?
Whenever you start trailing off in negative thoughts, try and think of something positive, even if it’s not related to your situation. This will help you break off the negative thought pattern. Then you can come back to the situation with a refreshed positive outlook.
Create an awareness of your state
Be attentive to your thoughts and feelings. Pay attention to what triggers those emotions. You can further develop coping mechanisms to help you deal with future patterns of overthinking.
Pay attention to the environment you’re in when faced with analysis paralysis.
Try to create an environment that calms and gives you clarity, so you can declutter your mind when faced with decision making.
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Boost your Self-confidence
Overthinking is often caused by a lack of self-confidence. A lot of doubts and insecurities may loom in your mind. Do more things to boost your confidence in your ability to make decisions and embrace your choices’ validity.
Trust yourself and your capabilities.
Self-confidence booster tip: Write 5 positive traits and strengths you possess down and put them on a mirror or prominent place. Relate them to yourself each day so they resonate and you start portraying them.
Learn to differentiate between the importance and urgency of a situation. Not all problems or decision require the same amount of attention and detail.
Take going to an interview for an example; is the tie or lipstick you wear as important as knowing how to get to the interview? Of course, your presentation is important, but it won’t matter if you don’t make it to the interview in the first place.
Easier said than done. But. Just. Do. It. Take that leap of faith and make a decision. Don’t allow yourself to mull over things too much. Be quick in your decision making.
Don’t make hasty decisions just for the sake of taking action. Be quick with simple daily decisions to help you take effective action when you need to.
When you have endless options available to choose from, try and cut them down to just 2 or 3. That way you limit the exercise of having to think over and over before finally making a decision.
Personally, I’m an indecisive, perfectionist and procrastinator of note. But I have learnt to get things done productively and effectively despite that with the help of the tips I’ve shared with you here.
Some days will be better than others. Progress is a win, however small.
It takes work and effort, but not everything needs to paralysis you form taking action.
Remember: Done is better than perfect or ready.
I hope you will take action in the things that matter most and bring you joy.
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