It feels ironic to be writing a blog post about over-analyzing. I feel like it might add more fuel to the fire and give you more information to over-analyze.
But if you read this post and ACTUALLY apply it- you'll be and feel and function better!
Why you are over-analyzing:
#1- You're scared to make a decision/you feel like you won't make the right decision.
You over-analyze because you would rather think and logicalize (I know this isn't a word, but you get it) your way around making a decision than feeling the emotions of that decision or actually make a decision. It's too scary. So you think about it, dwell on it, get it stuck in your head like an annoying song, and then you talk to all your friends about it. All without moving forward. Not very helpful.
#2- You're avoiding a decision you know you should make.
In this case, you know the decision you should make. You feel it in your gut, but you don't want to make the change. It is either inconvenient or uncomfortable or you don't like change. Change is too scary and too hard.
#3- You don't know how to analyze a situation in a healthy way and then follow it with a decision.
This takes practice and coaching. You might need someone to say "ENOUGH! Make the decision already." It's hard to know when you have enough information, but life moves quickly, and if you spend all your time making the decision, you won't have any time left to enjoy the decision you've made.
How to stop over-analyzing:
#1- You can learn to recognize your thoughts
that lead to over-analyzing situations, and then you train yourself to take the exit ramp off the worry expressway (not to be confused with Highway 60, which always causes me stress for some reason!) by distracting yourself with other things. You already recognize when you're over-analyzing situations. You catch yourself doing it. The key is to start catching yourself sooner and sooner, and before you know it, you can catch yourself right as you are getting started and then choose to do something different.
#2- Allow yourself an amount of time to journal
about this particular situation. By getting things down in black and white you can literally see your thoughts. This takes them from being abstract and in your mind to something tangible that you feel you have control over. Things suddenly become clear. The time restriction is important here. When the timer goes off, finish your sentence and walk away. Force yourself to practice the habit of managing your thoughts.
#3- Pray about it
You'll hear this often from me. I don't care. We are designed to be in communication with our Creator constantly. If you are stressing about a situation, bring it to Him. Talk openly with Him about it. Listen to what He has to say. He may offer you a specific step or He may be silent. Either way, your job is to bring it to Him.
#4- Serve another person.
Put aside your own thoughts and your own situation and seek out other people who you can serve in some small way. Allow yourself and your own issues to go on the back-burner while you take care of someone else. Not only is this what we are called to do, but this puts our own issues into perspective and reminds us that there is a bigger purpose outside of what we may be seeing at the moment. If we are so concerned with ourselves, it leaves very little room to serve other people. Over-analyzing can be a disguise for selfishness.
#5- Make a small decision.
No matter how small, it will help you gain confidence and will allow you to learn from the experience. This increases your decision-making abilities for next time when the decision is a bit bigger.
Over-analyzing is sometimes glorified in our culture, but it can be debilitating.
It keeps you from living your life because you are contemplating instead of living! You're thinking about all the possible outcomes and often, especially if you are a perfectionist you're thinking of all the ways you could screw it up.
Stop over-analyzing and start living. If you want help applying the principles above, I'd be happy to help you along. I have appointments available. (480) 771-0942
Until next time- take care,