Are you an Over-Thinker? A process for people who call themselves “Over-Thinkers”!

In all honesty, I do not believe that there is such a thing as an “over-thinker” or “over-thinking”. Some people need to process differently than others but that doesn’t mean that all thinking is useful. I think Einstein and Da Vinci were probably great thinkers. They likely spent a lot of time simply thinking. I do not think we afford ourselves those same opportunities any longer with the internet and access to instant answers we now have. But I wonder if we might be missing out on a deeper kind of thinking, a thinking that can solve problems and create innovation.

However, not all thinking is useful. This type of thinking is what we call “unproductive ruminating”. What this essentially means is that we are ruminating on things that may not be solvable or helpful to us. Below is are instructions that you will find helpful in determining whether your thinking is constructive and helpful or if you are experiencing unproductive rumination.

  1. It all starts with noticing that you are thinking a lot about one or many things over and over again.
  2. Say to yourself, “I am noticing that I am thinking more than usual about [name the one or many subjects]. I recognize this.
  3. Ask yourself, “Is this unproductive rumination or is it productive thinking?” You will know because unproductive rumination feels draining and counter-productive, there never seems to be a solution available. Whereas, productive thinking gives you energy or maintains your energy.
  4. Ask yourself, “Is there something unresolved about this/these thing(s) I’m thinking about?”
    1. If the answer is No, then ask yourself, “Why else might I be thinking about this?”, you may spend some time journaling as it is usually because we have unresolved emotions that need to be processed rather than actually solving a problem.
      1. You might also ask, “Is this productive thinking?
        1. If so, then keep thinking about it; however, you may wish to give it some structure by providing yourself with some helpful questions or by writing it out instead of letting it rattle up in your head without any kind of substance.
        2. If not, then go back to asking “why else might I be thinking about this?
    2. If the answer is Yes, then ask yourself “Is this a solvable thing?”. Not all things are solvable problems (at least in the way we understand it at the time). For example, we cannot change the past, rationalizing why you were right and they were wrong, etc.
      1. If the answer to that question is “No, it is not solvable,” then ask yourself “What needs to happen for me to be able to move forward without a solution?”
      2. If the answer to that question is “Yes, it is solvable,” then give yourself some time to work through it. you may wish to give it some structure by providing yourself with some helpful questions or by writing it out instead of letting it rattle up in your head without any kind of substance. You might even ask yourself, “Is there a specific action that I can or must take in order to resolve this?” Sometimes we are afraid to do something and so we think about it over and over again rather than simply taking the action that is required. Some examples of this could be, sending in that application to school or a new job, having a difficult conversation with our spouse or boss, etc.

By following these instructions we can help ourselves get “unstuck” and out of unproductive thinking.

Want to know more about Christopher

Christopher is the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching and the Healthy Transformations Weight Loss & Inflammation Reduction Program.  Change my Life Coaching is a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.