How to Fight off Overthinking and Self-DoubtThere is a plethora of techniques to draw from in order to limit overthinking and self-doubt. But the first most important step is to realize you have this problem and decide to do something about it.

Without this decision, no method will be truly helpful, because well… you will be overthinking and doubting it.

So admit, too much thinking, overthinking is bad for you. Constant self-doubt robs you of power and, in effect, from living a fulfilled life. Treat them as enemies. Fight them relentlessly till the end of your life.

Those vices are part of the human constitution; they will always accompany you. Even millionaires face them. Resolve to always fight them and never give up. Only then, reach for specific techniques.

Three Brains that Add to Your Overthinking and Self-Doubt

We have three brains stuffed inside our skulls.
The reptile brain that is responsible for all the anatomic functions and the most basic emotions.
The limbic brain that is responsible for emotions and social interactions. In big part, it creates the subconscious mind.
And the rational brain in which our conscious mind resides. Its language is… language, words, abstraction, symbols.

A faulty self-talk is a result of a faulty feedback system between the three brains. Your reptile brain finds cortisone (the stress hormone) in your veins and signals: “Heck, something is very wrong with us. Beware!”
This signal stirs the limbic brain, and it generates emotions of fear and anxiety. Those emotions reach your conscious mind, and you speak blabber to yourself: “I’m no good. I’m afraid to do this. I’ll fail and my world will end.”

Those words generate even more negative emotions, and they cause to generate more stress hormone…

It’s insane. It’s not a way to lead one’s life.

If you want to turn the situation around, you need to employ your conscious mind. Here are some effective ways:

1. Journal.

Words, the structured language is a natural environment of your rational brain. It’s your territory, not your subconscious mind’s.

Talk with yourself on paper, not in your head. In your head, you are beaten before you even start. Each exchange of words spawns zillions of signals in your brain. You react to them, instead of act. You fall prey to your awful thinking habits: “You’re worthless. Yeah, I’m worthless. Let’s eat some ice-cream. Oh now, you are even more worthless…”

One thought generates another in a habit loop, and you almost don’t consciously process those words.

Take this dispute on paper, and now it looks ridiculous. Your subconscious’ arguments are weak and stupid. You can at last “rationally” talk with your emotions.

2. Mantra.

Break the dispute in your head with mantra. Don’t talk to yourself like that. If someone else would’ve ever used toward you the lines, you would’ve been deeply offended or outraged (“worthless s**t,” “good for nothing,” “f**khead,” “moron,” “failure,” “idiot”).

Be as irrational as your emotional brain. Refuse to talk with it on those terms. Whenever self-doubt strikes, answer with a short line of your own. Couple it with some catchy tune and sing it several times in your head.

I got my favorite one from Les Brown- “It’s possible.”

Refuse to get into any counterproductive dialog with yourself. Use the demoting phrases from your subconscious as triggers to your mantra:

“You are a failure.”
“It’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible!”

“You can’t do it.”
“It’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible!”

“That will end badly for you.”
“It’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible!”

“You don’t even know how to start, you pathetic fool.”
“It’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible!”

3. Meditation.

While meditation will not solve your self-talk problem on its own, it will make you more aware of what’s happening inside your head.

Acknowledging thoughts bouncing in your mind while not following a train of those thoughts, will give you the power to step between the impulse and stimulus during normal everyday actions. You need this foundation to do anything about your thoughts. If you don’t notice them but respond to them in a habitual manner, they will always release the same self-destructive impulses in response from your conscious mind.

Journaling has a similar awareness-increasing effect as meditation, but you can meditate in short chunks of time and practically everywhere, because you don’t need any tools for that. A 2-minute meditation is a great beginning of a meditation habit.

4. Take Tiny Actions.

Examining your self-talk is only half of the job. In order to truly get out of the overthinking habit, you need to take action more often.

You function in the infinitive Belief -> Thought -> Action -> Feedback loop, and the easiest way to affect this system is via taking action. An average person has little to no control over their thoughts and even less control over their beliefs. However, it’s relatively easy to take action, especially if it’s tiny in your eyes.

If you want to exercise, start from one push-up. If you want to read more, read one paragraph. If you want to become a writer, write a sentence. If you want to save more money, put away the first dollar. And do those actions consistently over time.

Each time you take such an action, your feedback will change and will affect your beliefs and thoughts. And, most importantly, every second spent on doing is not spent on overthinking. You cannot overthink and take action at the same time. With each tiny action, you rob the overthinking habit of its mind space.

Do not fuss over how small your actions are. They will compound with time. That’s the law of life.

The Compound Effect

When I started writing, I began with 400 words a day for five days a week. My first blog got only a handful of readers. My second blog did even worse. My first fiction story was trashed with critique, and rightfully so.

But I never stopped writing. After a few months, I wrote my first book. In a few years, I wrote 14 more. I wrote well over 1.7 million words. I sold over 32,000 copies of my books.

However, I started with only 400 words at the first day and never stopped adding more and more.

How to Fight off Overthinking and Self-Doubt

One thought on “How to Fight off Overthinking and Self-Doubt

  • October 29, 2018 at 11:07 pm

    I stumbled upon this article in search for help & a better understanding. I so appreciate your approach and point of you, thank you for spreading this more positive outlook. If you have any time, I’d appreciate if you scanned my website for another eyes view! Thanks so much for your time if you ever read this.


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