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By Dr. Christina Cruz

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Are you and overthinker?

Recently, I polled my Instagram audience for topics they wanted to see more from me and the crowd favorite was overthinking, which then led to this popular question, “how do I stop overthinking?”

It’s a great question to ask. But before we get to how to stop, we need to understand what overthinking is and how it started in the first place.

It is a natural human process to think, plan, wonder, and hypothesize areas of our life. In fact, that’s what makes us humans unique.

Thinking, or rather, overthinking is exactly what it sounds like, thinking over and over and over again about what you said, what you didn’t say. What you did, what you didn’t do. Overthinking is replaying, reliving, and questioning oneself ad nauseam.

If we are thinking, or rather overthinking, it can show us that something is truly important to us. And in that case, we do need to pay attention, but what we are paying attention to and overanalyzing, might not be getting to the core issue. For example, let’s say you are overthinking an email you sent to your boss. You are “in your head” about what you said, what you didn’t say, and what you should have said. You might be thinking you are overthinking because you care about your job, which is true, but it’s not getting your deeper concern. The core issue might be rooted in trauma and an outdated belief system that could be dictating your behavior. For example, overthinking could stem from growing up with a parent who was judgmental, critical, and questioned your every move, so now, here you are, an adult questioning and overthinking yourself. Yes, you care about your job and are concerned about how you came off to your boss, but the deeper wound that may be presenting itself through overthinking your email is you never mended the pain and sadness of the criticism you received over the years.

When clients come to me feeling stuck, especially in their thinking process, I usually find the source of their stuckness in their inability to feel past experiences and subconsciously ignoring their inner cues.

When we have gotten to the overthinking phase, ruminating phase, spiraling phase, we have already bypassed our body and emotional cues that have been trying to get our attention. Here’s the thing, you might have overlooked your needs because you thought you had to. Perhaps you lived in survival mode for some time to stay safe and overthinking became a coping mechanism. But years later, it is now difficult for you to listen to your body, emotions, and thoughts without getting consumed by them.

Overthinking can block us from feeling what we don’t want to feel. It can prevent us from addressing the deeper root cause.

So, back to the original question, how do we deal with overthinking?

We slow down. Pause.

Name what you are experiencing. Some of my clients label their overthinking as, “Spiraling,” “In my head,” or “Overanalyzing,” which is an indication for them to pause. A common phrase I say, that I adopted from Daniel Siegel is, Name it to Tame it!

Instead of overanalyzing and overthinking more, re-connect back to your body. Take deep breaths if that is calming to you. Move your body in a way that is grounding and allows your emotions to flow.

If you are hungry, eat. If you are thirsty, drink some water. Pay attention to the cues your is body wants to be highlighted

The point is to slow down so you can listen and get re-acquainted with your body and needs. This will give you the opportunity to understand what is underneath your overthinking patterns.

I would love to hear from you! Are you an overthinker? If so, reply back to this email with your biggest struggles.

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