I’ve written a lot on the topic of overthinking – the downward spiral, head hitting the wall, hide under your blanket in angst kind of overthinking.
The overthinker may hear many well-intentioned people instructing them to find the root cause of their issue or process and introspect upon the matter. While this is a very helpful tact for some, for others it can be an alluring call deeper into the mud of their own confusion.
Oftentimes, trying to think their way out of a thought issue can be more harmful than helpful to the overthinker. Finding every caveat, loophole and what if can tie their mind up in knots.
A change in approach
I recently was given some different advice from what I have usually heard: if you get stuck thinking about something, rather than trying to ‘figure it out’ by thinking about it more, make a positive action regarding the matter and see what happens.
That was kind of revolutionary for me.
When stuck thinking about something - whether it be a spiritual principal, my lifestyle and relationships or even an insecurity - instead of trying to resolve the feeling of discomfort by looking inwards, I make a practical step by applying something that just sort of makes sense in the situation.
Of course, this is not a one size fits all, it is more a helpful addition to our mental toolbelt.
Logically, this makes a lot of sense. We accomplish much more with our lives by doing than we do sitting on our beds thinking.
This is not to promote the dumbing down of the mind, rather to promote mind’s thinking in resulting in actions rather than simply...
Understanding how we think.
Different Christian cultures approach the heart and mind from different angles. Some make emotions and spirituality their focus, others promote intellect and discernment, and still, others minimalize both, focusing more on the aspect of service.
It can be helpful to recognise the kind of culture which you are a part of, and the way your own brain works. This can help you to determine if there are areas in your life in which you swing towards pendular extremes. From there you can find a healthy and balanced approach to your thought life.
For example. For someone who is exceedingly practical and does not tend to overthink, it would not be beneficial to tell them to think less and do more. Perhaps that person is the one who finds introspection a helpful tool when in a mental bind.
With this in mind, we can filter out the advice we’re given by those around us. It is good to recognise that while others may have our best intentions at heart, not everyone can deeply relate with us let alone be equipped to help us. This frees us not to have to take everything on board, especially that which could sink our ship!
For the overthinker
So, to those like me whose minds tend to tie themselves up in knots. Whose wheels spin around and around in overthinking. I suggest you give my advice a shot. Why not try thinking less and doing more?
Lucy Miles can often be found singing or dancing her way through any one particular moment. Such joyous expression is brought forth from her love of the Lord, learning and people. She currently lives in Switzerland and is enrolled in a Ministry and Leadership Development School with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) and is excited to step into a staff role in January of next year.