Lesson 2: Identifying Overthinking Habits

Overthinking can be a crippling habit that stops us from taking action and achieving our goals. It is the tendency to ruminate on negative thoughts, anxieties, and worries in a way that can make it difficult to move forward. 

Identifying your overthinking habits is the first step towards finding ways to reduce them and reclaim control of your life.

Common Overthinking Habits

Although some amount of reflection and consideration is necessary for important decisions, too much can leave entrepreneurs feeling overwhelmed or stuck in the same thought patterns. By recognizing these habits and making conscious efforts to break them, entrepreneurs can find more success and satisfaction in their business endeavors.

Overthinking habits can vary from person to person, but some common ones include:

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Over Analyzing Situations

Overanalyzing situations refers to the tendency to excessively scrutinize and examine every aspect of a situation, often to the point of creating unnecessary worry, stress, and confusion.

This is where you go over a situation or problem repeatedly, trying to find the "perfect" solution or outcome.


Catastrophizing is a cognitive distortion or thinking pattern where an individual tends to magnify, exaggerate, or overestimate the potential negative consequences of a situation or event while underestimating their ability to cope with it.

This is when you imagine the worst possible outcome for a situation, even if the likelihood of it happening is low.

Ruminating on Past Mistakes

Ruminating on past mistakes refers to the tendency of an individual to repeatedly and excessively think about a mistake or a negative experience from their past. It involves constantly dwelling on the past event, replaying it in one's mind, and often feeling guilt, shame, regret, or sadness about it.

This is when you replay past mistakes or embarrassing moments in your head, even though they cannot be changed.

Second Guessing Yourself

Second guessing yourself refers to the act of questioning or doubting your own thoughts, actions, decisions, or beliefs after the fact. It is a common experience that many people go through at some point in their lives. 

When you second guess yourself, you may feel uncertain or anxious about whether you made the right choice, and you may start to wonder if you should have done something differently.

This is when you doubt your decisions and actions, even if you made the best choice you could at the time.

Seeking Reassurance

Seeking reassurance is a behavior characterized by seeking validation or comfort from others in order to alleviate anxiety or uncertainty about a particular situation, event, or aspect of oneself. 

It can take many forms, such as asking for confirmation, seeking feedback, or seeking approval.

This is when you constantly seek reassurance from others about your decisions or actions, even if you already know what you want to do.

Identifying Overthinking Triggers

There are many different triggers that can lead to overthinking. Identifying and understanding these triggers can help you develop strategies to manage your thoughts and feelings more effectively. Here are some tips for how to identify the triggers of your own overthinking:

1. Analyze Your Thoughts

Pay attention to when you experience a surge in negative or worrying thoughts. Then try to identify what happened right before this occurred. What were you thinking about or doing?

2. Observe Your Emotions

Notice the emotions that come up with certain situations, people, or topics of conversation. This can help you recognize certain patterns related to when you start to feel overwhelmed or mentally drained.

3. Identify Stressors

Make a list of all the stressors in your life, from work responsibilities and family obligations to financial pressures and personal relationships. Identifying patterns between these stressors and your tendency for overthinking can help you identify potential triggers for your own overthinking behavior.

Analyzing Thought Patterns

Overthinking can be a difficult habit to break. It involves running through the same scenarios or dialogues in your head over and over again, often making it hard for you to reach decisions or come up with helpful solutions.

To start overcoming this habit, it's important to understand what underlying thought patterns you've developed that are causing the overthinking. Here are some tips for analyzing these thought patterns:

Identify automatic thoughts and beliefs: Pay attention throughout the day and take note of any negative thoughts or judgments that seem to come up automatically. This could be anything from “I’m not good enough” to “I should have done better”. Try recording these thoughts and writing down how they make you feel afterward.

Ask yourself challenging questions: Once you've identified your automatic thoughts, challenge them by asking yourself if they're actually true or not. Dig deep into why you think a particular way and look at the evidence supporting each thought pattern. This will help you identify which of them are unhealthy and irrational beliefs.

Consider all possible outcomes: When you get stuck in a certain pattern of thinking, try considering the opposite outcome and see what hypothetical events could occur if things turned out differently than anticipated. This will help put things into perspective and remind you that there is rarely one single outcome that has to be worried about constantly.

Talk to someone else: Conversing with somebody else about your thought patterns can also be helpful as it allows for an objective opinion on whether your worrying is valid or irrational in comparison with a real-life situation. Talking things out with someone who can offer impartial advice can open up new possibilities that may not have occurred to you before.

By understanding which of your thought patterns lead to overthinking, it becomes easier for you to work through them by providing more compassionate responses as opposed to jumping straight into negative self-talk.

With ongoing practice, this can help break the cycle of rumination while allowing more space for mindful decision-making in order to live more intentionally every day!

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Conquer Overthinking

Lesson 2: Identifying Overthinking HabitsLesson 2: Identifying Overthinking Habits

Lesson 2: Identifying Overthinking Habits

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