Episode 64: How To Stop Overthinking Everything And Ease Anxiety

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When there is continuous change and uncertainty in our workplace it’s easy to fall into overthinking and constant worry. It’s hard to be our best selves when we are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious as a result of our overthinking. In this episode, I’ll discuss why overthinking happens and how to stop it. 

We think all this overthinking and worry is helpful because we think we will think if we fixate on the future we will be able to out-think, outsmart and outwit, so we can solve the challenge quickly. 

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Read the Transcript
Hi friends, 
Welcome to this week’s episode on overthinking. 

I think most of us have experienced this mindset challenge at some point in our career and we fall into the trap that thinking, rethinking, churning, and burning our mental energy will somehow help us solve the situation we find ourselves in faster. 

If you are coming from sensations or feelings in your body of stress, fear, anxiety, or negative emotion, I assure you that you are not going to think of a solution faster. 

But your brain is doing what it’s been trained to do by evolutionary biology and finding ways to keep you safe, and out of harm 

so it’s frantically wanting to find a solution but you can’t be in intensive negative feelings and be able to stop overthinking and think strategically. 

The habit or primitive brain is running the show. The prefrontal cortex has left the building (okay not really but you get it). 

Maybe you are embarrassed by a failure or something you said. 

You obsess over it through the remainder of the workday and then good luck being present with anyone you’re with after work. 

You are churning and in a thought loop on how you could have done it differently or how you need to fix it now. 

A client of mine, who gave permission to share this story, shared with me recently that they had this experience where they wrote an email to a client that had some outdated and incorrect information. 

They sent it while their boss was in flight to the client. 

The client freaked out, was on a tear with writing emails and calling, 

demanding the new information now, which of course, my client had to go find. 

They didn’t have it readily available. 

The entire length of their boss’ flight they were filled with anxiety and shame as to “what was going to happen” 

and their boss who clearly doesn’t have a coach, and needs one, called my client when they landed and also behaved in a really aggressive way. 

They said they were shaking the whole time. 

There are a few layers to this scenario so let’s break it down. 

1. There’s the panic in the moments after the email was sent when they realized the data was incorrect overthinking all the worst-case scenarios

2. There’s the overthinking and the dread of waiting for the response from the client

3. There’s the shame for messing up, ruminating on WHY they didn’t do it differently 

4. There’s the overthinking that they have to find the data fast and it’s hard to think and find what looking for when you are in a panic

5. There’s the overthinking that they now have to tell the boss when they land, that not only is there a mistake but that the client is furious

6. Then there’s the overthinking and worry waiting for the boss’s reply

7. Then there’s the overthinking of what’s going to happen to me, what is the ramification because I made a mistake

I want to go douse myself in essential oils and curl up with a cashmere blanket after even saying all that. 

Does that feel really stressful to you too? 

We think all this overthinking and worry is helpful because we think we will think if we fixate on the future we will be able to out-think, outsmart and outwit, so we can solve the challenge quickly. 

But it doesn’t. 


There’s another scenario that I also hear from clients where their overthinking gets in the way of their ability to be effective they start with a series of thoughts around a particular scenario and then find every other thing that could possibly go wrong.  

1. When the company has a hierarchical change

2. There are rumors that there will be job cuts

3. Someone senior to you put time on your calendar and you think it’s negative, not positive what could they want with me)

4. There’s the overthinking that I am not where I am supposed to be and I have to fix it fast

5. It’s been a week and how come the recruiter hasn’t called me back and I must not be the candidate. Then we overthink the interview and what we did wrong

6. Or the overthinking starts to rev up to….when is it my turn to get the raise, promotion, job offer, whatever you are waiting for…and why nothing is working out


What I see happen is we fall into this thought loop and churn on the topic in front of us. 

This overthinking keeps saying you better figure this out. 

Or else….you have to fix it now. 

When I am there in a place of frantic, hustle, and worry, I know that I shouldn’t take action unless it’s to run from a burning building. 

I don’t know anyone who’s produced sustainable results from frantic, hustle and worry.

I like to say that the universe’s will is never urgent. That’s my will. 

At some point, we realize we are in this obsessive mindset because we can’t think clearly and we know we need to stop doing or fix the thing. 

But we then think we can’t stop it. 

Because this is what we do, this is just how my brain works we tell ourselves. I get it. I’ve been there. 

But we can stop it. 

But the greatest gift I didn’t realize I was giving myself was the training to manage my mind. After my head injury, I studied everything I could get my hands on about the brain and began to test and try what worked for me–from environments to thoughts, to nutrition. 

I still have overthinking moments and thoughts. But I can catch it faster today than when I first started doing mindset work. It’s my primitive, habit, or animal brain that is firing off the constant overthinking. There’s the thought, and then there’s me watching the thought. I just had to learn how to pause and watch my brain. 

Here are my best tips that help me watch my brain and stop overthinking

1. I say to myself “thank you for sharing” It’s like there me, and then there’s my thoughts. When I can pause and watch my clever brain throw all the obsessive thoughts at me, I just keep saying thank you for sharing. This gives my brain a chance to pause on thought. 

If I am in a place where I can get curious, meaning I am not in the conference room or presenting on zoom, I can check in with how my body is feeling. I can then feel the sensation of that feeling, and allow it versus resist it. The only way to work through the feeling is to feel it. 

2. I separate story from fact. I Marie Kondo everything in my head and get it on paper. If I don’t put it down on paper and see what I am thinking there can be hidden, sneaky thoughts that are still causing my obsessive thinking. It’s hard to solve calculus in your head. Get it down. Look at what you are really thinking

3. I then love, love Bryon Katie’s work and I modify her 4 questions exercise to work for me. I ask myself if it’s true, can I 100% prove my thought is true?, what would I do right now without this thought?. That last question is the one that ALWAYS gets me out of overthinking and into action. 

4. Two other questions that are helpful is to ask yourself “what do you think has gone wrong here? Or what is it that I really want? 

5. I do a 54321 anxiety exercise. 5 things I can see. 4 things touch. 3 things I can hear. 2 things I can smell. 1 thing I can taste. Giving myself this time again, get me out of the head, into the body, process the emotion. So I can get back into the head and find a solution. Again, you cant be in overthinking and worry and find the solution. 


Ok, folks, let me know how you are working through your overthinking. I hope you try some of these tips or share the ones that work for you with me. 

Before I go, do you have a career strategy? Building the Career You Want Starts with Creating Your Career Identity. I will be the details in the show notes on how to get my 5 Steps to building an Effective Career Identity

Alright, my friends. I appreciate you. Thanks for joining me this week. Until next time.