Overthinking. We all do it. Thousands of years ago planning out the specifics of every possible scenario was what kept us alive. Now it only keeps us standing in the grocery aisle for two hours trying to choose between two different kinds of cookies.
We've talked about overthinking here before, but because it's the time of year when people are making new plans, setting new goals or contemplating new courses of action, I feel the subject bears some revisitation.
Overthinking leads to a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety, but in addition to that, it's extremely counter-productive.
Below are just a few of the problems with overthinking:
The Problems With Overthinking
Time suck – Overthinking, contemplating various and even numerous possibilities, alternate situations and courses of action takes time, a lot of time during which you are not moving forward or making progress. That time would be much better spent focusing your thoughts and energies only on the most promising one or two possibilities and scenarios in order to solve the challenge with which you are faced.
Promotes indecision – When you're faced with a problem and you open yourself up to too many options, the result is that you have a more difficult time choosing an option to go with. When you overthink things, you tend to try to consider and then solve too many possibilities, and the result is more often than not, you solve none. You become paralyzed by the sheer magnitude of the situation which now appears much more daunting.
Postpones action steps – If you're stuck and immobilized, you're not taking action. You're failing to make any decisions or move in any direction that may help you to solve your problem or escape your situation.
Encourages negativity – Overthinking invariably causes you to seek out as many possibilities as you can regarding what can go wrong. You don't overthink to consider what may go right. And considering all of those “gone wrong” scenarios encourages you to think that there is more of a likelihood for failure, doing the wrong thing or making the wrong decision than there is for success.
But you don't have to bog yourself down in the paralysis of analysis. Here are three tips to help you curb your overthinking.
How to Stop Overthinking
1. Plan a mental map of your problem – When you are first presented with a problem, try to take a deep breath and come up with a plan for tackling it. If possible, write a list of steps you can take to address this problem. Pretty soon you'll find that you are worrying less about what to do next.
2. Avoid situations that can cause you to overthink – Sometimes we are aware of exactly the type of situations that lead to overthinking. Think about the areas of your life that cause you to worry unnecessary and see if there are ways that you can avoid the situation entirely. Maybe you can even combine steps one and two to create an avoidance plan.
3. Distract yourself and stay active – Exercise can help you reduce overthinking by keeping you active. When you are exercising, you don't have the mental space to worry about anything but your next rep or step. Distracting yourself from your overthinking will help you forget what was making you stress out in the first place.
With these three simple steps you can begin to overcome the overthinking that keeps you up at night and keeps you stressed. It is possible to think clearly and rationally about your future without causing unnecessary stress over problems that may never even come to pass.
So as you plan for today, this week, this month or the rest of the year, remember these steps when you start to overthink a situation. Don't overthink it. Using these tips, you can go into your next problem happier and healthier.
What causes you to overthink? Tell us in the comments.
One of the things that can get especially irritating at this time of year is the fact that EVERYONE and their brother seems to be talking about goal setting.
How to set personal goals. Why goal setting is important. How to set goals so that you can succeed. It's a dream until you write it down, then it's a goal. Five rules for goal setting. (Why are there rules for setting goals?) The 'secret' to setting goals. And the list continues. Ugh!
And every year when the topic of goal setting heats up, it's a reminder that you apparently SUCK at goals. You must, because there are sooo many things you want to accomplish that you haven't yet achieved.
You're seemingly forever STUCK in this vortex of un-achievement, under-achievement, or not-nearly-enough-of-what-you-want in life.
You can't seem to get to wherever you should be to be making significant strides in your life in directions that you truly want to go!!
So how in the world is making a bunch of goals going to change ANYTHING? Why should I? What's the point?
Now let me ask you...Does any of that sound vaguely familiar to you in the context of your life? Yes? I thought it would.
So the question becomes how will this coming year, how will 2019 be any different for you than any of the years past?
And, in all honesty, I can't say how it will be different for you. But, I can say how it is entirely, 100% possible that it absolutely CAN be different (better) for you. And here's how...
You have to change your mind. It's as simple, and as complicated as that. Really.
Now I know that there are some of you, probably many of you that would argue the point with me.
“I'm stuck in a dead-end job.”
“I'm too old.”
“I don't have enough money.”
“I don't have the right connections.”
“I don't have the resources I need.”
“Changing my mind isn't going to make any difference. Don't you see...I've got all this other stuff!”
Okay. I hear you, and believe me, I KNOW about “other stuff” in life. But I also know about what can happen when you change your mind.
And to be completely honest and transparent, I'm completely guilty of not doing it enough in my own life (changing my mind) to focus on what I want rather than my current set of circumstances. It's something I struggle with it all the time!
But I can also tell you that I currently live in a home that I saw in my mind before I ever came to live in it. And I live in it because I changed my mind.
Don't worry. I'm not going to get all Woo Woo here...I'm just going to say that the mind is a powerful thing. And setting yourself on a course mentally, then spiritually and then emotionally that you then physically commit to (because yes, you have to DO something for goals to work), you can begin to experience levels of success not only with goal setting, but in your life in general.
It CAN happen, and what's more important, it can happen for you.
This post is already going to be longer than I intended, so let me get this back on track in terms of setting personal goals and the importance of setting goals.
Setting Personal Goals
You will never get the life you want without setting personal goals. It just won't happen. It's not something you can “luck” into, it's not something that somehow “just happens”. In order to have the life you want, you have to define the life you want. You have to choose it. And choosing it means setting goals for what you want it to be.
How to Set Personal Goals
1. Begin with the end in mind. Without focusing on “what you don't have” (which brings a negative energy and a spirit of lack into your situation), direct your attention to identifying (exactly, specifically) what you wish to have in your life and for your life. Who do you want to be? Where do you want to be in life? How do you want to live daily? What type of environment do you want to have surrounding you? What do you want to be able to do and accomplish?
2. WRITE IT DOWN!!! It's not good enough to “have some idea” of what you think you want or want to achieve, or to carry thoughts on those subjects “in the back of your mind”. Bring them to the forefront. Write them down. Make them real.
3. Take stock of where you currently are in life (relative to where you want to be), who you are, what are the beliefs and values you hold dear, what is true for you, and what you have in terms of assets and resources.
4. Now that you have identified what your goals are and taken inventory of your circumstances and condition, Create a plan. How are you going to get from where you are to where you want to be? What does that journey and that road look like for you?There is a way. Trust me there is. In fact there may be a million ways, but you have to see it. You have to identify a path that will work for you. But you have to create a connection a way to see how to get from where you are to where you want to be. You have to make that connection in your mind, no matter how convoluted or circuitous the route may seem.
5. Finally, you have to act on your plan. That's the only way this works. You have to commit to what you envision. You have to do it.
Tips for Personal Goal Setting:
1. Be honest. Setting goals that don't align with who you are and what you want are going to be failed from the start. Formulate goals from a place of being truthful, genuine and authentic to who you are.
2. Include small as well as large goals. The smaller goals help you to get quick wins that will help to keep you motivated. Smaller goals also accumulate to help you achieve your larger goals, and they quickly change how you live and experience your life on a daily basis which no only encourages you, but makes you feel better, more accomplished and happier.
3. Be open to possibilities and opportunity. Don't allow your own limiting beliefs (or the limiting beliefs of others) to deprive you of experiences and accomplishments that are absolutely possible for you. Allow yourself to think BIG!
Importance of Setting Goals
Somehow at some point in adulthood, many of us get this idea in our heads that life is just gonna do what it's gonna do, and we're basically along for the ride like a bunch of bobbles in a river being carried along by the current over which we have no control - stopping and starting, landing and setting adrift again by the movement of the water and the obstacles which we encounter along the way.
And life can be determined a lot like that, if we let it.
But if there's something we want, or if there's a place we want to get to, a journey we want to have, a specific experience or collection of experiences we seek, it's up to us to make those happen.
Is it possible they could happen if we don't set goals or make plans? Sure. Anything's possible. But it's much less likely.
To ensure our best chance at the life we envision, we have to take ownership. We have to do what we can to influence the ways in which our lives go. Will there be circumstances that we didn't plan for or see coming that make their way into our lives? Of course! Life is made up of many of those.
However, if we want more of the experiences that we desire to have, if we want our lives to have more (or less) of specific elements, we have to formulate goals for how we can achieve that. We have to make a plan (or a series of plans) and then put those things in motion.
Then we can direct where we're going, have the means to track our progress from where we've been, and know when we arrive at the place we want to be.
Setting goals helps us to...
- Get excited about our possibilities and what we're capable of
- Hope for the future
- Believe in ourselves
- Aim for and achieve things we never thought possible for our lives
- Get focused
- Find direction (and purpose) for our daily activities (so that what we're doing daily moves us forward in the direction of our intended goals)
- Obtain clarity
- Improve our decision-making
- Be motivated and provides inspiration in our daily living
- Have some control of our circumstances
- Measure our success
I don't know about you, but I want the coming year to be radically different than this year (and I mean that in a good way). I do not want another year that is virtually indistinguishable from the year before it, and the year before that, and the year before that.
And I don't want a year that's completely overshadowed by the bad things, bad experiences, “lack of “ or things that weren't accomplished or made better because there were so few new things, good things and better things taking place.
So let's do this. Let's set some awesome personal goals this year! Be brave, be bold, think fresh, think new! You CAN do this. We can make our lives better, deeper and to have more of what we want. It's not too late. Go get your life!
Start your New Year right using the Self Journal for planning, goal setting and journaling in 2019! Click here to watch the video.
Why does it often feel like whenever we have good news to share with others, there’s always that one person (or several people) in our lives who somehow manage to snuff all the goodness right out of it?
Sometimes it can feel easier to simply not share exciting news for fear of someone waiting in the wings, ready to clap back at you with a stinging remark or some other negativity.
So, how do we deal with haters that attempt to stamp out our “glow-ups“ when positive developments and changes come?
How do you harness - and maintain - an outfit of confidence so flawless that instead of haters attempting to bring you down, they’re tapping you on the shoulder asking how you got to where you are in your life?
Read on-- we’re sharing some tips on how to effectively tune out the jealous, negative voices in your life, whether it be from family, friends, co-workers or social media.
Haters are Here to Stay
Let’s be clear on one thing first: Haters aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
While many of the classic forms of bullying you may have experienced as a child or early teen were likely put to rest along with your bad hair days and questionable fashion (or other) choices, bullying and haters still exist well into adulthood.
The only difference is the way in which people bully as adults, which can look a bit different than it did back in junior high.
In a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, results found that out of the 2,000 U.S. adults they surveyed, 31% confirmed that they had been bullied as adults. An even higher 43% said they felt that bullying has become more accepted this past year.
The online survey defined bullying as being subjected to repeated, negative behavior intended to harm or intimidate.
In our society, bullying or repeated exposure to haters is often regarded as something that we experience only in childhood and adolescence, and for this reason we often fail to identify being mistreated by fellow adults for what it really is: bullying incited by jealousy, anger, and other mental or emotional issues.
The neighbor who spreads gossipy rumours about you around town, the co-worker who always interrupts, talks over or tries to “best” you, or the family member who chooses the silent treatment instead of dealing with an issue with you head on-- these are all forms of bullying that can have lasting effects if we don’t acknowledge the behavior and learn how to deflect or deal with it.
How to Deal with Haters at Home
Home is where we go for rest and refuge, to recharge, where we seek comfort, safety, and love from the people who know us best.
It is for this reason that dealing with haters within the family can be particularly upsetting.
Additionally, because people in our families often do know us most intimately, they’re also privy to the things that can hurt us most.
Dr. Charles Sophy, a Los Angeles-based Psychiatrist who works with the LA Department of Children and Family Services explains that “behavior from adult bullies is more subtle and sophisticated than what a child might employ.”
Gaslighting, a bullying tactic in which the person makes a victim question their own reality, is common in family bullying, as it’s a practice done by slowly and subtly controlling the victim over time through small manipulations and actions.
When we’re exposed to this in our homes, it’s hard to detect when it’s happening until it gets really bad.
The scene is all too familiar: You’re sitting around the family dinner table, waiting for the perfect moment to share with everyone that you finally got that job you’ve been working so hard for, and your mom-- always the reliable critic-- responds with the classic “It’s about time. Really you should have gotten it a long while ago. You’ve been working below your potential for way too long.”
Her criticism is something you’ve probably experienced and grown accustomed to for years now. In many cases, subtle criticism from family members over long periods of time can dramatically skew how we perceive ourselves and our abilities.
The best way to fend off negative comments, whether they’re overt or extremely subtle is to make a choice, assert yourself, and establish boundaries.
When the stinging comments start to fly, you can choose to maintain composure and be respectful, instead of stooping to other's level of indecency.
It’s key that you also make it clear with the family member in question that you feel their behavior and hateful comments are inappropriate and cause pain within the relationship.
Having an open and honest conversation about how the family member makes you feel, even if things don’t start to change immediately, sets the premise that you deserve to be respected and appreciated for who you are.
Finally, if you’ve communicated how you feel but the hatefulness continues, it’s time to set some boundaries. It may be wise to limit your time spent with that family member, and, if you know they have a penchant for tearing you down, consider limiting the types of information you share with him or her about you and your life.
How to Deal with Haters at Work
Dealing with haters at work is another beast entirely.
If you’ve ever had a jealous or negative coworker in your life, the kind who seems to always secretly (or not so secretly) be in competition with you or the one who jumps at every opportunity to passive aggressively interact with you -- then you know what we’re talking about!
While we’d love to say that putting on your headphones and cranking up Rihanna’s discography will permanently block out all of your workplace haters, there’s a little more at play here to tuning out the negativity, though Rihanna does help. A lot.
Sandra Robinson, a University of British Columbia professor whose expertise is centered around workplace psychology, explains that the key to identifying haters and bullies in the workplace are those that exemplify a consistent pattern of abusive social behavior, rather than simply pulling a jerk move every once in a while.
In an interview with VICE, Dr. Robinson explains that when it comes to workplace haters and bullies, there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy to solving the issue, mostly because there are a number of factors that can affect your position at the company, and the hater in question might be in a vastly different position and place of power than you.
The first way to deal with a hater at work is to document everything that happens between you and the bully.
This is easy to do and not a risk for your job.
Write down what the person said or their behavior, when it happened, and if others were around so that you have a consistent trail of abuse documented.
The next step is the most necessary, but most difficult to do. If you’re tired of feeling like the target of their anger, jealousy, and negativity, you need to confront the person.
Share with them all of the specific instances in which you suffered or were harmed by their words and actions, and explain to him or her that it’s oppressive, problematic or making it difficult for you to do your job.
Finally, if you’ve done all you can to block them out (and their petty negativity that somehow finds you even 6 cubicles over), it might be time to get someone else involved.
It’s not always comfortable or easy to go to someone with more power than both you and the offending coworker to help amend the issue, but it’s better than letting the situation go on unchecked.
Similar to limiting time with negative family members, you might need to ask your supervisor if you can be assigned to projects that minimize the time spent with the person who is causing you difficulty.
If that’s literally not an option because you’re in a lab with one other partner working tirelessly to find a real, permanent way to get rid of cellulite (we like to think our readers work in prestigious labs and if you have the answer to the cellulite thing, TELL US NOW), then our best advice is to be as kind and respectful as the circumstances allow, be assertive and aim to focus on the work instead of their neggy comments.
Dealing with Haters on Social Media
The latest avenue through which haters can spew negativity into your life and the lives of virtually anyone else in the view of their computer or smart phone is online and on social media. *Deep sigh*
Instagram trolling, heated Facebook arguments, name-calling on forums... Haters online are everywhere, and what’s worse is that many of them may not even know you, at least not personally.
This type of harassment has been aptly titled “cyberbullying” and much like regular, IRL bullying, we tend to think it’s localized mostly to teens and young people.
Unfortunately, people aggressively punching mean tweets and Instagram comments into their keyboards aren’t just bratty junior high girls.
There are tons of “full-grown” adults out there waiting for the first opportunity to comment negatively, to judge other people whose lives and situations they don't know, or to lable or categorize people based on things they think they know.
Why? Ignorance, envy, immaturity, closed-mindedness, jealousy and any number of other reasons.
Regardless, their words can still be hurtful or troubling. But you’re on a path that celebrates your uniqueness and worth, and learning how to ignore hateful, mean or negligible comments is key to getting in that untouchable, Beyonce-post-cheating-scandal zone.
Cybersmile, an online bullying advice site, explains that adults can be far more adept at hiding their online identity-- and far more malicious and sophisticated in the way they use technology to harm others.
First, it’s important that you keep record of any comments a hater is trolling you with.
Screenshot them or write them down, because you know what we’re going to recommend next: Confront the hater!
While (as we stated previously) this may not be easy or comfortable for you, there’s almost certainly a deeper issue at hand for the person spewing comments. Sometimes a transparent conversation about how their actions are affecting you can lead to some type of resolution, or at least get the hater’s negativity out of your life once you address the situation head-on.
If that doesn’t work and the problem persists, go ahead and block them! There’s no use fighting someone online, especially when you know you won’t be able to have a heartfelt, in-person conversation with him or her, so it might be time to gear up your finger and hit that “Block” button.
Rise Above, and When You Can’t - Cut ‘em Out
The point of learning how to deal with haters, or calling out haters and bullies isn’t necessarily to have them see the error of their ways. It’s for you to know that you did your part in the greater work of your own self-improvement.
There’s no shame in limiting access to you and your life, or cutting people out of your life entirely that only contribute negativity to it.
If you’re on a path that celebrates who you are and where you’re going, staying on it is the most important thing you can do for yourself.
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