20. September 2016 Sam Ryter

Overthinking & How to get out of your head – 3 steps that will help you to live in the presence

Do you find yourself overthinking things and being trapped in your head? If yes, then, you’re not alone. It is a major reason that holds people back from taking action and enjoying life. This article will give you clarity on how you can live more in the present moment.

Being stuck in the head can have so many forms. It can be a past worry about something that happened to us, something that triggered us and doesn’t let us go.

Past worries are usually feelings of shame or guilt.

We can also overthink and over-predict the future. About stuff that didn’t even happen yet. These thoughts can be positive, they can also be negative. But they all have something in common: They distract us from what’s most important. They distract us from the now. From enjoying the moment. From being free.

What happens when we are stuck in our heads, is that we fail to take action towards what we really want. We fail to enjoy the moment. We fail to be happy.

Overthinking is, in fact, something most people struggle with. I do to. Some people are conscious about it but the majority is not. These people suffer and don’t even know why.

I’d like to honor you for being aware of the fact that overthinking is a part of your life at times. There is nothing bad about it. But you becoming aware of your thoughts, puts you already far above the average people. Once becoming aware, we can start working on ourselves, progressing and evolving.

Once you condition yourself to be more present, you will find yourself with more power, more energy and first and foremost, it will let you create and live without fear. It is a skill that can change your life as you commit to work on it. It changed mine and it still makes me evolve, every single day.

In this article I’m going to share with you 3 simple steps, that bring you back to the present moment and will help you to take things forward when you’re stuck in your head.

What is ‘overthinking’ or ‘being stuck in your head’?

To understand how to get rid of overthinking we need to understand where this ‘being stuck in the head’ is coming from.

Overthinking is one of the most common avoidance mechanisms we use in our society. It fits right into the list of checking the Facebook-Wall on our phones, when we feel uncomfortable.

Overthinking is common in society

Overthinking is one of the most common avoidance mechanisms in society. Photo by José Martin

Being ‘stuck’ in the head is being stuck in past or future stories in our minds. It avoids what’s most important. It avoids the present moment.

Knowing that, gives us a clear key where we have to work on. Something within us is not comfortable with the present moment.

Step 1: Consider the truth of your thoughts & does ‘overthinking’ serve you or not?

Not being present, often takes you away the energy. We feel disempowered.

And as we think about the past or the future, we spend time with thoughts that are often not relevant to this moment.

We make up past and future stories that are mostly not even true.

This is the reason why a simple thought can trigger a whole chain of worries, because we’re keep adding additional stories to that thought.

Questioning these stories will help you to detach and disidentify from them.

We can’t be 100% certain about the future do we? And our past stories are often made up by the meaning we give to the event that happened to us.

So let’s take the example of you and me going through the same thing. But at the end, you could have experienced something completely different than me. Why? Not because the event was different. But it’s the meaning we give towards what happened to us that differentiate our experience.

As a side note, before we judge someone, or something, it can be very helpful to zoom out from our story and the meaning we give to it. Because this is how fights start. Two parties try to hold on to their own meaning they gave to an event without willing to change the perspective.

So the first step is to become a detective of your own thoughts.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this story I’m telling myself true?
  • Are these thoughts serving me in this moment?
  • Who would I be without this thought?

For that, I highly recommend you Byron Katies work. She is one of my heroes, when it comes to question our identities and stories. Or check my article on how to deal with a lack of confidence.

Step 2: Appreciation will free you from overthinking

Look left, look right. See what’s around you. We tend to always focus on where we need to work on and forget what we have.

Appreciation brings you right back into the moment. And you can do this in every moment.

I do it every single morning, before every meal and always when I find myself worrying for too long. It’s scientifically proven that appreciation literally changes the energy levels in our bodies.

Usually we worry about things that don’t really matter. They seem so big, but they aren’t really.

Have you ever done some journaling for yourself and read back the ‘problems’ you’ve had 2 weeks ago? Usually the things that seemed so big for us in that moment, are things that we can laugh about later.

As you feel stuck in your head, ask yourself these questions:

  • What can I appreciate in my life?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • What is beautiful and interesting in this moment?
Sunset - Appreciation brings happiness.

We don’t have to travel to see the beauty around us. Photo by Joshua Earle

Step 3: Overthinking disappears when you learn to accept yourself

Yes, I know, it doesn’t sound cool. But it’s something I have to go through as well. Learning to accept yourself is the ultimate path of self-growth.

All the suffering exists because we don’t trust ourselves.

We are stuck in past and future thoughts because we don’t have faith in the present moment. We feel unworthy, we are afraid to fail, to fuck it up.

That’s why overthinking is one of the biggest avoidance mechanisms we have in our society. Because it’s the easiest one. Our thoughts are always available and our minds are damn good in making up stories.

But what they do is, they hold us back from speaking our truth. They hold us back from taking action. From going what we truly want from our heart.

They avoid the presence. The only thing we have. Learn to accept yourself and this isn’t always an easy task, I know. But it’s a journey you can decide to go. A journey back to yourself. And the step is simple:

  • Take yourself a moment.

Something most people don’t do, because they have to go to the next thing. They don’t allow themselves to stop for a second.

Slow down to speed up. As you stuck in your head, give yourself a moment. Check in. Take a deep breath. And let yourself know that it’s fine, that you don’t have to be afraid. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Allow yourself to have flaws. And know that you are perfect already deeply within.

A beautiful process from overthinking to being present

The fact that we ‘overthink’ things is so human. It’s part of us. And it actually shows us amazing things about ourselves. It shows us that we can trust ourselves. It shows us that we might want to set more focus on accepting ourselves and appreciating what we have.

We experience overthinking less and less as we accept and understand ourselves more and more.

This process ultimately leads us to a place where we can connect more to ourselves. We get to a place where we can express ourselves fully. Where we trust in ourselves, where we are not afraid of making mistakes anymore, because we have the faith in ourselves, that whatever happens, we will be fine.

[Video] How to get out of your Head

Question: In what situations in particular do you experience a feeling of being stuck in your head? Please let me know in the comments.

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Special thanks to Agnieszka P for the coverphoto.

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Sam Ryter

Sam Ryter is an author and professional coach. He helps people to create deeper and more fulfilling relationships with others, the world and themselves.