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If Overthinkers Anonymous were a thing, I’d make a fabulous president.

But what is overthinking exactly? After all, we have to use our brains. Overthinking can look like:

  • Analysis paralysis
  • Ruminating or stewing
  • A sense of being pulled in multiple directions
  • Blurry thoughts with no clear intention or outcome
  • Self or situational questioning
  • Endless debating
  • Asking for (too much) advice
  • Cost/benefit analysis with no action

No one wants to be be hijacked by a useless or even harmful train of thought.

So how do we stop?

James Clear has 4 solid recommendations for breaking a bad habit:

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No matter how much you love your work, motivation ebbs and flows — and there’s plenty we can do to supercharge it. Here are 20 tips to ramp up your energy:

  1. Minimize or sweeten activities that don’t do much for you. Minimizing can look like delegating or finding ways to make these activities less time intensive. …

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A management consultant walks into a reiki session and walks out… an entrepreneur.

I didn’t know what reiki was the first time I tried it. A friend invited me to a group “attunement” when I was staying in India.

I liked it.

It felt both grounding and other worldly.

And after my travel sabbatical…

I turned down a sweet job offer that landed in my lap. I read two job descriptions on LinkedIn and stopped. …

For the uninitiated, asking for what you want (and sometimes getting it) can seem like an act of wizardry. In reality, getting what you want is a skill that builds on the following:

  1. Self awareness — Knowing what you want, in a tuned in versus superficial way.
  2. Energy — Getting out of your head and into relationship or action.
  3. Security — Sensing you’ll be OK even if you fail or are rejected.
  4. Self worth — Believing you are worth it (+++).
  5. Vulnerability — Exposing yourself to emotional risk.
  6. Assertiveness — Expressing yourself…

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Rigid structure smothers trust and creativity, but when your agreements with yourself or others are unclear, you may not get desired results.

This was reinforced by a recent experience I had overseeing several high schoolers. It had been a minute since I’d played a direct supervisory role, much less with temp/un-salaried employees, and there was schooling in both directions: A helpful reminder to set clear standards and document up front.

It’s important to give others autonomy and a chance to step up, but handing tasks over and giving the benefit of the doubt isn’t enough when you’re responsible for results…

Whether you’re of a more scientific or spiritual bent the secret’s out: What you pay attention to grows.

And at any given moment, we could be paying attention to any number of things. From our immediate senses, to our thoughts (about the past, present, future — based in fact or entirely imagined), to impressions of other people or our environments, to our emotional state or mood.

In that sense, we can grow just about anything.

Noticing what we’re noticing is useful for a number of reasons:

  1. It allows us to notice the impact…

We all love a good compliment — except when we see it as self-interested or disingenuous. Hence my client’s recent complaint that his manager was “buttering him up.”

Another client, a founder of a startup, gives praise on the reg and his team loves him the more for it.

So how can we appreciate others in a way that really lands? Pay attention to them and tap into genuine gratitude, simply (but not always easily, when we’re busy and distracted).

Done artfully, appreciation motivates and connects others to the best in themselves. It’s manipulation with healthy intent and hopefully impact…

If you’re a personality test junkie, I’ve got some bad (and good) news: Personality is fluid.

According to personality science, people change their behavior as a response to situational factors, their moods and mindsets, or their goals. In fact the idea that people can adapt how they show up is the entire premise of leadership development and coaching. Who you are at work may be very different from who you are in your romantic partnership, which may be different from who you are when you’re playing competitive sports. For example.

I’m not citing my sources because my Conscientiousness on the…

We’re in an age of disruption and new ventures. Especially before COVID, fearlessness was very “in.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for boldness. But as a coach and a psychologist, I know that pushing yourself or others to be bold in a way that denies your fears and pain points, or compels you to suppress them, is generally bad practice.

Instead of thinking you shouldn’t feel fear and self-doubt, I urge you to welcome it.

Fear is NOT the enemy. Acting (or not acting) from fear is.

On a basic level, fear tries to keep us alive. It’s just…

What if you could go from feeling overwhelmed to feeling calm and centered — in a matter of seconds?

Sounds too good to be true? It’s not if you practice this 5 second technique in earnest.

Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or resistant to something on your to do’s, instead of grumbling or fretting about it, try this reframe: I choose to __________________ (the action/activity) because I want __________________ (result).

This takes some getting used to and you may even try to resist it, looking for answers in someone or something else. …

Casey Onder, PhD

Psychologist, success coach, believer in solid behavioral science and the power of tuning in.

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