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How to Stop Overthinking (The Subtle Art of Not Thinking)

Apr 19, 2021

Read this counterintuitive approach to end endless thoughts...

So much so, I didn't even know I was overthinking but felt I was just thinking normally, and being “being myself.”

I have this interesting memory from 2016/17, going for a walk at night with a group of my friends, conversing and stimulating our minds. I remember wanting to say something to my friends and pose a question. In my head, I was thinking for what felt like 5-10 seconds about what question to ask. Next thing I remember, my friend taps me on the shoulder and says, Mark, are you ok? You’ve been silent for the last 15 minutes.

Today I understand, overthinking is a complex feedback loop, between identity, pain, and the psycho-social structures alongside your neurobiology that create your very thinking, before you even know what you are thinking to think.

Especially for some of us, we have what I would call “viruses” embed into our thinking and mind software like social anxiety, and other potential mental health issues.


Here’s how to know you’re overthinking:

  • You stay up at night, or anxious through the day thinking “I should, I should, I should, I should, have said this or done that instead.”

  • It feels like you have two lives. One is the real you, seemingly suppressed inside of you, unable to articulate him or herself. The other, is the identity other people see you as and how you express yourself limitedly and feel a painful divide between these two lives.

  • You have moments during the day where it feels like a runaway train has gotten loose in your mind that paralyzes your action and future hopeful thinking.

  • Your mind constantly reminds you of your mistakes, failures, embarrassing moments, on replay.

  • You feel like, even if you spoke to somebody, they would never understand your issues and feelings, because they are very complicated, and you don’t even understand them.

The average human has 60,000 thoughts a day, and 85% of our thoughts are repeated identically from the day before. The mind is already heavily flawed, add on obsessive overthinking and unfortunately, I can almost guarantee, the person suffering from this issue, will not go where they want to go in life peacefully.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” - Albert Einstein


1. You Don’t Trust Yourself

Let me know if this is a familiar scenario for you…

You’re sitting down at your workplace eating lunch and a few friendly faces come over and say hi and sit next to you. You’re eating and a conversation occurs around you about what happened last night on this new controversial top-rated TV show.

You think silently to yourself “hey I saw that and thought it was interesting!” Someone says something you agree with, and want to share your thoughts about. You are trying to think in your head of what you want to say and by the time you think you have a perfectly formulated thought, the conversation changes about that just opened up in town that has amazing food.

You don’t want to look foolish, so you scrap that thought and again attempt to create a perfect thought because you remember that your friend told you they went to that restaurant two nights ago and it wasn’t that good.

The same thing happens, by the time you’re done thinking, the topic of conversation has changed or isn’t in the same angle that speaking your perfect thought wouldn’t make sense anymore. 

What’s the antidote? Intellectual courage & trusting yourself.

I’m talking about the subtle art of simply not thinking beforehand and just speaking and trusting yourself you will say the “right” words. This may seem either super simplistic or flat-out stupid to you.

Why? Because you don’t trust yourself. You think back to all the moments where you made a fool out of yourself in front of a friend, kids in the classroom, the table at the lunchroom and made a mental note to yourself to not speak up. 

Why don't you trust yourself?

Imagine your best friend right now, Rick or whatever his or her name is...and imagine he calls you up…

Rick: hey! Do you wanna go grab tacos at the bar down the street tonight at 7 pm?

You: Yes, I’d absolutely love to do so.

You show up at the bar at 7 pm at the exact location he mentions and you wait for 30 minutes. You shoot Rick a text and he says hey man sorry I couldn't make it.

You: Can we reschedule for tomorrow at the same time and place?

You understand, things happen in life, and make a plan to meet Rick tomorrow. The next day you show up at the same bar and time, still no Rick. A bit more flustered you text Rick and ask him what’s up? He comes up with an excuse that you know is an excuse but still loves him enough to agree to meet him the next day at the bar. The following day comes along...guess what?

Still no Rick. You text Rick and he makes a big story as to why he couldn’t make it but assures you tomorrow he will be there. You text Rick back and say - you know what? Don’t worry about it, I'm not interested in meeting up anymore.

You are Rick and you are also you.

Every time you promise yourself you’re going to do something or say something to a person, and you don’t, you slowly lose that trust in yourself. That lack of trust eventually accumulates and you don’t even trust yourself anymore.

So next time you are in the middle of a social gathering and you tell yourself to do something that requires a bit of courage, and you don’t do it. That’s a trust problem you have with yourself being manifested in front of you. Just like everything in life, nothing is created overnight and neither is the building or destroying of a relationship.

Try it next time you're in a conversation with anyone.

At first, your brain is going to tell you are being so illogical and stupid, nobody wants to hear whatever sounds you can string together into a sentence.

That’s normal. In fact, your mind may even trigger every fear survival response (going back to evolutionary biology) to tell you if you do this you’re going to die and people are going to hate you. Again, that’s normal.

The key is to use your breathing to single-mindedly focus on being in the present moment, and truly listening to the other people in conversation, and trying your best to understand every word of what they are saying first.


2. You Lie to Yourself and Others Because You’re Afraid

I grew up lying all the time. Mostly to myself, but to others as well.

I didn’t lie because I was a bad person. I lied to people because I had no confidence in myself, and didn’t want them to think as badly as I thought of myself.

What I learned is every time you lie, you overthink which identity do I want to put forth? The real me, or the fake me (which you can create to be anything in your head conceptually speaking) which then paralyzes you due to the number of lies and choices you could be making, and the lack of integrity within your character.

Once you overthink to lie, you create false identities of yourself to protect yourself from being hurt. When you do that, you actually not only lose the meaningfulness of relationships, but you also lose your real identity in the process.

If you don’t know who you are?

If your values aren’t built in the identity you show people daily…

Your brain knows you better than you know yourself.

This is the toxic cognitive environment, you create, from lying, that produces chronic overthinking, and eventually years later, potential mental health issues as well.


3. Your Brain is Fried

Too much sugar.

Not enough healthy carbohydrates.

Too much sitting.

Not enough movement throughout the day.

Too much drinking.

Not enough water, tea, and smoothies.

Too many drugs.

Not enough natural drugs like sunlight, breathing, and supplements.

Too many sleepless nights.

Not enough nights researching how to get better sleep.

Too much stress.

Not enough learning how to adopt stress-relieving habits.

Too much work and no rest.

Not enough downtime, family connection, and passion projects.


Our brains are complicated, yet simple house plants.

We need sunlight, we need to move, we need nutrients and fats, we need peace, we need challenges, we need to sleep and feel rested.

If you neglect this, your brain’s physical reality will match. Your overthinking, will either be worsened by an inflamed brain, or your brain’s overthinking will lead you to poorer physical and mental health.

Stop treating your brain like it doesn’t exist just because you can’t see it.


Can I help?

Over the last several years I’ve devoted my life to helping anxious, introverted, shy, creators, entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and professionals move these mental health obstacles out of their life so they can get busy being their real selves in front of anyone.

If you are interested in potentially inquiring about my services for yourself or someone else you love, please fill out this form below.

For the next steps, fill out this form - here

Have any Questions or comments? Just reply directly to this email and I’ll respond back.


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