Is Your Thinking Overwhelming You?
Do you feel like your thinking is overwhelming you? Are your thoughts keeping you awake? How is your thinking impacting your work or your business? It is very difficult to concentrate, be effective and perform at your best when you have too much going on in your mind. You may feel stressed, overwhelmed, distracted and unable to settle. You may procrastinate, become indecisive and not take any action, which will all have a detrimental impact on your work and life.
Here are some tips to help you if you are feeling overwhelmed by your thinking:
Take control of your thoughts. You may think that you have no control over your thinking but by noticing what you are thinking about and taking action on those things you will start to think less about them e.g. You may be preoccupied about the poor performance of a member of your team and the impact it is having on your business. However if you have a conversation with that person to address the poor performance their performance may improve and it will no longer be an issue to think about.
Write down all the key things you are thinking about. Take some time to write down the things you are thinking about and try to make sense of them. Prioritise and decide which you need to start to take action on first. e.g. You may be worrying about a dip in your business performance, cash flow, recruiting staff, a business relationship, a potential change in business taxation and the amount of time you are spending working. It is important that you are honest with yourself.
Make a plan and take action. Consider the list above, decide what actions you need to take and prioritise your plan. Start taking action on the most important areas. e.g. You have been continually thinking about how slow your business has been over the last few weeks. If you take action such as reviewing and changing your sales and marketing activity or taking on another sales manager you are likely to make a positive difference to sales and hence your thinking.
Park your thoughts on the other areas. Once you have your plan and have started taking action, it will help you if you park your thoughts on the areas you are going to action at a later date. If you focus 100% on taking the planned action on the priority areas you will find that your mind starts to calm down as it will be fully occupied with action.
Understand where your thinking may be unhelpful. There are many unhelpful ways of thinking including taking a relatively minor negative event and imagining all sorts of disasters resulting from it, predicting future events in a negative way, assuming you know what other people are thinking and over generalising. Read our article Considering the way you think for ideas as to how to change unhelpful ways of thinking.
Challenge your thinking. What are you thinking about? Is it reality or are you creating your version of reality? Is your thinking based on fact or are you making assumptions? How do your beliefs impact your thinking? Ask yourself open questions and challenge your thinking. e.g. How much of what you think and worry about actually happens? What is the worst that could happen?
Gain perspective. It is very easy to get caught up in your thinking and feel there is no way out. Try talking to someone else to get a different perspective. Stand back and look at your thinking as an impartial observer. You will be surprised at what a difference this can make.
Try something different. Remember you always have options and choices and can try something different. If you are overwhelmed with your thinking and you do nothing about it things will stay as they are but if you decide to do something about it and try something different you have a good chance that things will improve for the better.
Don't try and control the uncontrollable. How much of your thinking is about things that are not within your control e.g. government policy, share prices, the weather etc. Read our article Don't try and control the uncontrollable for some tips to help with this.
Take a break. If your mind is overactive and you are struggling to cope with your thoughts, try taking a break from the situation you are in and do something different. Try taking a lunch break away from the office, exercising, meditating or whatever you find helps you to relax and clear your head.
Ask for help and support. You may feel overwhelmed with your thinking. If so talk to someone or ask for help and support whether from a friend, colleague or someone outside your business.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: February 2016
Through Makin It Happen - Coaching, Mentoring & Stress Management, Liz Makin provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals. If you are looking for a business coach, business mentor or help with stress please contact Liz on 01780 765270 or email Liz@makinithappen.co.uk to arrange a free consultation session.
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