Youth Counselling

I over think about small things

I am a student of Class 11. My problem is that I over think about small things. I’ve tried various methods to overcome my problem but I can’t help it. My mom is very concerned about me. Because of this, I get severe headaches and often angry and irritated. I am not able to decide my career. I am tired of all this.
Nivedita (16)

Dear Nivedita,

You seem to be experiencing ‘paralysis of analysis’ — due to over-thinking, you don’t act; this makes you feel very frustrated, angry and exhausted. We usually over think because we are afraid — of failure, of not being ‘good enough’; because we are worried and anxious — about the results, about wanting something to be perfect, or about making the best choice. Which of the above do you experience?

Calm your mind: Breathing and physical activities such as yoga, chanting, pranayama/breathing; exercise — skipping, dancing, household chores, music, etc. can help you to reduce thinking.

Practise ‘doing’: Decide and act, even if you are afraid, things are not perfect or the result is not good. Start small with daily, less important, small decisions that don’t have serious effects. It will increase your confidence.

Manage over-thinking:

  • Set aside a ‘Thinking Time’ — two 15-minute time slots in the day to think about only the big decisions that bother you.
  • Write down a problem, put it in a bottle called the ‘Thinking Jar’ and forget about it. Open it again after 5 days. See if that problem is still the same or if you have found a solution.
  • List the things that should be perfect before you will take action.
  • Use decision-making tools (there are many on the internet) — Pros-Cons, If-then.

Career choice depends on 1) what you love to do, and 2) how good you are at it. Make a list of these and find the common items between the two. You can then visit a career counsellor to find out what are the various careers available.

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Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.

Nasreen Hashambhoy

Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.