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By Shannon Pierce
Have you ever had just a really bad day or even a bad week? On Monday, your car won’t start so you are late to work. Your lateness to work then spurs on getting behind on work for the whole week. Not only that, but your relationship with your significant other is kind of rocky. It all makes you start getting upset about the bills that are piling up and your bad performance review you got at work. Is your head spinning yet? It happens to all of us. Our brains interconnect all of these various scenarios and emotions like a spider web. We may be exposed to so many relationships, conversations, and situations in our day that it becomes hard to turn off our brains.
Imagine trying to take a penalty kick to end a serious soccer game. You have done it a million times at practice and nailed it. The odds are even in your favor. The net is huge and the goalie only takes up a small portion of the space. You are only feet away with no defenders on your back. However, just when you go to kick that ball you begin to feel the pressure of the crowd. Your teammates are relying on you. Even your girlfriend is in the crowd. It’s time to take the kick. The whistle blows, you wind up, and boom, you choke. You wail the ball 20 feet over the net.
Overthinking is typically defined as weighing in too many options before making a decision. It may be defined as focusing on very small details instead of seeing the big picture or like in the soccer scenario, choking under pressure.
Dr. Barry Schwartz says when we have too many choices our decision becomes stunted all together and we freeze.
Psychologist Susan Nolen-Hoeksema explains that overthinking negatively affects our daily functions. When allow our moods to affect our thoughts, our judgment is impeded and so is our performance. We “choke” in situations we are normally good at because we try to think our way through the process. We think about, “Which way will the goalie dive? Does the goalie remember which way I shot last time? Does my coach believe in me?”
We must allow time to separate our thoughts and our moods. Activities like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help our minds disconnect from the daily information overload.
All of the recent research suggests exactly what Nike states, “Just do it.”
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