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Pull the Emergency Break on Your Hamster Wheel by Krystal Zellmer

Let’s talk about overthinking.


Do you ever find yourself drowning in your own thoughts? The narrative you create in your mind that seems to snowball on itself until it is so overwhelming that you end up exhausted or quitting. I picture this as a mental hamster wheel. It’s like our mind is the wheel, and our thoughts are the hamster. If you are anything like me, sometimes that thing gets going so fast I feel like it could fly right out of the cage!


What do we overthink about? Absolutely anything. Maybe it’s a conversation we know we get to have and don’t want to have. Occasionally it’s what other people will think about us, or what we are doing. Sometimes it is a goal or dream we have committed to and after we fully commit, every reason for not doing it begins to flood our mind. We begin to create crazy mouse traps for ourselves about the sliver of what is “possible” or “reasonable.” I’ve had this experience and maybe you can relate.


Let’s say I have a phone call to make and I am apprehensive about it. I tell myself that I am absolutely doing that tomorrow. First error in my judgement, I put off until tomorrow what I could easily do today. This just gives me more time to awfulize the situation and make up barriers to having the conversation that simply are not there. Maybe I begin to tell myself, well I can’t call before 8am because what if I wake this person up? Then I tell myself, I can’t call between 8am-5pm because most people would be working. Well of course I can’t call between 5:30pm and 7:30pm because that is when people are having dinner with their family. And no way I could call after 8pm out of respect. I don’t want to bother them while they are going to bed. Meanwhile, back in reality, I have mentally boxed myself into a one hour window where I can “morally” and “ethically” make the phone call. MY GOODNESS! Maybe this is just me and I have often found myself being completely unreasonable in the name of being reasonable or considerate! Funny story, and you would never do that right?


Pull the emergency break on the hamster wheel! When you find yourself justifying and defending your excuses, slam on the breaks. When you find yourself creating more reasons you can’t do something than reasons why you can… red flag! If you find yourself listing all the reasons it won’t work… that’s your sign. Get yourself back in check. Begin to ask yourself questions to discover what are the belief systems running you at that moment. Kimberly Zink often tells me, “Anytime you need to justify or defend you are out of alignment.” You know in those times when you are running this story with yourself how out of alignment you truly are with your heart. You know action would support you in overcoming the thinking. When I find myself running on this metaphorical hamster wheel, I feel exhausted, trapped, and victimized. I start to believe I have so few possibilities there is no way I can win. Stop buying your own baloney! Sometimes all we need is a good old fashion reality check with ourselves (and maybe even a laugh at ourselves) on what it is we say we want. Is that worth going after? Give yourself the gift of peace. Take urgent action now. Ask the questions. Be brave. Be honest. Watch your world shift.

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