Over Thinking and Procrastination

Thinking is a powerful tool when it aligns with action – for instance, when we’re learning or problem-solving.

Consider the planning that goes into creating a garden; this form of thinking is productive because it supports a generative goal. It’s when our minds are engrossed with purposeful tasks, like selecting seeds or strategizing about planting, that our cognitive processes contribute most significantly to positive outcomes.

However, much of our thinking doesn’t serve a constructive purpose. It can become repetitive and negative, trapping us in a loop that reinforces pessimism.

Gazing out at a garden might trigger unhelpful thoughts of past losses or personal shortcomings. Instead of inspiring action, these thoughts weigh us down.

It’s crucial to recognize and avoid allowing such patterns to expand from a figurative ‘four-lane highway’ into a ‘six-lane highway’ of mental traffic that leads nowhere.

Today’s distractions, particularly from social media, further compound the issue of overthinking.

They function like ‘mental chewing gum,’ satisfying our mind’s need for engagement but not in a nourishing way.

The pattern of pushing back commitments, like a morning exercise routine, reveals deeper issues of avoidance and rationalization – these are defense mechanisms that keep us from facing challenges head-on.

Understanding our own behavior is essential in redirecting our mental efforts towards healthier outcomes.

Mindsets can be reshaped to view challenges not as burdens but as opportunities to exercise our capabilities and affirm our identities.

Each decision we make, to either follow through with a challenging task or to acknowledge and accept the decision not to, is a step towards a clearer and more honest self-awareness.

Ultimately, the discussion ratchets back to the importance of action. Moving from thought to action is essential in achieving states of peace, contentment, delight, and gratitude.

Actions are the vehicles through which we can fulfill universal desires for well-being and satisfaction.

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Dr. Paul Conti

Paul Conti, M.D., is a Stanford and Harvard-trained psychiatrist currently running a clinical practice, the Pacific Premier Group.

Andrew Huberman:

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