Whenever we are doing something that feels important, it is common to overthink it, which can cause us to psych ourselves out.
But it doesn’t have to be this way; here are ten ways that you can stop yourself from psyching out.
1) Stop putting your focus on other people
Often, if we are overthinking what other people will think of our performance, we might get our minds off of what we are trying to accomplish.
So instead of focusing on what other people will think about you or what you are doing, focus on yourself and what you can do.
It is easy to create stress inside our minds when we spend too much time thinking about what other people will think.
Stop focusing on other people, and focus on what you can do.
2) Know that you have practiced and are doing your best
Practice makes perfect; while this isn’t always true, the more we practice at something, the better we perform. On top of this, if we know we are trying our best, we can have confidence in what we are doing.
If you know that you have prepared, there will be no reason to worry about what might go wrong. If you doubt yourself, think, “I’ve got this, I’ve practiced, I am going to do my best.”
If you are prepared, there is little reason to worry about how you will do, but you better practice next time if you aren’t prepared now.
3) Take a walk and focus on something else
If we have our minds on something, we might start coming up with impossible scenarios that we won’t be able to deal with.
Often a huge source of stress and distraction is overthinking about what we can’t do anything about. Instead of thinking about what might go wrong, think of something else entirely.
Taking a walk is a great way to get your mind off of whatever is distracting you. Once your mind is clear, it is easier to focus on what you can do.
4) Accept that you may fail, and be willing to learn from mistakes
Sometimes the fear of failure is what we think of most; at times, this fear can even be enough to stop us from trying. But rather than fearing loss, we should learn to accept it and move on.
We can’t always win, but at least if we accept that failure is a possibility, then it won’t be such a blow when it happens. Rather than focusing on the loss, focus on what is gained, like experience and better skills.
While we might fail, if we look at struggles as a learning experience, we will get more out of them and will perform better in the future.
5) Focus on what you can do now, small steps vs. the grand goal
Often if we think about the grand picture or our end goal, it gets in the way of doing what we need to do right now.
Every big project takes lots of small steps that, in time, build up to something bigger. At the same time, if we focus on the small stuff that we can do right now, we will perform better, which will make a massive difference in the long run.
It is easy to get psyched out if we think about the end game rather than what needs our attention right now.
6) Keep track of your progress, convince yourself you are getting better
Anything worth working towards is going to take repeated efforts over a long period. However, we tend to focus on the short term and get discouraged if we don’t see results right away.
Keeping a journal or having a spreadsheet to track your progress will make it easier to see what you have accomplished. Having a long view of what you are doing will help you see the everyday bumps on the road as more minor things.
If you don’t track your progress, it can be easy to think you aren’t making any progress, so track it and convince yourself that you are making a difference.
7) Try to understand better what is causing your stress
Sometimes we psych ourselves out for legitimate reasons; in those cases, we need to be willing to understand the cause and learn from our mistakes.
If you are stressed about an exam and know that you haven’t studied enough, your worry makes sense. Rather than ignoring these feelings, use them as an opportunity to choose a better path in the future.
If you feel bad about a decision or something you are stepping into, don’t ignore the legitimate reasons you feel that way. And if you can do better next time, commit to it.
8) Take focus off of yourself and think of something else
Earlier, I said not to focus on other people and look at yourself and how well you have prepared. But now we need to flip that thinking if it is causing us too much stress.
If we overthink ourselves, especially the kinds of mistakes we might make, we may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Sometimes we need to be willing to step back and think about nothing, or at least take a break and focus on something else.
Stress or worry about how we might fail will make it more difficult to perform our best. So try to think about something else if you want to stop psyching yourself out.
9) Visualize success, see yourself doing what you are trying to do
Sometimes what we need is to see ourselves doing what we fear we might fail.
If you are worried about an exam, see yourself doing the exam with ease and passing. If you are concerned about a conversation, visualize it going well and having your preferred outcome.
While we can’t simply rely on visualization, we are much more likely to succeed if we are prepared and see ourselves doing well.
If you want to keep calm in a stressful situation, imagine yourself getting through it without any problems. This practice won’t always work, but it might help give you some confidence.
Visualize the success you wish to find.
10) Think critically about your negative feelings
Negative feelings aren’t always unjustified; sometimes, they exist to get us to think about something that matters. However, we need to look at them objectively and judge if they are legitimate or not.
At the same time, we need to be critical of those feelings and be willing to ditch them when they are wrong. Equally valid, we need to be ready to learn from them if they are justified.
If your feelings are helping you think about something that needs your attention, that can be helpful. However, if they point you in the wrong direction, you need to recognize this and move on to something else.
Our emotions exist to guide us, so use them to your advantage as much as you can.
Hopefully, this list of ways to stop you from psyching yourself out helps you understand what you can do differently if stress or worry is getting in your way.
Now it is your turn. Do you find yourself getting psyched out when you shouldn’t? What do you do to deal with those feelings of fear or stress? In the future, what techniques will you use? Finally, do you think that anything important is missing from this list?