I am a big fan of Professor Steve Peters who wrote the highly acclaimed book, The Chimp Paradox. The book demonstrates how to stop overthinking by managing the emotional part of the brain more effectively so that you can perform better.
Dr. Steve Peters is an English psychiatrist who works in elite sport. His clients include Ronnie O’Sullivan and Victoria Pendleton. Both claim he brought them back from dark places in their careers.
How to tame your chimp to stop overthinking
The book explains different aspects of how you function and highlights key facts for you to understand to help you stop overthinking.
There are also exercises for you to work with. By undertaking these exercises you will see immediate improvements in your daily living.
Over time, you will develop emotional skills and practical habits helping you to become the person that you want to be.
How to stop overthinking with this TedTalk
Working on your inner-critic
Here are the key takeaways from his ted talk:
- We need to control the part of our brain which thinks “emotionally and catastrophically”. This thinking is good in real life or death scenarios, not when it impinges on many areas of our life that are not e.g. introducing ourselves at a work event.
- Our chimp is 5 times as powerful as our rational frontal cortex. Thus we need to recognise him. Generally when we think thoughts we do not want, that is our Chimp. An example would be worrying about what everybody else thinks and thus not making the right decision for you.
- “I want to go and enjoy myself and do my best”. Steve’s athletes thought like this in immense pressure environments, at the Olympics. They don’t blame their chimp for thoughts like “I must win and not let anyone down”, they know their chimps exist and choose to suppress them. They worked hard enough that their belief in their ability enabled them to overrule their chimps.
Steve believes you must reason with your chimp, talk to it and challenge it!
Common thoughts with overthinking
Do I really need everyone’s approval all the time? Will people stop caring about me if I don’t succeed? Challenge these thoughts by thinking back to past examples, often these fears have been shown to be false.
I highly recommend this book as a staring point if you’re looking to stop overthinking. It’s not a miracle cure but a great way to look at your thoughts from a different perspective and start taming that chimp!
Original post here.
7 Steps to Self-love
I’ve put together a short guide that you can use to help you reset if you’re feeling overwhelmed by working on yourself. You can get it here.
Puja K McClymont – Certified Life Coach & NLP Practitioner
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