Last Updated on December 20, 2022
An active mind translates to a healthy state of overall wellbeing. But in our quests to brainstorm solutions to everyday problems, we tend to overstretch our mental limits. In the process, we only end up subjecting our brains to undue strain. And without timely interventions, it may only be a matter of time before we develop chronic stress and anxiety.
But did you know that the most seemingly difficult problems often have the simplest solutions? If you didn’t know this until now, you might take inspiration from the legendary account of the Gordian Knot.
The Gordian Knot is a short story that has been used for thousands of years as a metaphor for using basic techniques to solve intractable problems. The story goes that in 333 B.C, Alexander the Great, while marching through Anatolia, reached the capital of Phrygia – Gordium. After arriving at Gordium, Alexander came upon the chariot of Gordius, the ancient founder of Gordium city. The chariot’s yoke was reportedly lashed to the pole via an intricate knot whose ends were hidden.
Tradition stipulated that the knot was to be untangled only by the future conqueror of Asia. But with its ends carefully hidden, most warriors who had gone before Alexander the Great could not untie the chariot of Gordius. The logical expectation was that Alexander would rack his brains trying to untangle the knot as it’s only by so doing would he be deemed a gallant warrior. However, the ultimate test of valor was not the means to untying the knot but rather untangling it one way or the other.
Being the sly warrior that he was, Alexander the Great didn’t let conventional wisdom guide him. He pulled his sword and sliced right through the knot. And just like that, Alexander unlocked a years-long mystery. His pragmatism and swift decision-making skills allowed him to solve a seemingly complex problem without thinking too hard about it.
The truth of the matter is that overthinking can take a toll on your mental health. It’s worse considering that most solutions humans usually think too hard about are often hidden in plain sight. Overthinking can also ruin your moods and interpersonal relationships. It can cause you to invest too much of your quality time second-guessing other people or regretting actions that you no longer have control over.
Fortunately, there are several tips you can implement to stop overthinking.
The most obvious one is by taking a step back and opening your mind to obvious solutions. There’s no use agonizing over how a fish got to the top of a tree. Since fish can’t swim, the only logical explanation is that someone put it there. Another tip to avoid overthinking is asking for help from others. You may be surprised at how ingenious some people can be at cracking seemingly difficult problems.
You could also avoid putting undue strain on your mind by taking inspiration from overthinking quotes.
Quotes about overthinking can challenge you to shift your perspective about a problem. When you view a problem from a different light, you’ll uncover certain aspects of it that you might have easily ignored.
Listed below are 75+ overthinking quotes to help ease your mind.
- “Overthinking ruins moods and kills good vibes.” — Supa Nova Slom
- “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
- “We all know that feeling of being lonely in the whole damn world, despite the number of people around us. We are alone, in our own company. Surrounded by our thoughts and no superpower in the entire universe can help us to get rid of them. We cannot escape them just as we can’t stop our own imagination. We overthink non-stop. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.” — Ash Gabrieli, Petrichor
- “Overthinking is parasitic. It’s viral. It’s deadly, even.” — Genereux Philip
- “Everything is too easy. If you want to record a song, you can buy Pro Tools and record 400 guitar tracks. That leads to overthinking, which kills any spontaneity and the humanity of the performance.” — Jack White
- “Overthinking is often a product of undergoing.” — Yehuda Berg
- “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” — Steve Jobs
- “Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.” — W. Clement Stone
- “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.” — Napoleon Bonaparte
- “A crowded mind, Leaves no space, For a peaceful heart.” — Christine Evangelou
- “To think too much is a disease.” — Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- “Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.” — Buddha
- “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” — Winston Churchill
- “Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, ‘What else could this mean?’” — Shannon L. Alder
- “So many thoughts, my kvothe. You know too much to be happy.” — Patrick Rothfuss
- “Sometimes we think and worry nonstop. It’s like having a cassette tape continually turning in our minds. When we leave the television set on for a long time, it becomes hot. Our head also gets hot from all our thinking. When we can’t stop, we may be unable to sleep well. Even if we take a sleeping pill, we continue to run, think, and worry in our dreams. The alternative medicine is mindful breathing. If we practice mindful breathing for five minutes, allowing our body to rest, then we stop thinking for that time. We can use words like ‘in’ and ‘out’ to help us be aware of our breathing. This is not thinking; these words aren’t concepts. They’re guides for mindfulness of breathing. When we think too much, the quality of our being is reduced. Stopping the thinking, we increase the quality of our being. There’s more peace, relaxation, and rest.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
- “We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.” — Sir Anthony Hopkins
- “Put your thoughts to sleep. Do not let them cast a shadow over the moon of your heart. Let go of thinking.” — Rumi
- “The more you overthink the less you will understand.” — Habeeb Akande
- “People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them.” — George Bernard Shaw
- “You can’t change who you are, but you can change what you have in your head, you can refresh what you’re thinking about, you can put some fresh air in your brain.” — Ernesto Bertarelli
- “Don’t overthink things. Sometimes you can convince your head not to listen to your heart. Those are the decisions you regret for the rest of your life.” — Leah Braemel
- “You know, it is a little-known fact that thinking is entirely overrated. The world would be a much better place if we all did a lot less of it.” — Laurie Viera Rigler
- “Overthinking ruins you. It ruins the situation. And it twists things around. It makes you worry. Plus, it just makes everything worst than it actually is.” — Karen Salmansohn
- “It’s a good idea always to do something relaxing prior to making an important decision in your life.” — Paulo Coelho
- “This is probably the advantage of being stupid. Stupid people just do. We tend to overthink. If we could eliminate the ‘over’ and just think, then we could do, too. Only we’d be smarter doers because we’d be thinkers.” — Sarah Strohmeyer
- “My mother said the cure for thinking too much about yourself was helping somebody who was worse off than you.” — Sylvia Plath
- “Thinking has, many a time, made me sad, darling; but doing never did in all my life… My precept is, ‘Do something, my sister, do good if you can; but, at any rate, do something.’” — Elizabeth Gaskell
- “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” — William James
- “Rule number one is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it’s all small stuff.” — Robert Eliot, MD
- “Overthinking will not empower you over things that are beyond your control. So, let it be if it is meant to be and cherish the moment.” — Mahsati A.
- “Oh, how I’ve envied the lives of those who could spend life sitting down. A place to sit, a place to sit! I’d lament, circling my empty chair.” — Wolfgang Hilbig
- “If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.” — Dalai Lama
- “Spend 80 percent of your time focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday.” — Brian Tracy
- “Don’t get too deep, it leads to overthinking, and overthinking leads to problems that don’t even exist in the first place.” — Jayson Engay
- “They say, ‘Look before you leap.’ So look. But do not look for too long. Do not look into the void of uncertainty trying to predict each and every possible outcome, to evaluate every possible mistake, to prevent each possible failure. Look for the opportunity to leap, and leap faster than your fear can grab you. Leap before you talk yourself out of it, before you convince yourself to set up a temporary camp that turns into a permanent delay on your journey into your own heart.” — Vironika Tugaleva
- “When you’ve had a life of overthinking, you have the same reaction time and time again. Shyness becomes habitual.” — Joel Annesley, Quiet Confidence: Breaking Up With Shyness
- “I think and think and think, I’ve thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.” — Jonathan Safran Foer
- “Concentration is a cornerstone of mindfulness practice. Your mindfulness will only be as robust as the capacity of your mind to be calm and stable.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn
- “While you were overthinking, you missed everything worth feeling.” — Nitya Prakash
- “In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” — Theodore Roosevelt
- “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain
- “Overthinking is the biggest cause of our unhappiness. Keep yourself occupied. Keep your mind off things that don’t help you.” — Unknown
- “He never complicates a desire by overthinking it, unlike Mirabelle, who spins a cocoon around an idea until it is immobile.” — Steve Martin, Shopgirl
- “My father taught me not to overthink things, that nothing will ever be perfect, so just keep moving and do your best.” — Scott Eastwood
- “Less thinking, more living.” — S.R. Crawford
- “Sometimes you’re overthinking, you convince yourself to get out of it, and you’re like, ‘Ah, I shoulda did that!’ You can’t live life with regrets.” — Michael B. Jordan
- “I have to remind myself, stop thinking about the future. Stop thinking about what happened at work today, or another choice you could have made.” — Anna Gunn
- “Every time the days morphed into night, my mind spun around like a carousel. What was it about the night that made people overthink everything?” — Morgan Lee Miller, Hammers, Strings, and Beautiful Things
- “The best way to stop overthinking is conscious micro action meditation.” — Amit Ray
- “Only about two percent of one percent of our thoughts deserve to be taken seriously.” — Mokokoma Mokhonoana
- “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.” — Hamlet, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet
- “Overthinking makes you dwell in the past and immerse yourself in worries and fears, instead of living in the present and acting in the present.” — Unknown
- “As so often happens in life, he had thought so much and so often of the situation that now confronted him that he was somewhat nervous in its presence.” — Sherwood Anderson
- “The more I think about it, the more I realize that overthinking isn’t the real problem. The real problem is that we don’t trust.” — L.J. Vanier
- “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” — Van Wilder, Van Wilder: Party Liason
- “Stop worrying about what can go wrong, and get excited about what can go right.” — Unknown
- “Don’t think. It complicates things. Just feel, and if it feels like home, then follow its path.” — R.M. Drake
- “Overthinking, also best known as creating problems that are never there.” — David Sikhosana
- “Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.” — Leo Buscaglia
- “Overthinking can lead to worrying, which leads to anxiety. Anxiety can at times be crippling, leave people frozen and unable to act.” — Brien Blatt
- “I admire the linear and decisive way a certain kind of man thinks, to my curlicue boundless overthinking.” — J. Courtney Sullivan
- “Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” — Benjamin Franklin
- “It’s always the mind that needs quietening and the heart that needs listening to.” — Rasheed Ogunlaru
- “There is nothing in this world that can trouble you as much as your own thoughts.” — Unknown
- “You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” — Dan Millman
- “You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the cute.” — Tina Fey, Bossypants
- “Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive.” — Ziggy Marley
- “You can come out of the repetitive thought patterns by witnessing the thinker inside you. Witnessing will give you the state of “no-mind” -the state of deep inner connectedness. Gradually, you move into the state of pure being — the state of pure consciousness.” — Amit Ray, Enlightenment Step by Step
- “Nothing happens by overthinking; then why stress? Is it too hard to sit down and relax!” — Sukant Ratnakar, Quantraz
- “Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.” — Robert Herjavek
- “Now that your worry has proved such an unlucrative business, why not find a better job?” — Hafez
- “Stop thinking, and end your problems.” — Lao Tzu
- “Remember, the talking about the thing isn’t the thing. Doing the thing is the thing.” — Amy Poehler
- “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” — Albert Einstein
- “Grandma once told me it’s easy to overthink love, to dissect it and question it until it is no more.” — Ellen Hopkins, Impulse
- “The sharpest minds often ruin their lives by overthinking the next step, while the dull win the race with eyes closed.” — Bethany Brookbank