Are you an overthinker?

Amit Amin over at recently started posting a fantastic series of blog articles about overthinking and it’s deleterious effect on happiness. There’s even a little quiz you can take to help determine if you’re an overthinker.

“So Chad,” You ask. “How does overthinking apply to sustainability?”

That’s easy! When you think about the kinds of things you can do to become more sustainable, how much time do you spend thinking about it? How do you feel when you think about it?

If you’re like many Americans, you feel overwhelmed and discouraged.

trapped in thought

Are your thoughts holding you hostage? If overthinking stops you from taking important actions, the answer is “yes.”

When I first met the woman who would become my wife, I was in the middle of a huge transitional period of my life. I was redefining who I was. Part of that redefinition was deciding what to do about my environmental impact. So naturally, issues of sustainability and positive impact came up in some of our discussions.

Let me tell you, she got tired of that fast!

When I pulled plastic out of her trash and washed it for recycling,  she gave me that look. You know the one.

If I brought up buying local produce, she politely asked if we could not talk about that.

Why? Not because she didn’t care about the environment. She cared a lot. And she had also overthought the issue so much that she had convinced herself that there was nothing she could do that would have any real impact on making the world a better place.

It’s not like an extinct species comes back to life every time you recycle an aluminum can! And without that quick, positive feedback, it can be hard to stay motivated. You start questioning if it’s worth the effort to keep trying.

Fortunately, my wife and I have both grown in our ability to discuss and take action on issues of sustainability.

But still…

There are no quick fixes… are there?

As Amit mentions in Part 2 of his series, one of the reasons that overthinking is on the rise is that we’ve all grown used to quick fixes. You take a pill for a headache, and it (generally) goes away. Your internet is on the fritz? Call up your ISP. Even though it may sometimes take them a few hours (gasp!) you’re internet will generally be back up and running in a relatively short period of time.

Unfortunately, there are other things in the world for which there truly are no quick fixes. Our environment is one of those.

So, what about you? What do you spend too much time thinking about? Have you ever been so paralyzed by thought or indecision that you neglected to make an important choice? Or put off setting up that recycling bin system? Or convinced yourself that you might as well keep driving your old gas-guzzler, because “so much could go wrong” if you started bike-commuting?

Inaction is one of the major ways that overthinking ties in with sustainability.

Get Happy!

The other way that overthinking ties in with sustainability is related to exactly what Amit writes about in those articles: Happiness.

Happiness and success go hand in hand, just like sustainability and success. If you’re moping around in a funk, how good do you think you’re going to be for your community? The planet?

In order to be truly sustainable–in order to help create a thriving environment–you have cultivate a thriving self!

That’s a huge part of how I achieved the level of sustainability and success that I have right now. It’s a huge part of what I talk about on this site. So if you’re interested in learning more about how to create a life of abundance for yourself, your community, and your planet, stay tuned! Better yet, sign up for my newsletter. I’m in the early stages of getting this thing off off teh ground, and there’s a lot of good stuff to come. Don’t miss it!

And, in the mean time, head on over to HappierHuman and sign up for that newsletter, too. (I’m not getting paid to say that.I just really like what I found over there!)

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