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Overthinking ESL Lesson Plan

Overthinking The Hell Out Of Everything

Student Level


Video Length: 5:01

Updated on: 09/28/2023

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

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Overthinking ESL Lesson Plan Description


This overthinking ESL lesson plan contains PDF worksheets, activities, and digital materials for advanced C1 students. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to identify healthy and unhealthy thought patterns, as well as train themselves to engage in insightful introspection as opposed to overthinking certain problems or issues. They'll also be able to give advice to someone who is overthinking an issue.


This ESL lesson plan on overthinking begins with students defining what it means to overthink in their own words. They'll then discuss a few questions about overthinking. Then, students categorize some words/phrases describing healthy and unhealthy thought patterns to prepare them for the video. Some of these include terms like "engaging in self-reflection", "practicing mindfulness", and "beating oneself up". Next, there are two more discussion parts for students to talk about overthinking and these thought patterns in more detail.


Students watch a video from a content creator, Anna, who talks about and shares her experience with overthinking. In the video, she shares a glimpse into her own internal world and what her internal dialogue sounds like when she is overthinking. She also offers some tips on how to manage and overcome the problem of overthinking. After watching the video, students answer some short questions and fill in some information about the tips she gives.


After watching the video, there are some follow-up discussion questions geared towards students' personal experiences with overthinking. Then, students answer some questions about a quote from Anna within her internal dialogue that she shares. This section specifically features the past modal verb "shouldto express past regret or indicate that she believes she made a mistake by saying something in the past. In the final activity of the viewing follow-up, students complete another internal dialogue by a man named Greg. In his dialogue, he is overthinking and expressing his regrets about his behavior at the party using the past modal verb should + have + past participle.


In the final, communicative activities in this lesson, students have two options to choose from. In the first activity, students can engage in a role play in which they are overthinking an issue and explain it to a friend (their classmate or teacher). Their partner then gives advice on what they can do to manage their thoughts and their overthinking. 

There is also a second activity option for students. In this option, students think of and describe a scenario/issue in which someone made a mistake. They create two internal dialogues this person has about this mistake — one in which they overthink the mistake, and one in which they engage in insightful introspection about it. They should use the past modal verb should in each internal dialogue, and then share and compare their scenarios and internal dialogues.

Benefits of using this ESL lesson plan on overthinking:

Enhanced Communication Skills: Understanding how to use the past modal verb "should" to express regrets allows students to communicate more effectively about their own past actions and mistakes. This skill is valuable in both casual conversations and more formal settings.

Emotional Awareness: Exploring the concept of overthinking and engaging in insightful introspection encourages students to develop a deeper understanding of their thought patterns and emotions. This can lead to increased self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

Problem-Solving Skills: Overthinking is a common experience and problem for many people, both in their personal and professional lives. Teaching students how to express regrets related to overthinking provides them with language skills that are directly applicable to a common problem. Role-playing scenarios where students give advice for overthinking situations require them to think critically and offer practical solutions.


Video Description

Anna Akana shares her experience with overthinking and some ideas on how you can overcome it.

Lesson Activities


Overthinking, Thought Patterns


Short Answers, Tips from the video, Prediction Check


Overthinking, Thought Patterns


Past Modal Verb (should/shouldn't + have + past participle)


Role Play, Insightful Introspection, Quiz & Review, Lesson Reflection

Lesson Topics

Overthinking, Thought Patterns, Mental Health

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