“You are so overthinking this!”
“I believe you’re considering it too much.”
If I'd any money for every time someone said this to me, I would be a very wealthy overthinker. I'll preface this by saying that I love to take small or simple questions and dive deep into them, having out more and more conversations and becoming opinions from others. But, thinking deeply and overthinking are not the same thing.
Following an extended train of thought or mentally plummeting deep in to the nuances of a disagreement or question takes a large amount of brainpower. But overthinking usually involves a far more intrusive and seemingly uncontrollable excess in rumination.
This cognitive brainstorm also involves an unhealthy and tiresome overinvolvement within the thoughts of the moment. Overthinking often prevents people from taking action, compelling them to hyper concentrate on their own thoughts and be anxious about their inability to control or understand them.
Overthinking is a coping strategy many of us fall under. Instead of take a risk or come to a decision, it feels much safer and much more comfortable to consider through as numerous possible scenarios as we can. However this approach to dealing with feelings of fear, anxiety and stress can weather our brain capacity over time, negatively impact our sleep, and stop us from thriving. With time, we can become more disconnected from your genuine instincts and ability to exhibit ourselves grace by learning from our mistakes.
What is Overthinking and just how Does It Impact Our Mental Health?
Overthinking is usually a paradox of a coping mechanism. Individuals who overthink often usually convince themselves that these excessive predictions, ruminations, and mental replays of past events are beneficial. They believe it will help them mitigate future harm and make preparations themselves for that worst. However, this isn't necessarily the case. Overthinking can sometimes make the exact feelings and anxieties that they're trying to rid themselves out of.
Overthinking differs from problem-solving or strategic thinking for the reason that it doesn't provide the same positive benefits or decision-making energy. Decision fatigue and analysis paralysis are common issues for overthinkers-trapping us within the circular paths of our imagination and self-judgment. Problem-solving or strategic thinking usually ends in a confidence to maneuver forward using the decision available. Overthinking usually brings more confusion and desire not to take action.
Everyone overthinks every so often. It's an easy go-to for addressing anxiety about the future and anxiety. But chronic overthinking has been shown to bring unwanted effects to both our physical and mental well-being-negatively impacting our sleep, creativity, and cognitive energy.
Ways to Combat Overthinking
If you want to combat overthinking try these pointers:
- Ground yourself in your present environment. Get out of your head and feel into your body for the moment.
- Notice when you are overthinking and remember it's not actually helping you.
- Meditation or disengagement from judging our own thoughts. Imagine flipping a change to observation mode where you notice your ideas but don't address them. Simply watch them go through the mind.
- Schedule or journal your worries; specify time inside your day focused on honoring your anxieties but maintaining boundaries and limiting their intrusiveness.
Getting feeling back into the body and pulling yourself in to the present can be methods for relaxing your mind and putting space between both you and your intrusive thoughts. Telehealth and mental health hotlines are also fantastic resources to consider benefit of. Overthinking comes and goes in waves however it can create a painful feedback loop between your thoughts and physical manifestations of tension. Professional mental doctors could be great resources to intercept this loop.
Protect Your Mental Energy
Our mental energy is valuable, but overthinking could be a huge drain. A large part of combatting overthinking is learning to slow down and become more present. Anyone who suffers from overthinking knows how trapped they can feel in their own thoughts. The more we are able to combat overthinking, the more energy we are able to free up to direct toward the creative, strategic and productive aspects of our way of life.