Overthinking – it’s a blessing and a curse. It allows you to jump steps ahead in an exam problem to save time, but it also causes you to stay up late wondering if what she said was because of what he said, or did she just say it as a joke? We know the definition of overthinking and the emotions that come with it, but what’s happening chemically as these thoughts race through our brains? We do not want to go on that path.
Overthinking is one of the most-heard or referred terms when personal issues are addressed. Most of us tend to think that we are avid over-thinker, well that is not the case. Most of us do not tend to differentiate between overthinking and procrastination. Overthinking is directly linked with psychological issues as well.
Overthinking is likely to cause a decline in your mental health, and as your mental health declines, the more likely you are to overthink. This is a vicious circle. However, when you are caught in the middle, it is difficult to recognize that spiral. In fact, your brain may try to convince you that worrying and reflection are helpful to some extent.
Here are 10 signs that you’re an overthinker:
- I relive embarrassing moments in my head repeatedly.
- I have trouble sleeping because it feels like my brain won’t shut off.
- I ask myself a lot of “what if…” questions.
- I spend a lot of time thinking about the hidden meaning in things people say or events that happen.
- I rehash conversations I had with people in my mind and think about all the things I wished I had or hadn’t said.
- I constantly relive my mistakes.
- When someone says or acts in a way I don’t like, I keep replaying it in my mind.
- Sometimes I’m not aware of what’s going on around me because I’m dwelling on things that happened in the past or worrying about things that might happen in the future.
- I spend a lot of time worrying about things I have no control over.
- I can’t get my mind off my worries.
Here are few ways that can help you prevent overthinking.
Overthinking can become a habit so that you don’t even realize it when you do it. Start paying attention to your way of thinking so that you can realize the problem. When you replay events in your mind over and over again or worry about things beyond your control, admit that your thoughts are not effective. Thinking is only helpful when it leads to positive action.
Focusing on your problem does not help-but finding a solution is helpful. If this is something you can control, consider preventing the problem or challenging yourself to find five potential solutions. If this is something you cannot control—such as a natural disaster—think about the strategies you can use to deal with it. Focus on things you can control, such as your attitude and effort.
It’s easy to get dazzled by negative thoughts. Therefore, before you conclude that taking sick leave will cause you to be fired, or forgetting a deadline will make you homeless, admit that your thoughts may be exaggerated and negative. Remember that your emotions can interfere with your ability to look at the situation objectively. Take a step back and look at the evidence. What evidence do you have to prove your idea is correct? What evidence do you have to prove that your idea is incorrect? Work on these questions and you will be able to work against your overthinking.