Overthinking might not seem like a bad thing, as it is when you analyze and think a lot about things, situations, and decisions to be made. It isn’t always bad, except when the overthinking leads to a lot of stress in your life. This can definitely happen if you make overthinking a habit, that ultimately leads to excessive worry, fear, and anxiety.
Here are some things to understand about overthinking and why you might need to switch up your mindset a little.
What is Overthinking?
Overthinking is very easy to do, but difficult to point out in yourself. It is just a habit of thinking too much about everything, or certain things in your life. Overthinking is often accompanied by over-analyzing every little thing, constantly having the same worrisome thoughts in your mind that get worse by your own fears, and thinking so much about things that you are never really able to make a decision.
In some ways, thinking and analyzing before making decisions is a good thing, but there comes a point when it gets excessive and can have a negative effect on your life. You might have difficulty coming up with a solution to a simple problem, get anxiety or depression over your own exaggerated thoughts, and have constantly obsessive thoughts that bring your mood down.
Why is it Bad for You?
Overthinking may currently be affecting your life in more ways than you thought. In fact, if you have an increase in anxiety or have trouble with problem solving, it could be from overthinking without you ever realizing this is where it is coming from. Here are some different reasons why overthinking is not a good thing:
It can trigger your mental illness – The first reason overthinking is a bad thing is because it can trigger a mental illness you already have. For example, if you have anxiety, overthinking is only going to make it worse. Yes, anxiety often leads to the overthinking, so you really need to find a healthy and realistic balance for you. The tips below about helping with overthinking can help tremendously if you have anxiety or depression.
It makes problem solving more difficult – As mentioned, making decisions is a lot more difficult when you get into the habit of overthinking. This causes you to analyze every single thing so much, that you go far beyond what might realistically happen. This can make simple things like resolving problems at work or home almost impossible.
It affects your sleep – Have you ever had trouble sleeping when your anxiety peaks at night? This is exactly what happens when you overthink. It is like having severe anxiety 24/7, so naturally you aren’t going to get much sleep or even rest during the day.
Signs You Might Be Overthinking
Still not sure if you have been overthinking? This can be difficult to know when you are just thinking things through, or when you are overthinking, and making life harder on yourself. Here are some common signs of overthinking:
You overanalyze everything – Do you find that when you are making a decision, you analyze every possible scenario? This can be a big sign of overthinking.
You don’t sleep well – Since overthinking can affect your sleep, it makes sense that struggling with insomnia is a common sign of overthinking.
You get regular headaches – Headaches can occur frequently when you overthink and ruminate on a regular basis. This is often the result of stress from overanalyzing everything.
You have a habit of ruminating – Ruminating is very similar to overthinking, where you think deeply about anything and everything. Combined with overthinking and analyzing everything, it creates a lot of issues in your life.
What You Can Do About it
If you think you have been overthinking and it is affecting your life or adding to your daily stress, here are some things you can do about it.
Find perspective – If you are overthinking, try to find perspective. Be aware of what causes you to overthink, and look for the realistic approach. If you are thinking too much about one particular thing in your life, are you going beyond what could realistically happen, or is there a certain amount of stress at play there? You need to have perspective any time you see this trend happening.
Be more mindful – Mindfulness is a great way to stay present and understand what you have been overthinking, but not allowing them to overwhelm you.
Journal your thoughts – Sometimes, the best thing you can do is let yourself overthink, but write it all down. This allows you to keep it from stressing you out and cluttering your mind, while also giving you a little more clarity. Through journaling, you can figure out where you are analyzing things, and figure out why you have been overthinking so much.
Get outside - Sometimes a walk can help us process our thoughts and return to a more settled mind. Getting out in nature gives us a chance to exercise and take a deep breath of fresh air.
What about you? Do you have a way, simple or complex, that helps you to calm your overthinking mind? Please share it with the O.M.L. tribe!