5 Unavoidable Signs You Are Overthinking And Here Is What Can Help To Stop
‘To think’ is a blessing to humans that took us out of caves and raised us into civilized beings. We can think of ways to become better and improve our lives. We can think about our future and learn from our past.
But anything in excess is unhealthy. So are our thoughts — when left unchecked, they become destructive. Thinking positive is all good until your thoughts turn negative and take a toll on your mental health.
Overthinking is getting stuck in thoughts that stop you from actually doing what is to be done. The destructive habit of thinking too much can shatter the mental peace of the overthinker.
I think the following quote pretty much sums up what overthinking is and what it can do.
“Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.”
– Robert Herjavek
Sometimes we don’t even realize that we let our thoughts get out of our hands and do the damage.
So, if the signs below sound familiar to you, it is overthinking. Recognize them:
1. Decisions become difficult
You take a long time deciding what to wear or eat or write in an email. An overthinker goes through the same angst every time they have to decide. I have been there; we really struggle and do not enjoy the process of making decisions, even if our lives depend on it.
If making decisions put you in another stack of thoughts such as “should I go with this?” and “is this good for me?”, and waste most of your time thinking through your decisions — you are overthinking.
2. More thinking, little to no action
You think about everything so much that your thoughts take over, which doesn’t leave you with a lot of time. You really want to do something, but you overthink even about that with different scenarios in your head that make it almost impossible to act.
3. Sleeping is near to impossible
Sleeping for you is like a dream. You get lost in your thoughts and make up situations in your head that don’t even exist or mull over something you said to someone. And when you realize it, half the night is gone.
Look at it this way, as you lay in your bed, you think about something you said or did the day before or a month ago and now you are going over the details of all of it and somehow landing yourself in an embarrassing situation, which was not embarrassing, just by the way. If this rings any bell, you are overthinking.
4. You can’t concentrate on one thing
Because your mind is somewhere else too, yeah? You can’t keep the two separate since you are involved in one but also thinking about the other and thus not being able to concentrate on even one.
The struggle that overthinkers constantly go through is that all the parts of their lives get affected because something went wrong with one. If compartmentalizing the spheres of your life is not your thing, you may also go through the same struggle.
5. You can’t let anything go
If you’re still dwelling over something that happened in the past, not good for you. You are trying not to remember a harsh memory, but that seems impossible, and letting go becomes difficult for you.
You know, I’m still holding onto some things from years ago and find hidden meaning in them, which is crazy, but that’s how it is — working on it, though. If it takes all of you to not hold any of the things that happened, you need to understand that you think and care too much about it.
Here are ways that can help you stop overthinking:
Know your thoughts
To make things better, you need to pay more attention to when you are overthinking a situation or mulling over something that happened in the past so that you can help yourself.
By recognizing what gets stuck in your head, you will be able to handle it better. In particular, negative thoughts need to be addressed and controlled. You can only bring change by addressing the problem first.
Whenever you feel you are getting lost in your thoughts again, try distracting yourself. Enroll yourself in a course, play a game, or read a book — works for me. Involve yourself in different activities so that you can stay as far away as you can from the destruction of overthinking.
When you dwell on thoughts or your head gets stuck with all the ruminating thoughts, ask yourself a question — will any of this matter in the next six months or six years, or so? No, right?
This will put things into perspective. You know this won’t even matter in the coming year. So overthinking and getting worried about it makes little sense.
Be Mindful of Now
Being more aware of the now helps you to stop getting worried about the future or dwelling in the past. You can’t change your past or future, but you can be mindful of today, the present.
Noting what is happening around and inside you helps in understanding and controlling your feelings better. Practice mindfulness and elevate your ability to center yourself.
We all overthink situations, but when these thoughts run out of control and disturb your peace, they better leave. Help yourself in whatever way you can.
There is a fine line between thinking and overthinking that often involves destructive thought patterns. Differentiating them is very important to understand what we can do if it's not just thinking.