The Art of Overthinking


लेखक : लेखापढी      १२ पुष २०७८, सोमबार ०४:४६ मा प्रकाशित     
The Art of Overthinking

“Overthinking is the art of creating problems that weren’t even there.”

The truth is: Overthinking causes mental distress.

When people say they “overthink” they mean that they are fixated on something, they have tunnel vision on an idea or problem, thinking about things out of their control and letting all of it interrupt their internal serenity. Everyone does it at least once in their lives.

Thinking is a gift, but not many people use it for their own benefit.

Dissecting isn’t the same as overthinking. When you dissect you analyze every small detail to find a solution or to arrive at the truth. But when you overthink you find yourself stuck in the same place, not making any progress. It means dwelling on the problem, rather than solving it. Sounds useless, doesn’t it?

Two common forms of overthinking are: about the past; and about the future.

The Past

We might recall experiences obsessively, either happy or sad ones, in order to live them again. Doing that is fine in healthy amounts, but if you obsess over it… You need help. We might regret the choices we have made, things we have said, or haven’t said.

But we all know we can’t change the past. Instead of avoiding it, you should accept it and instead of obsessing over it you can learn something from it then move on. Try not to think of how it made you feel but what you can take from it and do or not do in the future in a similar situation. We learn from mistakes. You shouldn’t cause yourself to suffer all over again after an embarrassing or painful circumstance. The past is to be learned from, not lived in.

Avoiding it is one way. You can engross yourself in music, a TV show or a book. Occupy yourself with anything you enjoy. That’s the lazy way.

If you want to deal with it in depth and stop it from tormenting you then you need to do it actively. You could write your thoughts down, the past experiences you can’t stop thinking about. Try to remember them in full detail, as much as you can. Describe them intensely. Prolonged exposure is a form of cognitive-behavioural therapy that focuses on facing trauma-related memories rather than avoiding them. It helps ease the pain of some memories, even stop you from thinking about them as often.

Maybe you might need to change your perspective. Stop looking at everything that makes you feel down, but consider every aspect: all that is good, bad, neutral and all in between.

Meditation, relaxation, mindfulness, yoga helps too. Create a rough schedule of what time of the day and for how long you want to do it. Even 10 minutes is enough.

Therapy is something that could help if none of the things above has.

The Future

It’s important to remind yourself of what you can and cannot control. When we are filled with anxiety it’s just us fretting over the things that we cannot control. People might start expecting either positive or negative things to happen, and in both cases, it can do damage to us. Let me explain: if you have high expectations and don’t think of what can go wrong, you are threatening your own mood in the case something does go wrong. People with anger issues usually have them because of their incredibly high standards and expectations from people and life, and when we get angry it’s for the same reason: It didn’t go as we anticipated it to. On the other hand, if you think that everything will go badly it’s simply you being pessimistic which can make you feel gloomy, thus it can impact the atmosphere, your perspective, your emotions and the emotions of people around you.

So be open to anything that can happen. The only thing we can be certain about is that we can’t be certain about anything. Many things are out of your control. Thinking about it won’t do anything but make you anxious and increase the chances of negative situations arising.

People are able to adapt to situations, but we sabotage our own ability to do so by limiting the range of possibilities we think about, or the opposite: think about the uncertainty in an unhealthy way that actually obstructs our decision making. Maybe not thinking at all is better at this point. Each time we worry, are stressed, feel down or become angered we are slowly killing ourselves, shortening our life span, so I think it’s a good idea to do that less.

What to do instead: problem solve, analyze, self reflect, introspect and retrospect with a detached and rational approach. Ask yourself: “Is feeling like this worth it?”. Train yourself to believe that you can improvise and adapt. Keep in mind the abundance of possibilities but don’t go into detail and don’t fixate on it but rather fill your mind with whatever interests you or relaxes you.

Take note of what triggers your overthinking, and what it’s usually about. That will help you think of a way to stop, whether by avoiding the trigger or dealing with it directly.

“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now” — Denis Waitley


Jeena 
medium.com

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