Things to Remember on Your Journey #2:  Overthinking leads to stress, poor choices, headaches and is just an all around nightmare!  This behavior also leads to sadness by sapping the joy right out of your soul. By overthinking, you create problems that aren’t there. Additionally, things get twisted, it causes undo worry and makes everything much worse.  I don’t think any of us want to walk on our journeys in this way–so I’ll ask, if this is you, why are you letting overthinking consume you? I admit, I was an over-thinker for much of my life.  I’m here to tell you, for most of you, this behavior can be unlearned.

By getting rid of this habit, it’s a step closer to making the rest of your journey the best of your journey!

Let’s take a look at why we overthink and the steps we can take to overcome this negative behavior.

The Causes

Overthinking consists of two situations:  either dwelling on the past or worrying about the future (or both).  One thing to be really clear about:  overthinking is not problem solving.  Problem solving requires thinking about a solution; overthinking is dwelling on the problem.

  • Living to please others
  • Trying to control the future
  • Avoiding the discomfort of any change
  • Dwelling obsessively over the unknown
  • Trying to do too much at once; you’re overwhelmed
  • Seeking validation from the wrong people or seeking it at all
  • Absurdly high expectations (demanding things immediately)
  • Playing the waiting game; living with a “when-then” mentality and operating from a place of “not good enough”
    • When I lose weight, then you will find a partner
    • In a relationship, you will feel loved
    • You’ll get your degree, find a job and make money, then you will be happy
    • You wait for inspiration to begin creating
    • Waiting for the rain to stop, then you will go outside
    • Not taking care of yourself but instead judging yourself while waiting for someone to accept you

The link between overthinking and mental health problems is a chicken-or-egg type question.  Overthinking is linked to psychological problems, like depression and anxiety.

It’s likely that overthinking causes mental health to decline and as your mental health declines, the more likely you are to overthink.  It’s a vicious downward cycle.” (Amy Morin, “10 Signs You’re an Overthinker” , Inc.com, January 17, 2019.)

While not dismissing mental illness in any way as it is a huge part of our world today, I do believe we bring on many of these behaviors from lack of knowledge, poor communication skills, and fear.  As stated several times in these posts, we are only born with two fears (loud noises and falling).  Everything else is learned from our environment.  If we can learn it, we can unlearn it!

Things to Remember on Your Journey #2

The Effects

  • Mood destroyer
  • Dwelling on the bad or all of the things out of your control
  • No new insights
  • It may hinder actual self-reflection
  • Our insecure thoughts create lies we start believing
  • Ruining good things by always questioning everything
  • May ruin friendships and relationships
  • Spend too much time reading in to what people say or do; looking for hidden meanings
  • Thinking about all of the things you should or shouldn’t have
  • Destroying your self-esteem
  • Taking your own insecurities and projecting them as your partner’s or friend’s flaws
  • Increasing your stress and anxiety to unnecessary high levels
  • You have trained your brain to look for holes in a story.  If it doesn’t make sense, you think about it over and over until it makes sense to you.  And this ‘sense’ may not even be correct.

    Things to Remember on Your Journey #2
    Overcoming Overthinking
    Photo: averstu.com
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Wasting time
  • Constant state of worry
  • Reliving embarrassing moments over and over
  • Giving up control of your life

Solutions & Options

  • Acknowledge the anxious or overwhelming feelings
  • Being open (mind and heart) to multiple perspectives
  • Changing our attitude and the way we respond
  • Lowering our expectations
    • others can only meet you at a level of which they are capable (this was a huge a-ha moment for my tribe)
  • Trust the path you are on; enjoy the present by accepting this immediate moment
  • Be cognizant of what you are giving power to:  if you allow it, what you give power to has power over you
  • If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging
  • Understanding that people or situations are powerless without our reactions
  • Remembering that old ways won’t open new doors
  • Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is chaos and insanity; stop this madness
    • Whatever you hold in your mind tends to occur in life
    • Continuing to believe as you always have causes you to act the way you always have
    • By continuing to act as you always have, you will continue to get the same things
    • If you want different results in life or work all you have to do is change your mind
  • Don’t believe everything you think
  • Taking frequent mental breaks
  • Training your mind to be stronger than your emotions
  • Practice self-compassion
  • Avoid the Internet and self-diagnosing
  • Distract and relax:  exercise, music, writing, crafting, massage, etc.
  • Let go of need for perfection
  • No over-analyzing;  if it feels right, do it.  If it feels wrong, walk away and don’t think of it any longer
  • Seek assistance from a therapist. (We go to the doctor or dentist for other issues, our mental health should get the same treatment)
  • Visualize yourself succeeding and align yourself with that goal
  • Set specific intentions; don’t settle for less
  • Don’t worry if you fail; pick up and start again with new wisdom and clarity

Results

Things to Remember on Your Journey:  Changing your language to “what if it doesn’t work out” rather than overthinking can be healing.  Believe in possibilities by thinking of the best case scenario.  Retraining your mind will lift you higher out of overthinking, stress, and worry of negative habitual thoughts.  Change starts with mindset.  Shift and switch it. (averstu.com)

Think back on moments in your life:  does it blow your mind when you think of all the things you worried about?  You worried about what will happen next and what the future brings.  You worried about not getting answers or closure.  You worried about the opinions of others.  Guess what, you have had the power all along.  You just need to focus on the present moment and take action.  And, if you reflect, I’m willing to bet that almost everything you have worried about so intensely, all of the bad or ugly, never even happened.

As you self-reflect on Things to Remember on Your Journey #2:  Today is a good day to begin the work necessary to quit the overthinking!

 

(This post is dedicated to TB, LE & KQ.  These wonderful ladies are my dear friends. With the support, love, friendship, tears and a whole lot of laughter, we have each learned to get out of our heads!  Love you girlfriends!)

 

 

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