Overthinking takes place when you stop acting and simply engage in thinking. When you analyze, comment and repeat the same thoughts over and over again, instead of acting, you are overthinking. Some people think too much about things that happen to them. These endless thoughts are not only limited to the past, but they are also linked to the future. Many of these assumptions may turn into anxiety at some point.
The thoughts that you engage can lead to false results. Because at that point you cannot think about other alternatives, you can only think from your perspective which does not always provide us the exact or right result. However, if we look at the other perspectives, we may realize that there is no one way to do act or think. The thoughts at that tamper with your mind are a vicious circle. It feels like there is no way to figure out. Sometimes it could be hard to express yourself, therefore you cannot say what you want to do or what you want to say. When you cannot stop overthinking, you go start deep thinking and continue again and again the same topic, person, event, memory… which hurts a lot and sometimes mental pain is much more painful than the physical one.
Overthinking may grow like an avalanche and you feel like you stay under this avalanche. At that point, you cannot control and stop overthinking. Therefore you may find yourself overthinking while waiting for the bus, going to school, during workshop, shopping, trying to sleep… It is a vicious cycle.
Most of the time cannot change what happened in the past or what will be in the future. So the main point is that we can only miss the right now. Let’s talk about how our body reacts when we overthink… Our body and mind are working together so when you feel anxious, you have pain in your stomach. This is because the brain is also responsible for sending the message to your body parts. Imagine you are in a public setting and presenting your project, how does that feel?
So when we are under the stress, feel anxiety, or overthink can painfully affect both the body and mind. It can also makes harder to decide while overthinking.
There are basic steps which will be supportive to cope with overthinking:
• Reading a book
• Hanging out with your family or friend
• Listening to music
Imagine that you are walking next to the beach with wavescrashing on the beach or walking in the forest with the births chirping where you can see a different kind of flowers and plants… How do you feel about it? When you are walking your body reacts in a good way and you automatically feel relaxed and peaceful…
On the other hand, you should accept that not everything has an answer. Sometimes, things just happen, either for no reason at all or for reasons so complex and unrelated that trying to figure them out is pointless.Sometimes you just need to let it be rather than overthinking, let your mind be free.
Consequently one of the best ways to reduce overthinking is by doing an activity that keeps your mind occupied that does not allow you to overthink. If you start to overthink trying to sleep to stop it and just start to count sheep!
Overthinking happens when you think you have to figure out everything all at once. Breathe. You are strong. You got this. Take it day by day.
References: Davies, Martin, and Tony Stone, eds. 1995. Folk Psychology: The Theory of Mind Debate. 1st ed.Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Wu, Shali, and Boaz Keysar. 2007b. “The Effect of Information Overlap on Communication Effectiveness.” Cognitive Science: A Multidisciplinary Journal of Anthropology, Artificial Intelligence, Education, Linguistics, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Psychology 31 (1): 169–181.
Cansel Burcu Sencar is an intern at Willingness Hub. She is a third year student of Psychology at International Balkan University in Macedonia. Her interest area is clinical psychology and she is looking to focus on psychopathology.