Well, in layman's terms -overthinking simply means thinking about something or someone for far too long and often about topics you have no control over.
This tendency to overthink constantly, holds one back from living their day to day life to the fullest!
There are a plethora of things that people tend to overthink .
Ask yourself right now - Do you overthink a lot? What are the things that you overthink about? Could you do something to stop overthink and focus on your work?
This blog is here to answer all the questions you have about overthinking!
Have you ever wondered what effects does overthinking have on your mind and your body?
Psychologist Dr. Marry Lishman in her studies found that overthinking is not always a negative experience.
She states overthinking is a tool that allows us to learn from the past to avoid future mistakes.
Controlled patterns of thinking can lead to greater problem solving and decision making skills.
Where does the problem lie then, you ask?
Our unconscious mind does not know the difference between reality and illusion.
When these constant thoughts trigger our stress hormone, our nervous system registers this stress as a threat, further triggering our body's flight or fight response.
When thoughts become reality, that's where you must draw the line.
It often leads us to the road of being stuck in our thoughts rather than living in the moment or grabbing the opportunity in front of us.
The cycle continues until we reach a point of no return.
Did you know overthinking is usually known to be of two kinds?
1) Worrying - A chain of thoughts that carry negative emotions and make the person expect negative results to follow. It includes uncontrollable negative thoughts about self, the world and the future.
2) Rumination - A chain of thought with ones self and the past as a focal point. Constant stress on what has passed, leads an individual to have constant negative thoughts and a foul mood.
The perils of overthinking often lie in the coping mechanisms people use to combat it such as excessive alcohol consumption.
A steep decline in one's mental health due to overthinking can also lead to lifestyle and medical conditions such as insomnia, fear of failure, headaches or migraines as well as a constant state of fatigue.
How does one end this vicious cycle? Let's further discuss some tricks and tips that can help overcome this :
1. Allow yourself to see things from a new perspective!
a) Take some time to yourself and look within, ask yourself close-ended questions when your thoughts start to spiral, this will help you come face to face with the problem.
b) Use free flow writing as form of expression! Give yourself a mere 10 minute window to pen down all the jumbled thoughts in your mind. Once the timer goes off, read through your thoughts and break them down.
Understand the root cause and see where your thought train is taking you.
2. Talk Less, Act More!
a) When you start taking action or even a small step each day, you will procrastinate less! Setting deadlines for a task and also starting the day on a positive note is a great way to keep those overflowing thoughts away!
b) Set a time limit for yourself to accomplish tasks - The longer you stay, the more thoughts are at play.
3. Take a few deep breaths!
Feel the endless loop of thoughts coming on? Take a minute and take 5 deep breaths. Sometimes all you need is some fresh air.
4. Live in the moment.
Being in present moment in your life rather than in past or future will help you do some more productive work. The ways to reconnect with the present moment are:
a) Make your mantra "Now I am". This simple reminder will help your mind stop wondering and bring your focus back.
b) If you are getting lost in overthinking then disrupt that by saying "STOP". Then just look around for 1 to 2 minutes to know that what’s happening around you. This will help you to connect with the present moment.
5. Seek social support
Ever heard the saying that you are most like the 5 people that you surround yourself with? Your social circle plays a big role in your life!
Surround yourself with people who can get you out of your funk and people who bring a smile to your face.
PRO TIP : Why stop at people? Pick up books and TV shows that make you happy! Make sure that the content you consume is right for your current state of mind.
6. Be in the know!
Awareness is key - once you are able to be aware of what your triggers are, you can stop yourself from falling prey to harmful thoughts.
If overthinking is your enemy, reduce the load on your mind and use sticky tabs/notes to help you remember things. An easy tip would be to stick these tabs at places which you visit frequently - your dressing table is a great example to begin with!
7. Relax and get a few winks in!
Sleep is your best friend! The lesser sleep, the more vulnerable your brain is to obsessive thoughts. Make sure you get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep at night.
If you have trouble sleeping - Try out a quick breathing exercise or a sleep meditation to put you right to bed!
8. Be active and work out.
Working out is a great way to get your system up and working - go for a short walk each evening or get in a fun dance workout. The endorphin release will really help you stay in the moment and away from the gnawing thoughts.
If you ever feel like your overthinking is just out of hand and you feel yourself slipping away, subscribe to the Carebyte app! Not only do you have an assigned health concierge to walk you through all your health goals, but you also get a host of experienced clinical practitioners such as General Practitioners, Nutritionists, Fitness Experts and Psychologists to help you through your harmful thought patterns and make sure you stay on track!