What is overthinking and how it affects all aspects of your life. Is this the reason why you are exhausted and can’t be focused? Well, maybe we can answer these questions.
When you think too much, instead of acting and doing things, you are overthinking.
When you analyze, comment and repeat the same thoughts over and again, instead of acting, you are overthinking.
This habit prevents you from taking action. It consumes your energy, disables your ability to make decisions, and puts you on a loop of thinking and thinking over and again.
This is a kind of thinking that wastes your time and energy and prevents you from acting, doing new things and making progress in your life.
It’s like tying yourself to a rope that is connected to a pole and going in circles again and again.
In this situation, there is more likelihood of worry, anxiety, and lack of inner peace.
On the other hand, when you don’t overthink, you become more efficient, more peaceful and happier.
What Happens When You Overthink?
- You just can’t stop thinking about an event, a person, something that happened in the past, or on a problem. Instead of looking for a solution, taking initiative and being active, you just keep thinking and cannot get it out of your mind.
- At times, when something bad happens, you think about the worst scenarios, with thoughts like “what if?” or “why?”.
- You slip now and then into negative thinking patterns.
- You worry about past mistakes or current problems and issues, and how they might lead to negative outcomes.
- You obsess about or over-analyze your day-to-day experiences and interactions with people.
- You inflate every word, thought, and event beyond really and reasonable proportions, reading into it things that aren’t there.
If this happens often, you are what psychologists call a ruminator or over-thinker.
5 Signs of Overthinking
Psychologists have found that over-thinking can be detrimental to performance, and lead to anxiety and depression.
1. You Start Buying Into Your False Assumptions
Let me tell you, friends, I know this sign all too well. People who overthink are good at getting under their skin because they spend so much time in their heads.
Even though it can be a hard habit to break, talking through a series of events with a friend or family member — instead of just analyzing the situation over and over again in your mind — can be super beneficial because they’ll likely offer a perspective you haven’t yet considered.
When you’re hyper-aware of your thoughts and assumptions, it’s easy to persuade yourself that something’s going on when it’s just your imagination running rampant based on similar experiences you’ve had in the past.
To put this into perspective, doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker, Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC tells Elite Daily this is similar to when you start a new relationship with somebody.
Friendly or romantic, and strike up a conversation via text: Instead of reading the back-and-forth without putting your own spin on what emotions they’re using on the other side of the phone, you probably “come up with multiple different reasons why the person may have not responded as quick as usual, may not have responded as detailed as usual, may not have put an emoji, or question what an emoji might mean.”
Granted, this is pretty normal, because that’s what we’ve all become accustomed to doing when it comes to communicating over text, but the way you interpret, view, and think about situations cannot always be based on prior experiences or assumptions, because it’s not fair to you or the other people involved.
2. You Start Feeling Anxious About Everything
Have you ever noticed that, even if you’re not someone who analyzes every little thing, any time you do overthink something, you rarely, if ever, do so in a positive way?
Clarissa Silva, a behavioral scientist, and relationship coach tells Elite Daily that overthinking is often characterized by “excessive [thoughts] and worrying.”
According to Silva, the act of overthinking is, more often than not, a completely vicious cycle that ends in a whirlwind of distress, and so many branches of thought that you simply don’t know what to do with.
“This can become destabilizing self-doubt,” she explains, and it can potentially “put you at risk for mental health problems and emotional distress” in the long run.
To combat this toxic train of unnecessary thoughts, Silva designed what she calls the “Your Happiness Hypothesis” method, which involves challenging your thoughts by “using the same thinking that created the negative [thoughts] to create a positive perception.”
By changing your inner dialogue, you can better access the situation and “realign your thoughts with your desired outcome.”
For example, let’s say your date is running late for some reason.
Rather than build up some dramatic situation in your mind where your beau got caught up chatting with that cute receptionist at their job, realign your thoughts to explore another potential, more realistic options: They got caught up with a project, or there was traffic holding them up.
The goal is to re-evaluate your thoughts so that they are less outrageous and much more rational.
3. You’ve Lost All Focus
You might think you’re great at multitasking, and that might be true, but when your mind is focused on one thing and one thing only, it can be hard to accomplish other, sometimes even more pressing tasks, like finishing a presentation for work or writing a term paper.
Samantha Dutton, Ph.D., MSW, program director in social sciences at the University of Phoenix, tells Elite Daily that overthinking drains the mental resources you have to finish projects, work, or even spruce up your living space.
“By focusing on one big project or decision,” she says, “you neglect the daily living or other necessary tasks.”
The solution, she explains, is to give whatever it is you’re overthinking about the necessary attention to work through it, but once that’s situated, file it, and move on.
4. You’re Mentally Exhausted
Considering how much back-and-forth and evaluation goes into overthinking, you might as well be arguing with someone aloud.
Dr. Sherry Benton, founder, and chief science officer of TAO Connect, explains that, because overthinking involves things like character analysis, defensiveness, and a series of “I wish I had” patterns of thought, the activity is both unhelpful and ultimately leaves you feeling exhausted.
On that note, Dr. Benton tells Elite Daily, because most things you probably fixate on are conversations or events that happened in the past, there are two steps to take:
First, ask yourself if there’s anything you can do to change what’s already been done.
Then, “define the problem, brainstorm possible solutions, evaluate these alternatives, make a plan, implement that plan, and evaluate the results,” she explains.
5. You Start To Feel Physically Worked Up
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, analyzing a situation is normal.
Replaying said situation in your head over and over again, until you’ve come up with every possible way it could have ended, is toxic.
Making a habit of this can mess with your mental and emotional state, but once stress and anxiety take over, it’s only a matter of time before your physical body becomes a victim, too.
According to Dr. Forshee, your body can pick up on when your mind is experiencing distress, and will ultimately start to react physiologically.
Things like “increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and, essentially, feeling amped up,” she says, occur as a result of the undue stress you’re thrusting into your body as a whole.
Trust me, you do not want to let it get to this point.
The trick, Dr. Forshee says, is to sit down and reflect on your thoughts, rather than allow yourself to react so intensely.
This will help you catch your breath and rationalize what your psyche is imagining, versus what’s happening.
Also, checking in with a friend can be beneficial, as they might be able to offer up some third-party insight into the situation.
How to Overcome Overthinking?
There are various ways to get rid of this habit, like watching TV, playing video games or listening to music.
Walking, swimming or exercising the body can also take your mind off temporarily from the habit overthinking. Anything that keeps your mind occupied with some activity that doesn’t allow you to overthink is okay.
Watch yourself when you overthink and see how time and energy consuming it is, how you are behaving passively, instead of actively.
Realize that thinking once, or just a few times is enough. It leads you nowhere thinking over and again the same thoughts. You need to make a decision and act.
The matter is that you might revert to overthinking – ruminating over and again.
The above tips would help you, but if you want to completely overcome this habit, you will need to go one step further.
You will need to learn to focus and calm down your mind so that you can easily prevent it from revolving around the same thoughts over and again.
Practicing concentration exercises enables you to control your thoughts and focus your mind on what you want to think, not on restless thinking and ruminating.
Conclusion: Maybe these signs of overthinking will show you why you are exhausted and can’t stay focused. The answer is maybe that you overthink and that can lead you to circle where you can’t stop.
Try these techniques mentioned above and keep your mind calm. Maybe it is good to start with meditation and be more physically active.
If your problem with overthinking is getting worse ask for medical help.