Overthinking-when you go into overload it starts to drive you crazy and it starts to drive those you spill your thoughts to crazy as well. It is so easy to start overthinking the small stuff, such as one sentence in an email, making a mountain out of a molehill. You start to worry about this and that and then, before you realize it, the whole thing has blown out of proportion. You also might take certain comments personally, even though you shouldn’t.
All of this overthinking and worrying-especially over the small stuff-causes us to think negatively which isn’t good for our health and mental well-being. It only feeds our fears more and causes us to hold back, refraining from doing what we want to do and saying what we want to say.
I definitely overthink and dwell on things way more than I should. In fact, I have recently been dubbed the “Editor of ‘Overthinking Magazine’” because of dwelling and worrying too much over a couple of emails I had gotten. Instead of simply asking for clarity about what was said, my mind began jumping to conclusions, thinking up a million “what if”s and creating more stress.
Not overthinking so much is one of the many challenges that I have to work on. I’ll likely always overthink and worry about some stuff which is probably fairly inevitable; nevertheless I need to try to stop overthinking as much as I tend to do. If I feel myself starting to dwell on something (be it a mistake I made, something I said, something someone told me or another thing), I need to try to stop my thoughts from racing out of control and take a step back to try to see things differently. If it was something I did or said, I need to try not to worry about it so much because now it’s in the past. I can try to fix it if that’s a possibility but whether it’s fixable or not, it might not have been as big as my negative thoughts try to tell me it was. I could be the only one making a big deal out of it. And if it was something that someone told me, whether out loud or in an email, I need to try not to overthink too much about what was said. If I’m confused by it, I need to try to ask for clarity first, instead of getting defensive and jumping to conclusions. For all I know, I could have just taken everything out of context and getting more clarity on the matter will hopefully help me to understand it better.
As with a lot of things, trying to stop overthinking so much takes time and effort. And sometimes it will still happen. While it may be tricky at times to stop dwelling on matters, every little bit helps. Overthinking too much causes added stress that we don’t need in our lives. When we can learn to cut back on overthinking and try to put things into perspective, we’ll get rid of some of that stress.
If, like me, you find yourself overthinking, worrying and dwelling on something that in reality might be small, here are a few ways you can try to squash those worries.
Journaling: Grab a journal and write about what is bothering you. You might gain some clarity and insight into why you are upset. You can also try to take a step back and think about the situation differently. There are times, however, when journaling may actually make you overthink more but even if that happens, it’s still a good way to vent and get your thoughts out. You’ll never know if it will help or not if you don’t try it.
Do Something You Enjoy: Whether it is something that will help your reach your goals or just a fun, relaxing hobby, do something that you love and that makes you happy. This will hopefully help you to de-stress for awhile and get your mind off of whatever is bothering you.
Talk To A Friend: You can always try talking about your problem to a trusted friend or two who might be able to give you some advice. Getting advice from people you love and trust can help you gain better insight and perspective into the situation and maybe even help you to see things from a different angle.
Ask For Clarity: If you’re dwelling on something that someone told you, try to ask them for clarity. There’s a chance that what they might have written or said one way, you took another way. Or they may have written or said something that wasn’t meant to be taken personally but it wound up being taken personally anyway. If you talk to them about it-preferably without jumping to conclusions and picking apart everything that was said-they may be able to help you gain some understanding into what they meant. Perhaps they just weren’t clear enough and needed to explain it better. In written communication especially, sometimes it can be hard to read the tone that someone was trying to use, making it easier to read it the wrong way.
Stop Comparing Yourself To Others: In this world, it’s easy to compare yourself to others, even though it’s not a good habit to have. You may see someone being successful and think that they have everything better and that their life is easier than yours. Yet, in reality you don’t know everything about that person. While they might be successful at one thing, they might be a failure at another. And the same goes for you because everyone has stuff that they’re good at and stuff that they’re bad at. No two people are alike. Everyone has flaws. Nobody is perfect and perfection is overrated anyway. Comparing yourself to others causes negative thoughts to emerge. Instead of focusing on what someone else has or what someone else does better, focus on the things that you have and the things that you are good at. Celebrate your successes, even if they’re tiny. Tiny wins add up over time.
Notice When Characters Overthink: When you read a book or watch a movie or show, take note when the characters overthink. It can be helpful to have a character to relate to (even if it’s just worrying too much over something in this case) and if you see that they’re dwelling on something as well as how they handle the situation, it might help put your own worries into perspective a little bit more.
Try Not To Care What Others Think: If you make a mistake, try not to think too much about what others might think about it. Chances are that they didn’t think much about it at all. Everyone makes mistakes and has slip-ups now and again; we grow by learning from them. Depending on what the mistake was, you could even try to think of it as a “blooper” in your life and try to laugh it off lightheartedly. Who doesn’t love a funny blooper reel in the Bonus section on DVDs? Even if you can’t seem to laugh off the mistake right after it happened and feel embarrassed over it, try not to dwell on it. That will only make it seem worse than it likely was. Or, in another situation, if someone made a comment that seemed like it was directed at you, try not to get all defensive and jump to conclusions. If what the person said hurt you, let them know. And remember that you don’t have to be a certain way just to please them. The two of you may be totally different, personality-wise, and that’s okay. You’re both not going to have the same opinions on everything or do everything the same way. If the other person is bothered by a certain way you acted or something you said or didn’t say, that’s not a reflection on you. And if they truly care about you, they’ll learn to deal with it and look past it. You’re much more than how you might act in certain situations or mistakes you might make. Accept yourself for who you are because those who love you already do.
Do you subscribe to “Overthinking Magazine”? What are some ways you try to stop overthinking and worrying so much?