While I was on hiatus this past month a lot of topics came to mind; all related to life, inner growth, harmony, the pursuit of happiness, and the day to day experiences we may encounter. So, I made a list of everything, but I can only write so much at a time and today’s winner ended up being overthinking. Even though it may seem like a pretty straightforward topic, I find it to be quite the contrary. There’s a lot to say about it and a lot of different angles to explore, as well as things to gain from overthinking.
First thing, I always wonder what makes someone tell someone else that they are overthinking. I mean as people, we think. We formulate ideas, explore questions, interact with people; a lot of what we do has some thinking to it. Also, typically we overthink something when it’s meaningful to us. Of course, there is that downside to overthinking when the thoughts are saddening or angering. When that’s the case, we can spiral into a pretty bad mood and that doesn’t really help anything. However, if we take a different approach to our overthinking, then we might just be able to learn something about ourselves and make this activity something useful for our inner growth and overall life.
Before we get into the how, we should talk a little bit more about the act of overthinking. Everyone overthinks something sometimes. They may only do it 1% of the time, but they still do it. As mentioned above, the tendency to overthink most likely includes thinking about something we are involved in very closely, maybe emotionally or even a life changing event. So, for me, it’s not that odd that people can overthink. Overthinking isn’t really something you tell yourself you want to do, it kind of just happens. And until you find the answer or solution or closure to whatever it is you’re overthinking, it may occupy minutes of your day or days or weeks or even months. I’ve come across many articles (psychology ones too) that talk about overthinking in this negative way. Even the definition of overthinking applies a judgement of sorts: “think about (something) too much or for too long.” Once more, who is defining too long or too much? Instead of judging someone for overthinking, how about looking at it from a neutral standpoint with the awareness of the act that is taking place.
This is the first step to the how: awareness. You catch yourself overthinking don’t judge yourself based on this idea that overthinking is negative; how about you try to understand yourself better, the situation you’re overthinking and what you can find out about why you’re thinking about it so much and what you can do to find a resolution to it. Also, I’d like to add, some things you might want to always overthink. Is it wrong to “overthink” the love that surrounds you or how about thinking “too long” about how lucky you are to have that amazing job? Isn’t that overthinking too? Food for thought 😉
After awareness, would come the exploration of why you’re overthinking. You want to figure out if you’re overthinking because of worry or because there’s an important consequence or possibly an uncertainty following your decision. If you find that you’re overthinking because of worry, then you want to look into what that worry is. This is where you can also pursue your inner growth and all those areas we talk about. Just because everyone else doesn’t ponder their personal whys, doesn’t mean you don’t have to. It’s the asking yourself questions and finding answers that allows you to make decisions and move in a direction that you want to go towards or acquiring an in-depth knowledge of your whys, which then makes them known so not uncertain or something to fear or feel burdened by.
It’s ok to be you, always remember that and when you catch yourself overthinking, try to figure out why this is happening. Get to the bottom of it with yourself or with a friend or family member; and if it’s something you’re ok with overthinking, then that’s fine too. Don’t let others tell you that you think too much, but definitely don’t let your thoughts bring you down or keep you stagnant; well, unless that makes you happy of course…but I don’t think any of us want to feel down and under, so I think it’s safe to assume that you’ll happily apply a different process to your overthinking (so that not only you can find solutions, answers, and so forth; but you can also take steps that benefit your inner growth).
What about you? What do you think about overthinking? And how have you used it to learn more about yourself?