Are You A Culprit Of Overthinking? Here’s How To Tell, And Stop
While we are prone to overthink things once in a while, making it a habit can be detrimental to your mental health. Here’s how to tell if you constantly overthink and how to stop
You have finally completed your project and ticked off your to-do list… except you go over things once more, even though you checked them beforehand and start second-guessing yourself. Or, you replay in your mind the meeting or date you had the previous day that you wish turned out better-mentally exhausting, isn’t it? Overthinking the same thing (s) for a long period can leave you anxious and depressed because chances are you imagine disastrous outcomes and don’t get things done in time. The thing with overthinking is that you either dwell too much in the past, wishing you could have done things differently, or panic about the future. According to Executive Education, overthinking has become a recent epidemic and found one study that shared 73% of adults between the ages of 25 and 35 overthink, as do 52% of 45 to 55-year-olds. Overthinking, like any other habit, can become difficult but possible to change. Although there are several signs, you are probably an overthinker if these three things describe you:
You rarely have energy or get anything done: Overthinking requires a lot of mental energy since the many choices and pictures you paint your head leave you unable to make a decision. If you find that you are mentally burnt out, you probably are overthinking.
You find it hard to sleep: One of the reasons overthinkers struggle to sleep is that instead of shutting down, their brains are still in work mode, overanalysing situations and shuffling through certain thoughts. This makes it impossible to sleep because you are not relaxed, and as a result, you become sleep-deprived.
Your appetite changes: Sometimes, stress-related situations like overthinking can either suppress or increase your appetite, which is more common, since, according to experts, a stress hormone called cortisol contributes to increasing your appetite- resorting to that deliciously high-fat or sugary indulgence called comfort food.
How to stop overthinking:
Try to notice what you always pay attention to: Overthinking may become a habit that is hard to recognise, but it’s important to notice or pay attention to your thoughts. If you find yourself thinking about the same or many things for a long time, stop immediately and rather do something constructive or good for your well-being, like going for fresh air, taking a walk or catching up with your loved ones.
Ask what you can do about it: Overthinking can be detrimental to your productivity and decision-making. How you respond to your thoughts often repeats the cycle of overthinking, which can negatively affect your moods. If there is something you can do about a situation, then do it. But, there are circumstances beyond your control, like your past or future, so rather make the most of what you can do currently than worry yourself into panic mode.
Find distracting alternatives: Distract the habit of overthinking with something else, from learning a new skill to watching your favourite series. Instead of thinking about how bad things can be, rather ask what if things turn out better? Take the first step of meeting your goals, by taking action, instead of overthinking things.
Ask for help: Things can get overwhelming to a point where you feel helpless and alone. There is someone who is willing to help if you take the brave step of asking for it. Your friends and family are the best people to approach.