Thinking about the past can be very helpful since it can help you to prevent a repeat of problems you once created or help you to solve other issues faster in the future. Thinking about the future can also be very helpful as it can help you to plan adequately for a problem you might encounter. Thinking about the past and the future can, however, be very bad when taken or done in excess. Doing either of the two in excess is called overthinking.
Overthinking is thinking about something for too much for too long. It usually has to do with thoughts about things that have happened and what you could have done to prevent it or what will happen and how you will deal it or handle it; only you never actually do anything physically.
If you are wondering if you overthink, some signs could help you decide. If you find out that you do most of these, you most likely overthink:
- You go back to unpleasant memories and relive those memories repeatedly.
- You usually find it challenging to go to bed because you are either thinking of something that could happen or has happened sometimes ago.
- You often worry about things outside your control; for example, the state of the weather on a big day.
- You often find out that you have zoned out of things that are happening right in front of you because your mind was on something that happened a while ago or something that might sometimes occur in the future.
- You find it easy to make plans and to edit them until they are almost perfect, but you find it difficult to physically carry out your plan because it is not yet good enough.
Most people do the above things occasionally. If you over-think, however, you live this every day, every time. Thinking also tends not to be very productive.
According to several "studies," overthinking can is linked to depression and anxiety. It is difficult to know, however, if the anxiety or depression comes first or if overthinking comes first. Overthinking is nevertheless a big problem because you could use the time and energy you being wasted on unproductive thinking to change your life radically over a long period.
If you have found out that you overthink, do not fret. There are solutions to the problem. Luckily, the solutions are straightforward and would not stress you out.
- Get good sleep: one of the easiest ways to solve the problem of overthinking is to get adequate sleep. Having too little sleep can create so much stress that you find out that your thinking is stuck in a loop of unpleasant things.
- Stay off the excess caffeine: you know you have overdone it when you have a deadline, all you can think about is everything you have done wrong in your life, and you do everything but the job in front of you. If you plan to reduce your coffee intake, make sure you do not go cold turkey off coffee, however. Reduce your intake gradually.
- Just do it: when you find yourself analyzing every angle of the problem without actually solving the problem in front of you, it is time only to attack the problem. If you keep thinking about the problem without doing anything thing about the problem, you have lost. Never forget that what you do defines you to the world far more than what is in your mind.
- Accept that you are not all-powerful: there are several things outside your control. The sooner you accept that the better and easier life will be. You should focus on what you can control and ignore or pay little mind to what you cannot. Paying attention to what you can control is already hard enough.
- Take a break: whenever you realize you catch yourself overthinking, you should take a break and do something to get your mind off what you are thinking about. The best solution to this is to do something that requires some muscle movement and concentration, for example, play pool or takes a walk and look for five things in your environment that you have not seen before. It might also be a good time to talk to a co-worker or a friend about something unrelated to what you are thinking about.
- Talk to someone: talking to someone about what you are thinking about is usually underrated, but it can be a powerful tool to help combat overthinking. You would be able to get a fresh perspective, and the person you talk to might have gone through a similar problem before. You should try talking to someone with more experience than you should. You could also try a good friend if only to get someone just to listen.
- Seek professional help: if you find out that you keep out that no matter what you try, you cannot seem to stop overthinking things; you might need to see a doctor. You might likely be anxious or depressed. When you see your doctor, yourself and your doctor will be able to work out a plan to help you with the problems