Are you still beating yourself up for the mistake you made last week? Are you constantly going over next week’s presentation at work in your head? You are probably overthinking.
Your inability to get out of your head may leave you in a constant state of anguish. Of course, we all tend to overthink a situation occasionally. But if you spend hours worrying over trivial matters, then you will probably struggle to keep your mind calm and focused.
Why overthinking is bad?
Overthinking is more than just a nuisance – science reveals that thinking too much can take a toll on your general well-being too.
Here is how overthinking can damage you:
- May trigger mental illness
Are you always fixated on your past mistakes? Dwelling on your mistakes, problems and shortcomings increases your chances of being affected by mental health problems. Overthinking can set you up for a vicious cycle that is hard to break. It wreaks havoc on your mental peace – and as you lose your peace of mind, you tend to overthink.
- Interferes with problem-solving ability
Do you overanalyze things? Overthinkers believe that rehashing certain situations or problems in the head helps them overcome it. However, studies claim otherwise. Overanalyzing interferes with one’s ability to solve problems as it causes you to dwell on the problem and imagine situations that may never happen, rather than finding a solution.
Even making simple choices, like choosing an outfit for the day or deciding on the next vacation spot, may feel like a life-or-death situation when you are an overthinker. Ironically, all that overthinking will never help you make a better choice!
- Disrupts your sleep
If you are an overthinker, you probably face sleep problems. This is because your body does not allow you to sleep when your mind is not at peace. Ruminating on almost everything and worrying constantly about things over which you have little or no control often lead to fewer hours of sleep. Thus, overthinking impairs your quality of sleep and may make you cranky the next day as well. Read more about the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain
How to stop yourself from overthinking?
To battle overthinking, here is what you should be doing –
- Be mindful of the present moment
- Be more optimistic about life
- Realize that some things are beyond your control
- Distract yourself – take up a hobby or exercise to stay away from troubling thoughts
- Be grateful
- Meditate to keep the mind calm. Read more about the health benefits of meditation
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
The Bottom Line
Overthinking can change the way you work with others and the way you do things. It can significantly affect your personal life, social life and work-life too. Most importantly, overthinking may also cause emotional distress. To overcome this, you will need to make some changes in your perspective and make a constant effort to shrug away any thoughts that make you feel astray.