Everyone is guilty of it. We all overthink different aspects of our lives from time to time.
Sometimes, people put a lot of pressure on themselves, and they end up analyzing and thinking over and over again about a particular aspect that made them feel insecure.
They know that it’s not healthy and that it can actually drive them crazy to replay a specific episode again and again, but they can’t help themselves.
We’ve talked to a few psychologists about this problem, and they’ve told us that when they come in for their appointments, people frequently make comments like they just can’t settle down. It’s as if their minds won’t turn off. Or they say that they can’t stop complaining about how their life might have turned out better if they’d taken a different path. That’s overthinking.
It’s not always clear what comes first, the overthinking or the anxiety or sadness, in any given person’s life. It’s a dilemma similar to that old question: which came first, the chicken or the egg?
How does it feel like?
It’s obvious that too much pondering is bad for your mental health. And when emotional well-being deteriorates, the temptation to keep analyzing abstract ideas grows. And the only way from there is down.
It’s not easy to see while you’re in the thick of it. Sometimes, your mind has its own mind, and that’s never easy. It might seem hard to believe, but overthinking about problems is not productive at all.
In other words, it’s possible to become stuck in a cycle. When you keep thinking of an issue, you make yourself feel worse. And the more negative your feelings, the more difficult it is to take constructive action. Want to know more about this problem? Here are a few telltale signs that you’re overthinking everything:
1. That’s all you can think of
There are times when you can totally lose yourself in your own thoughts. But things can get pretty complicated when you repeat the same process daily.
It’s easy to feel like you need to keep going over your options and possibilities until you’re satisfied that you’ve covered everything. If your thoughts are filling up your head to the point that you can’t think of anything else, you could be overthinking.
When you notice that your mind is caught up in all those things you don’t like, it might be best to take a break and do something else for a while. You can go on a walk, try a slow workout, or do a guided meditation. This will allow you to blow some steam and help you see things more clearly.
2. You are emotionally and psychologically drained
We can only guess how mentally exhausted you are after giving this so much consideration. Overthinking is recognizable by the physical and mental fatigue it causes. It’s possible that you’ll start to feel exhausted, burned out, and unable to take pleasure in the activities you used to love doing.
When you analyze something you haven’t liked for a long time, you actually put your mind through a tough process that can make you feel unmotivated and sluggish. Furthermore, you won’t be able to properly think and come up with a solution for your problem.
Take a step back and take some time for yourself to do things that put you in a good mood, like soaking in a warm bath, reading a nice book, watching your favorite TV show, catching up on YouTube, or taking a stroll around the park.
Get some time off from the things that concern you, and you’ll notice that after a while, you’ll see everything in a new light and maybe in a more positive aspect.
…Are you a victim of overthinking?
3. You can’t seem to go to sleep
You surely know those memes about people going to sleep, and suddenly their brains get active and start sending them different signals about the things they did. Well, that can easily be a sign of overthinking.
Everybody has had one of those nights when they couldn’t get their thoughts out of their head. If you find yourself in a cycle of extreme worry, it could be keeping you from having a restful night and a productive morning afterward.
Whether it takes you a lot of time to fall asleep or you wake up tired and angry during the night, feeling sad, having nightmares, or tossing and turning until the morning, that will have negative effects on your performance the next day.
Not to mention, it becomes a vicious cycle, too. Lack of sleep has been linked to feelings of anxiety, depression, productivity, and fatigue, which in turn might lead to more unnecessary mental processing.
If this is your situation, it might be best to talk to someone about the things that keep you up all night. They might be able to give you a new perspective or help you come up with a solution.
Besides that, it’s important to establish a routine to help you relax and have a good night’s rest. Experts say that meditating just before bed can help put you in a good mood. Or, you might try playing some music that makes you feel relaxed and happy, and calms your mind.
4. You constantly ask for advice
There’s nothing wrong with asking people for advice, especially if you’re not sure about something and you want to better understand the situation you’re in.
We know that being faced with a difficult choice might be intimidating, but a good, comforting word from someone you care about can make it feel better and more doable.
But here’s the thing: while it’s understandable to need someone’s help to solve a personal issue, sometimes it’s not the best choice. If you constantly need someone to tell you what to do, you can easily develop trust issues with yourself and put their thoughts and feelings ahead of your own.
If you always seek the opinion of others, it might indicate that you’re not confident and that you don’t feel good about trusting your own judgment. If that’s your situation, you should definitely try and work on your optimism and confidence in your own abilities. You’ve got this!
5. You’re afraid to make decisions you’ll regret later
…That’s not only a sign of overthinking, but it’s actually a red flag that you don’t trust yourself and that you’re very scared of things that aren’t in your control!
When you’re faced with a difficult choice, it’s common to procrastinate in order to escape the stress of thinking through every possible outcome. But that situation can easily lead to overthinking, and when you do that, your thoughts get muddled, and your mind is confused and scared.
You start imagining all sorts of scenarios and different ways the situation you’re in can turn incredibly bad, and you suddenly feel like there’s no way out. An easy way to calm your mind down and help you process things better is to write everything down.
Believe us, it’s not that hard to think about something and forget about the real world, but that’s not always healthy. Sometimes, individuals are so caught up in their own heads, that they have a hard time focusing on the things that actually happen in their lives. Writing is a great technique to help you feel better almost instantly and process things in a more assertive and relaxed manner.
6. You feel stuck
Another sign of overthinking is the feeling of being stuck in the same place with no way out. You have the impression that everything you do will keep you in the same place, and you don’t know what to do to get through it.
It’s as if you’re stuck in the muck, your wheels whirling and everything spinning and spinning. When faced with what seems like an infinite number of options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options, so you might end up feeling shocked and hopeless.
You can set a deadline so that it’s easier to make a choice when there’s a lot to choose from. Once you’ve settled on a course of action, promise yourself that you won’t consider any other possibilities.
We know that things might seem hard at first, but overthinking is not a way to solve issues, so it might be best to accept the fact that whatever you might end up doing, you can’t change it.
…Don’t forget that overthinking can lead to different issues, such as anxiety and depression, so if you feel like there’s no way to get out of an uncomfortable situation, it might be best to talk to an expert to assist you! Mental health is always a priority!
…If you need more tips on how to make your like better, here’s a good article for you: 9 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health NOW!