I hold my hands up, I over-think. I over-think to the point where the situation or event I am over-thinking ends up completely fictional and the scenario in my head is probably never even going to happen. Then I realise I have actually just created something completely made up in my head. I over-think people. I over-think work. I even over-think something simple like going to the shops. Sometimes over-thinking can have a huge negative effect on my life and stop me doing things I want too because I have thought of every bad situation that could arise and I cannot get them ideas out of my head.
But, I think I have finally realised that over-thinking is a very bad habit that is stopping me leading a happy and stress free life, and yet so many people do the same thing.
Here is why over-thinking will always stop you being the happiest you can be:
1. Over-thinking makes you create scary ‘what if’ stories in your head that may or may not ever arise. No amount of thinking will change a situation that is out of your control. You are only accountable for two things:
- Your actions.
- How you react to someone else’s actions.
If you are over-thinking something that you cannot control, like what someone else may or may not do, it is wasted energy that is stopping you enjoying the situations you can control. Over-thinking something that hasn’t happened is stupid, yet we all do it, but it may never happen at all.
2. It creates problems out of issues that have already been and gone. Over-thinking a situation or a conflict that has already been and gone will only keep it coming back and back again. Once something is done try and stop thinking about it there and then. You can think about it until the cows come home but really, nothing is ever going to change what has already happened.
3. It’ll make you doubt yourself, or even the people you know. Over-thinking brings about whole other emotions that wouldn’t have arisen otherwise. Doubt, jealousy, fear, anxiety. These sometimes all come with over-thinking something simple. You start to doubt what you can do, and perhaps even doubt who other people really are or what they mean to you.
But the best way to deal with getting rid of your over-thinking habit is to:
4. Acknowledge that you are an over-thinker. Realising you have a tendency to over-think is the first step when trying to stop it. Knowing when you over-think, perhaps it is before you fall to sleep, or noticing you always over-think a certain situation can really make a difference in the process of taking everything as it comes, and each situation for what it really is.
5. Try to always think of the positives. This is really difficult and takes lots of practice, take it from me. But when you start to notice yourself over-thinking, stop, breathe and think of something good you have done that day, or something that good that arisen from the situation. Your head seems to annoyingly only remember the bad bits, and leaves out some of the good bits that should be over-thought too.
6. Keep yourself busy. Most of my over-thinking comes from the time to over-think. Sitting in bed for example or constantly checking social media makes the mind wander. And unfortunately it normally only thinks of bad stuff which is never nice. Keeping yourself busy and your mind active will hopefully help stop your mind from being able to dream up made up scenarios and bad situations The mind hasn’t got the time and space to do so.
Over-thinking isn’t your friend, and in some cases may actually make you lose friends and relationships because of it. But luckily, it is simply just a habit of the mind that can be fixed by first simply acknowledging you are an over-thinker, and it isn’t doing you any favours. Over time I am sure you will start to see that it wasn’t the events or the situations that were the problem, it was actually just how you viewed them.
Please, whatever you do though after reading this article is try your best not to over-think, over-thinking. That is just a vicious cycle that no one wants to be in.
Remember: Happy thoughts make a happy person!