If you find yourself in a constant state of worry and anxiety about the unpleasant things that might happen before the actual events take place; or you repeatedly think of the worst possible scenarios occurring, you could be a victim of your own thoughts.
This term is known as ‘overthinking’ whereby, the person put too much time into thinking or overanalysing in a way that is more harmful than helpful to their situation. In such cases, the emotion of fear plays one of the major roles for us to overthink, which in turn may cause anxiety, panic attacks and/or in severe case, depression. Generally, we will experience two destructive thoughts pattern when it comes to overthinking: negative dwelling on the past or being pessimistic about the future.
These can be a deadly combination if no interventions are in place to mitigate the consequences from overthinking.
Self-awareness is the first step
It is difficult to stop overthinking if you don’t realize you are doing it. Be aware when it is happening. If you feel that your inner voice is being overly critical and notice yourself worry more than you need to be about the situation, it is usually the first indication of overthinking.
Address the fear
The root of overthinking usually stems from fear. Fear of what may happen or what can go wrong. It can also be caused by past events that might have embarrassed or scarred you. For example, when you were young your parents scolded you in front of the whole school because of the poor grades that you received. You felt humiliated and because of that you will overthink whenever there is a test or exam coming up. The good thing about going through embarrassing moments is that you can take preventive measures and avoid such situation from happening again.
Avoid unhealthy coping mechanism
It is known that overthinking can lead to serious emotional distress. Replaying distressing thoughts can take a toll on your mental well-being and physical state. Overthinkers tend to have trouble sleeping at night. To escape the stress, some might resort to unhealthy strategies, such as alcohol or drugs to calm their nerves. It is important to avoid such harmful strategies that can harm us.
Practice mindfulness to focus on happiness
Be mindful of your body, thoughts and acknowledge the emotions you are feeling at the present moment. Find solutions or distractions to alleviate your fear. It can simply be in the form of yoga to relax the mind, talking to somebody about what is bothering you or doing hobbies that you enjoy. The key is to distract yourself from overthinking about the issue.
Our overthinking is shaped from our negative experiences and harmful events that were exposed to us in our early life. Letting your thoughts to overrun can cause undesirable effects. Rather than arguing with your thoughts or obsessing over them, it is advisable to step back, acknowledge your feelings and take steps to control your thoughts.
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