Overthinking is bad, here’s how to take back control of your life

Whether we are dwelling on the mistakes that we have made done, regretting excessively on something, or fretting about how tomorrow is going to be, overthinking of everything can be debilitating. PIXABAY/FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY

LETTERS: OVERTHINKING is a pesky habit that can be perilous to our well-being and mental health.

Whether we are dwelling on the mistakes that we have made done, regretting excessively on something, or fretting about how tomorrow is going to be, overthinking of everything can be debilitating.

According to therapists, patients commonly tell them during treatment that “I cannot relax”, “My brain cannot shut off” or “I cannot stop thinking about how my life could have been better if I had done things differently”.

A study reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that women overthink more than men do. Blood flow was found to be higher in women’s brains, meaning they are more likely to empathise, be collaborative, be intuitive and be more focussed.

However, overthinking increases their chances to develop anxiety, depression, insomnia and eating disorders.

As for age range, research by the University of Michigan found that 73 per cent of adults, age between 25 and 35, are most likely to overthink.

Have you ever asked yourself a lot of “what if…” questions? Have you ever spent a lot of time thinking about the ‘hidden meaning’ of what others have said or events that had happened to you? Have you ever felt anxious about what people will interpret on your posts and updates in your social media?

If you have ever experienced any of these signs, yes, you are a classic overthinker.

Ashley Carroll, a psychologist with Parkland Memorial Hospital, says that when we ruminate on certain thoughts, it can snowball into bigger, more extreme negative thinking.

It is not just thinking too much about something — it is obsessing about something so much that it affects one’s ability to function in life.

Interestingly, research has shown that overthinkers believe they are doing themselves a favour by cycling through their thoughts.

However, what they do not know is that overthinking is a dangerous game that can have a lot of negative consequences on their well-being. As overthinkers create many choices and scenarios, they turn out to be an indecisive lot.

Psychologists call this situation ‘analysis paralysis’ where the mind of the overthinkers are stuck in potential consequences that are not yet happening and creates worry about certain outcomes — which paralyse them from taking action.

Luckily, overthinking is not permanent. This mental habit can be broken with the right methods. Overthinkers should practise mindfulness. Sit on a straight-backed chair or cross-legged on the floor and breathe in calmly.

Focus on the sensations in your body and listen to your surroundings. Focus your attention on the present moment and declutter your mind.

Next, identify all the bad habits that rob your happiness and cause you to overthink. For instance, feeling not good enough, feeling sorry for yourself or resenting other people’s success are just a few of the bad habits that you need to eliminate.

Instead, count your blessings and show gratitude for everything that happens. Studies show that when you do that, your brain will physically change and attract more joy into your life while increasing your inner peace.

For all the thoughts that you keep on ruminating, replace them with positive thoughts that will produce a positive outcome. Then make plans to expand your skills, enlarge your network and look for opportunities.

Also, buy self-help books such as The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and Poke the Box by Seth Godin.

Some readers claim that these books have helped them to take back control of their mind and live life the way it is meant to be experienced.

All in all, do not get lost in thoughts. Learn how to stop spending time in your head. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Stop worrying, set your mind free and live your life to the fullest.

In the realm of politics, let us collectively stop overthinking on whether Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin can do the job and instead wish him all the best in running the country.

by Nurafifah Mohammad Suhaimi.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/03/574613/overthinking-bad-heres-how-take-back-control-your-life

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