Fixing Overthinking the Simple Way

Fixing Overthinking the Simple Way
Photo by Tengyart / Unsplash

Are they avoiding me?‌‌

What if I fail the test tomorrow?‌

‌What if I forget my script during the presentation?

These were a few thoughts that haunted me when I was alone in my school days. In between reading books or taking a walk, my head found enough time to fill itself with these kinds of pointless thoughts that weighed in tons.

From simple doubts, a spiral starts, where you build and build on the newly created thoughts. It's a vicious cycle of negative thoughts that consume your mind, time, and mental space. Some of us are familiar with this through the term 'overthinking.' Depending on the person and their thought process, this varies in intensity, from a minor inconvenience to mind-crushing anxiety that interferes with daily functioning

Overthinking typically begins with a seemingly innocent thought, which can be open-ended and hard to validate at that moment. For instance, pondering whether one will fail an exam or if a manager is upset with us. You can confirm this, but do require some effort and time. But here we tend to add more emotional weight to the side of the coin where we fail. These thoughts trigger a cascade effect, as we tend to build upon them, giving rise to a vicious cycle of negative thoughts that consume our mental space and time.

Adding Emotional Weight to Failure

Emotional weight plays a pivotal role in the overthinking process. How we emotionally value a task or its outcome defines its significance to us. Some individuals may attach enormous emotional weight to potential negative outcomes, leading to intense distress when things do not go as planned. On the contrary, others may treat the same situation with a lighter emotional weight and handle setbacks more gracefully.

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The more emotional weight you add to anything in your life, the more realistic it feels to you.

Identify the Positive trait

These fear output of overthinking reflect some thing positive aspects of your personality, which you are scared to tarnish. Even when the overthinking spirals to enforce some fear within you, they do reflect a positive trait.‌‌For instance, fear of failure in an exam may stem from the desire not to disappoint teachers and parents, driven by the identity of being a good student. Overthinking highlights the negative results that are feared by our positive self-image. This insight can serve as a foundation to work towards ensuring better outcomes and reducing the chances of failure.

Photo by Rifqi Ali Ridho / Unsplash

Recognizing the Pattern

Recognizing and acknowledging the tendency to overthink is the primary step to snap out of this cycle, which most often we do. Many individuals tend to perceive the overthinking as an intrinsic part of their character, which hinders progress. However, by identifying the positive traits and working on them, one can gradually overcome overthinking. Journaling and self-talk can be valuable tools in this journey of self-awareness and improvement.

Failure Case Scenario

Additionally, it is essential to comprehend that most situations are not as dire as our overthinking minds project them to be. The imagination takes creative liberties in picturing worst-case scenarios, amplifying fears, adding emotional weight, and creating a reality we never desire. However, facing the fear of failure head-on often reveals that reality is far less terrifying than our imagination led us to believe.

One of the root causes of overthinking is the fear of failure. We dread the idea of failing and often overlook the potential for growth and learning that comes with it. However, in life, failures are inevitable, and they present us with an opportunity to adapt, learn, and ultimately improve. Reflecting on past experiences where overthinking led to a negative outcome, we can recognize that the anticipation of failure was often worse than the actual experience. We always survived by learning and adapting to new highs and lows. So when u fail and hit a new low, this turns to a new reality, where you can start work on things. The new low can be your trampoline to achieve better heights.

Overthinking can be a debilitating habit, trapping us in a cycle of negative thoughts and anxiety. However, by understanding its nature, recognizing its emotional impact, and embracing failure as a stepping stone to growth, we can break free from its clutches. Overcoming overthinking requires patience and practice, but with dedication, you can achieve a healthier thought process and a more positive outlook on life. Most of the methods mentioned here can be learned and adapted to your own life in your own way.

Hope this brings some value, If yes, do tell a friend. Leave your valuable suggestions in the comment.

Basha Yes

Basha Yes

India