What causes overthinking? and how to overcome it?

What causes overthinking? and how to overcome it?


Why do people overthink?

We all think a lot, to analyze or to reflect. Instead, we should spend quality time being analytical and critical as well as being inquisitive in our thoughts. However, among us, some special people wish to overachieve! We are always told that “everything is its best when it is within limits.”The same works here and, in fact, with greater intensity. People who ended up doing this do not realize they have slipped down into a negative mental space until it worsens. Therefore the question we keep asking is what causes me to overthink and stop me from spiralling down into overthinking.

An overthinker can easily confirm how the progression of overthinking makes you suffocate, exhaust, and how all that thinking was an absolute waste at the end of the day.Overthinking is characterized as unproductive and can further lead to rumination. It makes it difficult to enjoy daily activities and disrupts our emotional regulation and sleep patterns.

The two basic things that are underly overthinking are stress and anxiety. Apart from these basics, issues with one’s self-esteem and self-doubt are other common causes of overthinking. Highlighting the pandemic situation, social distancing has caused us stress and anxiety, and anxiety is a natural response to fear. In this pandemic, we are fearful for our futures- uncertainty about everything, such as illnesses, deaths, and finances, among others. These situations have led us to the path of overthinking. In psychiatric terms overthinking is also known as disambiguation.

What causes overthinking?

Trauma is another factor that can cause overthinking. People who have experienced trauma are more vulnerable to overthinking. For example, childhood abuse or parental neglect can alter an individual’s brain to stick in a constant hyper-vigilance state. That is to say, our response of fight or flight or freeze in danger situations is on high alert. Therefore, in such conditions, people with trauma may experience obsessive thoughts.

Those people who hold perfectionist values or have obsessive tendencies and those who are strict on gaining control may find themselves overthinking quickly. Such individuals begin to ruminate about their past mistakes or the ones they may make. They tend to worry about the judgments of others around them.

Now that you have figured out the root cause of overthinking, we need to eliminate this habit. Observe not only your thoughts but also how your body reacts and notice your behaviour when you overthink. There is no single solution to this; However

Try the below techniques to stop overthinking:

1. Meditation and mindfulness

Meditation and being mindful have been shown to enhance complete psychological well-being. It improves memory, concentration, and emotional regulation, and reduces stress. Being mindful is simply about being present in the moment. Being mindful allows you to acknowledge your thoughts are there, and you choose not to accept them and pay attention to something that pleases you. Also, practice makes you perfect, so making a habit of doing mindfulness meditation will improve how you handle your overthinking.

2. Breathing exercises

When you focus on slowing your breath down, you slow your heart, which helps to calm your mind. You can now reset your thinking pattern with a calm mind and begin afresh with a healthy thinking style. Begin by filling your lungs with air and holding it for several seconds. Then slowly exhale the air, and once you get the urge to inhale, take another deep breath. Keep repeating this until you are relaxed.

3. Journaling

The key is awareness. You need to focus on what you thought and be aware of them. Journaling will help you be aware of your thinking pattern, and once you learn it, you can change it.

4. Change the direction of your thought

Overthinking is a product of fear, and we soon begin to pay attention to all the negative things that might occur. However, once you master to sense you are overthinking, you can stop and continue to think of all the positives. Spend time thinking about the things that can go right.

5. Distract yourself

Channel your energy to something productive. Sometimes diverting your focus on pleasant things such as your hobbies can separate you from your negative thinking.

6. Count your blessings

Better to be grateful than regretful because the latter will not help you change the past. Being grateful helps you realize all the good and positive things around you.

Overthinking is common, Nevertheless, if you prepare yourself to deal with it, you can convert your negative feelings and thoughts to positive, pleasant ones. Moreover, remember you cannot predict the future, and there is no use in ruminating about the things you do not even know will take place. Hence, learn to channel your pessimistic thoughts into productive, practical, and right thinking.

Written by: Zahabiya

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Sherman, P. (2019). The Gremlin: 10 Tools to Shush that Negative Voice in Your Head! Parachute jump publishing.

Overthinking (disambiguation). (2022, July 23). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overthinking_(disambiguation)

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