Is overthinking natural?
Overthinking is very common these days. It is a cognitive process of dwelling on thoughts of concerns, or problems excessively, often to the point of anxiety.
While some level of contemplation is healthy and can lead to better decision-making, overthinking has detrimental effects on our well-being and productivity. Understanding the reasons behind why we overthink can help us manage this tendency and strike a healthier balance in our thought processes.
WHY DO WE OVERTHINK?
Fear of uncertainty, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of making mistakes, fear of being judged, fear of losing, etc., can make you overthink. We encounter situations in life with ambiguous outcomes and the mind tends to fill in the gaps with imagined scenarios and endless “what if” questions.
Striving for perfection often creates a cycle of continuous self-criticism and self-analysis leading to overthinking. Doubting the abilities of the self, lack of self-worth, and higher expectations from the self, result in overthinking.
When our attachment to our created self-images in society based on our achievements is threatened, the mental hurt, as a result, leads to overthinking. The ego always seeks validation, control, or the avoidance of pain.
Lack of acceptance, whether for the self or others, creates obstructions to the easy flow of life. Not being able to accept the painful memories of the past and worrying about the future leads to overthinking.
HOW TO STOP OVERTHINKING
The main ingredient of overthinking is having an attitude of negativity. Any positive thought cannot be overthought. A significant characteristic of positivity is that ‘as the quality rises, the quantity drops’. To stop overthinking we can initiate some easy daily routine practices, such as:
– Giving gratitude.
– Developing a habit of selective absorption: Only seeing good things in and around you; ignoring things that contaminate and pollute your mind.
– Intake of healthy and powerful information every day that empowers the mind.
– Spending some time in silence with the self or nature recharges the being.
– Bring positivity in the pattern of dialogue, whether dialogue with the self or others.
– Look for small reasons to feel happy or celebrate each day. Live the day as an opportunity to accumulate blessings.
Understanding the reasons behind overthinking and recognising when you start to overthink is the first step in managing this common tendency. Introspection and contemplation are healthy and overthinking is an illness. Anything in extreme is always unhealthy. By addressing the underlying causes of overthinking, and not considering it to be ‘natural’, we can free ourselves from the mental chains that often hold us back from living a more fulfilling life.
Courtesy: Rajyoga Meditation Center, Kingston (meditation courses and counselling are offered free of charge). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow on Instagram: rajyoga_meditation_jamaica