Overthinking has been the constant bane of my existence. For as long as I can remember, I overthink every situation possible. From what to eat for dinner, to how to respond to an email, I am always in a mental battle with myself. Ultimately, overthinking has caused me great distress and has effectively influenced my relationship with others.
How overthinking is bad for you
According to Dr. Jeffrey Huttman, “overthinking is very common and may be caused by self-doubt, self-esteem issues, concern about repeating past patterns to prior bad experiences, traumatic experiences, or anxiety.”
Unsurprisingly, fear plays a significant part in why we overthink. It brings to mind all the negative things that could happen. It cripples our ability to decide and to act. It paralyzes our brain to move forward. Fear effectively contributes to overthinking by trapping us in a mental prison of our thoughts.
However, not a lot of people take it seriously.
“Many people have concluded that overthinking is a part of their personality that only a few recognize the negative effect it can have on our emotional health, happiness, and well-being.”
— Dr. David A. Clark, Clinical Psychologist and Professor Emeritus of University of New Brunswick, Canada
Essentially, overthinking can have dangerous effects on a person’s mental and physical state. A study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology reports that dwelling on mistakes and shortcomings increases the risk of mental health problems. Furthermore, it can even disturb emotional regulation and sleep patterns.
For these reasons and more, it is important to acknowledge that overthinking can be detrimental to our health. When we embrace the fact that it is debilitating our capacity to do things, we allow ourselves the opportunity to overcome it. The first step to getting better is to accept the problem.
When we are about to enter into a downward spiral, take a couple of deep breaths. Doing so will not only help ground ourselves, but it will also bring awareness to our surroundings. I have used this…