If you don’t know me personally enough, I’ll tell you that I’m someone who overthinks things and overanalyzes things. I wish I can say that being an over-thinker can be a blessing, but from my experience it’s typically not. I know that people can have the tendency to overthink things from time to time, but my overthinking is a habit. It’s a large part of me that I work on trying to contain week after week. Here’s how overthinking things affects my life and how it can potentially affect yours as well.
To start off, when I’m referring to overthinking things, I’m talking about how someone can look at a friend’s facial expression and wonder why that expression is being used and if it has anything to do with something you’ve said or done, or it can be when something in your life happens like getting a promotion at work, winning a prize in a contest, getting a girlfriend or boyfriend, and you’re wondering why it happened when and what the event could potentially lead up to.
1. Overthinking things can lead you to make conclusions about things that are way off from what they actually are. This is something that I have unfortunately fallen victim to many times, which is why you’d think that after being proven wrong about something after the hundredth time, my mind would start taking a couple steps back but that’s not the case for me. When I realize I’m wrong about something, my mind just moves on to think about something else and then eventually overthinks again.
2. Overthinking things can take your focus off of other things in your life that’s very important to think about and focus on (but not overthink about). When your mind is so bent on overanalyzing something, it typically focuses on that one thing and excludes mostly everything else, which obviously includes things that are very important for you to think about. Trying to figure out the meaning behind a friend’s expression twenty-four hours after it happened is really not worth it when you have to think about how you’re going to manage your day working a job and paying taxes.
3. Overthinking things can change your mind about certain people which can lead you to dislike people or think differently of them that contradicts who they really are. Misreading an expression or a certain action committed by someone else can cause you to think differently of them than what you originally thought. This can also affect the way you treat the other person too, typically in a negative way that the person doesn’t deserve to be treated. To me, this is one of the more heart wrenching aspects of overthinking in my life, because I end up feeling kind of ashamed of myself or guilty for thinking one way about someone or something later on down the road when I realize that my thoughts on the subject at hand were wrong.
4. Overthinking things for long periods of time will cause you to think about the subject again even years later. This is another thing I’ve done. To this day, there are still things I remember from several years ago that I still don’t feel completely satisfied about, and that’s because I overthought about those things at the time and those thoughts were never officially put to rest because they didn’t come to a satisfactory conclusion in my mind, so they’re almost like echoes in my head that makes me stop what I’m doing and think again.
So how can overthinking be officially stopped? The short answer is: it can’t be. At least not “officially”. If overthinking is something you have the tendency of doing, then that means it’s a part of you and will probably always be a part of you, but that doesn’t mean it can’t at least be tamed to a certain extent. A lot of things that happen in your life are exactly what it appears to be and there’s really no use trying to decipher the event. If you’re overthinking about something, that’s usually a sign that you can’t find an answer to a question you have, and you’re not going to find it through overthinking because it’s only going to loop around back to the same question you had. Life is full of things that sparks questions but we can’t waste that life constantly trying to find the answers to those questions. Remembering that will help us be able to move on. You probably won’t be able to relax about it right away, in fact it’s highly unlikely, but you can at least learn to continue living your life and keeping your eyes open to other things that come your way. It’s one of the most intriguing things about life, watching it unfold.