Thinking is normal cognitive process of human brain. We almost all the time think about different stuff and thoughts in our daily life. Thinking is a process that helps us to understand world, make memories and help us to better survive in this world. Human considered as superior beings just because of their ability to think. Just because of our thinking ability we have better adjustment power and better learning skills from other animal species. Thinking is defined as cognitive behavior that includes experience and manipulation of ideas, information, images and other mental representations. We think almost all the time during day as well as during our sleep.
Every individual think in different ways and in different perspective. There are different types of thinking that we use to solve problems, interpret information and understand world. We sometimes think critically that help us in our academies and professional life problems. Conceptual and abstract thinking help us to understand complex ideas present in our environment. Through reflective thinking we can examine our past experiences and try to resolve our present problems. Creative thinking helps us in arts and science a lot. Through creative thinking we do better in our professional life by giving creative ideas to our work. Thinking is very helpful and advantageous human cognitive behavior but thinking also has some limits. When a person exceed some level of thinking it will be harmful for him/her. When thinking is exceeding from a limit it become overthinking.
What is Overthinking?
Thinking helps us a lot in our daily life. We think to make our life better but there is always a limit for everything. Same as thinking is also have some kind of limits. People think a lot to be better understood about the world and their lives but they don’t realize that they are crossing a limit that would harmful for them. People who think a lot don’t realize that they are going into another mental space that is negative and harmful for them. And this keeps worsen over time. When your thinking become overthinking it makes you exhausted, suffocates and waste of precious time of your life.
Overthinking is not a medical term itself but it considered to be harmful for you when it became habit. The research shows that when something became habit it will harm your physical as well as mental health severely. Overthinking is mainly involves negative thoughts, focusing more on past, rehashing the bad experiences and unreal worries about future. Psychologist claims that when a person contemplates on certain thoughts they became bigger like a snowball and come into form of extreme negative thoughts.
How You Know That You are Overthinking
Thinking about something on a moderate level is completely fine. When you think about something a lot to find a solution or get to some point is a part of our existence. That’s why it is very difficult to know when you are overthinking and it started to harm you. There are some things that will help you to point out either you are just thinking about something or it exceeded to level of overthinking. In psychology everything is normal unless it start to affect a person’s daily life. When overthinking start to create problems into your daily life it means that you are at the level of danger.
Overthinking considered as a problem when it start to destruct your daily life and extremely impair your daily functioning. For example when you could not sleep at night because of some thoughts going on your head and you keep thinking about some useless thing. When your thoughts are no longer in your control and rather then that you try hard to stop thinking about something but you can’t stop it. And your thoughts start interfering into your daily functioning like school and at work. Overthinking also affect your appetite, you start to loss or sometime gain weight because of overthinking. Overthinking makes a person isolated from his/her environment. Because people lost so much into their thoughts that they don’t pay attention to their environment.
Causes of Overthinking
First thing first when an individual have self-doubt and have low self-esteem he/she is more prone to overthinking. Because they don’t believe in themselves, keep thinking about their past and bad experiences. They are unable to think logical and let go of useless thoughts. The second thing that causes the overthinking is any traumatic event. When a person experiences any trauma and mishap he/she are more sensitive to overthinking. For example when an individual experiences childhood abuse or any experience of parent neglect, then they freeze on the thoughts of that event. The brain of these individuals stuck on the state of hyper-vigilance. The fight and flight response and fixation on danger situation of individual with traumatic experience are on high alert. Therefor these people have obsessive thoughts.
Another very important underline cause of overthinking is considered as stress and anxiety. When people suffering from stress and anxiety they are more sensitive to overthinking and it became their habit to overthink. People with stress and anxiety have less control over their thoughts and more likely to think negative experiences that make them suffer more. Successful people who are more intended to think deeply and try to be perfect at everything are more sensitive to overthinking. They process information in complex way to better understand the world but they are also under the risk of becoming over thinker and develop obsessive tendencies. They are easily stressed and overwhelmed that makes them to overthink more easily.
How Overthinking Effects Your Mental and Physical Health
When a person lost in thoughts to solve a problem, learning as well as gaining some perspectives about the situation in hands is actually healthy type of overthinking. It doesn’t matter if you lost in thinking and overthink about some matter and learn something from that. It is consider to be as a purposeful overthinking when a person learn from his/her past experiences and finding creative solutions about their life problems. Overthinking is harmful when it starts to affect your physical as well as mental health.
Effects of Overthinking on Physical Heath
Overthinking has a noticeable effect on your physical health. People with overthinking suffer with stomach problems, body aches, muscle aches, headache, fast heartbeat, irritability and nausea. Over time overthinking also causes the major physical problems such as heart attack, muscle tension, short-term memory loss, digestive problems and suppression of the immune system.
Effects of Overthinking on Mental Heath
Overthinking is considered to be a cause of so many psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression. In depression people have excessive worries and negative thoughts about future and things that are not under control of them. Post-traumatic stress disorder also includes overthinking. In post-traumatic stress disorder an individual couldn’t stop thinking about the traumatic event and have excessive thoughts about that event. Overthinking is also associated with borderline personality disorder.
How to Overcome Your Overthinking
There is nothing that a human being can’t do, same as you can also overcome and control your overthinking habit. There are some exercises and tips that will help you to control overthinking as well as you can change your overthinking into a healthy mindset. These things will give you mental strength and you can think more productively in your life.
Change the Direction of Your Thoughts
Overthinking is produced by our fears at the first place. When we are more focused on negativity in our life we became more sensitive to overthinking. You have to realize that when you start to overthinking and try to stop it by diverting your mind to positive things. Exercise to focus more on positive events and positive things happened into your life. You can spend your time to focus on things that can be right.
The best exercise to control your overthinking is to channel your energy into something meaningful and productive. Find some hobbies and activities that make you happy. When you feel like you are overthinking try to divert your attention toward your hobbies and something that gives you happiness and you don’t focus anymore on your negative thoughts.
In order to change the direction of your thoughts and to distract yourself, you firstly have some awareness about your thoughts that provoke overthinking. To become aware of your provoking thoughts you have to start writing about them. When you have a negative thought and worries about something that is beyond your control write it down into your journal. It will help you to find out your mindset and thinking pattern. When you become aware of you thinking pattern you can easily change it.
Deep breathing exercise will help you to calm your mind. When you can calm your mind you can easily change your thoughts from negative to positive side. Deep breathing is very helpful to control your thought and divert your mind from one direction to another.
Count Your Blessings
Always be thankful what you have in your life. You can’t be anyone and you can’t have everything in your life. Always focused on positive things in your life and be thankful to everything you got. Because being worried and regretful is not going to change your past and bring you happiness. It is you who can bring happiness into your life by focusing on your positivity. Try to remember every positive thing in your life. Before going to bed count at least any one blessing of your life and it will help you to focus on positivity.
Overthinking is a common thing and you can prepare yourself to overcome it. Remember that what happened in your past is not going to change and you can’t even predict the future. So, live your present life the fullest and make yourself happy and create good memories. Try to convert your negative energy to produce something useful and productive.
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