I’m guessing I’m not the only out there that has a tendency to think and overthink things to the point of exhaustion. In fact, I know I’m not.
Millions of people struggle with anxiety in their daily lives and one major facet of that anxiety is the tendency to overanalyze.
For me, my mind seems to mostly spiral on social interactions and money related issues sometimes to the point of ridiculousness.
“Did I say something off when I was talking to that woman? it seemed like the energy shifted. I think she looked at me funny like I said something I shouldn’t have. Did my face look weird? Did my voice sound ok? Does she think I’m weird. I better apologize in case I said something weird.”
A monologue like this can run through my head for hours and I yell at myself to stop, put a lid on it. Stop overanalyzing Mike.
Of course then, that only makes me angry at myself which causes more anxiety.
Having dealt with this for most of my life though, I’m here to tell you, It’s ok to overanalyze. It’s ok to be anxious and it’s ok to worry.
These are all natural human reactions to stimuli and while they may have served us well in the past when we had to deal with very real scenarios of life and death, these anxious reactions don’t really have a place in modern society.
We can’t ignore them though, it’s smart to be wary of what’s happening in your surroundings and be prepared for eventualities, but when they cause us unnecessary anxiety it’s time to get a handle on them.
How do we do that?
Acceptance and acknowledgement.
In order to lessen the power these mental windstorms have, we need to realize that they’re normal and rational and ok to have.
You are not messed up because your thoughts are too overpowering. It’s perfectly normal to be anxious sometimes and it’s ok to overthink.
We have to accept and acknowledge that we are having these thoughts and sit with them. We have to get to know them and become familiar and friendly with them instead of constantly fighting them and trying to push them away.
Lastly, we have to acknowledge them as what they are, transient, floating thoughts that drift through our brains like clouds. We don’t have to hang on to them, we don’t have pick them apart. We can accept them as simply thoughts and let them pass.
Sometimes assigning a name to these thoughts helps too. Like, oh, that’s just my brain pest Phil who likes to mess with me. Get bent Phil.
I’ve used all these techniques in dealing with my intrusive spiraling thoughts and each one works in different ways.
Finally, one of the most powerful ways we can quell our pesky thoughts is to meditate, that is, to focus on something like our breath going in and out as we close our eyes and breathe deeply, even just a few deep breaths like this can calm our nervous system and make it easier to forget and let go of overthinking.
Believe me when I say that I am no stranger to overthinking and dealing with spiraling and intrusive thoughts. They have been part of my experience of schizophrenia from the very beginning and even before then so I know what it feels like to have them.
Trust me when I say that it’s ok to overthink. It doesn’t mean your weird and it doesn’t mean you’re crazy.
You probably just need to take a moment to yourself and get friendly with your thoughts.
Fighting them is only gonna hurt more.
Whatever happens, you got this.