Every day, from the time we wake up to when we shut our eyes, our mind is in full swing, thinking/worrying about something trivial or something mammoth. Throughout the day, we end up thinking about so many different things (important, unimportant or utter crap) – from the breakfast menu, traffic and meetings to a friend’s birthday party, professional goals, office gossips or may be a random grudge.
While it has been said that an idle mind is a devil’s workshop but an excessively active mind may also be termed as a hyperventilating machine which is on a continuous mission to think about something. Undeniably, a mind can do great wonders but overindulgence (in this case overthinking) causes stress, exhaustion, resentment, and disappointment.
The constant scrutiny, over-analyzing and the entire overthinking process blocks our peace of mind and prevents us from fully living and enjoying the present.
There is no end to thinking. Practically speaking, our mind never rests and it often pulls us back from being truly present or belong to a certain place at a certain time, not just physically but mentally too.
We aren’t asking you to stop thinking, for thinking is limitless! But if any of these below mentioned 9 things are bothering you constantly, then it’s a strong enough sign that you are certainly overthinking and you need to STOP.
1. Your Past
This is horrible yet straightforward. What’s gone is gone, the moments, people, situations and the outcome; there is no way it can be done (or undone) in a better way. Nothing can be changed about your past, whether it was good or bad. Rejoice good memories and bury the bad ones, but either way, don’t be mentally stuck there. You need to stop letting the past shadow your present.
2. Your Appearance
If you are not happy or feel awkward the way you look, be it your hair, your weight, figure, complexion, skin or anything to do with your appearance, thinking is not going to help. In contrast, thinking damages your confidence. Always remember, nobody is perfect or Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie for that matter.
Popular American television, film and Broadway actor, director and producer, Jack Lord’s quote justifies this point. “What you have, what you are – your looks, your personality, your way of thinking – is unique. No one in the world is like you. So capitalize on it.”
3. Say What You Need
If you want something, you need to say it. It may be a little thing, but mere thinking about it will not help. You need to take the first step by speaking about it. It often starts with small worries but soon escalates to something bigger and stays in our thoughts. Don’t let your thoughts be trapped in anticipation and apprehension.
4. What Others Think
This should be the last thing on your mind. What others think is strictly their business and they are nowhere answerable to you in any way. Before you decide to think about what others think, there should be a clear distinction between people who matter and others who don’t. Unknowingly, most of us think about the latter and mess with our own sanity. We aren’t hinting that you become ignorant; instead we are just asking you to question if it will make any difference in the hindsight. Simply put, it’s pointless and a waste of time to even try to make sense of what others think about you or your actions.
5. Your Decisions
It is always great to think through your decisions before you make them, but it’s not justified to post-mortem it later. You are solely responsible for the decision you make. But once they are taken, you have to accept the outcome, whether it was pleasant or unpleasant or whichever way they turned out to be. Blaming yourself or others or cursing yourself to have thought in a different way before taking that step is not a wise thing to do.
6. Others’ Actions
Once you stop thinking about what others think, this particular point is neatly taken care of. The way you are responsible for whatever you say or mean, others are responsible for theirs too. Someone else’s actions should not be a matter of concern to you unless it impacts you in an intense way. And even if it does, it is up to you to let it leave a mark in your mind.
Food is the basic necessity of life and we are not contesting it, and neither do we mean to offend the food lovers here. Food should be a prime concern when you are about to eat. But otherwise, if you are overthinking about what to eat, when to eat or how it will affect your body, it is plain insane and can even annoy people. So go easy here.
Life is beautiful when you have beautiful people, meaningful relationships and lots of love. But overthinking about a past relationship – how wonderful or pathetic it was, or how it could have lasted or ended in a better way is nothing but a royal waste of time. Even in the current context, if you are single, you can’t be overthinking about why you are not blessed with love or a relationship. The past cannot be changed and future cannot be predicted. Let go of things and let things happen when they have to. Overthinking about a failed relationship, lost love or a relationship that is yet to happen should not be constant in your thinking process.
9. Life In Totality
Enjoy life as it happens, overthinking will only push you away from living in the moment. Overthinking about the past, present or future will make you more anxious and stressed out. Plan things in advance and think about how you want to shape your life rather than trying to control it in your thoughts. We would like to conclude this point by quoting one of the finest philosophers, Soren Kierkegaard – life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.
So, next time, think before you think!