I don’t always overthink things. Do I? There you go overthinking again, and of course making everything in life 100 times more trying and taxing than it has to be. “If I just go over that situation in my mind a few million times, I will surely unearth a new understanding and finally get the end result that I want.” Sound familiar?
Here’s a little secret for y’all: Not everything in life has a mysterious, mystical message. G’head and choose your brand of cereal. No need to mentally torture yourself over every decision. Unless, of course, the cereal changes the color of your milk. Then you may want to reconsider the nutritional value. Hey, I just bought a head of lettuce. Should I throw it away now or wait two weeks like I usually do? Oh, and “sushi” is Japanese for “You’ll still be hungry.” But seriously, choosing your school or life partner may require a bit more critical thinking.
Due to intense brain fog, all of my thoughts have been grounded until further notice. Then again, I think my brain is giving me the silent treatment today. You’re still reflecting and ruminating on every detail of a situation you’re in, but you never seem to arrive at a different conclusion. You are busy deleting and re-writing those texts again? Sheesh. You are the King or Queen of “should have or could have.” “I should have said that.” Your eyelids are heavy, but your thoughts are heavier. You’re up half the night analyzing every tweet or emoji, and Instagram has turned into a minefield. Oh, and what did she “really” mean by that remark?
I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this. So, you are overthinking about overthinking again. Make no mistake. Your thoughts can become your reality. Do you know how to turn your beliefs to your advantage in life? Do you even know how to get out of your own head? Instead of making dreadful and disastrous predictions for your future, learn to turn your worries off. Whether it’s beating yourself up over past mistakes, obsessing about what others think of you, or feeling uneasy about the future, the end result is clouded judgment and more tension, trouble, and trauma.
“Sorry, I couldn’t hear you over my internal monologue.” Pause and reflect. Does most of your thinking strengthen you or weaken you? Discover and detect when you have negative thoughts or self-limiting beliefs. Try to live in the present and in the moment as much as you possibly can. “What-iffing” about possible outcomes can keep you in a perpetual state of anxiety.
It may feel as though you simply can’t turn your brain off. Your mind might even try to cajole you into believing that worrying is helpful. Complaining repeatedly about something or harping on it is not the same as problem-solving by a long shot. Do you spend all day agonizing over things you have no control over? Will that improve or enrich your life?
You can actually retrain your brain. Gently bring yourself back to the moment during the day. Stop asking yourself why you overthink, please. That will inspire you to continue to torment and torture yourself over the matter. The more you dwell on your problem, the worse you will actually feel. Your depression and discomfort will surely prevent you from taking any positive course of action.
Here’s a test for you. Did you learn anything about yourself or did you gain a new point of view from all those deep thoughts? What was the last thing you learned from reflecting on your behavior?
I’ll bet you relived that embarrassing moment in your head 1,000 times, though. You know the drill. Do something awesome, no one sees it. Do something embarrassing the whole free world saw it. Y’all know that awkward moment when you realize you’re walking in the wrong direction, so you hit your pockets, pretending your forgot something. Or that moment when you realize that person wasn’t waving at you. Sheesh.
You may still be rehashing that conversation from days ago, dwelling and deliberating on what you should have or shouldn’t have said. It’s now on instant replay in your mind. You may not even be aware of what is going on around you right at this moment. Imagining worst case scenarios is a hard habit to break.
How solution-focused are you? Suppose you just heard that a snowstorm is coming. Which one are you? “Oh gosh, who is going to shovel? What if I slip on the ice?” Or: “Snow flurries? No worries. Let me go food shopping, prepare the salt and make arrangements to have our driveway shoveled.” Then we can hunker down and relax while the snow falls. Ahhh. What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire? Frostbite. Hmmm.
But truly, sweet friends: Worrying about how things may go wrong will not help things go right. And please remember: If you’re going to be thinking, you may as well think big. The world is changed by your example, not your opinion.