It’s been a while since I’ve blogged last, too long actually. Bet you can’t guess why, but then again the title of this post might give it away just a bit. One might wonder why with all the thoughts that go on in my head wouldn’t I be able to kick out some blog material – the answer to that question is simple: No, because I am an overthinker to a debilitating level.
A normal day for me consists of, but not exclusive to, playing random scenarios in my head continuously. Good scenarios, bad scenarios, most of the time unlikely scenarios. Now really, imagine how much brainpower that takes. The problem with overthinking is that it creates issues that aren’t real and aren’t necessary. Exhibit A, when writing this post I erased the previous sentence 7 times before deciding it was acceptable. Therein lies the first problem in which every overthinkers face: wasted time.
If overthinkers calculated the time they spent pondering about making a decision or not, whether big or small, we would probably have enough time to produce and begin to flesh out a handful of other ideas. Our mind’s race and become trapped in a maze of thoughts. Remember those maze puzzles in coloring books from childhood? That’s what an overthinker’s mind looks like when trying to figure sh*t out. So time consuming. Almost like a game of probability. If I do this, this will happen. If this happens maybe I can do that. If this doesn’t happen, what will happen? What will I do? It’s a struggle to overcome this vicious cycle of not squandering my time with “what ifs” and using it more wisely to invest into the necessary contemplation that will surely come.
The brain is such a powerful machine it’s amazing. We have the ability to reflect on the past and make conscious decision based on our experience to better our future. If you are anything like me, your experience is relatively rich if not up to par with where you are in life currently. Having tools such as wisdom and education only broaden your mind giving your thoughts a greater playing field. To some this may seem ideal. To an overthinker we know this can be toxic. Ignorance truly is bliss and sometimes I wish I knew a little less. Less knowledge = less thoughts = less things to stress about. That equation shows problem number 2: stress.
According to Popular Science, when you are stressed your body release hormones that are known as the “fight or flight” response. Your system reacts as if you were in danger; releasing hormones, amping up your blood pressure and heart rate, etc.
So think about it…these hypothetical not to mention unlikely situations are causing your body to work overtime therefore setting you back and off track to your end goal of solving the problem at hand. Of course it’s known that there is good stress and bad stress but in my book of categories debilitating overthinking falls under bad. Interview jitters, finding a first date outfit, all that is good stress. Bad stress puts wear and tear on both your physical and mental life. This my friend, is not good.
Exhibit B, in this moment my breathing isn’t as smooth as it should be. I’m working up the stress of getting this right, which is speeding up my mind and thoughts to an incomprehensible speed. I have a strong desire to express my experience as an overthinker while trying help myself and my readers reflect on this problem and work towards solving it. My desire to do this is strong yet I’m uneasy about it because of the possibility I may not communicate what I intend to. There I have presented you with the third and fourth problems overthinkers are plagued with: anxiety and self-doubt.
Cognitive Health Group puts all this under a greater term of “unhealthy worry.” Now my degree isn’t in medicine so I’m not saying this has any medical validity. However, I am saying that my process is what I have so far mentioned. It seems that over time my obsessive thinking has only gotten worse. My obsession with “figuring out the future” has reached a level that even sparks rumination, or obsessive thinking of past events as it relates to what may come. Maybe if I didn’t do that 4 years ago, what I’m working on now would’ve been easier because this wouldn’t have happened. A lot of should’ve, would’ve could’ve in the lives of us overthinkers. What I am sure of though, is that all these thoughts can put a hurting on anyone’s little brain. No matter how old, how wise, how smart or how strong you are everyone needs a rest. I’ve noticed that since my yoga practice has become a little lax my serenity and ability to quiet my mind has followed suit. This post may have seemingly made a sudden turn into a “why you should do yoga” type of thing but its not.
The moral of the story is though some people may have medically diagnosable anxiety disorders I for one do believe in the power of the mind. I would never disrespect anyone with mental disorder(s) by hinting my twisted over thought process to be an actual illness. For me the problem is that my overthinking is debilitating because it causes self-doubt. For others the bottom line may be different. As with any problem in life, its important to recognize it start to understand it and what triggers it and seek to find healthy solutions. Back to yoga it is!