Is overthinking a mental problem?

Overthinking is spreading like an epidemic at a global level. As per one of the recent studies done by the Journal of Abnormal Psychology in 2013, overthinking about problems or mistakes can lead to mental illness.

Overthinking is when you think excessively about something. Overthinking is becoming a major concern as people are losing control over their minds. We all have been a victim of overthinking disorder at some point or the other:

Some real-life examples of overthinking are:

  • In a meeting, your boss smiles slyly at you…….And there you go thinking…..

Why did he at me smile like that?

What did it convey?

Has he done something bad for me?

Is he planning to promote X, Y or Z in my place?

Has X told him something against me?

Is he not liking my work?

I think I should look for another job

What does he think of himself, I can get a better package somewhere else

I will complain about him to X or Y if he plays politics

No, rather I should seek advice from Z

Bah…….how will I manage my expenses if this job gets sacked away

I think I should gift him something nice on his birthday so that he develops a soft corner for me…….and on and on.

For all you know, your boss didn’t like the way you dressed and smiled slyly, or it could be any silly thing that made him smile at you. He cannot just turn you out of job merely on the basis of how and what he thinks……..so why should you care so much?

  • Your child was absolutely fine this morning; by evening the child suddenly develops high fever. Here, you start thinking……

What happened to my child?

Some bad eye or evil energy maybe

Who was he playing with?

Does somebody have viral in X’s house (your child’s friend)?

Oh, he ate ice-cream last night, I should have avoided it

We went to the market day before yesterday, and he ate sweets there without washing his hands.

I should check with his school teacher if the kid he is sitting next to is having cough or cold.

And, it goes on and on….

Such overthinking happens in all aspects of our life. But, overthinking is wasteful thinking.

Do you know how capable our minds are?

DLPFC (Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex), in a lay man’s language, is a part of human brain. DLPFS is designed to generate automatic responses to problems that are based on rules learnt earlier. But, if we end up thinking too much, then the centres in DLPFC can display less problem-solving ability due to roadblocks created by overthinking.

Your intellectual machinery gets confused when you involve yourself in too much wasteful thinking. Your brain is wired to generate new fresh ideas looking at new problems that come up. When you free your mind of negative thoughts, the brain automatically connects fresh ideas to come up with solutions.

The best of the human brains on the planet are known to have least excitement of executive functioning centres of the brain or higher thinking centres of the brain. And, it has been found that such brains are easily able to think out of the box or think creatively.

How lucky we are?

God has been immensely kind in blessing us with the best thinking machinery in the world. Using the power to think and imagine, we have created this world from scratch. But, we have become so fearful that we are forced to over evaluate and over analyse things.

Go to any physician’s clinic, a physician not a psychiatrist, and just observe what kind of problems patients communicate. A physician is a doctor who deals with the physical symptoms of the problems and cures them. But, even in his clinic, you will find patients complaining of fear, over-analysis, over thinking of the minor disease that has occurred to them.

These days having a disease is just one half of the story, the fears, the interpretations, and the consequences of what might happen due to that disease is a bigger problem that troubles them.

So, though we are all busy fixing our external beauty, let us not ignore our most powerful part of being, which is our brain.

So, How to stop overthinking?

It is very simple –

The only person who thinks inside your mind is you. Nobody can push their thoughts into your mind unless you allow them to. So, think positive in all situations and remember that

‘nobody can eat away your share of luck from you. You will only receive as much as your fate permits’.

Develop the attitude of going with the flow of life. Nothing can be changed by worrying too much. Things take time to settle sometimes, but whatever happens, happens for the best. So,  lets put the small concerns behind us and take it easy.

Just be happy with where you are and think only as much as is needed to think. Don’t open your umbrella before it starts raining! As it may so happen that the clouds may just fly away without dropping a single drop of rain.

So just be positive and happy. Look at the positive side of every situation, and you will surely end up figuring out a solution to your problem.

You will see the more you feed your mind with positive thoughts the more it listens to you. But, it is you and only you who can make this change happen.

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