Overthinking has various connotations but psychologically it may be defined as “The process of constantly analyzing and anguishing over one’s thoughts. It may include rumination, in which an individual is stuck mentally rehashing their past or present decisions and/or actions.”

Though it is very common, its causes vary from self-esteem issues; reiterating mistakes, arguments, feelings of the past; imagining future scenarios; having too much to deal with, and so on.

Mental fatigue is one of the vexing effects of overthinking. It exhausts a lot of energy as the mind is constantly under duress and tension. Even during falling asleep or focusing on important tasks the brain is actively conjuring up situations.

Meeting new people, going out, attending social gatherings, having virtual or text conversations, putting your thoughts out on social media – all these otherwise normal activities feel like a humongous task to overcome because of the constant overthinking.

Taking important decisions or grasping golden opportunities, chances of achieving aspirations drive further away when overthinking is involved in the equation. This happens because the focus is amplified on the negative aspects while the positive ones are downplayed.

Daily functioning is affected by anxiety, stress, and tension. Overthinking makes the individual regard every situation while being more consequential. This causes the mind to be thrown off balance as even if there is positivity in the situation, it seems as if everything is only a disaster waiting to happen.

Relaxation techniques go a long way in easing the situation and bringing mental peace. Yoga and breathing exercises work as manna from heaven as they aid in throwing out anxiety from the body pores.

Whenever worry rears its head, the focus has to be redirected to a calm state of mind. Hobbies provide welcome relief, the act of gardening, baking, singing, reading, or painting furnish ample possibilities to attain better mental health. With a bit of practice and also rewards, for refocusing on important tasks, overthinking can be controlled.

Being a perfectionist is always regarded as a good trait, but often it is accompanied with bouts of depression, wastage of time on focusing on a task that is well done but not good enough by personal standards, setting unrealistic goals, achieving the targets but at the expense of personal health. Thus, when overthinking is slowly pushed away, a whole amount of better prospects line up.

It is also a form of a defense-mechanism or self-protection as keeping in mind all the possible negative outcomes makes the individual feel in control of the situation.

It is said that if you can go to the beach and command the ocean. Congratulations! You’re God. But if you can’t you have to sit down and accept that you cannot predict or control the future.

Overthinking can be combated when it is realized that we are powerless against situations but we can face our fears, shift our focus to gratitude, and practice acceptance.

Once we free ourselves of the shackles our mind is enslaved in, we will be mentally free too.

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