Has anyone ever told you you are “overthinking”? What does this mean, and how might you deal with it?
Overthinking is when you go round and round in circles with a problem. You worry about lots of things that may not actually happen. It can be associated with anxiety.
You can end up “ruminating”. The word comes from the way some animals chew the cud for hours, chewing chewing chewing… Mental rumination is a bit like that, the same negative thoughts over and over again. It sucks up your time, and your mental and emotional energy.
We all worry about the effect of our actions on others, and what they think about us. Overthinking can take that so far you run a scenario over and over in your head, ruminate on it and wish something else had happened. You can get trapped in a cycle of “this shouldn’t happen!” and “I’m so far from what I want!”. Or you think over all the things that could go wrong in the future – even the most unlikely, and fantasise elaborate scenes of how it might play out.
Ruminating over past events and catastrophising over the the future are examples of overthinking, and can cause misery. Being stuck like this, you end up missing out on the present moment. You can waste a lot of energy worrying about things you have little or no control over.
You might find it helpful to go to the other end of the scale and consider what the very best outcome might be. The chances are, reality sits in the middle! This process might help you to more realistically see what is happening. If you are really stuck, you could consider each possible outcome and think about how likely each one really is – you will probably be pleasantly surprised by this more realistic view.
Counselling can help you with this. We can look at and work on your thought processes to find a way that is more helpful to you. We can also look for the root of your fears to understand what it is that sets off the spiral of overthinking and ruminating in the first place. If you would like to book an appointment, please contact me.