A single negative thought mushrooms into many as I overthink.
Just like a wet paper gets wholly smudged with a drop of ink
All day it makes me restless
At night it makes me sleepless
Everything in this world seems mistaught and forlorn
But I know I’m not in this, alone.
It’s frustrating when we are always overthinking — every possible worst scenario, fearing whatever could have happened which actually didn’t and don’t happen. We constantly think of what other people think and keep overthinking their thoughts about us. Our brain doesn’t have a STOP button and this overthinking overtires us and then are we able to finally fall asleep.
Everyone thinks but some people overthink. We can’t help it. It is a part of us and once we learn to accept our anxiety/negative overthinking and be cool with it, life feels simpler and miraculously better.
So, let’s see our negative things in a positive way after several years of overthinking and before we start to overthink about our overthinking again, just read below:
1. Overthinking makes you more creative.
What do you do when you overthink until you start feeling anxious or going to have an anxiety attack? You breathe deeply, you do some jumping jacks, you talk to someone or you walk back and forth. You try some positive self-talk to shut down your negative thoughts or you talk to someone you trust about what’s bothering you and the list goes on. How about using this time and energy in doing something creative, something you love doing, something you have been putting off all the time because you are just too exhausted (both physically and mentally)?
Since two years, I have been doing origami, practising public speaking, writing poetry and learning German language because I was too overwhelmed with my studies. We all need a newness in our lives and overthinking/anxiety is just the stimulus for you to get out of your comfort zone and do something different. Thinking of public speaking or thinking of an invention? Go for it. Just do it.
Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. — Edward de Bono.
Do whatever makes you feel restorative, that is, anything which clears your mind and makes your heart happy. Start small but choose to do something new and different every day. It may take 5 minutes or at most 30 minutes. Do whatever makes you happy. It took me nearly a year to start writing at last. So, don’t let your thoughts paralyse you.
2. Accepting your anxiety makes you the person you really are.
Pretending to be someone you are not makes you more anxious because in the end, you are faking it, yet unable to make it. Why? The reason is you are not being true to yourself. The moment you accept your anxiety/overthinking as a part of you, you feel lighter, figuratively. Unfortunately, not literally. But easier said than done. Thinking about the hurricane of thoughts in your mind worsens everything from relationships — both within family and the workplace, friendships, your career to even ruining your mental health.
The first thing to do is getting some time alone. Because you need to figure out what is happening and why. This mental exercise needs time — 1 day, 2 or 3 or even a week. So people, please allow us the time off we need. You need to go through the root of this problem. Does it stem from any childhood issue or a trauma because some wounds actually don’t heal, only when scratched, do you know that they are still fresh. Change what you can and accept what cannot be changed. Get healed and move on. If you hadn’t had your anxiety, you would always been stuck. Anxiety creates some fears which trigger the Fight or Flight response and therefore, they can push you into execution instead of remaining passive throughout your life.
3. Auditors, analysts, lawyers, investigators: use your overthinking constructively.
Use your scepticism in the work you do. There are many jobs that require this negative thinking (Well, I would prefer the term scepticism as it sounds more professional but actually it means the same). Instead of being overly critical of yourself and challenging yourself, be critical of what other people tell you and challenge them. Being a former auditor, I know this is a great skill that is required in audit. Even for making analyses, use your overthinking. Think of how your overthinking can help you better perform at work. Just be calm and let yourself overthink as some solutions come when you are able to overthink peacefully. We’ve been bestowed this power of overthinking by life so let’s use it productively. It’s our gift.
4. Helps and motivates you to improve.
Constantly comparing yourself to others is harmful but you can’t stop it. It’s fine. We all do it. We seek perfection which is why we always feel we are not good enough. But when we pinpoint our flaws, we also aim to improve ourselves because we know we are not perfect. So like many people say, compare yourself today to yourself yesterday or 1 year ago. Be your own benchmark. Failures aren’t fatal. If you decide to seek help through therapy and medications, it’s because you want to better yourself in life and you know there is hope for improvement. There is nothing to be ashamed of. That’s why at some point in our life, we have to take this leap of faith. Everyone does.
5. You are special and very very very strong.
You need to hear this: You are very very very special and strong. You have been fighting silent battles, with or without help, putting your ego aside. But here’s the thing. Do not conform to what other people want you to be.
Acceptance doesn’t mean that life gets better. It just means that my way of living life on life’s terms improves. — Sharon E. Rainey.
It is very difficult to live authentically in a world where we are competing and trying to be someone else 2.0. Just be you thriving into a better you and keep fighting like the warrior you are. Life will eventually seem easier to live.
6. Celebrities have anxiety too.
Yes, celebrities have it too, likewise for depression. Your favourite actor, yes he got it. Your favourite singer, yes. Your favourite artist, yes. Everyone is anxious about something, everyone is scared of something, rationally or irrationally. Most people do have depression, anxiety disorders, OCD or schizophrenia but no one talks about them openly because of the stigmas attached to mental illness. And just because no one talks about it does not mean it’s not there. Everyone is a good actor, wearing different faces to camouflage his/her anxious face. But knowing that we aren’t alone in this makes us feel better. Yes we aren’t alone. There is always someone you can talk to or you can just write your thoughts down in a journal or diary.
The sweet truth: We have a high functioning brain and higher empathy level.
The bitter truth: When uncontrolled, our overthinking/anxiety can lead to depression.
Our overthinking is never going to stop anyway. We just have to learn to live with it. Just like a person with diabetes or hypertension has to take his/her medications lifelong. It’s the same. It’s not all bad in the end. We can only try to change our perception of our overthinking and use this in a positive way. Take it as a journey where we will have to encounter both the ups and downs in the pattern of our thoughts and overthoughts.