Are you one of the very fortunate 27% of 25-35 year olds who do not overthink? Yes, a staggering 73% of that age bracket have been identified as over-thinkers according to research conducted by Michigan University.
Attached to this article are 11 great quotes about overthinking, but what is it and why does it occur?
We all have a voice in our heads - that loudest one which shouts above all other noise - in fact, it is the one you can hear right now - reading this article to you (how spooky is that? - you cant event shut if off if you try). Overthinking happens when a thought or experience enters our heads, the voice starts, and all of a sudden, we have created a nuclear chain of reactions which leads to a far fetched scenario, and doom, gloom, and in turn generates other emotions.
I remember working for a company, when every time the director and my supervisor had a 1-2-1 discussion, I started to make stories up about what they were saying about me, what they were planning and plotting, and how I would be exploited. Of course, in reality, I had no idea what they were talking about, and indeed, whether I was mentioned at all. So distrust led to concern, led to paranoia, led to angst, which in turn led to anger, at which point I stopped functioning for the day, and lost all enthusiasm.
Perhaps one past experience or thought leads us to generate this fairy story of worry, pumping unhealthy chemicals from these thoughts through the body. As one of the quotes says 'Stop worrying about what can go wrong, and get excited on what can go right'. Another states 'Overthinking is the biggest cause of unhappiness'.
These false thoughts lead us sometimes to take unhealthy or inappropriate actions, yet all we need to try to do is to focus on what we actually know, and free ourselves from our own false thoughts.
Take Christmas for example. Years ago, when I was a small boy, I found a receipt in my Mothers shopping bag. Keen to see if there was a present for me behind this purchase, I researched the Argos catalogue until I found the item. Oh - a soldering kit - which obviously wasn't for me - I was far too irresponsible to be trusted with something like that. Obviously (in my head) this was a Christmas present for my Father. We sat on my parents' bed, dutifully watching them open their presents, yet oddly, no soldering kit for Dad. My thoughts, expectations and now a factual story in my own mind that Dad was getting a soldering kit for Christmas naturally caused me to blurt out - "so who was the soldering kit for then?". Mum was not happy, it was for Dad, but for his birthday - which lands on December 26th! Overthinking at its finest!!
Similarly, someone cuts us up whilst driving, and we start to make stories about what would happen if it had been different and they hit our car. STOP - they didn't hit your car, so why make up a torturous story to make yourself miserable and angry.
3 simple ways to try to reduce overthinking are :
Use Peaceful Words
Enjoy the quotes, live in the moment, don't act on stories, and what ever you do, don't ruin Christmas or Birthday surprises for your parents!
“We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.”~ Anthony Hopkins