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HEALTH

5 Tips To Save You From The Overthinking Quick Sand

Overthinking is a form of self-torment sis...

BY Naledi K

Jun 12, 2021, 05:50 PM

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The truth is, overthinking is the pits!

I saw a meme once that showed one of those “it’s funny because it’s true” type of jokes. It shows Kim Kardashian laying in bed with a deep pensive face and it has the words “me thinking about how I should have said something different in that argument back in 2016”.

It wasn’t until recently that I realised I was the type of person to rehash 2016 conversations and that I was actually a chronic overthinker.

Lucky for me, I’m a hopeful overthinker because I’m heavy on optimism. I tend to lean more into fantasizing about my next vacation or the Top Billing-worthy mansion I’m gonna build than the possibility that my dreams may never come to pass. However, that isn’t the case for a lot of women I know.

Now don’t get me wrong, everyone overthinks certain situations or circumstances they encounter in life every once in a while. It’s a natural reaction for most of us. However, there is a line which after you cross you land directly in the mental health red flag space.

It is not healthy to take your problems or deepest fears and turn them into a never-ending horror movie in your head. And, most people who overthink almost always take the negative route when their brain starts creating multiple possibilities of how their situation will end.
"So when we begin to overthink, we miss the facts or what we actually know at that point and just move to worst-case scenarios so that we can try to find solutions to that."
Thinking too much not only ruins your mood - filling you with major anxiety - but it ends up preventing you from getting anything done. It may seem insignificant at first but it can spiral very quickly into an enormous problem. Next thing you know, you are beating yourself up for choosing the burger over the salad back in 2017 or even more outrageous things.

Overthinking could also be a symptom of a mental health issue, like depression or anxiety.

Clinical psychologist Hunadi Maleka attempted to explain how overthinking was actually a form of self-torment and a source of self-inflicted pain.

“Many of us are aware that we often overthink and that seldom ends well. It normally results in us feeling overwhelmed, unhappy or worse triggers more serious psychological issues.

"Overthinking is a form of self-torment. Self-inflicted pain... our brains are wired to solve problems. So when we begin to overthink, we miss the facts or what we actually know at that point and just move to worst-case scenarios so that we can try to find solutions to that. Before you know it your brain is on overdrive as you are battling to find solutions to "what ifs" and "hypothetical problems",” she wrote.

In attempting to help people escape the rabbit hole that is overthinking, Hunadi shares the following advice.

Next time you catch your brain going into your habit of overthinking, do the following steps: 

  1. Acknowledge and be aware that you’re doing it 
  2. Take a step back. Ask yourself what the facts are? What do you need answers to?  
  3. Then ask yourself, what is within your control? What can you do? Do that.  
  4. Remind yourself that not everything your brain makes up is true… 
  5. Be mindful and live with gratitude