I believe I have done more harm to myself, my life; overthinking.
I had always believed it was better to look at the bigger picture when making small or large decisions. I felt it was the best way to avoid disaster and be prepared for whatever came my way, to protect myself from unforeseen harm.
But the bigger picture always led to overthinking before doing anything. That “what if this happens” question always popped into my head. More so, after becoming a mother and later when I could no longer tolerate emotional stress and physical pain.
Today, in a new place and time and with a much different mindset, I say, “what the hell; just do it!”
If I am not causing harm to anyone and the consequences fall solely on me. Why not go for it without much thought? The outcome will be what it will be, if nothing else; I have learned something about myself or how to address a situation should it arise again.
I think singly raising three kids, I could not throw caution to the wind because whatever I did would affect my children. But before becoming a mom, I’d hop on a bus without a second thought from Union Station in Washington, D.C to Downtown New York and as far as Texas without hesitation.
But old habits can be hard to break. And honestly, asking what if saved me from getting into a lot of mess.
But I have drawn a conclusion. That question “what if,” demonstrates a lack of faith, negative thinking, and keeps one stuck from getting ahead. Often more than not, its terminology is used in a derogatory manner especially when pondering over thoughts.
Overthinking leads to self-doubt, procrastination among other things. So why not be aware of its existence, face it, and cut it off.
Facing the Problem
Believe me when I say it was no easy task debugging my mind of that “What If Syndrome.” Though today I still find myself overanalyzing to write a blog post or record a video when I have already planned out a whole month of content. I tend to overthink it. However, I no longer utilize the term what if unless I am poising a suggestion because the lightbulb came on in my head with a great idea.
Truthfully, there have been times where I’ have wondered if I had ADHD because my mind doesn’t want to shut off once it has revved up. Although in most cases, my thoughts are creative ones. Still, I find myself at times overthinking how to present my content or handle the days’ agenda. Hell, I went back and forth compilating to blog or vlog this topic.
However, I have learned the key to conquering overthinking boils down to being consciously aware of when I am doing it. When we are aware, we can make the choice to probe why we are overthinking and address the emotions that sometimes occur when we overthink.
I can’t speak for everyone but when I overanalyze. I get overwhelmed, stressed, and therefore procrastinate in getting things done. Is this you too? If so, below I go into detail about how I solved whether to blog or vlog about this subject. If you are reading this, you know which form wins.
Overthinking: Problems and Conquering
When I find myself overthinking longer than three minutes over anything. I stop; acknowledge what I am doing and the emotions I am feeling, then I take deep breaths and ask myself a few questions listed below. If that doesn’t work and I feel my body tensing up I chant the OM mantra. I am no expert in meditation chanting but holding the OM sounds some breaths, repeating it a few times clears my mind: literally.
This ongoing pandemic hasn’t made it easier for those of us who overthink. It has only given us more to think about.
If you are suffering from anxiety more frequently because of the happenings in the world today. See if the OM mantra is right for you. I was shocked at how quickly it washed away my anxiety and stress. If it doesn’t conquer your anxiety or stress levels brought on by overthinking. Try asking yourself these three questions: They have worked for me under several circumstances.
1. Why are you giving this so much thought?
2. How does overstressing/overthinking help your or the situation?
3. How will this affect me today or tomorrow?
Here’s a scenario where I practice the meditation chanting and the questioning method. This example may seem small to some, others may relate; it brings on migraines.
Example: Going to the store.
When I think I need to go to the grocery store for food or; just get out of the house. At times I start to rethink the whole idea of leaving the house (safety…essentials).
I contemplate what clothes to slip on because I’m comfortably relaxing in my PJ’s or workout wear. I think about the weather, if my body is up to shopping; which store has the better sales and has recently stocked. On top of that, recalling every item I’ve run out of or is low on because I’ve lost my list plus, making sure I have my protective gear such as a mask.
Unavoidably, anxiety kicks in, sending my stress hormones into a frenzy. I get overwhelmed putting it off a few days. I used to love shopping, fashion retail, and food. But since the pandemic; I’ve found myself procrastinating more and more. And in no way can it be beneficial.
Procrastination is a side effect of overthinking. It is more than just a delay in getting something done. It can add up to multiple tasks placed on hold, stuffed, or piled in a corner or closet.
Eventually, the entire room or house has succumbed to it, and overthinking has become a mental clutter of mess and stress. And it is not just with our spaces it affects but our overall well-being.
Getting it done prevents a long list of things-to-do and overthinking where to start. Prioritizing, and starting with the most important tasks probably should be tackled first. But should it become too much to handle. Take a ten-minute mental break (nothing longer) breathe in and out, then, attack the smaller projects first.
It is human nature to feel great about accomplishing. Knocking one thing off the list will give a boost of confidence to handle the bigger projects.
Tip: Where you begin to overthink, replace it with self-reflection, what you have accomplished, or take a self-care timeout. Just remember when reflecting, revisit those things that made you feel good or deserves a pat on the back (accomplishments).
When I think back over the dark moments I have come through, how far I’ve come and grown. It brings a smile to my face and a feeling of pride. My therapist instructed me to always acknowledge and cheer for the small wins as well as the big ones.
I hope I have given you something to consider when dealing with overthinking.
Whichever flower you choose to be BLOOM sister!