Am I “Overthinking”?
With so much information how do we sort though it all?
We live in a world where answers to many of our questions are at our fingertips. Siri, Alexa and Google are used by many to solve easy to answer questions everyday. So what about the questions we all have that can not be answered with modern technology? What happens when we google it but we can’t find a definitive answer? Modern technology has molded us into hunters looking for answers. So when we cant find them, many of us overthink.
As a result this pattern of searching and contemplation has become somewhat of an epidemic. One study from the University of Michigan found that 73% of adults ages 25 to 35 overthink. In addition, 53% of 45-55 year olds have the same affliction.
Interestingly, research found that many of these individuals believe they are benefiting from repetition of thoughts. However, there are times where worrying about the problem poses a greater threat than the problem itself.
One of the potential negative side effects to overthinking is not acting on the problem at all. By going over so many possible options and scenarios you can get yourself into an overwhelming state causing problem solving paralysis. As a result of the time spent overthinking and not “doing”. Your mental energy depletes and can cause a state of exhaustion. This type of awake exhaustion can affect a person’s sleep. I have seen many people refer to trouble sleeping as a result of being unable to shut down or even slow down their thoughts.
So how do we combat our overthinking?
The first step is to form an awareness. Pay attention to your thoughts and your physical state. According to Rajita Sinha, the director of the Yale Stress Center one way to determine if you are overthinking is if your have more than three potential “what if” scenarios, you could be overthinking. Next distract yourself and do something physical to free up your cognitions. Yoga, running or even taking your dog for a walk can help to clear out your head. Sinha also recommends journaling your worries with a paper and pen to allow your brain the chance to slow.
Talking to a friend or family member can also give you a new perspective to unravel the matter at hand. It is a good idea to talk to a therapist when experiencing severe discomfort in overthinking. This epidemic of thought can lead to anxiety and problems with daily functioning.
Call Charles R. Davenport, Psy.D., LLC 941-321-1971 today to begin your journey to create the positive changes you want in life. We have offices in Sarasota, FL and Venice, FL to best serve you.