Many of us attribute our worry to overthinking. We have the capacity to worry about everything real and surreal, and when there is nothing more to worry about we start worrying about worrying. We can overthink ourselves into ruining relationships and jobs, into pushing people and opportunities away; simply because we cannot STOP THINKING.
So what does it all really mean? We want things to be OK, we want ourselves and the people around us and the events that gather us to go in a certain number of ways vs an opposite. We worry because we want to make sure that we have some semblance of control when we don’t. We overthink because we know how to think, but we don’t know how to make life bend at our wills. So we create plans and processes and scenarios, we go through the drills and sort our expectations in order to minimize the margin of error in our calculations; essentially all that to define our expectations. All of those strategies are logically fool proof, we are doing what our clever minds that were built for problem solving naturally do. We are not doing anything wrong; so nothing should go wrong. But, WHAT IF THEY DO? and the worry wheel starts spinning for the over-thinkers amongst us.
Overthinking feels like an incessant treadmill set to high speed, high incline and an inability to stop. The only way the hike seems to end is when we throw ourselves off of that treadmill. We find our thoughts unbearable and we quiet our minds harshly either by negative self talk, or by substance abuse and most terribly by distraction. So we develop all sorts of negative habits because of our worried and paranoid minds.
The OVER DOING IT effect
Over thinking means that we worry too much about yesterday and tomorrow. When we worry too much about the past, we start beating ourselves up, we forget to forgive and move on. When we worry too much about tomorrow, we start overdoing other things. Worried about how your interview will go tomorrow and overthinking it? You will over do it with the studying and preparation, you will over exert yourself and find that when tomorrow comes you are facing a 2 headed monster instead of simply meeting a man or a lady in a suit. Our worries magnify the risk and the fear grows so much that it devours our ability to be calm when tomorrow comes, better yet, it wastes all of our time and energy today which is absolutely more important and the only thing we can all ever be sure of.
There are all sorts of hacks for worrying less, and thinking in a healthy and effective capacity rather than scaring ourselves sh*tless. But this isn’t about the hacks, this is about noticing that overthinking is a problem, that worrying is you telling yourself that you can do something but aren’t doing it for reason (x) or simply can’t do anything more to fix it or control the outcome. So why do we beat ourselves up with worry? Why do we refuse to let go of the weight if it isn’t ours to carry?
You see, if we can do something to our full knowledge, within our best capacity and in the most creative method known to us, we have done our job. YOU have done what you need to do. Leave the rest, it is arrogant and ignorant of us to believe that we determine the outcome of tomorrow beyond what we logically and emotionally have done to prepare.
Overthinking is not a virtue nor is it something that is good for the heart. So as I teach myself to have faith in an outcome that I could learn from tomorrow, I hope you can do the same. Stop there, take what you need, leave the rest and keep on. Nothing belongs to us especially not tomorrow. Let’s live today.