Why Overthinking Is Counterproductive

To The One Overthinking Everything, Know That It All Will Work Out

Part of living a good life is relinquishing your desire to control things that, in reality, you cannot and accepting that it's impossible to have everything together.

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You are not alone, you are not crazy and you can be better. Hi, my name's Alex and I overthink everything. Count on me to turn something as simple as what to eat for breakfast into an ultimatum that, in my mind, will somehow alter whether my kids are musical or not. If you think about it (but not too much), overthinking things makes perfect sense. Most things in life are part of a process of uncertainty reduction; we are frightened most by what we do not know or do not understand. We seek comfort in being able to anticipate what is going to happen and we crave having some kind of control over even the most unpredictable things. This doesn't rationalize overthinking, but it makes sense. In thinking, like everything else, we must remember that the key is doing things in moderation. Also, awareness is the first step to reform, isn't it?

There's a difference between thinking ahead and over-analyzing a situation. It can be advantageous to think ahead and explore different outcomes, especially when making an important decision. Knowing your options and weighing the benefits and repercussions of a situation is essential to making good decisions. However, exploring possible outcomes can easily lead you to think of highly improbable situations that will end up stressing you out. I pride myself in being mentally present and constantly thinking, however, pair this with the overactive imagination that I have and you create a monster. The price you pay for having a mind that's constantly shifting from thought to thought is that the likelihood of mentally stumbling upon unnecessarily stressful scenarios is elevated. You have to learn how to conserve your mental energy and filter out what is and isn't important to think about. It's also a matter of knowing when to cut yourself off, something college kids should also apply to... other aspects of their lives.

I believe that part of the problem lies in the content we consume. Every social media outlet perpetuates this image of living the "perfect life" created by celebrities, bloggers and YouTubers. Even in sharing their more personal, raw moments they are idolized and labeled as "having it together." No one ever has, or ever will truly have it together. Earlier this week, a picture of an egg became the most liked photo on Instagram just for some memes. If this doesn't snap you out of whatever trance social media may have you in, I don't know what will. But this isn't to say you can't live a successful, fulfilling life if you don't have it together. My point is quite the opposite. Part of living a good life is accepting that you can't control everything.

Part of curbing the bad habit is relinquishing your desire to control things that, in reality, you cannot while accepting that it's impossible to have everything together. It's okay not to have all the answers, especially at this age. What you don't want is your own thoughts and assumptions to be a hindrance to the natural course of events where the possibilities are truly endless. I didn't realize how much I overthought things until it became painfully derisive to how I functioned. It's something that I'm working on to this day. I am incredibly blessed to have friends who call me out on it and help me to calm down and recalibrate my mindset.

In life, we walk along a path that is paved by our experiences and the choices we make. By solely looking ahead, we miss the pebbles and cracks in the pavement that will inevitably cause us to stumble and fall into setbacks. Don't focus so much on mere possibilities that you miss out on learning from and enjoying what is already happening.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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You May Be In College, But Positive Reinforcement Is Still Essential For A Better Life

It's truly amazing to see how positive reinforcement, especially from a professor or someone who works in your chosen field, can boost your confidence.

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Being a freshman in college is tough, and I'm absolutely positive that I'm not the first person to say that. For me, the biggest adjustments came with being far from home, having to make brand new friends, and actually figuring out what I want to do with my life. Now, those first two items were not that difficult to find solutions to, but that last one? That is a completely different story.

In the span of six-seven months, I have gone back and forth, again and again with just about every combination of majors and minors that you could think of. At this moment, I think I've finally found a combination that will truly push me to succeed in my goals. By the end of next semester, I'm hopeful that I will be able to declare my major and minors.

But, the point of this article is to share the point in this current semester, where I really believed that my goals can become a reality. Right now, I am enrolled in a course called "introduction to critical intelligence studies." After much debate with the class, our professor decided to put our midterm online, making it a take-home exam. It consisted of a few multiple choice questions and three essays of our choosing. With the idea that this exam was take-home, I knew that my professor would be expecting us to put our best foot forward and all of our time and effort into making sure we did well.

And I did. This was the first midterm result that I got back and it was a 100. How did I find this out? For one day, instead of class, my professor met with each of us individually for at least ten minutes to discuss what we were hoping to get out of this class. It was during this meeting that she told me my grades and more.

My professor had explained to me that based on my writing, she did not think that I was just a mere freshman. She continued to say that I have a knack for analysis, as well as the fact that it was truly evident that I took in all the information from her lectures and the assigned readings. With my grades in mind and what I hoped to do in the future, my professor assured me that I should have no problem accomplishing my goals. My professor made sure that I had confidence in myself and my abilities, providing me with even more steps that would lead to success.

It's truly amazing to see how positive reinforcement, especially from a professor or someone who works in your chosen field, can boost your confidence. This reinforcement has provided me with the means and opportunity to further push myself. Since this meeting, I have been in constant contact with my professor to learn about different opportunities that can build up my resume. With her help, as well as the director of the program, I've been able to learn more about anything and everything that has to do with intelligence.

I'm proud to say that I want to go into such a field. And I'm also proud to say that I'm thankful for everyone who has decided to push me and not only celebrate my successes — but also to help me learn from my mistakes.

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