Overthinkers, unite! Whether you obsessively re-hash everything in your head eighty thousand times or you’re just a casual overthinker, one prone to reflection and picking apart past events over which you have no control – you’re in the right place. We’re all guilty of this sad little habit, Cockatoos and Rabbits moreso than others, but it’s threatening our health in ways we didn’t even know.
The Overthinking Disease
Overthinkers are at an increased risk of developing mental illness according to a 2013 study. In addition, we get less sleep because our brain doesn’t know how to turn off and it interferes with our ability to problem-solve, which is a real… problem.
Overthinking can trigger an event experts call ‘analysis paralysis,’ which prohibits us from finding solutions and instead dwelling on the problem. (Like when deciding what to wear in the morning feels like a life-or-death decision.) So to sum it up: we’re exhausted, immobilized, and maybe 2 nervous breakdowns away from developing a mental illness. Not very promising, guys.
Like a hamster in a wheel, you keep running, but you stay in the same place.
Important to note is how overthinking is different than worry: worry is fretting over future events, overthinking is fretting over the past. It’s unproductive, exhausting, and absolutely no fun. Like a hamster in a wheel, you keep running, but you stay in the same place. We’re here to help you break the cycle.
According to psychologist Ellen Hendriksen who specializes in anxiety and related disorders, there are three steps you can take to put an end to overthinking:
Say Sayonara to Regret: We all do humiliating things, like waving at someone who’s just trying to hail a cab, but that’s life! Repeat this to yourself: “Ok. That just happened. Let’s move on.” After all, they make for great stories.
Get Distracted: Every time you start overthinking, go on a luxury vacation. Just kidding, but wouldn’t that be incredible? Instead, just change your vantage point: look up at the sky, people watch, or get up and stretch your legs.
Shrink Your Overthinking Window: Hendriksen cites an urban legend that Koi fish will grow to the size of the tank they’re in. Small space, small koi. Let’s give your overthinking habit a tiny window in your schedule: focus instead on working out, listening to a podcast, or reading books.