Today’s topic – Over thinking
We’ve all been there. You wake up just as any other day, the sun is shining, the day appears hopeful. On your way to work/school/wherever ya need to be, you even get a compliment on your outfit from a stranger! Score one for positivity.
You arrive at your destination, everything’s fine, you start to take a sip of your coffee – and boom. It’s back. The unconscious thoughts creeeeppppp into the conscious mind and you’re fixated. This problem, this bug, this “can I just stop thinking about this stupid scenario I’ve designed in my brain and get on with life already” plea. It’s the thing you were worrying about before you went to sleep last night, and coincidentally, the four nights before that as well. It’s been occupying you’re mind the better half of each day for quite some time, and it just won’t leave.
It effects the best of us. As an unoffical chronic worrier (but officially nicknamed “Miss. Worry”), I can say I’ve had my fair share of over-thinking and worrying scenarios. For me, it was a trait that developed during my 2nd year of University.
The realization that I wasn’t going to be a student or kid forever truly hit me – and the irksome panic arose from within. Whether it was a school project, striving to be more than a barista, or my relationship with my boyfriend (which thankfully was the least stressful of the trinity listed), I consistently found something to zero-in on and fret about.
“What if I can’t attend the meeting for this group project, which results in me receiving a failing grade in the course, and I re-take the course to yet again fail, then that big fat “F” shows up TWICE on my transcript, and a future employer during an interview points it out – doesn’t hire me, then I’m unemployed, homeless and life isn’t worth living anymore”. Yeah that spiraled pretty quick.
You know, they – can “they” reveal themself now please, thanks – say over thinking is a sign of intelligence. Having the ability to analyze all possible outcomes, good and bad (though more than often the 90% of the outcomes I formulate are negative) does reflect a keen analytical talent. So next time you catch yourself in a groove of overwhelming thoughts just remember, you’re one of the brighter lightbulbs in the building. Easy peasy to reason, right? Maybe not so right.
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All in all, I’ve come to accept this trait about myself – over thinking is just something I’m going to do. But, instead of letting it control me, I’ve taken steps to control it (so corny, I know!). I’ve found some of these strategies have worked for me, so maybe, jjuuuussttt maybe, they can help you too:
- What would John Lennon do? – The key here is replace John Lennon with whoever your hero/heroine is. It’s reasonable to assume that we want to be like those we idolize. So, why not place your hero in your current troublesome scenario, and see how they’d handle it. Your reaction doesn’t necessarily need to be the same as theirs, but, it can help you realize there’s a way to overcome the feat. If I picture John Lennon trying to deal with the heavy thoughts of trying to decide on a career path to follow for the entirety of one’s life, he’d likely make a snarky remark about it, and then translate the matter into a hit song (for those of you who haven’t heard his song Working Class hero, it essentially is a representation of what I just outlined). Now, I likely wouldn’t go the route of writing a song, but, I could translate the stress of over thinking into a different artistic avenue (writing a blog, hint hint).
- Talk about it with someone you trust – whether that someone is a parent, sibling, friend, significant other, I’m not going to keep listing titles, you get the point; do yourself a favour and discuss the situation at hand with them. And don’t just text them about it. Call them, meet them in person. Getting the words and thoughts out of my body helps me face it head on, and view it with a realistic perspective.
- Make a list of Pros and Cons about the situation – I know it’s easy and natural to think of all the negative aspects about how something can affect you, but it’s important to remember all the good too. For all the Jane the Virgin fans out there, pull a Jane, and make a damn list – you will realize the pleasure and value this holds when you try it out, trust me! For example, if you’re over thinking a job offer that’s 2 cities over, write the good and bad side by side. And here’s an idea, talk about those points with someone you trust (wow, I swear we just went over that). This will help you organize your thoughts and emotions, and can make it easier to weigh them against each other.
- Take a breather – This one is tough, but damn is it ever effective. When you’re fallen down the well of over thinking, lifting yourself out of it is no easy task. However, you owe it to yourself to disconnect from the negativity and recharge as necessary. Say you’re studying for finals, and your panic radar is off the charts because you procrastinated on studying until the night before the exam (ps – I plan on writing a post on battling procrastination, so stay tuned!). The over thinking has collapsed your mind, and you can’t read the 5 word sentence on your page. Remove yourself from studying for even 10 minutes – briefly distract yourself with some of your go-to happy makers. For me, that includes watching a couple of my favourite music videos, looking through old family albums, heck, even doing a short yoga practice. Do your happy maker, it will re-ground your body and mind, and I assure you, the over thinking will diminish and you’ll be able to focus on what matters.
And so, to conclude todays entry, a summary of Anita’s Advice. Remember that you are not alone, there a plenty of fish out there who over think things. Don’t let it overtake you, this is just a representation of your analytical intelligence. Own your thoughts and make the most of every day – try out the four strategies outlined, it may change your life (my goodness, so inspirational!).
Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. ~ John Lennon
Peace out, until next time.