Overthinking and worries: A few notes

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A few days back, we were planning to go for a movie, and suddenly one of my friends raised her concern, “I am not coming. The road would be fully crowded, I hate it. I can’t handle it.” I exclaimed, “But you have come many times before.” Her reply made me write this post. She replied, “When I am on the road, I will somehow handle it. But when I think about walking through the rush, I really get frustrated. Next time you book my ticket and tell me only just before we go. At least I worry only for a short time. Now I don’t know whether I can sleep tonight, I will be worrying about this all the time till we reach the mall!”

This a good example of over-thinking and related worries. She was worrying about the hectic road. Reason for her concerns seem silly at first, but it can go beyond.

There are other examples such as worrying about the health of our relatives, expecting adverse incidents in life etc. If we see a road accident unexpectedly, we suddenly call our dearest one and make sure he/she is safe. These are all a few examples of worries and over-thinking, which are common in the general population. Generally, we don’t pay much attention as most of us have these problems. So we continuously worry inside our head about different situations, without knowing that it is a minor psychological disorder which we all share. But have you ever imagined how peaceful life would become once you overcome this problem? Have you ever thought of reasons for this typical trait of the human being?

Let’s have a quick look at this:

A few reasons:

  1. Our ancestors had the same: From evolutionary biology’s point of view, this is a primitive defence mechanism our ancestors developed to take precautions before some natural disaster happens. In this sense, it is good. It is always better to think of all the possibilities and prepare ourselves towards them. But it is important not to over-think about them. A wise man still thinks about the best and worst scenario and prepare for both. Once it is done, then he will hope for only the best. And naturally, the best thing happens. This is called balanced thought: entertaining the possibility of all scenarios, but only wish for the best one.  But mediocre people entertain and expect only the worst.
  2. Childhood matters: Some people over-think more than others. This can be because of their childhood experiences. As you know, things that happen in our childhood will be impressed on the deepest portions of the mind, since we can’t use logic sense in childhood. If we were surrounded by ‘over-thinkers’ then its quite normal for us to become one of them.
  3. Very psyche can be the reason: You might have noticed that you have worried a lot about many things in your past and most of these worries never actually happened. Over many incidents, your subconscious mind starts to form a pattern based on your experiences. According to this pattern, when you worry a lot, it will not happen. So you naturally start to worry when you don’t want something terrible to happen in your life. This inefficient behaviour is exhausting and consuming our peace from life. The surprising thing is that it is hard to recognise these subconscious mechanisms since you are a mere expression of a collection of many such patterns.

A few remedies:

    1. It’s nearly impossible to altogether avoid the thoughts of worries: Yes. Worrying thoughts frequently come because we don’t have anything else to think. When you are in front of your strict and rude teacher, submitting your incomplete assignment, will you worry about crossing the road this afternoon? No. Because you have already engaged your thoughts about the reaction of your teacher. So what you can try is to engage your thoughts with something else.
    2. Replace with better thoughts: As we already said, you are over-thinking anyway. So why can’t you ‘over-think’ about something good? You have been over-thinking a lot about bad things for a long time, now it’s time to over-think about something good. Give it a try, nothing loses.
    3. Over-thinking results worries: Sometimes, people just imagine some situations and play with it in their head. They imagine numerous variations of the same situation and try to satisfy themselves by acting their best at each time in the situation. This is never going to satisfy them regardless of how many times they respond well in their hypothetical situation. The reason is, they are trying to control an uncontrollable situation inside their head. In fact, this over-thinking leads you into overwhelming worries. So stop imagining situations and start handling it if it happens.
    4. What’s the big deal?: Whether you worried or not, when it happens, you are going to handle it. So what is the advantage of worrying about it before? Just think and do the things you can to stop happening it. And take the precautions. Once it’s done sit-back and hope for the best.
    5. Self-awareness: Next time, when you worry or start to over-think about something, just be aware of your thoughts. In most cases, mere observation of your thoughts will make you recognise that you are in a mental trap, and once you understand it, you will get rid of such thoughts naturally. So watch your thoughts.. 🙂



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