Yeah, i can relate totally. i over think. It is a consequence of something, i suppose. Mostly, i think, out of a fear of being wrong. The idea of being wrong crippled me for most of my life. There are plenty of people in this world who will take advantage of me if i am wrong. And they will hurt me and make me pay for my mistake.
i over think. When we go to buy something, like the new LED lights, i do tons of research. i am good at research. i enjoy it and i get a feeling of control over the situation. People are different, though, aren’t they? They are often tough to figure out and that is what unsettles me.
The experts say that over thinking often involves two destructive thought patterns–ruminating and incessant worrying.
“Rumination is one of the similarities between anxiety and depression. Ruminating is simply repetitively going over a thought or a problem without completion. When people are depressed, the themes of rumination are typically about being inadequate or worthless (italics are mine). The repetition and the feelings of inadequacy raise anxiety and anxiety interferes with solving the problem. Then depression deepens.” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/depression-management-techniques/201604/rumination-problem-in-anxiety-and-depression)
yup. Do you it the way i do? The situation is just fine and then my brain kicks in. Did i say something stupid last night? It appears people are upset with me. What did i do? My memory problems heighten my fears. I could ask, but what happens if nothing happened? Well, then i will look like an idiot for sure. Best to not ask.
See that? See how easy it can be to stop some thoughts right in their tracks? i could simply ask. But if i ask, what will the results be following that terrible choice. Be safe and hide those feelings deep. But i would rather stew and fret and internally beat myself half to death over….what? Anything. i am more comfortable with negative thoughts than i am with positive thoughts.
And so i worry. About everything concerning the future. What will happen if this happens or that happens?
Sarah is talking about going on a trip in the coming year in an area of the world i would avoid right now. Truth be known, i am Canadian. i love my country and feel safe here. i see no sense in putting that safety at risk by travelling to areas of the world that are dangerous. But Sarah is the roller coaster rider and a wild spirit. She can’t live in my imaginary safety nets. So she does her own thing…and i worry.
But here is what i am learning about worry:
i remember one time when i was in university i needed to be at an assembly of some sort and my grandparents were coming with us. i was getting more frazzled about time. If i am fifteen minutes early, then i am late. Cannot be late.
So i keep looking at my watch and walking around in the living room. Grandma is not ready yet, and Grandma just moved at her own pace, so there you go. My Grandpa is trying to watch a show and i keep walking in front of the TV set, muttering about how late we are going to be.
Grandpa looked up at me and said, “I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you start walking and we’ll pick you up on the way there?” “WHAT? Why would i do that?” “Well, you won’t get there any faster, but you’ll feel like you are.” i detest old people and their clear thinking and wisdom. Pretty much stopped me in my tracks.
Get in your rocking chair, John. Worry. Stress. Steam. And go nowhere and accomplish nothing because fear is paralyzing and non-productive. It steals energy from your soul (or whatever you say you have).
Ok. So what am i doing to work on this issue? Gotta get my ass out of the rocking chair and into real life. How can i stop this destructive habit of overthinking? It is, after all, a learned behaviour. If you can learn something, you can unlearn it.
Mindfulness is the first step. Notice when the negative thinking begins and consider what is triggering the emotions of the moment. Don’t have to do anything about it. For now, just be aware of the feelings and see where they take you. Is it a helpful direction? Just observe and consider them, as frightening as they may be. This step is key and can be tough and scary. No need to stay there. Just be aware.
It’s a habit, nothing more. It does not have to be a permanent part of your life, but for now, just know it is there and notice where it tries to take you.
When you’re replaying events in your mind over and over, or worrying about things you can’t control, acknowledge that your thoughts aren’t productive. Thinking is only helpful when it leads to positive action. Oh, look…that is step number two.
If you are going to wake up your brain to do something, it might as well move in a positive direction. It is difficult to worry about something if you are taking sensible, positive steps to engage your worry. And you may find yourself actually laughing about some things, because you realize there is nothing to be done. There is no solution because the problem does not exist. That is freeing knowledge.
Is that easy? i didn’t say it was easy. i think the most valuable lessons we learn are during times of turmoil. So use your turmoil to productive purpose. Your emotions will fight you. Fear will attack you. Each time you engage a thought and realize you are blowing it out of proportion and calm yourself down, you will gain a little more confidence and be better equipped the next time.
Telling yourself to calm down will not work…at least it does not for me. If someone tells you not to think about something, you will usually find that thing creeping into your mind.
Do something. Exercise. Go for a walk. Call someone- not to talk about your worries- but to engage in conversation about something different. Do a task that demands focus. i cook. i cannot worry and cook. i do not know why, but i calm down. i think it may the sense of control. Not absolutely sure, but if it works, i am good with that.
You not likely worry about snowflakes. That would be ridiculous. It is no less silly to worry about things that
A) are not likely to happen, and
B)can’t be controlled
We can do this together. Partners in fear. If you have coping mechanism that work for you, share them with us and that way we all keep strong together. It is a journey, so be kind to yourself and congratulate yourself on the little victories.
Don’t think about your tongue.
UPDATE: had a bad panic attack last night over something i knew for a FACT was not true. I told you i would be honest. Little ironic to write an article and then not being able to practice my own advice. Spoke to Sarah. Calmed down and felt totally ridiculous. That is life. Now i get up, dust myself off, and continue with the recovery plan.