I’ve been a massive overthinker since a very young age. And why not? I mean, us GenZ are more prone to it since we are subjected to thousands of topics to be thought about daily. From being exposed to major social issues and standing up against them, to pondering over our most recent breakup— we do have a lot to think about.
I’ve always taken a keen interest in writing. Two years ago, I wrote an article and when the time came to share it on social media, I got intensely anxious and couldn’t share it with anyone. Recently I wrote another piece, which was much better than the previous one(s), and this time I did share it on my Instagram and asked my followers to check it out. I was supposed to sleep after that, but I kept pondering over my article’s weaknesses. Was I being too loud on my opinions? Was I complaining too much? Was I trying hard to be relatable? These many thoughts ultimately led me to sleep. However, when I woke up the next morning, I got massively anxious and I ended up deleting that story. An hour later, I felt guilty of deleting it and started pondering over my own self-confidence issues. No escape, whatsoever.
I can share a few more anecdotes about the times overthinking has led me to a disturbed mental state, but I guess you got my point.
It was way back in 2017 when I was returning home with a friend, after taking my high school board exams. So we started talking about our future ambitions, and I very confidently expressed my aim to become a doctor and how I am willing to keep no stones unturned to get there. I certainly made it seem like my whole life depended on it. He then replied with a statement which to this date keeps running in my mind, and I quote, “Saha yaar you shouldn’t be taking life so seriously!” A short and simple line, yet it makes me think if we have become so much preoccupied with the idea of productivity needed to reach a certain goal that we keep overthinking and piling up our thoughts in a disorienting manner, and ultimately, we end up disturbing our own mental stability.
And that brings me to how overthinking leads us to mental disorders such as chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. Again, almost everyone is vulnerable to disoriented thoughts and emotions during certain aspects of their lives, but overthinking gets problematic when it gets superadded with the ‘taking life seriously’ shit I mentioned about earlier, and also when it gets continuous and repetitive.
Moreover, it takes the form of a vicious downward spiral, as the more we get inclined towards our vulnerability to those mental disorders, the more we tend to overthink. To some people, the mere realization that they are overthinking makes them overthink even more, just like what Mark Manson refers to as a ‘Feedback loop from hell.’
However, I’ve always tried to not view overthinking as a one-dimensional kind of thing. If we try to organize our thoughts rationally instead of piling them up, that will lead us to a positive side of overthinking— Analysis. Hundreds of disoriented clouds of thoughts will take the form of rain if you decide to carefully analyze them and eventually you get a clear blue sky to start your day!
Replacing overthinking with analytical thinking will allow us to evaluate our day to day problems quite easily. It will also sharpen our decision-making ability, critical thinking, and observational skills.
Of course, ranting ideas and opinions on how to clear your head is as easy as anything else, reality strikes when one is subjected to situations where one needs to act upon those ideas. It certainly takes a significant amount of time and effort to be able to organize and rationally analyze your thoughts and emotions. But you will get there, just hang on.
I do realize that most humans of the Kali-yug are obsessed with getting ‘there’ as fast as possible. Practicing mindful meditation has always been my go-to remedy when I feel that my thoughts are getting out of hand. Different apps can be helpful, or you can get a tutorial anywhere on the internet. Few weeks of regular mindful meditation even just for around 5 to 10 minutes daily, can really help with regaining one’s lost peace of mind.
Apart from all that, getting to know our inner selves will ultimately put us in ease with our disorganized thoughts. I’m certainly not saying that we’ll never have to be stressed in our lives ever again. We will repeatedly face situations when those clouds are going to return, but it will gradually take us lesser and lesser time and effort to extract rain out of them.
– Sahasra Joshi