If you ever find yourself wondering how fast your mind works, remember the time someone said “I need to talk to you” and the number of scenarios that popped in your mind in a fleeting second. If you want to decipher how powerful your mind is, remember the time you thought about wanting to buy something and it appeared in your social media feed as a sponsored post (I am not even kidding, blows my mind every time but also, thanks to cookies and data monitoring lol).
I guess we can all agree that our mind works in an extremely efficient manner, except at times when it comes to actual tasks like completing a test, remembering what you wanted to take from the room or confessing about your feelings to your crush.
While such efficiency can be a great blessing, it sometimes becomes a reason for our misery. After all, a Yin always comes together their Yang. This is especially true when we analyze certain situations and how they eventually make us feel, be it a very positive situation or a bad one. Be it a small gesture of a guy holding a door open for you or you seeing 20 missed calls from your dad, we always tend to think and overthink every situation we face. That’s an inherent part of being humans.
Rumination, or simply overthinking is a pattern of thoughts that involves thinking about issues or problems that does not usually end up in coming up with any solution or course of action. This leads us to blow things out of proportion or make sweeping, negative generalizations about ourselves, the future, or life in general. This further leads to us feeling worse about ourselves or the situation and encourages more rampant overthinking. This is a pattern we have all faced especially in the times that we have a more pessimistic view towards life or we usually tend to get attracted to the darker sides of things in general.
Overthinking can be thought of as part of a downward spiral, it is also a vicious circle (Geometry might not agree with this but human psychology definitely does!). With one thought leading to another, which isn’t necessarily beneficial, we end up feeling emotionally turmoiled. And the best solution is to simply stop overthinking! But you don’t simply stop in a second, everything has its own unique process.
I know, easier said than done, right? I am as confident as you while I say that “No, one cannot simply stop overthinking. But I am equally confident that there are ways to curb down this unhealthy practice slowly and steadily. And through my very limited and short experience of trying to do that, I have come to the conclusion that for the kick-start, we should express what we are feeling that pushes me into the overthinking zone in the first place.
While I say “express”, there are numerous ways to do that. For instance, I talk about it to the people I am comfortable with, no matter they are listening or not. My friends can vouch for me when I say that I simply ask them to pretend to listen to what I have to say and there’s no need to even reply to me with a “hmm”. It’s simply my need to vent it all out. While I am venting out about a certain problem, so many times I realize that what I thought was bothering me in the first place was not exactly true and the root of that bother was actually something else. It helped me gain a totally different insight on my own thought process.
The other way would be to express it through some form of art. Your art is most of who you really are on the inside. It could be by writing an almost incoherent article or an intrinsic poem or a very beautiful song or a painting or any other form you are comfortable with. The outcome could be something really beautiful in your eyes or something you aren’t proud of. But what’s important is that after whatever form you’ve chosen to express, your thoughts become structured.
The problem with just thinking is that they are unstructured which becomes exaggerated through overthinking. I am sure there have been times when you started thinking about a simple dress but ended up overthinking about how a certain dress makes you feel ugly and how you should stop wearing such dresses and stick to the neutrals. Trust me, we have all been there. But yeah, the unstructured form is what causes the downward spiral while overthinking. If you try to structure these thoughts, you’ll realize that it is not you but your insecurity speaking.
What I simply mean is that we shouldn’t let our thoughts stay merely as thoughts. They need to be brought out of our minds so that we can organize them. That way, it becomes easier to understand what exactly is it that’s bothering us without being exaggerated by the efficiency of our brain.
So try your best to put together and express anything in the first place that’s causing turmoil and affecting the peace of your mind. If you think there’s no way for you to do that, before overthinking about how you cannot even express what you feel, try venting it out to anyone you want (doesn’t matter if they want to hear you out or not *wink*). It has been said that it’s easier to do so with people you aren’t familiar with, like therapists.
But if you still cannot find anyone you would want to vent out to, community like Project mindfulness can be of help. In the end, your peace of mind and wellbeing is above all.