There’s an epidemic sweeping across the population.
It isn’t from a pathogen floating in the air, or a substance lying on a table surface. It’s right in our heads.
We’re faced with levels of uncertainty that many of us have never had to deal with. We’re faced with concerns about whether things will remain stable. And then there’s the inability to make future plans, which leaves people with lots of spare time.
Lots of time to think. Lots of time to worry. Lots of time to overthink.
Overthinking has always been prevalent. A study showed that 73 percent of 25 to 35 year olds overthink, while 52 percent of 45 to 55 year olds overthink. A large part of the population is doing a lot of thinking.
During times of crises on a national or global scale, those numbers jump up even further.
When you fall into a habit of overthinking, it’s hard to catch yourself in the act, let alone prevent yourself from going down that path any further. Like an itch, once you begin scratching, it’s hard to stop.
You try to convince yourself that it’s helping, but it’s really making things worse.
Overthinking is Not the Same As Reflecting
When you overthink, you tell yourself that you’re making progress, that you’re problem-solving, or that you’re somehow improving your life. But you’re not. Overthinking, or ruminating over something, is harmful.
When you overthink, it’s a huge drain on your energy and health. Overthinking can lead to depression and anxiety. People who overthink are also more likely to suffer from substance abuse, or suffer from eating too much or too little.
Overthinking can also lead you to draw the wrong conclusions. You replay situations and people’s actions in your head, trying to figure out a deeper meaning behind events. When you do that, you end up believing something that isn’t true, which can hurt your relationship with others.
Finally, overthinking gets in the way of actually doing something. When your brain gets going, it conjures up so many choices, scenarios, and consequences that you end up frozen in one spot. You might even…