How I conquer my habit of overthinking

Stace Franciamore, Managing Editor

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Overthinking is my worst enemy. I find myself dwelling on the smallest things, analyzing and dissecting every situation and circumstance. I will never be that person who just jumps into something. More often than not, every decision I make is thoughtfully considered. Before I think about the pros, my mind races through all the cons. Maybe it’s just the Virgo in me—the highly analytical perfectionist who is hard on herself about everything.

I don’t want this to sound like a sob story because it isn’t. The point I want to make is that I know I’m not the only one in this boat. Even if you don’t think like this, you probably know someone who does. Let me tell you, being in your head all the time is consuming and can take a toll on your health.

Sometimes people will tell me to “relax” or “calm down,” and my immediate reaction is frustration. What these interactions teach me, though, is that the problem with overthinkers is that we struggle with letting go and letting be. What others would usually shrug off and accept, we can’t help but contemplate. Ultimately, we want to take control of things that we have no control over and because of this we place pressure on ourselves to achieve what can be unattainable.

Although I’ve realized that this is unintentionally who I am, I’m also someone who believes strongly in personal growth. Many of us feel stuck in our ways, but we aren’t. I don’t believe that people should change who they are, but I do believe they can improve who they are.

To anyone who struggles with letting go, I understand how difficult it is. That being said, I also want to remind you how crucial it can be for your health. I’m clearly not a psychologist, and I don’t want this to seem like an intervention. I’m just a girl who knows how hard it can be to let go and let be. So here are some of the things that have helped me along the way, and maybe they can help you too.

 

  1. It’s not that serious

 

Now I know what you’re thinking: “What do you mean it’s not that serious, of course it is!” Let me explain. Think short term versus long term. If you’re like me, you stress over things that in the moment seem monumental but in the long run aren’t. Really consider if the thing you’re spending so much of your time and energy worrying about will have a significant impact on your life or not. I often find myself looking back on things I was so hung up on only to shake my head in disbelief at how insignificant they were.

 

  1. Not everything can be perfect

 

We strive for perfection without realizing that there is no such thing. Not everything can turn out exactly how you want it to all of the time, and you have to understand that this is ok. You are not perfect because you are human.

 

  1. Be kind to yourself

 

This is probably the one I struggle with the most. Because we are so analytical, we are very critical of ourselves and put our feelings last. Reminding yourself to do what makes you happy and not to be so hard on yourself is important. Try your best and accept the outcome, do not beat yourself up overanything. Instead, be proud of what you have accomplished and recognize your hard work. Remember that you are not the sum of your mistakes and failures.

 

  1. Focus on the here and now

 

Stop obsessing over the past and future. What’s done is done and what’s to come is unsure, but isn’t that the whole point of life? It’s supposed to be an unforeseeable journey. You’re not supposed to have everything figured out. All you can do is focus on the present and enjoy it while you can. Am I the only one who feels like time is flying by? Before you know you’ll wish you spent that time worrying about something else.

 

  1. Take the time to escape

 

Let yourself unwind. You don’t have to be doing something at all times of the day. It’s ok to watch Netflix for four hours, take a long nap or spend the whole day out with friends if it makes you feel good. We’re always on the go, and so it’s important to let our minds and our bodies rest. The most important part is not to feel guilty about it. You deserve to sit back and be lazy.