I am an overthinker.
When you google the definition of overthinking the results say :
to think too much about (something) : to put too much time into thinking about or analysing (something) in a way that is more harmful than helpful.
I think I have always been an overthinker, just at varying degrees during my life. I think in the last twelve months I can honestly say it has really impacted my day-to-day life.
Examples of my overthinking from just the last few days.
On Thursday I spoke to a parent about their child’s behaviour during the day. I replayed the conversation in my head over and over. Did I say the right thing? What if she was offended and will take this up with my Director. Did I even sound like I knew what I was saying. Should I even be in this line of work. The feeling of being an imposter in my workplace began to kick in.
On Friday I was joking around with a co worker. There was laughs but when I finished work for the day I went home and I began to think. I began to go over every word spoken, remembering body language I used and what she was portraying. Panic began to set in and I couldn’t think about anything else but the fact that I screwed up, had I read the room wrong. Does she even like to work with me or does she prefer the days I’m not in at work. Does she think the children are more disruptive when I am in the room. Does she think I don’t help enough. I messaged her that night to apologise. That message took me 30 minutes to write. Because I rewrote it at least 20 times. Then I sent it and instantly began to worry. Had I written the right thing.
On Saturday we headed away for the weekend for a family event. The entire 3 hour drive I continued to go over and over again about the day before. But then we reached our destination. I have never in the last 20 years felt like I really belong when I’m with my in-laws. So there is always a level of anxiety before going into family functions. This is where my overthinking kicked in with going over everything in my head by what was presently going on around me. Am I chatting enough. Am I over dressed? Am I underdressed? Are they laughing at something I have said or at me. They have moved from outside back to inside is that because of me?
It is now Monday and I am still overthinking everything from Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Replaying every part over and over again in my head.
I have been doing some reading around overthinking. I really want to make some changes for the better. But I am also mindful that I don’t want to overthink my overthinking. I have found lots of information around the topic and have picked some tactics to get me started in the process of calming the farm in my mind.
- Writing down my worries – There is something about writing which can help bring clarity. It will also slow the thinking. Because I can only write down one thought at a time. It’s a way to acknowledge that I am overthinking and feeling anxious.
- Learning to relax my mind and body – Exploring mediation and mindfulness. Learning to sit quietly and directing my thoughts elsewhere, so I can begin to soothe the body and halt my overthinking.
- Setting a time limit on my overthinking – This is all about retraining my brain I know I have formed a habit with my overthinking. It is what I automatically turn to doing in any situation. I know I need to retrain my brain to switch off.
I’ve made the first step by identifying that overthinking is taking over my life. My next few steps will be slow, but I need to take them.
Until next time
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