Since overthinking seems to mostly revolve around negative or problematic issues, these can take hold of your mind and exert their power over it. It is very typical for most people to obsess over previous mistakes, present-day stresses, and future troubles and not do anything to improve their situation.
Here are some common problems associated with thinking about every trivial thing in life:
Overthinking creates problems which are not there
Overthinking about every little problem only magnifies it manifold. Also, thinking about the same thing time and again makes it larger and scarier than it actually is. Ever spent time ruminating why your boss didn’t comment on your presentation at a recent meeting? Was it because your presentation was bad? Did it make you look incompetent in front of your colleagues? Are you going to be fired for making a sub-par presentation? You get the idea.
The same can also happen when you overanalyze a good thing. Even in scenarios where you keep thinking about something over and over again can diminish its importance and make it appear insignificant.
Things like choosing what to wear for a job interview or deciding where to go on vacation are not difficult decisions, but being an overthinker can make these seem like life or death decisions. Ironically, all that thinking won’t help you make a better choice.
Overthinking keeps you from living in the present
When your mind is constantly worrying, thinking and analyzing, you miss out on a real chunk of the present. Overthinking stops you from living in the moment and lets you dwell on the past or a possible future in your mind.
When you are not in the present, your brain shifts into something called the default mode which is when the decision making part of your brain does not work well. Research also points to the fact that when in default mode, the brain expresses lower levels of activity when you are involved in a task and higher levels when you are not engaged.
This means that it works harder when you overthink which is not a good thing since allowing the brain to be in a state of constant anxiety can lead to other behaviors like anger and depression which are all toxic to mental health.
Overthinking disturbs sleep
If you are an overthinker, then you already know you can’t sleep since your mind won’t turn off. Even at night, you are unable to rest the mind or turn off the numerous channels in the brain. The mulling continues and the brain becomes exhausted than ever.
And even if you do manage to get some shut-eye overthinking will impair the quality of your sleep. You will be less likely to sleep well after you have been thinking about the same thing over and over again.
Overthinking impacts mental and emotional health
At some point overthinking becomes the mental habit of giving birth to ideas and thoughts that are not real. It is a nifty trick that plays tricks on your mind. If anything, it tricks you into believing that you are on your way to solve your problem. It offers protection against threats like failure, embarrassment and rejection by limiting your actions to the minimum.
As a chronic overthinker, you operate under the mechanism that thinking everything out will let you control every situation and find the perfect solution to every problem.
Instead, quite the contrary happens as overthinking can have negative effects for both mental and physical health. Unsurprisingly, the same can also lead to emotional distress.