During my youth, I was a victim of overthinking. It was something that I did unknowingly, unintentionally, and now that I think of it, it was definitely unproductive as well. I would spend an uncountable number of moments overthinking of a particular situation.

It’s a common story for people like you and me, perhaps, when we frequently catch ourselves playing with thoughts like a cat playing with a ball of wool. Then we feel embarrassed about the time spent in that pursuit and get back to things at hand. I have a friend who heads the Operations of a major company. He loves to think. So much so that we have some quirky nicknames for him that poke fun at his habit of overthinking. His pet retort, when we use these nicknames, is that ‘don’t you all do it (overthinking, that is) and we have to admit that we do. As humans, we all always think. Studies estimate that a human brain has, on an average, 6200 thoughts per day. That is around 387 thoughts per hours for 16 waking hours. Huge figures. But when we think too much for too long, it becomes overthinking, ie. Thinking about something beyond what is reasonably normal about that aspect. It simply leaves us more baffled, nervous (it brings out hitherto unfathomed apprehensions), and tired. Exactly like a ball of wool whose beginning nor end is in sight. We go round and round in a vortex and end up exhausted. What happens when we overthink?

We feel confused because the fact of the matter gets distorted and goes out of focus

We feel spent, after having thought so hard

It reduces creativity which generally requires spontaneity

It diminishes our ability to arrive at logical decisions because now they are marred by more confusion

Is overthinking good or bad? It is debatable but use it for your advantage by controlling it. I’ve noticed that people generally think in 4 ways:

Those who do things without thinking

Those who think and act

Those who think more and act less

Those who keep thinking and hesitate to act

In fact, if you keep harping on the fact that you overthink you will end up thinking more of it. Most of the time, we overthink because our brains are wired to ponder upon past experiences. If we have been through or have known someone else facing a bitter experience, our brain tends to bring back those memories as red flags, even when not justified. The brain has a habit of constantly chattering on the background. This vocabulary that we use impacts our behavior and decision-making to a large extent. When we focus on exaggerating things, we end up being fearful of consequences. Training the mind to use positive, affirmative words and phrases during the mental chatter helps in controlling wayward thoughts. It is easier said than done when someone tells you not to overthink. So it’s bears good when you can use overthinking to your advantage instead 7 practical and effective ways to put Overthinking to good use Thinking beyond the obvious is never bad and does no harm. Rather, I would say it’s better than taking random and spontaneous decisions. However, when you can’t help but keep on thinking on a specific matter that hampers your other tasks and mars your decision-making abilities, it’s time to discipline your thoughts. Here are some of the ways that I regularly use whenever I tend to overthink: Read more...