How To Identify And Challenge Overthinking


Overthinking can not only be extremely exhausting, but it makes us feel stuck in an ongoing loophole at times. 

Like a song that has been programmed on repeat.

We have the same thoughts that plague us over and over again or maybe an inner dialogue that becomes the antagonist overtaking the show. 

Sometimes our thoughts have such a strong hold on us that even simple matters become complex riddled with extra obstacles and danger. 

Did you know that most overthinkers devolved these mental patterns from childhood? 

Childhood experiences that impacted overthinkers

Your parents had extremely high expectations of you.

The only time they showed you positive attention was when you did something that pleased them.

Within making the smallest mistake or accident, your parents became overly reactive or even abusive.

You were always put in the position of the ‘’scapegoat’’. Anything that went wrong was always considered your fault no matter what you did or didn’t do.

You were forced into a position of responsibility early on or were made to do things that don’t seem fit for a young child of that age group. 

You were gaslighted and were told how to think, act, and behave. 

Everyone’s childhood history is unique. 

These are only some of the experiences that could have caused childhood trauma. Just because your experiences were not listed here doesn’t mean that you didn’t experience any childhood traumas.

Overthinking is a mechanism for survival mode

Understand that overthinking usually has to do a lot with the mechanisms that were devolved to cope with difficult and chaotic situations.

We begin developing mental patterns of overthinking and overanalyzing to scan for probable dangers.

If you come from a childhood that was constantly in chaos, highly toxic, or extremely stressful then what happens is that you become hypervigilant. 

Every action, behavior, and thought is to help you overcome danger in the environment and to try to put you back in a state of equilibrium.

We call this the state of being in ‘’survival mode’’.   

Why does it still affect me now that I’m older?

What is interesting is that you might no longer be in the same harsh environments. 

You could have grown up and maybe moved away from the people and situations. 

The problem is that even if you might not physically be in danger any longer but your brain is still working in survival mode. 

Think of it just like a computer, your patterns and behaviors will continue to run as they were programmed unless you update the old programming.

You might not even have been aware that you were running on old programming.

So how do we stop overthinking?

 As previously stated, overthinking is a form of hypervigilance. You manifested this trait as a way to stay safe. 

You first must beware of your current and present environment. 

If there is any form of chaos, drama, or toxicity in your life you must first take control of those areas.

Not only to manage your overthinking but to heal as well.

It is very difficult to change a pattern if you still have to use these patterns as a way to cope with your present circumstances.

How to overcome overthinking patterns

Create that safe space!

If you have never felt a warm and safe space growing up then you need to learn to create that space for yourself. Believe it or not, you do have control! Listen we can’t control how others treat us but we can control who and what we choose to invest our energy. Choose people, places, and things that bring you joy and up lift you.

Trust in yourself

In life no matter how strategic you are there are times you might run into hiccups. Know that although scary sounding you got this! Do you know a part of the reason you were able to bypass all of that toxicity growing up, was because of perseverance and adaptability? You have those mechanisms within you already, use them!

Release the blockage

Those who tend to overthink go into overdrive when they are alone or at night time. If your thoughts seem to run ramped during these times, try to channel them into a journal or onto a recorded voice memo. It is interesting how our thoughts began to seem different when we read them or listen back to them. It helps use take a step back to see the forest from the trees.

Practice self-care

Self-care is very important for emotional stability and mental well-being. Make sure you make time to do the things you enjoy and love. Nothing helps you relax your senses like doing your favorite hobbies or even spending time with nature or animals.

Happiness is built one brick at a time

It’s okay to not be perfect, and it’s okay to make mistakes sometimes. 

Perfection is an illusion. Life is about learning and growing. If you never make a mistake how do you ever learn and evolve? To evolve means that you have had to improve an existing state that needed changes. 

Reinvent yourself!

If you have had childhood trauma as a child you were probably never given the safe space to express yourself freely. You probably had to be very aware of how you conducted yourself within your environment and not often given chances to show vulnerability.

What is to stop you now?

Do you know what is the reason that stops us from freely being ourselves as adults? Guilt and Shame. You can be a full-grown adult and still feel like a 12-year-old, mentally, for fear of disapproval from your parents.

Let go and free yourself from overthinking!

It’s time to be free from our self-imprisonment. 

Whether we are scared of what others think of us or our need to control everything.

I know that some people might say that having control is what makes them feel safe and I understand that but does it make you feel safe if you are driving yourself crazy to constantly be and feel in control? 

Learn to love yourself when others don’t show you the care or affection you need. Learn to love yourself even when you make mistakes.

Learning to love and to have compassion for yourself is very empowering. 

It gives us a sense of safety knowing that we will always be there for ourselves no matter what life brings us. 

Last few words…

Overthinking is just that small inner child in us that just wants to feel safe and protected. The moment we create a safe internal and external space is the moment we can learn to trust yourselves in dealing with any situation that comes our way. We stop ruminating and calm the doubtful inner dialogue. 

Author: Anna Rose

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