The mind is a precious tool but what happens when your thoughts get out of control?
We, humans, are gifted with a thinking capacity that is superior to all other beings on this planet. History proves that the human brain is able to create great things, like literature, buildings, movies and thousands of inventions that enhance the species.
Thinking makes you do your job, get a degree, plan for the future, and many truth seekers and conspiracy theorists rely on their thinking brain to discover the peculiarities of the human condition.
But what happens when the mind stops being a utility and starts using you? What if your mind gets out of control and eats all of your life energy just to keep going and producing unnecessary or even destructive thoughts?
I will give your four dangerous effects of overthinking.
To understand this one we have to know what thinking actually does. Your thoughts create emotions. No matter if it’s grief, anger or fear: these are sensations that are produced by thoughts.
Extremely anxious people are in fact overthinkers. They have created so many possible scenarios in their minds about what is going to happen next, that they are constantly plagued by anxiety.
Worrying about the future prevents you to be in the present moment. Too much anxiety can make you miserable and exhausted. It can even lead to suicidal ideations and suicide itself.
Yes, you can literally think yourself to death.
While anxiety comes from worrying about the future, depression is a consequence of being stuck in the past. Of course there is more to depression if you look at it as a sickness or disorder, but simply put: thinking about past events over and over again makes you miserable.
Some people carry around the heavy cross of the past every moment of their life. Everyday they remind themselves of the things that happened and the things that could have gone differently.
What if? What if? They asked themselves. But hey: whatever you do, the past cannot be changed.
It’s great to take the lessons generated by your life experiences with you to make better decisions in the future. However, worrying about those experiences is absolute nonsense.
Like anxiety, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and, thus, suicide itself.
Have you experienced that you want to go to sleep but your active mind is withholding you from doing so?
Even when the body is tired your mind may be wide awake. What people often do is forcing themselves to go to sleep. But that will never work, because falling asleep is a mechanism that the mind cannot control.
An overthinking mind – especially one that is worrying about the fact that you can’t fall asleep – can cause insomnia. This is a potentially dangerous condition because sleep is essential for your well-being and functioning during the day.
Insomnia often goes hand in hand with depression and anxiety that I have previously talked about. A common symptom is waking up around 4 o’clock in the morning and being unable to go back to sleep, even when you only had about 4 or 5 hours of sleep.
When it comes to sleep, your mind needs to be fully relaxed and basically unaware that you are entering sleep mode. Otherwise, it will just continue to force sleep on you without any results.
Overthinking can result in you not making decisions. Perhaps you have too many ideas, or you have thought about a thousand scenarios about how you will make a wrong decision.
Before starting a business, YouTube channel, a blog, or asking out a girl: there is always a reason to not act. Yes, your business can fail. So can your YouTube channel and blog. And yes: the girl may turn you down.
But if you don’t go for it you receive a guaranteed “no-go.” Yet, some many people rather take no in exchange for certainty than that they choose uncertainty to obtain a yes. They are paralyzed by their thoughts.
In other words: overthinking leads to wasted opportunities.
Overthinking is the root of many problems. And many mental problems have physical solutions. Meditation is a simple solution for calming the mind. But there are many other options to look into like exercise, diet and the way your life is scheduled.
Personally I am very prone to overthinking. For me, a combination of exercise, meditation, diet, and structure (also known as discipline) is the ultimate cure for overthinking.
It takes effort to form healthy habits but believe me: it’s all worth it.