Sometimes a situation can call for deep thinking. For example, deciding whether to move in with a partner, choosing to go to university or leaving your current job all require in depth thought. You want to make sure that you’re making the right decisions and that later down the line you won’t regret it. However, there are certain situations where excessive thinking can hinder you, and in extreme cases be detrimental to your health. Over thinking can be a horrible thing, and cause you to feel stressed and flustered.

Being stuck in a spiral of ‘what ifs’ can be really damaging. It’s important to recognise how overthinking can affect your life so you can take steps to unlearn this thought pattern. So, Psych2Go shares with you, 5 dangers of thinking too much.

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1) It prevents you from trying new things

If you’re an overthinker like me, then you know that before you try something new you’ll assess every aspect of it in your mind before you commit. With me, before the person has even finished asking me something my brain has flipped into maximum overdrive and I’m creating a list of possible things that can go wrong if I take part. It’s almost like a reflex. This way of thinking has caused me to say no to so many opportunities, simply because I have thought too long and hard over it that I can only see worse case scenarios.

It has limited my life in such a detrimental way. If you’ve been saying no or avoiding taking part in things because of overthinking, next time try and push your thoughts away and say yes.

2) Self doubt

Thinking too much can cause a lot of self doubt. If you think deeply into scenarios and circumstances then chances are you also think critically about yourself: the way you look, the work you produce and your overall personality. This can cause you to second guess your actions and to worry about everything you do. For example, you boss might ask you to complete a project, but because you’re an overthinker you might wonder why they asked you specifically to complete it. Or you might find one bit of the project a little tricky and then you start to think you’re useless at your job and you should resign. Once you notice you’re going down that path its important to try and pull yourself out of it.

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3) Leads you into a thought spiral

I am the world’s worst for this. Once my brain gets going it’s very difficult for me to regain control. I’ll often spend an hour stuck inside my own head with my brain overthinking a situation and blowing things out of proportion. If you excessively over think you can get trapped in these thought spirals and, like I mentioned, it can be very difficult to get out of this funk. But it’s important to recognise when your brain is starting a thought spiral. the quicker you notice it happening the easier it will be to stop that thought process. 

4) Stop you from enjoying things

Because you’re overthinking things, it takes the fun completely out of activities. If you’ve spend weeks worrying or ruminating over something, it can mean you won’t enjoy yourself to the full. Also if you’re over thinking it’s difficult to enjoy what’s actually going on around you. It’s hard to be happy about a promotion at work when you’re so busy worrying if you’ll be good enough to warrant the promotion.

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5) Can lead to anxiety

This is where my anxiety manifested itself. I would think and think on a situation until I worked myself into a huge state and then I would get anxious. I would then over think about my anxiety and the circle would never break. Over thinking that leads to anxiety can be very debilitating as it keeps you trapped in your own head for long periods of time. In serious circumstances, the anxiety can lead to panic attacks. Thinking too much can be very dangerous and difficult to manage.

What do you think?

Do you suffer with over thinking? How has it affected you? Psych2Go would love to know! Be sure to leave a comment below!

If you enjoyed this article then you may also like 5 Ways to Help You Stop Overthinking or 10 Ways Positive Thinking Improves Your Well Being

References:

Morin, A. (2016, 12th February). 6 Ways To Stop Overthinking Everything. Forbes. Retrieved 9th May 2018

6 Comments

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  1. I relate myself to this 100%. I always over thinking and it affects me hard. There are a lot of people keep telling me to get a more stable job but I hesitate and start to think way too much about what’s gonna happen if I apply this job or what will happen if I take the job. A lot of Q&A moment for me. Its somehow bother me and stuck in my head for quite sometimes. It’s sort of affect my self-esteem. I doubt myself a lot whether or not I can do the job. At one point I became scared because of thinking too much. Its somewhat made me jump to conclusions easily too.

    • Yeah overthinking is tough and can lead to a lot of missed opportunities. Something that has really helped me is writing all the ‘what if that’ or ‘what if this’ scenarios down on paper so they’re all out of my head and then rip the paper up. It kind of feels freeing and has worked for me! I hope it can work for you:)

  2. Don’t associate thinking with fear, anxiety, worrying or stress. I initially had a negative reaction to this article because unfortunately in today’s culture I don’t see enough thinking at all. My fear is that thinking may be perceived as over thinking. I am a thinker and I go into phases of deep analysis over topics of interest, life decisions, work and unusual challenges. Fear and stresses can cause us to look at something very closely so the wrong decisions are not made. This is a good motivator to slow down and evaluate. It becomes bad when it makes you indecisive and you get stuck into a thinking feed back loop as I call over thinking. Then it creates no forward momentum and you become anxious and worry. What I do is rely on family and friends that are trusted have them give me options and I choose one if them and move on. Thinking isn’t meant to be easy. If it was everyone would do it.

    • I agree with you totally. And that’s why I wrote that thinking deeply can be a good thing, especially if you’re buying a house or leaving your job or even just thinking over interesting topics. You’re right that people often don’t think enough about their actions. My article was just talking about the times when thinking too deeply into things can cause more harm than good. When you think over something so much that your brain distorts the situation. Like when you say a word over and over again and then it starts to sound like a made up word. But thinking deeply in general is great and be very beneficial.

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Written by Ash Osborne

Writer for Psych2Go, currently studying Creative Media at College. Hoping to encourage more people to talk about mental health.

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