Our brains are designed to constantly turn over the possibilities and outcomes until we reach a definitive solution. It’s in our nature to think before speaking or doing anything.
When you want to buy a new handbag, you first surf the options and then compare the quality and price before deciding which to buy. Similarly, we take into consideration multiple factors before purchasing a traveling ticket or simply what we are going to have for lunch.
But how much thinking is too much? One study from the University of Michigan found that 73% of adults between the ages of 25 and 35 overthink, as do 52% of 45- to 55-year-olds.
In this article, we will discuss the side effects of overthinking and how it can potentially destroy your life.
Number 1, It affects your mental health.
Constantly turning over that thought in your head can end up being an endless cycle of worry and anxiety. Dwelling on a problem can affect your mental health, causing depression, borderline personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dr. J. Christopher Fowler, director of professional wellness at Houston Methodist, says “Studies show that ruminating on stressful events can, over time, lead to anxiety and depression,” warns Dr. Fowler. “From a mental health standpoint, anxiety can affect your ability to cope with everyday stressors, and depression results in sadness, loneliness, and feelings of emptiness.”
Number 2, It affects your physical health.
When your brain is too caught up with that one problem, for example, you were brooding over that text you sent your friend. Did I use the right words? Did I come as harsh? Was the timing just right?
All of these will hinder your body’s functions as your brain will be solely focused on these thoughts. Overthinking affects physical health in a myriad of ways, some of them are disturbances in sleep and appetite, low energy levels, headaches, and body aches.
Ashley Carroll, a psychologist with Parkland Memorial Hospital, says “When it becomes destructive to our life or really impairs our daily functioning, so for example, if you’re having trouble sleeping at night because you can’t turn these thoughts off, that’s impacting your daily functioning,” Carroll said. “If it’s affecting your appetite, if you’re so lost in your thoughts, you’re starting to isolate yourself from other people…”
Not only that but due to the side effects of overthinking on your mental health it can indirectly start affecting other parts of your body. “What’s more is that generalized anxiety disorder is linked to high blood pressure and poor cardiovascular health, while depression can increase your risk of heart attack and suicide,” warns Dr. Fowler.
Number 3, It affects your social life.
When you are lost inside the storm of your head, you will tend to be withdrawn and socially isolated. Maintaining social relations will be difficult when you are always double-thinking everything, it will plant seeds of doubt that will bloom misunderstandings and create rifts in friendships.
“Overthinking can affect how you experience and engage with the world around you — preventing you from making important decisions, keeping you from enjoying the present moment, and draining you of the energy you need to handle daily stressors,” explains Dr. Fowler.
Overthinking can cause isolation by decreasing your energy levels. As you are constantly thinking, your brain is too preoccupied with the thought processes to generate any productive actions. You will feel exhausted throughout the day and over time it could cause burnout.
In conclusion, the habit of overthinking is a serious issue that can lead to different negative side effects that could destroy your life by affecting your mental, physical, and social health.
Thus, it’s important to understand the issue carefully and recognize it and then seek help.
Ries, J. (2020, February 6). Here’s what happens to your body when you overthink. HuffPost. Retrieved July 3, 2022, from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/overthinking-effects_l_5dd2bd67e4b0d2e79f90fe1b
McCallum, K. (2021, April 12). When overthinking becomes a problem & what you can do about it. Houston Methodist On Health. Retrieved July 3, 2022, from https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2021/apr/when-overthinking-becomes-a-problem-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/
Hasan , S. (2019, July 12). How overthinking can affect mental and physical health. KERA News. Retrieved July 3, 2022, from https://www.keranews.org/health-science-tech/2019-07-12/how-overthinking-can-affect-mental-and-physical-health