How Overthinking Affects You

Is the title of this article appropriate? Is it too much to the point? Should I choose a quirkier title? Or will that give an informal vibe? This, is an example of overthinking.

Every decision you ever make requires some sort of reasoning. You need to think about the consequences, also recognise the side effects and then make a call. Overthinking is that unnecessary hurdle which makes the already daunting task of making a decision hundred times harder.

Say that you’ve just completed your tenth grade. You need to choose from three branches of education: Science, Commerce and Arts. A regular person would compare them based on their area of interest and what career they would like to pursue. An over-thinker, on the other hand, would follow a completely different thought process. What if I choose this field, then regret it later? What if, couple of years down the line, I find out that this stream isn’t the best for me? What if I end up spending the rest of my life as an unemployed person?

That’s how overthinking affects your decision-making skills. However, that isn’t all. It affects other aspects of your life as well. Let’s talk about friendship. We all have friends, and we know that an integral part of friendships (or even relationships), are fights. We fight, we move on. We bond even further. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Not for the over-thinkers out there though. They would analyse each argument, think about what else they could have said, wonder what the other person’s reactions speak about them. Consequently, they are incapable of forgiving people, or letting things go.

Overthinking is like an infinite time loop. Once you’re stuck in it, there will soon be no way out. It makes you analyse your past, or predict your future. It causes you to spend many sleepless nights, living in the fear of what might happen the next day. You second-guess yourself all the time, you dread the thought of even the slightest possibility of failure. So much time wasted on these primitive issues, that your productivity slumps to an all-time low, and all those “what-ifs” now have a bigger chance of coming true.

Unlike explicit anxiety, overthinking is not a disorder. It is a habit, or a tendency. And the solution to quitting every bad habit is straightforward; try to change yourself, gradually. It may not happen today or tomorrow, but it will definitely happen someday. In this busy world, it’s best to live in the present, give everything you do your best shot, and to enjoy the little things in life. Be a doer, be a go-getter, not an over-thinker!

-Himanshu Ashar