I was recently exposed to a research article which explored the concept of “thinking too much”, and its variations such as “thinking a lot” or “overthinking.” These common idioms are universal expressions of distress and indicate a lack of solutions for problems. Those that utter these are generally stuck and feeling helpless to tackle difficulties and challenges constructively. They seem unable to prevent themselves from feeling the need to ruminate on a specific challenge persistently.
Actions such as “Overthinking” embed themselves in the frontal lobe as destructive thinking habits such as pessimism and negativity. It is as if one is on a destructive treadmill where solutions seem not only evasive but impossible to find.
As with all habits, our potentially negative thinking habits need to be investigated, challenged and changed towards more productive ones. These expressions actually need to be understood and channeled in a way that makes positive sense.
- Take a blank piece of paper and write down a problematic situation you have experienced and fell into the trap of overthinking.
- Write down the feelings you experienced when ruminating on the matter or overthinking.
- Describe the situation in as much detail as you can. Do free writing about your problem on your page. Try to just write without lifting your hand and bothering about the quality of your writing.
- Ask yourself whether your thinking is based on past negative memory, playing “old movie”s in your head and rehashing past events. Examples could be memories of failure and learning to think that you cannot succeed. Write these down.
- Observe them closely and acknowledge that all problems have creative solutions. It is a matter of knowing how to learn and apply your creative potential.
- Step away for a while and do something pleasant like taking a walk.
- Focus on your writings but this time Phrase the issue in terms of all the potential solutions like writing “Wouldn’t it be nice if…”, “I wish…” or “How might I…” An example would be “How might I find the money to pay for a new car?”
- Notice how this exercise has brought light to your problem.