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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai


“There are times when the stress over the issue is a great deal more awful than the difficulty itself.”-David Spiegel

“They are going to take my home,” she said! “I have always taken care of my financial responsibilities.” “I am so ashamed.” “I cannot tell anyone about this.” “What is going to happen to us.”

“Where and how will we live.” “I am going to be put on the street.” “I will lose all of my friends when they find out.” She went into a continual negative downward spiral seeing no way out of it. She could not sleep or eat. She felt sick all the time. But kept that smile as though all was well. But she could not get out of her head no matter how hard she tried.

She was overthinking about her situation reflecting on past actions that resulted in negative consequences. Worrying about her future and what will go wrong versus what can go right. Her behavior became self-sabotaging creating other problems. Her mood sunk with each passing thought. Her thoughts created the negative emotions of fear, worry, and stress by overthinking on this matter.

Your mind has the capacity to bring out the best and worst part of you. Dattilo says, “When the brain is at rest, the areas that light up are the problem-solving areas and areas associated with self-referential thinking.” Research has shown that 73% of people aged 25-35 years old and 52% of ages 45-55 chronically overthink. According to the National Science Foundation, you have up to 60,000 thoughts per day. Eighty percent of those thoughts are negative with 95% of the negative thoughts repeated. The brain naturally overthinks toward the negative and you must act with intention to calm your mind to think clearly.

Overthinking is frequently an unconscious thought or behavior. You think your overthinking is problem solving or self-reflection, but it is not. Per Dr. Fowler, with problem solving you ask questions with the intention of finding an answer and acting. Self-reflection is an internally inquisitive process rooted in a higher purpose, i.e., grow as a person or gain a new perspective. With overthinking, you dwell on possibilities, and pitfalls without any real intent on solving a problem which may or may not exist. For example, you obsess over something you do not like about yourself that you cannot change or have no intention of improving.

You may be an overthinker if you:

• Dwell on past events or situations

• Second-guess your decisions

• Replay your mistakes in your mind

• Rehash challenging or uncomfortable conversations

• Fixating on things you cannot control, change, or improve

• Imagine the worst-case scenario or outcome

• Follow your worries out of the present moment and

into an unchangeable past or unforeseeable future

• "Run your list" while trying to fall asleep

• Question but never deciding or acting

Does this sound familiar? Overthinking results in being less creative, low energy levels, limits to solving problems, restricted productive thinking, dysfunctional behavior, slee disorders, stress eating, physical brain, skin, and heart changes, lowered life expectancy, and social dysfunction.

You can manage your stress levels from overthinking when you:

• Intentionally question, accept, or deny your thoughts

• Understand your trigger points and change your reaction

to them

• Get it out of your head

• Set a deadline to decide

• Do dot sweat the small stuff

• Trust your instincts

• Act on what you can control

• Talk to the right” someone

Being uncomfortable when overthinking is helping you to understand it is an experience that you must go through to learn the lesson. The more you ignore the lesson the more uncomfortable you will become. Stop fighting yourself. You are your best partner to improve yourself and experience the fullness of life. Overthinking affects how you experience and engage with the world and people around you. It impedes you from making important decisions that keep you from enjoying your present moment which is all you are guaranteed. It drains the energy needed to manage the daily stressors of life. Overthinking is controllable. Take control of your mental, physical, and social health! To ensure tranquility and inner peace you must trust that the message or lesson needed will be provided. This will quiet your mind. Trust until you get where you need to be. The woman mentioned above decided to trust her instincts and talk to me about her experiences to get it out of her head and gain a unique perspective. She later said she never felt so much peace after we talked. She chose to trust. Yesterday she told me she did not lose her home.

“Thinking is a two-way street. While the brain my offer numerous or near constant ‘thought suggestions,’ it is ultimately up to us to decide if we accept them.”-Dattilo

Article written by Gladys Agwai:

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