Situations are very often quite harmless, but our innate habit of over-analysing things make them look big, and induce a lot of unnecessary emotions as well. Thinking, analyzing, perceiving and forming opinions in depth become a way of life. Things start to seem so complex that we spend days thinking about a problem that may be trivial, but a background check, all references and branching topics are necessary to solve the problem.
Anyway, let’s just say that I was told of an incident, and I couldn’t correctly comprehend the tone of the person who told me the same. I thought of the ‘apparent’ negativity in her voice, and got offended for the night (without telling her of course). The entire night I stayed up thinking of how she had always been like this and how the next time we meet I would tell her how I have a problem with the things she does, and how I would reprimand her for being such a bad friend.
The next day, while talking to her normally, she joked about the incident.
This is when I realized that she meant it in a jocular manner and not something that was supposed to offend anyone.
Over thinking about the problem, however, gave me a bad mood, unnecessary anger, a fight that could’ve happened any time, and a friend I was very close to losing.
I practiced giving up overthinking. Of course, like other people who overthink, I had great difficulty in letting it go since I was so used to doing it in my free time. It slowly sneaked its way into my normal thought process, and soon I started to do it out of habit. Sleepless nights, jumbled up thoughts, confusion, and somehow, a fear of emptiness was a consequence of the act. However, the fear of letting it go strangely resembled the fear of pulling out an annoying stone that makes it’s way into your shoe. You feel so reluctant to let go, regardless of how annoying the habit is, that actually removing it seems to cause more discomfort than living with it.
I wondered what was the worst that could happen. So I tried out the following things that I thought could help me refrain from overthinking:
Acceptance of the truth and the situation
I accepted the fact that I overthink, and that I get skeptical about situations at hand. Negativity is the last thing you should have on your hands when you try to untangle a mess that you get into. I let go of the negativity and always thought of things from either a positive angle or from a point of wanting to solve it. No more ‘this is so difficult’ or ‘this will never happen!’, but only ‘let’s see how we can fix this.’
Letting go of the fear of forgetting
Somehow, I had this innate fear that I would be losing myself if I stopped over analysing situations. My thoughts, the depth that I would achieve, and the ideas I would get would all be lost if I stopped. I realized that it was, in fact, my own mind that was forming these thoughts, and it was capable enough of forming them again if I needed it to.
Finding my own sheep to count
For a long time, almost 6 years, I started to fall asleep to music. But that wasn’t a very good habit, so I shifted to listening to the silence. I started by putting on a recording of white noise with a timer on my phone and then moved on to just listening to the emptiness at night. It has its own noise, just as water has a taste. Once you get addicted to it, nothing else can replace the thirst for it.
Most importantly, clearing out the message before I take action!
I always make sure that I comprehend the tone, and the message before I form any opinions or course of action inside my head. Before you stop over thinking, the easier step is to make sure that the sources that lead to the same are eliminated. Cross out the content and you’ll find yourself with much fewer things to overthink about.
I tried this out for three weeks and this is what happened:
I can fall asleep in 3 minutes flat
Listening to the silence helped my brain relax and fall asleep. Where I would stay up, unable to get any sleep till 3 a.m. regardless of how early I went to bed, I could now fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, be it 11 pm, 1 am or 2 am.
I’m always happy (and so are the people around me!)
Since I have (with great difficulty) stopped taking things as negatively as I would if I misunderstood, I clear things out as soon as the message is conveyed. This helps me have my peace of mind, and helps people instill their trust in me too, because they know I make rational decisions that aren’t affected by unnecessary emotions.
I have a lot fewer problems
I have quite honestly run out of content to be angry about. I realize that people do want what’s best for me, and even if they are just putting on a façade, isn’t it positively affecting me anyway? I stop thinking in depth about agendas altogether, and now I only move forward because my mind makes me feel that everything is either good for me, or is a lesson.
These are only a few of the things that got better as I lessened the time I spend on thinking.
Most of my problems would sort themselves out where I would go back to the person in charge and clear out the message. There would be some problem in delivery, some interpretation, and this would initiate the entire situation. Letting go of apprehensions and unnecessary skepticism made my life incredibly positive.