What are the real signs of overthinking?
Experiencing difficulty thinking about anything else
The inability to relax, let go, and be at ease
Extended analysis without rest, renewal, creativity, imagination
Repetitive feelings of worry, anxiousness, or anxiety
Fixating on events that are outside of your control
More importantly, what are NOT signs of overthinking?
Replaying a past memory in ways that are not productive
Imagining a future experience in ways that are not productive
Using disgusting or repulsive metaphors
Excessively criticizing, complaining, or condemning
Imagining worst-case scenarios without useful responses
Replaying mistakes without ways to learn from them
Imagining making mistakes or performing poorly
What are these things signs of?
Why Knowing the REAL Signs of Overthinking Matters So Much
The first and most important thing you need to know and remember when it comes to overthinking is that the mainstream definition of overthinking is highly inaccurate.
As a result, the signs of overthinking they describe are also inaccurate.
In fact, you should know that most popular and prestigious websites on the internet are using a ‘mainstream’ definition of overthinking that actually makes it HARDER to stop overthinking.
In short, they confuse overthinking with negative thinking. The two are very different. Overthinking is not the same as negative thinking.
Why is this such a big deal, especially to someone who wants to stop overthinking or stop thinking negatively?
Because the methods that will help you stop OVER thinking are different from the methods that will help you stop NEGATIVE thinking. And most of the techniques that are highly effective to stop negative thinking are NOT effective or useful to stop overthinking. And vice-versa.
For Example: How Do You Think About Your Goals?
You can overthink something that is positive
If you think about your goals, even positively, but you overthink about them, your overthinking can cause mental exhaustion, fatigue, overwhelm confusion, and anxiety. In this case you were actually thinking positively, yet you exhausted yourself mentally and emotionally.
You can think negatively about something positive
If you think about your goals, NOT overthinking at all, but negatively and pessimistically, it can cause feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, unworthiness, etc. In this case, you were not overthinking your goals at all and yet the result was negative.
And you can overthink something in a negative way
This is when we overthink something AND think negatively about it at the same time or intermittently. This is disastrous, yet unfortunately all too common these days, especially in the media and in politics.
By bunching overthinking and negative thinking together, the specific patterns that are problematic in each area are often not addressed directly or specifically enough, and the entire thing becomes watered down, too complicated, and too hard to do.
To cut through all the flack and really understand this, this post will help you throw out the ‘standard’ definition of overthinking so you can gain a real understanding of what overthinking and negative thinking really are.
To emphasize the importance of distinguishing between overthinking and negative thinking, consider this:
You could stop overthinking completely – and still suffer the effects of negative thinking because you didn’t address them.
And you could stop negative thinking completely, and be most positive thinker ever, yet still suffer the effects of overthinking.
Once you clearly understand the difference, you will be much more resourceful when it comes to handling overthinking and negative thinking.
The Signs of Overthinking
Overthinking is over analysis. In fact, THAT would be a much better definition because it’s more precise.
When you are overthinking about anything positive, negative or neutral (your business, your health, your studies, your goals, relationships, a problem, an unpleasant experience, a future event, a pleasant experience, etc.) you are immersed in too much left-brain, logic, analysis, dividing, categorizing, etc.
The signs of overthinking are generally mental exhaustion and fatigue, being stuck without a solution. The stress, anxiety, worry, inability to relax that often occur as a result of overthinking are the result of NOT having a resolution or solution to a particular situation.
For example, say you think and think about a particular situation, but you don’t solve it or resolve it. Constant mental effort with no renewal or creative thinking intervals causes a host of problems.
Overthinking can also evolve into negative thinking from the habit of analyzing things to the point of being over critical.
When this happens, overthinking has become negative thinking, and the two processes may be running simultaneously or interchangeably.
The Signs of Negative Thinking
Negative thinking is not the same as thinking and thinking and analyzing.
You can think negatively for very short intervals. This is not about thinking for too long, too hard, or being in your left-brain, analytical mode.
Negative thinking is any and all thoughts of criticizing, condemning, or complaining. It is thinking in ways that are unproductive, harmful, unpleasant, or painful.
Negative thinking often involves remembering, imagining, self-talk, framing, assumptions, beliefs, judgements, comparisons, or any mental representations that cause unproductive and painful emotions.
Negative thinking always causes emotional pain, sooner or later.
It can also cause a lack of motivation and action and seriously impair our performance, capabilities, self-belief, and be detrimental to our self-image and self-esteem. It can cause despair, depression, and various forms of hostility, anger, and anxiety.
And it can have all these destructive and harmful effects, and many more, on others.
Overthinking is about thinking too much, too hard, for too long, and is essentially over analyzing. It is left-brain thinking without enough right-brain thinking mixed in. This thinking pattern often causes mental exhaustion, frustration, and a feeling of things being unresolved and incomplete. One of the worst effects of overthinking is that it shuts down creativity, imagination, intuition, decision making, action, rest and renewal, and it can easily digress into negative thinking.
Negative thinking is thinking about thinking in destructive ways. This way of thinking often causes failure and lack of motivation. It almost always causes unpleasant or painful emotions like anger, hostility, hopelessness, incompetence, helplessness, unworthiness, etc.
You may also like:
If Overthinking is a Real Problem In Your Life
It’s a great way to get better at interrupting the habit of overanalyzing, minimize negative thinking and criticism, and turn too much rumination into effective action.
Click on Stop Overthinking Course to learn more.
Overthinking is a massive problem in our society.
This is because western culture has made a "False God" of reason.
Our entire educational system is obsessed with analysis to the exclusion of intuitive understanding, creative right brain processes, and insight.
The irony is that true critical thinking actually has a FEEL to it.
You should be surprised if you do NOT overthink. It is highly unusual in a culture that is so inundated with overthinking and over analyzing.
The danger is that overthinking easily turns into negative thinking.
Before you know it, you've picked up a pattern of being hypercritical, negative, fault-finding, blaming, condemning, and most of all COMPLAINING.
Complaining is a disease in our culture.
Complaining manifests MORE of what you're complaining about because when you complain, you're putting your attention on what you do not want.
The result of all of this is a massive epidemic of depression, anger, hostility, stress, insomnia, anxiety, and the inability to truly relax.
Feelings of genuine peace, joy, bliss, happiness, enthusiasm, and equanimity are all but inaccessible when thinking has become OVER thinking.
But there is a solution.
You can learn to interrupt overthinking by learning some simple patterns and integrating some genuine Right Brain Activities into your lifestyle.
Learn how with the Stop Overthinking Online Course
How To Stop Overthinking Quickly
If you want to learn how to stop overthinking quickly, this FREE gift is for you.
It will give you immediate relief from the strain of overthinking any particular situation or subject. Click on the image at left or on The 3-Step Formula That Stops Overthinking in Its Tracks to download your free report.
The important thing to understand is that you may be overthinking more than you realize, not just in your relationships.
Overthinking is mostly an unconscious pattern. It is important to have a counter strategy to your overall habit of overthinking itself; one that puts you more in control.
FreeFromOverthinking.com is dedicated to helping people of all ages to stop overthinking, stop negative and destructive thinking, and replace too much motion with effective action. We offer free resources, books, audios, videos, and online courses designed for different learning styles.
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