Anxiety and Overthinking
Anxiety and Overthinking
Anxiety and Overthinking tend to go together. The anxious brain is always looking for anything it perceives threatening or worrisome. People think that the person going through this is making things up but, the point is that to that person everything is absolutely real.
Here are some racing thoughts which are common when experiencing anxiety:
- Worrying about what others may think or say about them.
- Wondering what would have happened if they had done certain things in a different way. Getting stuck in the past events.
- Feeling anxious and having scary thoughts if they have to attend a crowded place.
- Thinking over and over again in a hundred ways what to say and how to say it if they have to go to a meeting or party where there are going to be a lot of people they do not know.
- Having an avalanche of thoughts, just about anything, sometimes a chaotic mix that they can´t stop, just because their anxiety went so high that their mind can´t rest.
- Imagining all the things they could do wrong in the coming days and blaming themselves even before anything happened.
- Fear to go through a panic or anxiety crisis in a public place so they try to avoid going out.
- The “what ifs” trigger a never ending cascade of thoughts.
So much never stop overthinking makes the person exhausted, mentally, physically and emotionally. This results in not being able to carry on their routine activities normally and making mistakes all the time. Doubts and fears can be paralyzing.
This makes them feel even more frustrated and anxiety increases even more. It is a never end cycle unless the person works on this in therapy sessions. Chronic worrying is a mental habit that can be broken. Brain and mind can be trained to stay calm. Worrying does not mean that you are more caring or that you are protecting yourself against bad things, worrying means that you are not focusing on the solution but on the problem itself!
Everything the person overthinks is one hundred percent real to him. People often tell them that their thoughts are fake or unreal, they even tell them that they are making everything up. This makes the person feel upset and even wonder if he is crazy. Thoughts create reality. If you believe in your thoughts…that is your reality too. It is Real to the person!
If we want to help someone who overthinks, the first thing we need to do is to use our empathy and try to see his reality through his eyes instead of ours. Feeling that no one understands them increases their frustration and their anxiety even more. And they start wondering and overthinking about what is it that they do wrong that people can´t see what they see or understand what they are talking about. They feel lonely with their troubles and again, anxiety goes up even more.
Trying not to think makes overthinking even stronger! One trick to weaken overthinking anxiety is distracting the mind with something simple, even superficial, something that does not request any kind of thoughts about it. Maybe watching a funny movie, playing a silly table game, talking about a new fashion trend with someone, etc. This will give the mind some rest for a while. It also helps to make a list of the things that are worrying you, but just list there the ones you can solve, the ones which solution depends on you and your resources only. Worrying brings up negative emotions but if you think of things that you can take action about, your emotions will turn to be more positive. The light at the end of the tunnel always gives hope and a positive drive to make a move. If you worry about things that you can´t solve, list them in a separate paper or word document as issues to deal with later. Remember that the more you try to control overthinking, the more you will overthink. That is not the way to handle it.
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