A common symptom of anxiety is overthinking. Overthinking occurs when you are presented with a problem and you can’t decide on a singular course of action. Rather than pick a solution and move forward, you begin imaging all sorts of possibilities about what could go wrong with the solution that you have picked. This process repeats itself every time you pick a new solution to run with.
After running through several worst-case outcomes, you decide that your position is helpless and there is nothing you can do. This thought process by itself is enough to create a debilitating case of depression or worsen a preexisting one. Overthinking can have you easily running around in circles in your head and feeling helpless. The common and effective solution to overthinking is to redirect your thoughts towards the best possible outcome and act.
This solution is easier said than done, and in this post, three reasons why you overthink are going to be explained. After each explanation, a solution for each reason will also be given. The three reasons you overthink are, a fear of things going wrong, low confidence in solving problems, and a poor support system.
You Fear Things Going Wrong
The first and most common reason you struggle with overthinking is a fear of things going wrong. When you have a fear of things going wrong, thinking up a solution to a problem you are facing will seem daunting. This is because you will likely run into a negative cycle, when you start fearing that your solutions will not work or make things worse.
People who struggle with a fear of things going wrong often developed this fear from their early childhood experiences. If you remember suffering an acute traumatic experience as a child, or if you had recurring experiences that made you anxious, this is good. Good because, now you understand how your anxiety originated, which helps in coming up with a plan to heal from your anxiety.
An effective solution for your fear of things going wrong is to remember the last time you dealt with something going wrong — with no fear. According to the law of averages, you are inevitably going to act out of character due to unusual circumstances. Regardless, if you can remember a point in time where you acted without fear, you can channel your thoughts and feelings from that scenario to the present. Which you will then use to consciously address your current fears with things going wrong.
You Lack Confidence for Dealing with Things Going Wrong
The second common reason you struggle with overthinking is a lack of confidence in dealing with things going wrong. It only makes sense that if you fear things going wrong you will develop coping strategies. This means that your experience in dealing with things going wrong, is low, hence the lack of confidence.
It is important to note, that this issue cannot be helped until the first reason is addressed successfully. Once you get into the habit of embracing adversities in your life, big or small, your confidence in addressing issues will grow.
To improve your confidence, you want to address best-case scenarios for your proposed solution. Addressing the worst-case scenario is wasted effort, as your overthinking has already done this. Instead, you want to realistically look at best-case scenarios for your solution. Looking for the best-case scenarios for your solutions doesn’t mean that you take an unrealistic perspective. Instead, it means that you accept a solution with the risk that it might fail, and simply do your best.
You Lack a Support System You Can Depend On
Another common reason why you struggle with overthinking is due to a lack of support. Support systems are important, especially when it comes to overcoming life’s obstacles. Inevitably, you will come across some problems that will require help from others.
If you lack a support system you can depend on, you will find yourself often feeling anxious when problems happen. Particularly problems that require the support of others for you to successfully address.
The solution to this is to begin the process of building a support network. Become open and inviting to the idea of building relationships with people you can trust and depend on.
These proposed solutions are easier said than done, as the process of using them might prove daunting to some people. For example, someone who also struggles with social anxiety might find the process of finding a support network too much to handle. At which point, the services of a therapist are strongly recommended.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions a counseling and life coaching practice in Tucson, Arizona. Ugo helps individuals and families in office and online. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book an appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.