Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Overthinkers Anonymous - Meeting In Progress

IMAGE : PINTEREST | Overthinkers Anon.
I have recently come to realise that I'm a chronic overthinker.

I think, then I worry, then I stress, then I internalise. I hang onto things for as long as I possibly can, wringing every troublesome detail out of my initial thought. Mostly I do my worrying at night.  Sometimes, when there are many trivial thoughts to process, I finally get a little sleep just as the birds start to make their 5.00am noises alerting the 'normal' people that it's time to arise from their blissful, non-thinking slumber. (This actually goes a long way in explaining my unconditional love of morning caffeine). It often begins with one little thing that happened that day. How did my day go? How did I treat other people generally or how was I perceived? Perhaps I said something to someone which could somehow possibly be misconstrued? Did I overstep a boundary? Or perhaps I've forgotten some minor detail about an up and coming school project or dance rehearsal? God forbid.

Whatever it is, I have this great ability to turn the mundane, insignificant life occurrence into the potential end of my universe as I know it. It's essential that I immediately come up with some kind of plan to fix things, to right the wrong, or to make an honourable admission to someone in order to move from one worrying thought (often straight into the next, if I'm honest). If I really break it down,  perhaps this trait in my personality is the way I check my moral compass. Perhaps this is how those of us 'overthinkers' keep ourselves working at being the best people we can be?  Either way, I'm tired of it - and I'm tired from it. For the love of Jah, let me sleep! I want to be one of those people who can just let it go; who doesn't look back.  You know the people - they're the ones who routinely wave a dismissive hand and use word "whatevs" (a word they should spend a little time re-thinking, incidentally).

As an 'overthinker', I feel like I spend most of my time re-tracing my steps in order to ensure the day has all gone to plan and there's nothing I need to go over, to improve on. (Wow - I must really be a hoot to hang out with, right?!) Nonetheless, perhaps it's time for the members of Overthinkers Anonymous to re-think this strategy. Maybe it's time to trust that all is as well as it needs to be at the end of each day and the perception of others doesn't actually matter if we're being our true, best selves. (Either that, or we need adopt some pharmaceutical assistance, but most would argue that's not an ideal first step).

Anyway, "whatevs".


  1. I absolutely identify with this, Soph. It's part of my make up to analyse everything to the nth degree and think things to death. The dilemma for me is that I think that my analytical/planning skills are a good thing, but certainly not at the level where I lose sleep over it. Finding that balance is the hard thing.

    I'm not exactly sure how I achieved a balance, but it was probably a combination of a few things. One was my treatment for depression, which involved changing the way I think about things via CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), and an anti-depressant. The other was adopting methods to put my over thinking mind at ease - writing notes/list to take the burden off my working memory, and then relaxation exercises. Regarding the latter, I didn't do anything formal, just developed an informal method of focussing on my breathing and sort of "centering" myself. I suppose it was a mild informal form of meditation.

    I think all these things together helped me slow down my racing mind. Although, I couldn't really be sure what had the most effect out of those solutions.

    1. I like the idea of the written word helping to find the balance, Bern. In part, I guess this is why I made a promise to myself to continue with my blog (despite every fibre of me feeling uncomfortable with the 'share'). Looking back, it seems that many of my previous posts have been a form of therapy for me (and hopefully a little bit for others too?).

      Thanks for your comment..:)

  2. Good God, get out of my brain already! Between your last post on career confusion and this little number I couldn't feel more aligned with you.

    And hasn't the blogging helped? SO good for emptying the mind.

    Have to agree with Bernie West as well - meditation (formal or informal) is the BEST for soothing the overactive mind.

    And guess what? It has the added benefit of better sleep too.

    Loving The Mother Load Sophie, please don't feel uncomfortable with the "share"!


    1. Haha...perhaps we're kindred spirits Miss K. I think meditation is something I'm going to have to get into too - sure beats drugs I'm sure! Ironically, finding the time is the hardest bit..:)

      Thanks for your lovely comment - keep up the blogging yourself, OneSmallLife!

    2. Regarding the best time to relax, I find lying in bed is the ideal time. If you force yourself to focus on your breathing, even if it is messed up like mine sometimes is, it can help shove the noisome thoughts to the side for a while. And eventually, if you are like me, you will break the habit of the bed being a place for over-thinking the day's (and the coming day's) activities. I just don't ruminate in bed as much as I used to any more, despite not focusing as much on meditative practices.

  3. Sophie, I often have the problem of my mind not switching off at night too and even though I'm really tired I can't get to sleep. Something that my husband got me onto is listening to an audio book to get me to sleep. It's not visual so you don't get all stimulated but you are listening to the story instead of your brain whirling around with thoughts to keep you awake. It's best to get a storyteller with a soothing, even voice and before long I find myself blissfully asleep and I cant remember what part of the story I was up to.

    1. Lynda, that's a brilliant piece of advice. Also good to alleviate the 5am wake up - perhaps simple distraction is the key? Genius. Will try for sure. Thanks for your comment!