It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me, but I overthink everything.
Anything, really, and sometimes I can't help it because engaging in self-reflection and expressing my findings is kind of what I do for a living.
I mean it's what I'm doing right now.
But I do know that there is a very very healthy line between insightful introspection and just overthinking like hell, and the negative effects are really bad.
I mean seriously, studies have shown that rumination leads to depression, anxiety, binge drinking, binge eating, inability to sleep and self-harm.
I have had every single symptom of the danger of dwelling and yet I can't quite kick the habit of it.
Especially when it's silly, even when it's silly like analyzing the punctuation of a text message.
*classical music continues*
"Wait, she used a period! Does that mean she's mad? Cause no one uses periods right? Oh my god!"
"Maybe I should analyze her previous texts to see if she used that to establish a base of what her normal texting behavior is that way I know if this use of a period and the specific sentence has any significance."
"Yes. That is a good use of my time."
Although to be fair, like, periods in text messages are kind of ominous and rare right? Right Kat?
*laughs* I just want people to know that it's real cause Kat, my friend Kat, actually puts periods at the end of every single one of her sentences and texts, and I didn't notice it before like the other day and was like she's mad at me.
She hates me there's something wrong and so...
But then I realized like I analyzed all of your text message and found out that you had a period in every one.
But then I looked at all my other text messages and nobody else really uses it unless it's necessary, so...
Just so everyone knows, it's real.
It's exhausting. Once I get into the cycle of overthinking, I'll ask myself the same negative self-blame question over and over and over again throughout the day.
*whispers to self*
Uh is it okay that I said that last night?
I shouldn't have said that. Am I being difficult? Does everyone think that I'm difficult? Am I hard to get along with?
I don't think I'm being difficult. Why would I be difficult?
Does everyone hate me? Everyone must hate me. I'll never get it right.
Should I apologize?
If you're an over-thinker, know this! I read this one line in a study and it really helped shape like how I think about overthinking now.
And it's that your psychological response to an event is actually more important than what happened to you.
So if you can't train your brain to stop overthinking, you're giving yourself negative mental health consequences.
I don't know about you, but I already got plenty of those.
I don't need anymore. So what can we do? Well number one, practice mindfulness.
I know, I know I'm always like: "Therapy and meditation will fix everything", but it's kind of true.
2017 has been the worst battle with depression of my life, with seasonal depression being like a nice little cherry on top.
So I'm trying to be very very diligent about giving myself ten to twenty minutes of mindful practice every single day.
You can't train your mind without actually putting the work into it, so whether you're using the headspace app or YouTube guided meditations, or just your timer on your phone, find what works for you.
You can have your brain acknowledge and let go of thoughts. And the more practice you put into that, the more easily you can disassociate yourself from the negative ones.
Two: Be active! The only reason we have time to overthink is because we have time to overthink. So be physical! Be creative!
Last month I picked up water coloring to keep myself occupied.
It's penguin-ing to look a lot like Christmas. Have a chill holiday. We're gonna have a narly time in Iceland.
Whether that's picking up painting or going for walks or reading books or getting hella jacked at the gym,
don't give your mind the luxury of chewing on something longer than it should.
And three, if you absolutely have to think about it, practice compassionate problem-solving.
So if I feel really bad that I hurt someone's feelings, instead of beating myself up about it over and over, instead I should ask myself: What can I do about it?
How can I learn from this experience and how can I prevent it from happening again?
So that instead of continually giving myself the message that I suck and I'm an awful person, I'm focusing on correcting a behavior or a mistake and encouraging myself to be better because of it. So what about you?
Are you an over-thinker, and if so stop right there! I'm Anna Akana. This is a trick ending stay here for Squarespace
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