Overthinking means to think about something for too long. We all tend to overthink over important or trivial matters – whether we are making the right choices in life, or how to dress up for an outing. We wonder about several issues going on in our lives. All this is perfectly normal until it takes a toll on our mental health.
When the habit of overthinking arouses excessive thoughts about something so much that it causes stress, fear, anxiety or dread, and affects your ability to function normally, it could be an indication of mental disorder.
Thus, when you worry or wonder about yourself, your family or friends, you do not necessarily have the overthinking disorder. Whatever you are wondering, probably keeps you concerned for a while, after which you carry on with your usual routine. However, with the overthinking disorder, all you can think of is a worry. Even though it may not be the same thing, which concerns you, something or the other constantly bothers you.
How to tell if you have Overthinking Disorder
If you are not sure whether you are simply overthinking or are suffering from a mental disorder, you should look out for these signs –
• Difficulty contributing to or following along with a conversation because you go over probable statements or responses repeatedly until the conversation has either ended or you have lost your turn to speak
• Comparing yourself continually to others around you, and how you measure up to them
• Focusing on the worst possible scenarios involving you or a loved one
• Reliving past mistakes/failures time and again, so you are unable to move past them
• Worrying about future goals/tasks until they feel impossible to accomplish
• Reliving a traumatic experience in the past – the loss of a dear one or abuse – that you are unable to cope with
• Inability to slow down the vague thoughts/emotions/worries racing on in your mind
Impact of Overthinking Disorder on Life
Not everyone experiences the same symptoms of overthinking disorder. Those who do, often find that their inability to control negative emotions and thoughts effectively is compromising their quality of life. This often makes it difficult for them to go out and socialize, be productive at work, or enjoy a hobby, as they spend a considerable amount of energy and time on specific thoughts. The thought that they do not have control over their own emotions or minds can be damaging to one’s mental health.
Overthinking can change the way you work with others and the way you do things. It can significantly affect your personal life, social life, and work life. Gradually, it will start wearing away at you and your relationship with others. A person with an anxiety disorder is more likely to have an overthinking disorder.
If you find yourself struggling to overcome overthinking, you should seek professional help. Therapy and counselling can help you vent out your worries and irrational thoughts. A couple of interactive sessions with your therapist can help you cope with your anxiety, stress and fear, as you engage in a one-on-one conversation and open up to him/her.