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8 Reasons You Should Not Always Overthink

8 Reasons You Should Not Always Overthink

The human mind likes to be engaged and aware. Actively it always wants to be put to action. However it is left for you to term if these actions are right for you or not. For many thinking may just be the solution to their problem, but in the real sense if not regulated in the right dose it could lead to their debacle.

1. It doesn’t heal the pain but extends the time-frame

“Some of the greatest battles will be fought within the silent chambers of your own soul.” – Ezra Taft Benson

Over-thinking is a slow and insidious killer. It is not an antidote rather it is a poison on its own. And how devastating the effects can be when it tears down your mental and physical balance. Through the experience so much is lost and the hole it leaves seems too deep to be filled. Rather than clearing the pathway for possibilities to come, it stretches you into a realm of impossibilities.

2. Not everything will always be under your control

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker

Whether we like it or not, many things will not be under our control. We cannot even determine how good the weather will be in a week’s time, so why bother it? But for many they try to fight this notion and take charge with their thoughts. Painfully even these negative thoughts take them captive and exert its influence on them. Know that you cannot control everything, and you cannot determine possibilities or outcomes, you can only be prepared for them.

3. It shuts out solutions and focuses more on the problem

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” – Henry Ford

In many cases time and patience offers the best solutions we need. But if only we could wait and act on how to make these solutions happen. Overthinking doesn’t offer solutions, rather it deludes us from seeing that there is a way out and channeling our resources into making this way out.

4. It steals your positive energy

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” – Ray Bradbury

We have so much positive energy in faith, joy and, optimism, confidence and peace. Yet with overthinking you have these beautiful qualities robbed and replaced by fear, resentment, anger, worry and doubts. Negative energy will not offer a structure and the excitement to get you out of precarious situations.

5. It makes you less thankful

“Over thinking ruins moods and kills good vibes.” – SupaNova Slom

Truthfully no matter how bad a situation or your environment is, there is always something to be thankful for. Being thankful makes you realize what progress and beauty you still have in your world. Focusing on this provides happiness and gladness.

6. It bloats our insecurities

“We are dying from over thinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.” – Anthony Hopkins

Insecurities that may have dwelt in the deepest ocean of our thoughts seem to emanate anytime we overthink. Our insecurities diminish and bruise our self worth.

7. It puts you in a cocoon of “what ifs”

“But he wasn’t really thinking properly. It was as if the thoughts were chasing each other round and round his head without managing to catch up with each other.” – Isabel Hoving, The Dream Merchant

What is in the past and is assumed is illusory and not real. Overthinking puts you in a vague world where you do not face the realities and true essence of life. Nothing is perfect we should know and in finding solace in improving our situation rather than dwelling in “what ifs” we take charge of our situations and find purposeful direction.

8. It doesn’t make you appreciate the moment

“The more you overthink the less you will understand.” – Habeeb Akande

The moment is the present and this we are all living in. No one needs to live in a tomorrow or in the past, but rather the moment. In the moment you can find pleasure, grace and awareness in the simple things of life. We can find strong emotions to become lords over our circumstances. Overthinking could rob us of the moment and deny us of the consistent certainties that we still have. Sometimes what could take us out of our dilemmas and worries is to experience a day at a time.

Featured photo credit: http://www.pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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