Overthinking is an extremely widespread phenomenon and it occurs when we think too much.
Obviously, thinking is a good thing: all of us, at least once in our lives, have heard someone saying “remember to think before you speak”.
The ability to think is very important: it helps us make the right decisions, reflect on different situations, and to implement a more sophisticated and more critical type of reasoning towards the world surrounding us.
Furthermore, from a more social and relational point of view, thinking also means being able to make our own opinions, and therefore being able to discuss constructively with other people who might have a different opinion.
The different thoughts that go through our minds are not always positive, we could face also negative ones, but they have an important adaptive function as well: they allow us to activate ourselves in front of an external stimulus that makes us worry, or that makes us in danger or pain, in order to analyze it, rationalize it and eventually overcome it.
However, what if these negative thoughts take over?
Our anxieties, fears, and all of our problems might block our mind and therefore we find ourselves dealing with the so-called “overthinking”.
The risk is to increase stress and fear of failure, for this reason overthinking turns out to be something caused by our modern society: we are always connected, busy with work schedules and numerous daily commitments, without ever taking a moment to stop. We tend to focus on obtaining “everything at once”: this is a concept that lies based on today’s society.
In summary, people tend to focus repetitively on the problem to solve it, triggering a repetitive and intrusive kind of thought that does not lead to any solution other than to generate anxiety, fear, and stress for a possible failure.
Overthinking does nothing but increase negative thoughts, which strengthen our fears and obsessions.
Many believe that thinking a lot automatically means being very smart, but as you can notice it is not always like this in real life.
In conclusion, it might be useful to know the metaphor of the mountain: imagine finding yourself at the foot of a mountain and your goal is to reach the top of it.
Being a victim of overthinking means that you will only think about the goal, wanting to be already there, on the top. However, the top is far away and you continue to focus on the possible shortcuts that would allow you to reach it faster, this will fuel frustration and mental fatigue (which is often worse than the physical one!).
Whenever you find yourself facing a complicated situation, it is important to focus on the first step and how to do it.
This does not necessarily mean losing sight of the final goal, but it simply means leaving it in the background for a while.
Everything needs its time, and every important goal can be achieved step by step, no need to hurry!