When this article about overthinkers came out, I was a bit disturbed to note that 11 out of the 14 things they mentioned applied to me.
The ones that didn’t? Well, they used to, but I had to train myself out of doing them because living inside your head ALL the time can be a little … exhausting. So, given I know there are many fellow overthinkers reading this blog, I thought I’d share how I managed to take those things out of the equation!
Here are three things overthinkers do that I don’t do anymore:
1. Find it hard to sleep
As the article says:
“Sleep is probably the most difficult aspect of our lives. Laying silently in the dark without any distraction inevitably makes us sink into our racing thoughts.”
Yes, yes it does. Which is why I do not allow myself to lay silently in the dark anymore. I get up at the same (early) time every morning and I exercise every day. This ensures that, come night time, I’m always very (very) tired. I then go to bed at the same time each night and read until my eyes are shutting. (Yes, I effectively read myself to sleep.)
Importantly, I don’t read non-fiction at night. (That gets my brain going instead of winding it down.) I read a good (but not TOO good!) fiction book.
(PS: Do you like all the asides in brackets above? Classic overthinker move!)
2. Sweat the unfollows
Oh boy, isn’t social media just one giant headf@ck for overthinkers?!
“God forbid someone unfollows us on Instagram or unfriends us on Facebook. We won’t rest until we figure out who it was and why.”
Now I’ve never been one to actually track unfollows but every so often I’d find out by chance that someone had unfollowed or unfriended me, or unsubscribed from my newsletter. And I’d be sorely tempted to send them an email and cry ‘but whyyyyyyyyy? What did I do? Did I offend you? I’m a nice person, how could I have offended you?!’
Happily, I’ve never sent such an email. And the main reason is, I’ve learned to remind myself in this situation that I have plenty of friends. And it’s kind of insulting to them for me to be spending precious time and energy wondering why someone doesn’t like me, instead of just enjoying the friendships of those who already do.
3. Have an inability to let go
“We can’t let things go easily. We’re convinced that if we run over the details a few more times, it will somehow change the outcome and we will uncover some new understanding of the situation.”
I cannot tell you how much time I’ve spent over the years trying to change the outcome of situations that have already occurred. Oh. My. Godfather. you would die. To this day I can’t run past a certain house along the beach front here in Perth without it triggering a replay of an excruciating moment (yes moment!) in a conversation I had with a client 15 years ago, and me berating myself for the fact that “I should have said ‘this’ instead”.
How have I cured myself of this?
By remembering people don’t care about me as much as I think they do. That conversation I’m replaying in my head over and over and over … and over? They forgot it three seconds after it happened. Everyone has bigger things to worry about than the stupid thing Kelly Exeter just said. And if they don’t have bigger things to worry about? Then that’s actually their issue, not mine!
Did you read that article on overthinkers? How many of the 14 things applied to you?!