Effects of Overthinking on Mental Health

Written by: Vasundhara Shukla – M. Phil (Psychology)

Last updated date : September 23, 2022

Table of Contents Article title – Perfectionism
  1. Chapter 1
  2. Chapter 2
  3. Chapter 3
  4. Chapter 4
  5. Chapter 5
  6. Chapter 6
  7. Chapter 7
  8. Chapter 8

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People who over think get hung up on one or more thoughts. Overthinkers have problems in taking those thoughts out of their mind because of which they find it difficult to carry on with daily work. In common terms, they are ‘too in their head’. If you have a tend to over think you might also find yourself assessing almost every thought again and again in your mind. You may also think about all the decisions you have made so much that it affects your productivity. In this article we talk about effects and the disadvantages of overthinking.

The questions you need to ask yourself to understand if you tend to overthink are –

  1. Have you ever caught yourself thinking way too much and not able to act on it?
  2. Do you find yourself to be preoccupied with something? 
  3. Do many thoughts pop into your mind, making you worry?

If the answers to the above questions is yes then this article might be of interest to you. All of us pay attention to some things from time to time so what makes over thinking a problem?

We tend to be sucked into a loop of thoughts that keeps us occupied. We tend to This is because we tend to feel anxious and worrisome by thinking on a loop about somethings. Handling overthinking needs practice at the earliest in order to break this cycle.

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Chapter 1:

Types of thinking

Sometimes we keep thinking over a problem for a long time while trying to find a solution to it. This type of thinking is to solve problems and it is necessary. But we overthink when we keep thinking about the problem rather than the solution.

Overthinking and self reflection are also two different types of thinking processes. Self reflection is also purposeful. It is taking the time to think about and evaluate your behaviors, thoughts, attitudes, motivations, and desires. And overthinking is thinking about everything you don’t have control over, and then feeling bad about it. All this amounts to the effects of overthinking.

In most cases, overthinking leads to stress but stress is not always bad for you. For example when you are stressed about an important test, you might force yourself to work harder. Stress becomes unhealthy when it prevents you from taking action or going about your daily life. 

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Chapter 2:

Effects of Overthinking

  • I can’t seem to stop worrying about things or situations.
  • Often end up worrying about things you have no control over is one of the effects of overthinking.
  • I constantly remind myself of my faults 
  • The embarrassing memories keep coming back to me 
  • Often think about the worst thing that could happen in a situation and get worried.
  • My brain remains active which keeps me awake at night. 
  • I remember all the embarrassing things I did and wish I hadnt said or done them. 
  • I replay conversations in my head to find hidden meanings in what others said. 
  • It keeps troubling me when someone says something or acts in a way that I don’t like.
  • I keep worrying about things that happened in the past or the future that I lose out on the present. 
  • One of the effects of overthinking is that taking decisions takes a lot of time.
  • I have difficulty paying attention on the thing that I am doing because of my repetitive thoughts.
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Chapter 4:

How to Deal With the Effects of Overthinking?

  • Impact on mental health- Over thinking has a very big impact on our mental health. When we keep on thinking on a loop not only do we lose focus on the important things in our lives but we also start feeling worried all the time. And we feel worried and stressed most of the time we are at risk of developing a mental health problem. Thinking about our problems over and over will not solve them. Rather, it might end up making us very sad.
  •  Over thinking takes up a large part of your time and might also disturb your daily routine activities. Over thinking will take up much of your day and leave little time for important tasks.
  • It affects your sleep pattern- Sometimes overthinking affects our sleeping patterns as the thoughts keep coming in our mind. This can affect the sleep cycle and make us feel groggy the next morning.
  • It decreases self-confidence- Tendency to overthink leads to increased self-doubt and reduced self confidence.
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Chapter 4:

How to Deal With the Effects of Overthinking?

  • Understand your triggers- If you know what sets off your over thinking you can avoid those situations.
  • Question your thoughts- One way to deal with the effects of overthinking is by questioning these thoughts and defy them. This might lead to a change in your perspective.
  • Distract yourself- Sometimes it is difficult to find solutions to the problems you are mulling over. In such situations, it is best to engage yourself with a hobby, exercise, music or going out with friends. This helps in getting a break from the thoughts to start afresh.
  • Meditate- One of the disadvantages of overthinking is that it creates worry and stress leading to anxiety. Practicing meditation can calm your mind whenever you feel you are not able to stop thinking about something. It is an approach to observe the thoughts which come to the mind without dwelling on them.
  • Deep breathing aid in calming the mind. 
  • Thinking time- Instead of having over thinking take up all your day, you can pick a time slot for it. By doing this not only are you stopping yourself from being preoccupied for a long time. This can also give you a limited time to mull over repeated thoughts.
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Chapter 5:

Seek Professional Help

If you think that effects of overthinking are affecting your daily function, you can consider seeking professional help. A counsellor try to understand the reason of overthinking and can teach you strategies to reduce overthinking.

Past Mistakes Causing Anxiety? Worrying About the Past!’ and ‘Chronic Worry About The Future – How To Break The Cycle’ are some of our courses which have been carefully curated by mental health professionals. Enroll these courses if you need help with overthinking.

Reviews 4.1

Learn evidence-based scientific ways to overcoming perfectionism.

87 Lessons

6 hours

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

€9.00 €12.00

25% discount