Over thinking is a part of anxiety, generally long term rather than recent.
A brief on anxiety: Some anxiety is caused by over expecting past bad things to happen again. Some anxiety is caused by past compensating behaviours being poor for a stable environment. Some anxiety is caused by situational problems that may need addressing. Most long term anxiety is caused by biology, most commonly your neurotransmitters aren’t well balanced, leading to your brain misinforming you.
Back to overthinking.
Over thinking can be a behavioural response to uncertainty
– The easy fix is to make a decision on the thing you are thinking about, then when you think again about it chant to yourself “nope, solved that <insert 1 sentence fix/decision>”
– If you go on to think “but what if”, respond with “I’ll solve that if it comes up”; unless it is highly likely to come up. First do a “likelihood of occurring” assessment (is it really likely, or just scary?), and if it is, make a decision now about what will likely work.
– Remember, you’ve survived this long, your emergency decisions have always succeeded at keeping you alive. You can fix an imperfect survival decision’s consequences later if you have to.
Over thinking can be a response to the most common condition I come across that should be in the DSM and ICD, but isn’t: “surrounded by A holes, but not knowing it/not knowing what to do about it”
– Sorting this out takes some specific knowledge about your situation and advice to get out of it, and how to change your thinking pattern.
– There are articles on our website jomida.com regarding toxic and abusive people as a primer
– Our brain has 1 primary goal “keep us alive”. It does this by trying to predict what is likely to happen that could be a problem and solving that ahead of time. It should only work on the most presenting risk in the near future. The further away the risk thing is, the bigger it has to actually be in order to spend valuable “now” resources to solve.
– If our brain’s neurochemistry is out, it misreports what threats are, or threatening they are, and how much resource should be spent on resolving them
– Take a look at how other people are responding to the same issues. If most people (perhaps 80%) are not worried about them, or only a bit concerned and have a basic plan of what to do, then you are indeed overthinking it. If you only occasionally sink lots of resources into a single problem, then perhaps you’ve seen something they haven’t – but if you often do this, then you are likely over reacting to risk.
– If using the above “I’ve got an answer” isn’t working and your brain keeps coming up with new problems, or ignoring your solution, you likely have a neurochemical problem. Biological problems require biological solutions.
= That means antidepressants. They start at modifying Serotonin, which works for about 1/3 of people. When that doesn’t work, it is important to look at the adrenalin system, often norepinephrine, which could be high, low or over-reactive. There are further explorations after that, but at this level you need an expert.
= You may also be experiencing anxiety and over thinking secondary to something else, like poorly managed Autism and or ADHD etc. This needs to be factored into your management of this too.
= Medication is generally only a part of the solution, addressing how you think is very important too.