I’ve basically been the king of overthinking for as long as I can remember. Anybody close to me could tell you that I’ll take anything I see/hear and start writing a novel in my head on what it could mean.
Sometimes they’re fun little stories that don’t do anything to hurt me emotionally. However, most of the time these stories are about why somebody hates me, and my thoughts will spiral out of control until I believe them to be true.
Even though I’ve made up every part of the story, I’ll believe it’s the truth. I’ll defend it and justify it until I eventually push away the person I think hates me.
So now the person I thought hated me doesn’t want to be around me, I use that as proof that I was right to begin with, and then the next time I start overthinking I’m more sure that my made up story is the truth.
Now, I’ll admit that there are still times my mind takes off and makes up some pretty crazy stories. However, I’m writing this post because I’ve learned something that helps me most of the time to stop the way I’m thinking before it spirals out of control.
Usually when I see or hear something that triggers a negative thought process in my head, the story I write destroys me emotionally because it’s all I can see.
Think of a horse with blinders. Instead of being able to see what’s behind them, or sometimes even what’s beside them, they can only see what’s in front of them.
When I overthink I’ll get a sort of tunnel vision that only lets me focus on this negative thought right in front of me.
The problem with this is that what seems like the end of the world in my head isn’t even important if I’m looking at it correctly. But in order to look at it correctly I need to open up my vision and see the rest of the picture.
I’ve been able to start doing this by interrupting the story in my head with, “and that would be fine.”
If she doesn’t like me that would be fine.
If I don’t get this job that would be fine.
It doesn’t matter if the story in my head turns out to be true, because even if it does that would be fine.
When you stop for a moment and really look at how little the perceived worst case scenario will negatively affect your life, the story in your head loses all its power.
Being able to throw that thought into the middle of my made up stories has really helped me out. I don’t have to stress and worry that my life will be ruined if things don’t go the way I want.
I can relax and know that even if things don’t turn how I would like that would be fine.