According to Google Trends, the word overthinking is becoming 10x more popular in the past 10 years. What happened to our society?
I believe there is a correlation between the rising of information era and overthinking itself. More specifically, it’s about FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). We’ll talk about this after I explained to you about overthinking.
Have you ever feel that you cannot stop the chattering inside your head? It’s hard to focus, isn’t it?
What do overthinking means?
Overthinking literally means that you think something too much or for too long. You analyzing information again and again until things started to get blurry and irrelevant.
All the “what if” scenario is being played in your head over and over.
In the negative aspect, it could create stress and anxiety. If it chronic, it could lead to depression.
For example, you are having a chat conversation with your crush. You ask about her activities. She reads your chat but not replying yet.
At first, you think that she may be busy. But then you started to evaluate your chat. Wondering what’s wrong with your words. And then you started to think is it appropriate for you ask her that question.
And then this happened…
“What if she thinks that I’m too curious to know about her activities?” “What if she thinks that I like her?” “What should I do now?” “Should I chat her again for confirmation or not?” “Should I ask her permission or not?” “Should I say sorry?” “Maybe she doesn’t like me.” “Am I too annoying?”
You lost in your own anxiety.
But then she replies, “Sorry for the late reply, I am reading a book right now.”
She’s okay with you. You only overthink, my friend.
The Fear of Missing Out
Let me tell you another example, this is even more painful than the previous case. And this one is actually happened to me once.
“I wish that I could be like the cool kids,” goes the catchy lyrics for the hit song by Echosmith. The official video has been viewed over 73 million times on YouTube, perhaps it’s telling us into something deeper than a common adolescent anxiety.
We all wanted to be like the cool kids.
In 2013, the word “FOMO” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. The “fear of missing out” refers to the feeling of “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere.”
Most people at one time or another have been preoccupied with the idea that someone, somewhere, is having a better time, making more money, or leading a more exciting life.
You know the phrase, “The grass is always greener on the other side.”, right?
The suffering of FOMO will also lead you to overthink. You overthink about other people’s life. It creates anxiety towards yourself. And sometimes it leads to depression.
It becomes popular because we are in the middle of social media era. Where people tell their story and everyone can see them.
You see your friend buy the new iPhone 7, you feel anxious because you cannot buy that too and you think that you are outdated.
Are you seeing the pattern about overthinking?
Mostly you overthink because you have fear related to the subject.
In the first case, the reason of your overthinking is that you fear to you lost your crush. The second case is because you fear that you will be considered as outdated if you are not “like your friend”.
Okay, both of that examples is a negative case of overthinking.
Should I avoid overthinking at all cost?
The answer is no, you shouldn’t avoid overthinking. It’s natural.
For my case, I really love to think. And I always overthinking many of the aspects of my life.
Sometimes it helped me, sometimes it makes me depressed.
Because I really love to think, I don’t even want to avoid it. But after all of my experiences, I learned something about overthinking and how to make it useful through life.
I called that “The Wise Overthinking”
The rules is simple:
“Overthink of things that you can change in life, let go of things you cannot change.”
Well, if you are a good observer, you may already have a conclusion that both of the examples above is you overthinking on the subject that you cannot change the outcome.
You cannot change your crush opinion about you, thinking about her opinion will only make you anxious.
Now, shift your perspective. Overthink about how can you make your crush notices you and change your behavior towards that.
The result may surprise you.
About FOMO, instead of thinking that other people are always better than you, overthink about how can you also improve yourself to be better than them.
Again, change your behavior and let the result speak itself.
Overthink To Get Rid of Your Fear
There are one more positive traits of overthinking.
That is to anticipate the bad things that will happen to you.
In the previous article about how I overcome my fear of public speaking, I use overthinking to really get rid of my fear.
How? I overthink on how I could mess up in front of the stages. After that, I think about how I can anticipate those outcomes before it happened.
The result is fantastic, I can be more confidence and relax during the speaking session even when something I didn’t expect happened.
Overthinking is like a double-edged sword. If you can utilize it properly, it would be your super strength. But if you cannot, it will kill you. Either it helps you to be more confidence, or it will make you depressed.
Remember this simple rule: “Overthink of things that you can change in life, let go of things you cannot change.”
May all being lives in joy. 🙂