When was the last time you did it?
It may be happening right now and you don’t even realize it.
What’s the thing with overthinking?
Is it really bad for us or is it just the way we are? Why does it happen so much? Can we stop it? How?
I’ll respond each one of this questions from my own experience starting for the first one: is it really that bad for us?
Overthinking is venom.
It may be even worse than we believe. Learning how to control it has become one of the main goals of my life and thus far I can say that:
- It’s one of the healthiest, most important things I’ve ever done.
- I’ve improved a lot in the last couple years and it’s not as hard as you might think. It only requieres discipline.
Some might believe we’re build that way. That overthinking is just a by product of our hyper intelligent brain and we have to learn how to live with it. Again, from my experience:
But then, why does it happen that much?
Philosophers have been talking about this for centuries. A summary of some of my favorite theories is:
We’re animals who, for some reason, learned how to reason. Our brains developed in a way that gave us skills no other species has like the hability to think about the future and the past, to see things from a third person POV, among many others.
These skills came with a cost: if you don’t watch out, you might end up over utilizing them.
We, as animals, want to survive and reproduce, and when you have such a powerful machine in your head capable of surviving and reproducing better than any other thing the planet has ever seen, it tends to get out of control some times—or all the time if not well trained.
No one teaches us how to do it, so we have to learn by ourselves and it’s a long, difficult yet beautiful process.
So… Can we stop it?
My favorite practices are:
- Consuming spitituality or philosophy content: mainly books and podcasts. Nothing fancy, by the way. I started knowing anything about the topic but there are some great places to start.
- Stillness practices: so many people uses the word «meditation» that it has lost it’s value. I simply sit down and do nothing for some minutes several times along the day.
- Creative practices: they usually take us into flow state: the marvelous land where thoughts can’t enter. I write, paint, create podcast episodes and social media content, dance salsa and more. Almost all of that for the sake of getting out of my mind—and creating something nice for other people.
With some practice, almost everything you do can be used to liberate yourself from thoughts (i.e.: cooking). You need to be a little intentional about it, but it’s possible and very fun.
That’s today’s reflection on overthinking.
Aquí las preguntas para complementar este post en los comentarios:
- ¿Qué te ayuda a liberarte de tus pensamientos al menos por un rato?
- ¿Has intentado meditar alguna vez? (¿Cómo te ha ido?)
- ¿Recuerdas alguna época de tu vida donde «overthinkeabas» menos de lo que lo haces ahora?