No one in the history of being told to stop overthinking, stops overthinking!
If there is a phrase I am absolutely sick and tired of hearing, it is “Makena, stop thinking too much.”
It’s not like those of us who are afflicted with this situation can switch our brains off.
I am aware of the downside of thinking too much:
- It’s the quickest road to analysis paralysis
- Magnifying molehills into mountains of despair and anxiety
- Over exaggerating well-meaning comments or actions.
And my favorite of them all, jumping to conclusions, which is what I am told I am an expert at.
But lo and behold, there are benefits to overthinking, and I’m about to argue my case on behalf of all the super over analyzers out there!
Here are 4 reasons why you shouldn't feel guilty about your overthinking habit!
1. Overthinkers Are Extremely Self-Aware
I remember a few years back, my friend and I were having a drink or 5 after a long hard week.
She asked me how I managed to pull myself out of my depression.
I told her that I had to start observing as many of my thoughts as possible on a daily basis, and start challenging every assumption I would make that was wreaking havoc on the way I viewed myself.
“That is the most tiring and time consuming idea I have ever heard!” She responded with a bewildered look on her face.
But I didn’t think so.
True self-awareness comes from making a deliberate, dedicated and daily effort to self-assess.
This is where we over-thinkers shine.
We are brilliant at self-analysis, even if it may be harsh at times, but we know exactly who we are.
2. Overthinkers Are Creatives!
I don’t believe there is a creative in this world, a true creative anyway, who does not engage in ridiculous amounts of overthinking on a daily basis.
Coming up with new ideas, innovations and inventions, require an almost torturous amount of mental scrutiny.
As we have seen, the most obsessive creatives in the world have changed every aspect of the way we live our lives in every aspect, from entertainment to business to technology.
If you thought that this incredible work did not come from nights of analysis paralysis, obsessively worrying about every detail, bouts of seeking perfection in every process, then you’d be wrong.
3. Overthinking Can Solve Problems
Somewhere in all the madness of thinking ourselves into the ground, we manage to solve incredibly difficult and complex problems.
I tend to think myself into a tizzy.
I look into every possibility, every disadvantage, every emotion involved in why the problem is a problem, until quite honestly, I cannot think anymore.
I feel like I’ve beaten my knuckles into the proverbial wall! Tired and beaten, I focus on something else, or I sleep…
…and somewhere in that silence, that new energy, the solution emerges!
I really believe it has everything to do with stewing inside the discomfort and anxiety of a problem, dissecting it and studying every part that eventually, the solution emerges.
But I do have to say, the solution never resides where the problem is, that’s why it is really important to let go at a certain point and let the solution come to you.
4. Overthinkers Enjoy Solitude
My mother told me I was the total opposite from my sister as a toddler.
I was happy to sit by myself with my blocks and toys, exploring them for hours, and all I really cared about was getting fed and cleaned.
If you’re an overthinker like me, then 99% of the time you enjoy your company.
You love living in the imagination of your thoughts and feelings.
You are constantly exploring the way you see yourself and the world, and this requires a lot of “me-time”.
Sometimes it can be problematic.
Spending too much time with yourself, especially when you are not in the healthiest frame of mind, can be quite harmful.
So as a self-professed overthinker, who is also acutely self-aware, it is important to know when you need a support system, because you cannot do it all alone.
Of course, overthinking has its downside, just the same way leaning towards too much of a good or a bad thing has its damaging effects.
Here’s where balance comes in, but writing overthinking off as a downright destructive behavior is simply not the way to go, not to me anyway.
It is important to channel it in healthy ways, and always get a second or third opinion from people you trust and respect.
Better yet, working within a team of individuals that really inspire and add value to what you are doing can turn overthinking into a brainstorming dream!
So here’s to the overthinkers! We make the world go round.