Have you heard of overthinking disorder? It’s a relatively new term that’s used to describe someone who has problems with chronic worrying. It’s normal for you to get obsessive thoughts and panic over certain situations, as you’re only human.
It becomes a disorder and a severe problem when it starts to consume you. Worry and anxiety can destroy your life if you allow it. Your genetics play a big part in how you deal with troubles; some folks are more predisposed to it than others.
Regardless of your lineage, developing healthy coping skills is essential to get you through these moments of intense fear. An overthinking disorder isn’t found in the DSM-5 or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders but falls under anxiety disorders. The same part of your brain that causes you to overthink is the same region that will cause you stress and anxiety, which is the hypothalamus.
Causes of Chronic Overthinking
You might be an overthinker for many reasons, some of which are hard to manage. If you have an anxiety disorder and feel stressed out all the time, you should know that you’re not alone.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, more than forty million adults in this country suffer. Here are some reasons you’re constantly worrying and ways to fix it.
1. You’re a Perfectionist
Throughout your life, you’ve picked up habits and tendencies that are both good and bad. Some folks want everything to be perfect, which is an unrealistic expectation that will only cause you great stress. Wanting perfection shows control issues, and there’s always a more profound reason under the surface.
People who feel they need to be in control often fear what others might think of them. It’s usually found that these folks have low self-esteem and often feel inferior. They might compare themselves to others, making it easy to get into overthinking traps.
You must set realistic goals for yourself and those around you. High standards are okay, but you must realize that you can never achieve perfectionism. Learn to embrace your uniqueness and stop looking at your mistakes as failures. Instead, look at them as a chance to learn and grow.
2. You Have a Hard Time Making Decisions
Do you have problems making decisions? Even facing the jelly aisle at the grocery store might be a dilemma, as so many choices feel overwhelming. Some folks become paralyzed when it comes to deciding things.
If you’re constantly finding that even simple decisions are unbearable, it’s probably because you’re overthinking the situation. You’re spending too much time focusing on it, and it will cause stress and anxiety. When your mind is preoccupied with unnecessary things, you can’t be present for your job or family.
Make a pro and con list before making significant decisions. Seeing things in written form can ease your mind that you’re making the right choice. Just take a chance when it comes to simple things like choosing that jelly. The worst that could happen is you don’t like it and must buy another one.
3. Chronic Overthinking Comes From Living in the Past
Have you ever heard the term “worrywart”? It comes from a popular comic strip in the 1920s. Cartoonist J.R. Williams coined the term to describe his characters, who often worry unnecessarily about things. While it was humorous in comics, it can be problematic to have chronic worrying.
You won’t find anything but heartbreak when you’re always looking in the rear-view mirror. Sure, some good things happened in the past, but humans don’t tend to dwell on the good stuff. Worrying constantly can take a toll on your body, mind, and spirit, and there’s no need to focus on things you don’t have the power to change.
When thoughts of past mistakes come creeping back to haunt you, remind yourself of all the good things. Counteract negative reflections with positive ones. With practice, you can program your brain to stop dwelling on negativity.
4. You’re Always Thinking of What Could Happen
Assume your daughter had an accident on her bike. Sadly, she broke her arm and had to be treated at the local ER. While you’re glad it was nothing too serious, your mind can’t help but wonder what could have happened to her.
You have flashes of her hitting her head and being rushed to the hospital unconscious. Overthinking a situation is often worrying about things that could have been. These thoughts are common in anxiety disorder, especially envisioning accidents while driving down the road that never happens. The stress from anticipatory events can cripple you.
Focus on the moment. Stop thinking about what might have happened and focus on the here and now. When you have these intrusive thoughts, remind yourself that it’s just your anxiety talking and that everything is okay.
5. Your Stress Levels Are Already Elevated
There are times in your life that are more stressful than others. If you’ve noticed that you’ve been overthinking a lot lately, it can be due to higher-than-normal stress and anxiety. When you’re anxious, your body responds to fear.
You may be concerned about your health, finances, or relationships with your partner. There are 101 things to worry about daily, and a heightened state of your nerves can make you more apt to overthink.
Chronic worrying and overthinking can cause many issues in your body. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, chronic stress can cause you to have high blood pressure, panic attacks, weight gain, chest pains, and weakened immunity. Effective coping mechanisms like journaling, walking in nature, and meditation can help to bring your stress to an acceptable level.
6. You Have Limiting Beliefs
Self-doubt is a common problem that runs parallel with a lack of self-confidence. There are many reasons your esteem might not be where it should be, and it often has a lot to do with your past. If you’ve had a traumatic childhood or been treated horribly in a romantic relationship, it leaves wounds that never entirely heal.
If you don’t believe that you’re worthy of good things happening to you, you limit your abilities greatly. Limiting beliefs can stop you from getting the job you deserve or the partner you’ve always wanted. According to a study published on PLOS One, people who tend to focus on the negative aspects of their life are more apt to have mental health issues than those that let things go.
You need to focus on all your beautiful qualities. Write a list of all the things you’ve overcome in life. Did you get a degree, land a good job, and have beautiful children?
All of this is something to be proud of and celebrate. When you focus on the positive aspects, you have little time to ruminate on negativity.
7. Chronic Overthinking Is a Learned Behavior Pattern
It’s ironic how much of your actions are learned from childhood. If your parents were natural worrywarts, it might be something you picked up from them. Fear can keep you contained in prison without bars.
Consider Jenna. She was a meticulous lady who ran her life by a strict schedule. She had to be up each day and hit the pavement for a run by 6 am. One day when she found out she inherited a farm and millions of dollars, the thought of changing her lifestyle and making any alterations terrified her.
She refused the inheritance, leaving it all to her brother. Years passed, and all her friends and family moved on to bigger and better things. However, Jenna was still stuck in the same monotonous schedule.
She had many great opportunities, but Jenna passed on them because she was too afraid to step out of her comfort zone. Overthinking and worrying cost her millions and her family’s farm. How different would her life be if she took the money and a chance on herself?
Learned behaviors can be overcome by replacing them with healthier habits. You need to reset your mind. If your fears keep you from living a well-rounded life, it’s time to make alterations. You have the power to change your story, but it all begins by starting to let go.
Final Thoughts on Chronic Worrying and Overthinking
When absolute resistance and overthinking dominate your life, it indicates an inner turmoil that needs to be addressed. Counseling is a good outlet that can help you deal with these issues so that you can process them and move on. Think of your life as a vehicle that runs on positivity. How far will you go if you constantly fill your tank with negativity and worry?