Have you ever thought about how an amazing tool your brain is? 

Unless it's not when it starts working against you. As a human, you are gifted with a fantastic intelligence superior to any other being on this planet that has powered everything around you (literature, medicine, electronics, architecture, technology). But your brain can also stop being a utility and turn against you. Sometimes it just takes away your energy and produces unnecessary emotions and thoughts. It becomes your worst enemy.

Lately, more and more people state that their brains are betraying them, and they end up having a pesky habit that wastes their time and affects their health. Why does your brain turn into a self-destructive mechanism? Can you do something to stop it?

Dr. Jeffrey Huttman, a licensed psychologist, states that overthinking is the process of continually analyzing and anguishing over your emotions and thoughts. It often includes rumination, which means that you feel mentally stuck in your past decisions or actions. 

Overthinking is a common habit in people, and it's often triggered by self-esteem problems, self-doubt, anxiety, and traumatic experiences.  Dr. Jeffrey Huttman  states that people with a Type A personality are competitive, ambitious, and intense, while people with Type B personalities are reactive, less frantic, and more relaxed. As you can guess, individuals with type A personality are more likely to overthink. 

If you have this type of personality, you may feel like it's a lost cause to try to stop overthinking because you lost control over your emotions and thoughts a long time ago. But it would help if you controlled your toxic habit of questioning everything. 

The Psychology Behind Chronic Overthinking – And How to Get Rid of This Toxic Habit The Psychology Behind Chronic Overthinking – And How to Get Rid of This Toxic Habit Photo: Unsplash

Why?

Overthinking triggers anxiety

How can this happen? You need to understand how your thoughts function. Your thoughts cause emotions, and it's just a step from feeling excited, happy, lonely, afraid or angry, to overthinking everything and engaging in self-destructive behavior. 

When overthinking, you create a million scenarios in your mind, starting from a simple thought, and in this tornado, it's easy to get plagued with negative emotions. As most overthinkers, you're worried about the future and forget to live the present. But this much anxiety can leave you mentally exhausted and miserable. If you don't stop your brain from going places, you'll end up feeling always depressed, worried, and exhausted because your emotions and thoughts will cage you. 

At its worst, anxiety can cause suicidal intentions, where you think the only way to escape this dreadful life is to kill yourself. 

Overthinking makes you depressed

If anxiety makes you stress yourself over the future, depression comes from worrying about the past. 

Everyone regrets what they did at a particular moment in the past, but when you overthink a situation, you can end up depressed. Depression, like all other mental health issues, can have many triggers, but it often comes from your brain thinking about the past repeatedly and making you feel miserable. You carry a too heavy bag of experiences and think too much about what could have happened. 

You need to understand that you cannot alter your past no matter what you do now, and the only way to move on and  stop overthinking and punishing yourself  is to learn from those experiences and grow into a better person. Just like anxiety, depression can also threaten your life. 

Overthinking keeps you awake at night

That moment when your eyes are burning from how exhausted you are, but your active mind prevents you from falling asleep is the most dreadful of them all. Your body is tired, but your mind is wandering places and jumping around. 

You may try to force yourself to sleep, but you won't be able to fall into the peaceful state you long for.  Your mind can control your body. Rest comes only when you are at peace with your actions and thoughts. 

Overthinking can paralyze you

Overthinking leaves you unable to make decisions. You overanalyze a decision and end up with a list of a thousand things that can go wrong if you don't choose right, so you're too afraid to make the decision because there's a small chance for something to end up in flames. 

You want to ask someone out. They may say yes, they may say no, they may hate you, they may never talk to you again, you may feel awkward around them. But if you don't do it, there's zero chance ever to find out what they think, so you'll never succeed in your goals. 

Therefore, you need to stop overthinking. 

How?

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a cognitive state of awareness of the present and allows you to get into a mindset where you control how you process information and experiences. Practice meditation daily to develop mindfulness. At first, you may find it challenging to relax and calm down, so you can take  Sunday Scaries, which are CBD supplements known for the benefits they have in mental health issues. CBD is often used as an alternative treatment for anxiety and depression because it improves the mood and helps people control their thoughts and stress. Enroll in a yoga class to boost the effects of meditation. 

Relaxation techniques

As stated before,  there's a connection between overthinking and anxiety and depression disorders. They share many symptoms like an excessive worry about events, inability to stop your thoughts from interfering with your focus and attention, and difficulty controlling nervousness. By practicing relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, tai-chi, and yoga, you can decrease the stress hormone cortisol's secretion and lower your symptoms. Relaxation techniques can also increase melatonin's secretion, the hormone that regulates sleep patterns to help you rest at night.

Write down your thoughts

It's therapeutic to write down your thoughts and concerns. Studies show that writing helps you reduce anxiety, mental distress, and stress and improves social integration and personal resilience. By writing down the things, you're worried about, you free up space in your brain and prevent overthinking about them. Get a journal and lie down on the paper whatever emotions or thoughts that cloud your mind.