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Overthinking is a cognitive process where an individual excessively dwells on or analyzes a particular thought, problem, or situation. It involves repeatedly going over the same thoughts, often in a negative or unproductive manner, and can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and mental exhaustion.

Dr. Damanjit Kaur (MD Psychiatry)

How it affects an individual:

-Increased stress and anxiety: Overthinking tends to magnify problems and potential negative outcomes, leading to heightened stress and anxiety levels. This can have a significant impact on an individual's mental and emotional well-being.

-Difficulty in decision-making: Constantly analyzing and second-guessing oneself can make it challenging to make decisions, as the fear of making the wrong choice becomes overwhelming.

-Reduced productivity: Overthinking consumes mental energy and can result in decreased focus and productivity, as the mind becomes preoccupied with unnecessary thoughts and worries.

-Strained relationships: Overthinking can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations in personal relationships, as individuals may read too much into situations or comments, leading to unnecessary conflicts.

-Sleep disturbances: Overactive thinking can make it difficult to switch off the mind, causing insomnia and sleep-related issues.

Ways to deal with overthinking:

-Mindfulness and meditation: Practice mindfulness techniques and meditation to become more aware of your thoughts without judgment. This helps you break the cycle of rumination and bring your focus back to the present moment.

-Challenge negative thoughts: When you catch yourself overthinking and engaging in negative thought patterns, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself if they are based on facts or assumptions. Often, we overthink about things that are unlikely to happen or have no evidence to support them.

-Set aside "worry time": Designate a specific time of the day to worry or think about your concerns. This way, you can contain overthinking to a particular time frame rather than letting it dominate your entire day.

-Engage in physical activities: Exercise and physical activities can help reduce stress and improve mood by releasing endorphins, which are natural mood boosters.

-Talk it out: Share your thoughts and concerns with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist. Verbalizing your thoughts can help you gain perspective and receive support.

-Limit information intake: Sometimes, overthinking is triggered by excessive exposure to news, social media, or other external stimuli. Taking breaks from information overload can be beneficial.

-consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor who can provide personalized guidance and support.

Ms. Shefali Bhardwaj

Sr. Psychologist

Faith Hospital, Chandigarh

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