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Science Says This is What Happens to You When You Overthink Everything

Dangers of being an overthinker

  • It increases your chances of mental illness. And as your mental health declines, your tendency to ruminate increases.
  • It interferes with problem-solving. It will cause you to dwell on the problem rather than look for solutions.
  • It disturbs your sleep. You'll be more likely to toss and turn for hours before you drift off.

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Science Says This is What Happens to You When You Overthink Everything

Science Says This is What Happens to You When You Overthink Everything

https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/science-says-this-is-what-happens-when-you-overthink-things.html

inc.com

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Overthinkers

Chronic overthinkers rehash conversations they had yesterday, second-guess every decision they make and imagine disastrous outcomes all day every day.

Thinking too much prevents the...

Destructive thought patterns

Overthinking often involves two destructive thought patterns--ruminating and incessant worrying.

  • Ruminating involves dwelling on the past. "I should have stayed at my last job. I would be happier than I am now.""My parents didn't teach me how to be confident. My insecurities have always held me back."
  • Persistent worrying involves negative predictions about the future. "I'm going to embarrass myself tomorrow when I give that presentation. I know I'm going to forget everything I'm supposed to say."
Notice when you're stuck in your head

Overthinking can become such a habit that you don't even recognize when you're doing it. Practice paying attention.

When you're overthinking past or future events, acknowledge that your thoughts aren't productive. Thinking is only helpful when it leads to positive action.

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You get to know yourself

When you're by yourself, you make choices without outside influences. Making choices on your own will help you develop better insight into who you are as a person.

Improve your relationships

Spending time with friends, family and colleagues contributes to a "we vs. them" mentality. 

Spending time alone breaks down those barriers. Studies show you'll develop more compassion for other people when you set aside time for solitude.

Solitude boosts creativity and productivity

There's a reason artists, musicians, and authors seek solitude when they want to create something. Studies confirm that being alone often fosters creativity.

In addition to boosting creativity, solitude also skyrockets productivity

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Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle
  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day;
  • Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends;
  • Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon;
Melatonin

Is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. 

Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light, making you more alert. 

However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm

Influence exposure to ligh

During the day:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. 
  • Spend more time outside during daylight. 
  • Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Say no to late-night television.
  • Don’t read with backlit devices. 
  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.
  • Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.

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