Why Overthinking Is The Root Of All Your Problems

by Lauren Martin

You know when someone says something that resonates with you to your very core? It can be a passing comment, a token of advice or just a statement, but it stays with you long past that person's presence? Well, someone once told me in a state of my own sorrow and agony that, "the only thing that makes it a thing is that you keep thinking about it." It was a simple phrase, one that doesn't seem to have much weight to it, but it changed everything for me.

That phrase is one of those special tokens of wisdom that went on to define the way I looked at life and kept my sanity. To this day, I  find myself repeating it whenever something goes wrong, whenever my mind has a moment to delve into the back hole of regrets and disappointments.

Whenever I find myself consciously drifting into a state of self hatred and utter despair, I remember this phrase and repeat it like a tribal chant until the truth of it expels everything else. The moment I tell myself that it's only my thoughts that are making me upset, everything gets better. It's like telling yourself the dark is merely the same room without light. Through doing this, I've realized that the core of all my problems, all my heartache, all my misery is simply rooted in my own thoughts. There's nothing there making me relive these past nightmares or remember unwanted memories except myself.

It's not until you are older and full of regrets, unwanted memories and painful experiences that you realize your greatest enemy is your mind and it's ability to conjure up the past. Why is it that when you're alone, usually in the darkest hours of your restlessness, that your mind decides to wander to those untouched corners of your mind?

They say that the worst part of solitary confinement is being alone with your thoughts, with no distractions, nothing to keep you from entering the dark spaces of your mind, the places you've swept the garbage and words you never want to hear again. It's that one restless night that makes you want to end it all when your realize that there is nothing more dangerous than being alone with your thoughts. For now that I am older and full of my fair share of regrets, I understand that being left alone to rummage through those dark corners of your mind is worse than any physical pain.

"Some of the greatest battles will be fought within the silent chambers of your own soul."-Ezra Taft Benson

But what can you do? How do you live with all the clutter that sits, waiting to be opened up and remembered? I've come to realize that life is about moving past your regrets and failures. It's about moving forward, away from the bullsh*t. It's about finding space to live without letting the negativity of the world invade. Sadly, being happy is about learning how to live with the pain and that starts with learning how to control your thoughts. Because your thoughts are your biggest enemy. It's not the words of others that bring us down, but how we let those words affect us.

Most of our pain comes from how we churn the negativity over and over again in our minds, until it envelops our very being. It's the incessant harping of those words that leads to depression, to the self loathing that comes to consume our very being.  When you peel away all your insecurities, fears and sadness, you can find that most of it is a product of your imagination. I'm not saying that your fears are made up, but they are only enhanced by your mind's ability to grow them into bigger deals than they should be.

“The older you get, the more you understand how your conscience works. The biggest and only critic lives in your perception of people’s perception of you rather than people’s perception of you.” -Criss Jami

As you continue through life, you will continue to encounter bad situations, bad people and all around bad feelings. You will have regrets, resentments and reasons to just give up on everything. You will realize that it's a lot more work to be happy than it is to be sad. Because it's easy to be sad. The people who survive and thrive through life are the ones who found coping mechanisms. Writers use their pain to create works of literature. Musicians use the therapy of notes to keep away the dark shadows of their misery. For everyone, it's about finding a distraction from the pain, putting it somewhere else.

You lost part of your existence in the war against yourself. -Troye Sivan

You must learn to stop overthinking. It's the silent enemy that will slowly kill you, chipping away at every shred of happiness you come across. overthinking will keep you from yourself and those around you as you bask in a pool of regret and self-loathing. You must remember to tell yourself, "the only thing that makes it a thing is that you keep thinking about it," because it's the truth, and even if it's not true, there's nothing you can do about it now.

It Creates Problems That Aren't There Anymore

Worrying about what someone thinks of you or how your actions were perceived will only keep you from being the person you're supposed to become. Most of the time, it's your mind that creates the problems that weren't there to begin with. Your mind has the ability to go places that should have never been entered to begin with, and it's your job to keep things in perspective.

There Is Nothing That Can Be Done Now

What's the point of wasting all your time and energy thinking about something that can't be changed? What happened yesterday, or last week, or last year is over. There is nothing that can be changed now, so worrying about it is trying to fight a losing battle. Once you've accepted that nothing can be done and that life goes on, you will be free. Worrying about something that can't be changed is just a waste of your time, energy and happiness.

It Keeps You From Living In The Present

When you're constantly thinking, worrying and analyzing, you aren't in the moment. You are taken out of the moment and instead put in a place of suffering. What good does staying in the past do? Where can you go from these thoughts? Rather than worrying about the mistakes of yesterday, concentrate on making up for them today.

Life is simple, stop overthinking it.

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