OVERTHINKING IS NOT A PROBLEM

It is common to hear “you are overthinking, let it flow” in an accusatory and demanding tone of voice, but also there are other ways that people use to say the same phrase, like for example “You are thinking too much” being the most common. However, is this such a huge problem?

Accusing someone of thinking too much is just mean and disrespectful. Because it underlines being judgmental by criticizing the other person’s personality. Actually, what it means is “you are making me feel dumb” and having to listen to you is getting tired. So basically what this attitude is saying, in many cases is “I cannot understand what you are telling, therefore, I don’t find it interesting so I am going to just change the subject”

In the case that some are telling you about a complex subject that they seem to care about but you cannot seem to find any interesting about it, please don’t go and label them with the phrase “you think too much.” Don’t just make them feel like they are just wasting their time by overthinking because it is disrespectful and it put you in a place where you denigrate their personality just because they are expressing their interest in something you don’t care about. Do not let your ego get the best of you and if the conversation is really that bad, you can always walk out of it. However, don’t forget to be respectful and excuse yourself before leaving.

There is a well-intentioned way of using the phrase but it is still wrong. For example when a good friend sees another friend using excuses, thinking anxiously or being paranoid. In this case, when the phrase “you are thinking too much” is said with compassion for the pain of a friend, what it means is “you are thinking the wrong way”. So the friend can understand that the train of thought that is using is just unhelpful for the situation. Instead of being objective, your friend is letting his or her insecurities get the best of them making them feel anxious or depressed.

So if you have someone who you care about experiencing this problem don’t just tell them “you are thinking too much” or “stop thinking about it” because again, it is disrespectful. Instead, I invite you to change your argument to “you are thinking the wrong way about it.” They are just in a place where their fears are overwhelming their thoughts. So a good friend will encourage them to think about the problem, even more, but in a different way. Suggest other perspectives on the same subject to think deeply about it.

Being a bit philosophical, it is possible to overthink?

We all know that person that is way too smart so smart and analytical so they tend to miss actual details around them just because they are trapped into their introspection, into their own imagination. So a point can be made, these people might be more interested in their thoughts than in what is going on in reality. But can we judge them, why their thought cannot be more interesting than the reality?

For instance, if someone gets lost in the idea of getting hit by a car, having an airplane crash or that they are going to be attacked by a vicious dog if they adventure outside their homes. You can tell with any remorse that they are thinking too much. But paranoid people and those situations are scarce. 

As a matter of a fact, in most social scenarios you can benefit from thinking more but only if you are thinking correctly, asking the right questions to yourself. That way “thinking more” does not mean making judgmental emphasis on other people’s motivation or being anxious or just second-guessing too much. 

Thinking more is about put some serious effort in the possibilities that are not that obvious to realize, thinking about the value of the different opinions of others and how their point of view can come across or differ from yours. And the most important, thinking more allows you to filter, to think in the undesirable effect of your words and actions on others.

I can tell by experience that people that tend to think too little are more harmful than those than think too much. You can insult people in a conversation without even realizing it just because you did not were thinking enough. When you didn’t understand a subject your friends were hinting during the conversation, porously directed to you without calling your attention; it is because you are thinking too little. When you blame an argument on someone else before contemplating their point of view and the fact that you might have contributed a great deal; it is because you are thinking shortly.

So I hope my article make you consider not to label someone with the phrase “you are overthinking,” “you think too much” or “you are giving it to much thought.” Because that attitude says more about yourself that what it says about others.

Balancing life with work; here are some personal truths

If you analyze the concept of balancing work with life it results to be an uncomfortable aspiration, for a wholesome lifestyle. Because balance is about stasis and staying in the comfort zone: happy family, kids well behaved, work doing well and then pray that everything is going to be perfect forever. Besides this way of thinking result toxic in the end because we are giving categories such as “work” is bad and “life” is good, working is a nightmare and living is a dream, we survived another day at work but instead we live our life happily. Therefore, the goal, or so we are told, is to diminish the weight of work with the pleasure of life.

However, the meaning of work is not something that we could consider as opposed to the concept of life, it is instead an important part of life as it is: family, friends, hobbies and being part of a community. Combined all these aspects of life share the good, wonderful and wholesome moments but also they share the sad ones too. And the same applies to work as well, but since we are conditioned to think in it as bad, we tend to lose sight of all the great possibilities and positivity implicit in working.

Then is logic that is going to be more positive giving up to the idea of trying to balance the unbalanced. Instead let’s treat work just the same as we do with life: by seeking the maximum benefits doing what we love. Here is what I want to say.

Please consider the next, two persons that work having exactly the same task. They appear to be gaining strength and joy in very different moments.

Let’s make the next mental exercise, think in the activities you do regularly as threads; some can be black others grey, white or even red. Then some of this threads appear to be formed by an estrange substance, with all these activities you can develop a love relationship, to say it that way: even before you do them you find that you are looking to it, while you are doing the activities times goes by quickly and after you finish you feel accomplished. These activities are red threads and the more of them you have in your life less probabilities of experiencing burnout.

In order to emulate these results with your job, you can spend a week in love of it. However, this might sound odd but what it means is just to take a regular week at work and with the help of a pad, that is going to be with you the whole week; make two columns and on top of these write “loved it” and on top of the other column “hated it.” Now during that week at any moment when you feel any of the sings of love write it in the “loved it” column and describe exactly what were you doing at that moment. But if you find yourself feeling the inverse then write it down in the “hated it” column along with the short specific details of what you were doing at the moment.

It is likely that many of your weekly activities won’t make it to the list, but since you are going to spend your week in love with your work by the end of this period you are going to see a list with plenty of activities in the “loved it” column and this activities are going to feel different to you than the rest of your work. Because they will have a different emotional value which is going to generate in you a distinctive positive feeling that is going to lift you up.

Conducted research in over nineteen countries that revealed that more than 70% of workers feel capable of modifying their job to fit their strengths better, however only 18% of workers do that so. Now your challenge is to start changing, over time, the perspective and content of your job to contain more of the things you love doing and less or any of what you hate.

Instead of thinking in categories such as “work” and “life” that we should not be trying to balance. We should be focusing in “love” and “loathe.” Then our goal should be that over time, day by day and week by week, to balance the terms of our work closer to activities we love and far from the others. And in result we are going to feel better and our colleagues too; friends are family as well because our good energy is going to be contagious.

THE LINK BETWEEN MENTAL HEALTH AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

It is well known, the good effects that physical activities have on mental health. In fact, by nature humans had evolved to adapt and overcome physical challenges. In contrast, nowadays one of the main causes of the deterioration of our cardiovascular system is a sedentary lifestyle. Because of that the world’s first threat for modern humans is heart disease. Besides preventing cardiovascular problems, physical activities are useful to attract and prevent non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and osteoporosis. Furthermore, there is a pile of evidence about how having an active lifestyle is beneficial for our brain and cognitive abilities.

It is known how school children have better academic results if they allow the time for a fitness lifestyle (Spark : The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain). Besides, there is proof of how regular physical activities in the mid-age populations can reduce the risk of dementia. In fact, exercises is a well-known treatment for type 2 diabetes which is also related to Alzheimer´s disease and the decrements of brain functions.

Haven, not you feel that satisfaction and plenitude after a jogging session? And these feelings are even more prominent those days when you feel down and stressed. The reason behind that is the impact of physical activities on your mental health. There is a stunning amount of evidence that supports this statement. And because of that many scientists are starting to believe that exercise should be used as a tool by psychologists in their treatments.

A healthy mind healthy body

Symptoms of depression and anxiety can be controlled by acquiring the habit of regularly doing physical activities this is something known for years. Furthermore, any type of exercise but especially the one that we particularly enjoy the most, certainly make us feel better almost immediately. And by helping us with our mood it also eases the particular symptoms of anxiety and depression. Actually, experimental studies confirm that the effect of physical activities is closely related to the effect of antidepressants in the body.

Besides if you keep exercising, in the long run, it can help to prevent anxiety and depression from reappearing in your life. In the expert’s opinions that have worked with a patient that presented major depressive disorders. They demonstrated how important it is to regularly exercise for treating depression but not only that; after one year of regular physical activities, the patient showed a level of depression lower than those less active patients. Many of them conclude that an active background can set the pace in the brain on how to respond to future stressful situations such as feeling as “failure” or “social defeat.” Specialist in psychology and anxiety treatments also advocate that regular exercise can also help to prevent panic attacks on sensitive patients.

How should you exercise?

 There are two main types of exercises and both aerobic and strength are equally good for treating the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is not a brainer running, jumping, playing a sport or lifting weights is going to have a positive effect in your life. However, simple activities like walking around your neighborhood, washing your car and cleaning your house will also have a positive impact on your emotions.

Overall any exercise that can get your heart moving can be good. The idea behind finding an activity you can relate with is because it is more likely for you to keep doing it if is enjoyable. And because of that, all the benefit for your health will last in the time. Because people who practice, on a regular basis, activities of any intensity are less likely to have symptoms of depression.

How does it work?

All the gamma of positive effects that doing exercise has on mental health can be explained, shortly, by a few theories:

1.            It can distract you: from low impact activities like yoga to some more demanding exercises like weight-lifting. It seems to have a powerful effect of just distracting us from our problem. Because of that, our mind can have the time to learn new healthy habits.

2.            Confidence boost: Developing habits towards a goal to then meet all your objectives can be really refreshing and it can improve your self-esteem.

3.            You will be more social: Exercise it also means connecting with other people, there is always someone willing to help you or at least someone with fitness goals alike yours; the mutual support can be beneficial for your mental health.

4.            The good hormones: it is known that physical activities can release noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin in the bloodstream. These hormones are usually on a shortage of someone that suffers from depression or anxiety. Besides exercise can activate the release of endorphin which reduces pain in our bodies and gives us a sensation of serenity and calm.

Final thoughts

Training, exercising or any other kind of physical activity has an important role as an effective, simple and cheap therapy for depression and anxiety. Since it appears to be a tendency, in our society, for people to go on a sedentary path and with that an ever-increasing rate of depressive and anxious individuals. That is why we should really be giving serious consideration to the fact that our society can have enormous benefit from embracing a fitness lifestyle.

In order to be accepted as a therapeutic tool which also includes medications and psychological therapy. People should take into account that there are individual considerations for every particular case.

There is not a necessity to set ambitious goals for our long-term training or active lifestyle. Instead, we should focus into enjoying the ride and appreciating the journey, the control of the cholesterol in blood, self-gratification and mood improvement. Maybe these reasons will motivate you to try it.