Hi. My name is Billie, and I’m an overthinker. I am overthinking the past and worrying about the future. Every.Minute.of.Everyday.
Isn’t this the way? Admitting the problem is the first step.
Joking aside, and I wasn’t really joking, I do overthink. My brain never seems to stop running at full speed. To my knowledge, I have done this for as long as I can remember. A number of websites explain the symptoms of overthinking, here and here, for example, but some of the most common symptoms:
- Having sleep difficulties because your brain won’t shut off.
- Asking yourself “what if” questions.
- Replaying conversations in your head.
- Finding meaning in EVERYTHING.
- Having regular headaches.
- Being unable to relax.
Yes, all of those define me, but the bolded ones are particularly problematic. (However, “finding meaning in everything,” was a great help in graduate school.) Being unable to relax and having sleep difficulties are the most troubling. I’m tired all the time because I don’t sleep very soundly.
I have tried so many things to help me relax and sleep:
- drinking wine before bed
- having a predictable bedtime
- taking a shower before bed
- getting exercise
- eating dinner earlier rather than later
- turning off the TV or any handheld devices
Those things don’t work because my brain runs 900 miles an hour. Typically, though, if I can limit sensory input before I go to bed, my overthinking seems to slow. So, I usually spend 30 minutes or an hour in my bedroom, the television turned off. I might read. I might just sit there and play with my dog. But I do limit the noises infiltrating my headspace. This has been the only thing that really helps.
Are you an overthinker? What do you do to help yourself stop (over)thinking? Please leave comments below.