parenting · running

Over thinking…is it a bad thing?

Our minds are wonderful weird places aren’t they?

I’m sure I’m not alone when I tell you I’m a huge over thinker. It’s something I’m very aware of and most of the time I can keep in check. However, I know I’m particularly prone to over thinking when I’m over tired.

I read somewhere that over thinking is the art of creating problems that aren’t even there. I have to say I think this is pretty accurate.

I know I have a habit of turning things over in my mind expecting the worst. I guess the flip side is that 9 times out of 10 it’s not as bad as I think it’s going to be.

It’s so easy to over think. It’s something that, for me, has become exacerbated by having children. I worry about whether they are OK, whether they  are developing as they should be, whether the way I react to things will feed into how they manage their emotions as they get older etc.

As a quick example; the wee one fell off climbing frame in the park one time and now I’m prone to over thinking every time he goes on. I’ve become the helicopter parent that I didn’t want to be. What I need to remember is that he’s a natural born risk taker (anyone else’s second born the same?). I’m learning to try to step back and let him explore the world around him and, as long as he’s not in real danger, make mistakes so that he can learn from them rather than me preventing them from happening in the first place.

I need to learn to stop worrying about what can go wrong, and get excited about what can go right.

George Ezra says in his sing Pretty Shining People:
“Why why, what a terrible time to be alive
If you’re prone to overthinking and
Why why, what a terrible time to be alive
If you’re prone to second guessing”

But I guess the big question is…is over thinking a bad thing?

If it’s kept under control I don’t think it is. For me, it means that I’m normally prepared for most eventualities.

Awareness is the beginning of change. Once you’re aware that you’re over thinking then it’s easier to make an effort to focus on what you’re thinking about. That way you can work out whether it’s something you can proactively do something about or whether you need to let it go and focus on something else. That way you’re not wasting all that energy which could be positively put elsewhere.  That’s not to say that I manage this every time I over think.

I find running is really helpful in managing my over thinking as it gives me the head space to think more clearly. It either helps me focus on how to resolve what I’m over thinking about as it’s normally something that feels like a problem. Alternatively, I can actively distract myself by concentrating on the run if I’m over thinking about something that is out of my control.

I’m still a work in progress but I’m definitely trying to manage my over thinking in a practical way.

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