T H E M I N D ​M A K E O V E R. O R G By Brandie Janay.

Overthinking: The Worst Controlling Behavior

MAY 7, 2021 | 4 MINS

Written By Brandie Janay Sanders

At some point, we have all spent way too long dwelling on something or someone. The mind is powerful and sometimes if we don’t pay enough attention it can cause us to have a very distorted view of ourselves and others. There are several tips and words of advice on how to prevent, minimize or handle overthinking. I think most of those things while helpful frankly don’t seem to provide the most needed relief from the vicious cycle of our own thoughts. It wasn’t until one day I was sharing my thoughts with someone who in turn told me this; “even enjoy anything because you’re always thinking of the worst possible outcome.” These words were a huge eye-opener to me. Perhaps more than any self-help lines or words of advice I had heard before. These were helpful because they forced me to see and acknowledge that most of my overthinking came from a place of defeat. 

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Overthinking is a responsive behavior. 

It’s our subconscious way of trying to control a situation.

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I think the important question we need to ask ourselves is why do I overthink? Instead of focusing so much on how to control it. Overthinking is a responsive behavior. It’s our subconscious way of trying to control a situation. It is actually in m opinion the worst type of controlling behavior there is. We are all creating a storybook for our lives. The question is does​ your story empower you or defeat you? Are we trying to avoid a negative outcome so much that we don’t even give ourselves the opportunity to enjoy a positive one? At some point, we have all spent way too long dwelling on something or someone. The mind is powerful and sometimes if we don’t pay enough attention it can cause us to have a very distorted view of ourselves and others. There are several tips and words of advice on how to prevent, minimize or handle overthinking. I think most of those things while helpful frankly don’t seem to provide the most needed relief from the vicious cycle of our own thoughts. It wasn’t until one day I was sharing my thoughts with a friend who in turn asked me this; “how can you ever enjoy anything , If you’re always thinking of the worst possible outcome?” These words were a huge eye-opener to me. Perhaps more than any self-help lines or words of advice I had heard before. These were helpful because they forced me to see and acknowledge that most of my overthinking came from a place of defeat.


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Release your past experiences. 

How can you enjoy anything,  if you're always 

trying to avoid duplicating a painful past experience?

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Release your past experiences. I previously wrote about release being a preferred way of speaking about moving on from things. I think telling someone to “let it go” is much like telling them to “get over it.” It basically encouraging a person to navigate something quickly that they don’t even fully understand. Release, however, is in a sense a way to allow the negative experiences that have impacted us to no longer consume us. Any and everything traumatic never really leaves us untouched, but it can leave us unbothered. Most of the time overthinking is due to placing too much focus on past experiences. The more focus and attention we give to past experiences, the more they continue to influence our current thoughts and behavior. There are times I had to check myself for my perceptions about others. I made it a habit to ask myself; am I projecting my feelings about what someone else did onto my current feelings about this persons’ thoughts words or actions. 99% of the time the answer was yes.


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The uncomfortable truth that we all play a part in each and everyone one of our experiences, even the bad ones that we feel we had no fault in. If you can’t acknowledge that fact, or make peace with others who may have wronged you the more likely it is that those negative experiences will continue to influence your future dealings with others.

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One of the most significant ways to control your thoughts is to change your story. I am always cautious of people who talk a lot about the ones who they feel have wronged them. To me the more energy you give to someone by pointing the finger, the less accountability you have for yourself. Yes, the uncomfortable truth that we all play a part in each and everyone one of our experiences, even the bad ones that we feel we had no fault in. If you can’t acknowledge that fact, or make peace with others who may have wronged you the more likely it is that those negative experiences will continue to influence your future dealings with others. Sometimes by way of overthinking or overanalyzing the sincerity of those who have no ill intentions. Make sure you’re asking the right questions. Why do I overthink is a great start, but it’s the follow-up questions that really influence how we alter this controlling behavior and avoid further ruminating thoughts. Focus on finding answers within yourself. Instead of simply concluding your overthinking is linked to the actions of someone else, Ask yourself what are you projecting to attract such negativity? Remember, we can only change ourselves. Finding ways to make changes to our own behavior as opposed to pointing the finger gives us a solid sense of direction on how to improve our lives.


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Embrace your inner child. 

Sometimes it's okay to not think before you act. 

Yes, consider the reprecautions of your actions, but don’t fear them.

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Embrace your inner child. How many times can you recall as a kid being told to “think before you act.” While it is still important to put some thought into your actions before you do them, I think our adult minds have taken that way too far. Balance is key and being present is key. Yes, consider the reprecautions of your actions, but don’t fear them. Embrace the inner child in you that was often so eager to experience something new you didn’t even consider the possibility of being disappointed in the experience. Overthinking is a control issue. Plain and simple, overthinking is based on the need to control. For a somewhat organized, structured individual, the parts of our lives we cannot plan or prepare for causes us can cause a great deal of anxiety. Overthinking is an effort to control an outcome and avoid a messy experience. For me, this is my biggest struggle. I am constantly working to find the balance between taking control of my life and not letting my life control me.

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