8 Things We Think About Too Much (365 Days of Spirited Living — DAY 338)
“Don’t get too deep; it leads to over thinking and over thinking leads to problems that doesn’t even exist in the first place.”
— Jayson Engay
Thinking is good — sometimes. We get into trouble, however, when we think way more than we should. Overthinking does not give us any more power over the things we cannot control nor does it make some of our worst fears go away. In fact, overthinking is largely a test of how much reality we can handle. There is plenty of space in our minds to create a hurricane just to blow out a campfire. But if you’re stressing over things such as happiness or where you’re supposed to be in life, you are more than likely thinking wrong and that wrong thinking is keeping you stuck. Here are 8 things we think about way too much:
1. Wondering about your place in the world.
Many times, people think that they have to spend a lot of time contemplating what they want to do in life before they actually start doing it. There is some thinking involved because you don’t want to waste your life doing a bunch of things you’re not passionate about. However, you will find your place in the world much faster if you start doing what you think you’re good at right now. The only place you belong is where you are now. If you’re looking to change places, the only place you belong is where you are going. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that everyone else’s place is where you belong. Ultimately, you will know when you’re standing in your place in the world deep down on the inside.
2. Trying to figure out if you’re happy or not.
Happiness is not really a thing that should be up for discussion. If you are not happy, then you are the only person who can make yourself happy. If you are happy, then you are the only person who can maintain that happiness. Trying to figure out if you’re happy or not is a waste of mental energy. Sometimes, you have to choose to enjoy life and let yourself feel happy. Happiness is not a destination; it’s the journey. It is making the decision to truly live the messy and beautiful, gloriously flawed process called life.
3. Looking for greater spiritual or psychological meaning behind everything.
There is nothing so profoundly deep behind you getting a cup of coffee every morning at the same time at the same coffee shop and the same barista takes your order. I really do think that there are some things we simply aren’t supposed to know. Part of the joy of living is that we don’t have to be stressed out with the knowledge of everything. At the end of the day, you need to be able to move forward even if you don’t have all the answers and even if the path before you seems rather dim or completely dark. If something doesn’t happen, there is most often a reason; sometimes there is no reason at all, and you don’t have to know why. Enjoy the peace that comes with some things remaining a mystery.
4. The not-so-good decision you made way back when.
We all make decisions we’re not very proud of at one point or another in our lives. Dwelling on the bad choice you made way back when will not change anything now. Trying to figure out why you made that decision or why you didn’t make another decision will not change anything either. Here is the thing that will change: You choosing to use your time and energy to make better decisions now and in the future. Ultimately, it all boils down to messing up, getting up, and doing better.
5. Rehashing every little reason something didn’t work out.
Let’s be honest, some things that we really wanted to work out simply didn’t. Again, there can be a plethora of reasons that something or someone didn’t work the way we thought it should. But wasting your emotional and mental energy and precious time rehashing every little detail of “why this” or “if this” or “shouldn’t this have” is seriously not going to get you anywhere. Some things are in the past for a reason and they truly don’t matter anymore. There is a time for deep reflection and then there is a time for growing up and moving on. Some of us get the deep reflection part, but we never get around to the growing up and moving on part. Constantly thinking about “why” will most likely sink you into sadness and depression that can be difficult to recover from.
6. Worrying about your looks at every given moment.
You should look decent when you step out the house, and even when you’re in the house. However, the way in which people perceive you is usually just a figment of their imagination. Second, no one is really paying as much attention to you as you are paying to yourself. People are too busy worried about how they appear. Third if someone does think about what you have on or how you look for a hot second it is never as deep as you think. Fourth, if someone else does think anything about how you look, they will most likely never tell you. Finally, your view of how other people view you (metaperception) is often a faulty mischaracterization and judgment.
7. What you allow people to see about your life on social media.
Unfortunately, we tend to blame social media for many things — causing depression, stress, family break-ups, ending friendships, jealousy, bullying. You name it. Social media is probably behind it. In reality, however, social media is not the culprit. Social media only says about you what you allow it to reveal. For me, the people who don’t post up pictures of everything they’re doing at every moment of the day are probably the ones actually living their lives and doing something meaningful. Generally, people are good for making things up, but when you give them all the materials, well, then, there’s nothing to make up.
8. Minor social dysfunctions that don’t have any meaning.
Sometimes as human beings, we tend to read too much into things. A friend didn’t return our text in two minutes. A complete stranger didn’t hold the door open even though you were right behind him. Your co-worker rushes by you in the morning with saying hello. And what do we do? We immediately start to think, ‘he doesn’t like me’, ‘something’s wrong with me’, ‘i can’t believe he was so ungentlemanly’, ‘what’s her problem’. All these thoughts creep into our minds and the other person’s actions mean nothing at all. Sometimes people are simply in rush (Not everyone has learned the art of slowing down). Sometimes, a friend is busy and can’t talk or hang out. Sometimes a total stranger might be stressed out in his own life and temporarily forgets his manners. Minor social dysfunctions have a tendency to push us into full-blown panic mode when in reality they mean absolutely nothing at all.
“We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.”
— Anthony Hopkins