“My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.” -Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
Magical Thinking is a psychological theory in which the statement “if you think it, it will occur” rings true. There are a number of reasons that psychologists believe this theory, but I won’t really go into any of them today. Instead, I’d like to examine the effects of overthinking on our lives and actions.
A few years ago, I went ice skating with a group of friends. It was only my second time on the ice and I was terrified of falling and getting my fingers sliced off by the skates of a passer by.
A friend told me to “feign confidence” and “skate like I’ve done it a million times before” so that’s exactly what I did. Miraculously, I didn’t fall once.
When I’m about to go up to do a presentation, all I can think about is the worst possible outcomes. This creates a terrible feeling of anxiety: racing heart, sweaty palms, shallow breath, the works.
But if I were to apply the same “feign confidence” mentality to presenting a project, would it ease my mind? Psychology seems to think so.
Overthinking is a form of worrying, and produces the same effects: anxiety, depression, a feeling of obsession with a particular issue. The mind is a powerful tool that can completely take over us if left to its own devices. Our thoughts are not us.
Learn to take back control by, first, admitting that you do overthink. No problem can be solved if you refuse to acknowledge its existence. Second, try some of these methods:
l Meditation (helps calm nerves and learn control)
l Exercise (helps get you out of your head for a bit)
l Positive affirmations (change negative thoughts into positive ones immediately)
I am prone to overthinking, I’ll never deny it. I often focus on the worst possible scenario and prefer to be prepared for the disaster. But that’s no way to live a good life. Once you get out of your own head, you start to realize how great it is to be here, to be you.