The Problem With Over-Thinking

Do you know how many thoughts you have a day? Is it in the tens? Or the hundreds? Or the thousands? Research suggests that most people have between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day. That’s a lot of time that your brain devotes to creating thoughts.

Some of these thoughts are inconsequential…

“I should wear my blue shoes instead of my red ones today.”
“Should I have the turkey sandwich or the chicken sandwich for lunch?”
“I’m going to go watch a movie tonight.”

Some of these thoughts are extremely important…

“Should I marry him?”
“I’m going to take that new job offer.”
“I’m going to move half way across the country.”

Some of these thoughts are good…

“I’m going to finally start eating healthy.”
“I am completely prepared for that presentation tomorrow.”
“I look good today!”

Some of these thoughts are bad…

“I was so stupid back there. I should’ve never done that.”
“I’m never going to be able to do anything right.”
“Maybe I should just stop trying.”

Thinking is something that we do all day everyday. It happens so frequently that sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re doing it. We have passing thoughts that mean little to nothing to us, and then we also have thoughts that seem to have a lasting impression.

Sometimes the thoughts that we have are so big that we start to obsess over them. A thought that could have easily been another passing thought takes hold over us and then we can’t seem to let go of it. We start thinking about it day and night until most of the 50,000 thoughts are centered around this one idea. Sometimes these thoughts even become so scary that they prevent us from doing something that we actually really want to do.

I recently watched season 11 of Grey’s Anatomy (Spoilers ahead). In this season, one of the doctors on the show, Dr. Amelia Shepherd, was planning on taking out a really complicated brain tumor from another doctor’s head. Amelia Sheppard, happened to be the younger sister of one of the world’s leading neurosurgeons, Dr. Derek Shepherd. Her entire career, Amelia had always been viewed as Derek’s lesser. People would go to him for neurosurgeries even though she was just as capable of surgeon as he was. He was number one and she was number two, or at least that’s what she believed. This was a thought process that Amelia constantly had. It may not have been problematic initially, but when she decided to take on this risky tumor resection we started to see how problematic this type of thinking could be. As the time drew nearer for her to remove the tumor, she started to believe those thoughts more and more. She started to dwell on those thoughts and because of this she started losing confidence in her own ability as a neurosurgeon. When the day came for her to do the surgery, she froze in the middle of it, and couldn’t move on to the next step because she didn’t believe that she was capable enough to remove the tumor. She even requested that another doctor, Dr. Weber, call her brother so that he could come down to the hospital and finish the surgery for her. Instead of calling her brother, Dr. Weber convinced Amelia that her thought process had been off. He told her that she was the best person to remove the tumor and that she was just as great of a surgeon as her brother. She listened to him and started a new thought process that was in line with Dr. Weber’s thinking, and because of this, she was able to finish the surgery.

Now I know that this is just a TV show, but I’m sure something like this has happened to you before. You had an unwanted thought, and no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t seem to let that thought go. And then because you couldn’t get rid of that thought, you started to listen to it and believe it as truth, even though it wasn’t true. Positive thinker, that negative thought wasn’t valid, but you let it have control over you, and you should never let something negative have control over you. When you allow a negative thought to dictate the way that you live you’re life, you’re ultimately solidifying a future in which you’re not happy. You wouldn’t want that would you? I’m guessing that you wouldn’t. So, don’t allow negative thoughts to take over your life. Redirect a negative thought as soon as you identify it. Find the falseness within the thought, and dig down deep and find some positive truth that you can hold on to so that you can keep the negative thoughts at bay.

And always remember, “Thinking is good. Over-thinking can end things before they ever get the chance to develop.”

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