We all naturally have the tendency to overthink from time to time, some more than others.
While it’s typical human behavior, it’s also one of the most self-destructive behaviors we can have.
Any self-improvement novel or article will tell you that if there’s one thing that robs your happiness quickly, it’s overthinking.
While you can’t control your thoughts and it’s the hardest thing to do so, it’s vital that you don’t let overthinking run your life.
Otherwise, this will result in a negative and harmful way of living.
In this article, we’ll be tackling everything you need to know about how overthinking kills your happiness and how to turn this destructive habit around.
What Does It Mean To Overthink?
Overthinking means that you’re putting too much weight on your negative thoughts.
As individuals, it’s a natural instinct to feel emotions like anxiety and fear.
Most often than not, these are the core reasons why we overthink something.
We overthink situations before they even happen because we’re scared of the outcome.
Or, we overthink something that has already happened simply because we can’t move past this.
Again, as much as we all overthink as part of our nature, this isn’t healthy behavior.
You’re making mountains out of a molehill without even realizing it.
Overthinking encourages you to go into a spiral of negative thoughts, and even if the majority of those thoughts are irrational, you believe them anyway.
This is primarily what makes overthinking such a destructive behavior.
It’s acceptable if you do it with proper self-awareness and self-control, balancing your rational and irrational thoughts.
However, if you’re someone who tends to believe every thought in their head, it can become harmful.
This means even your sense of self-worth and confidence can be affected when listening to your thoughts.
Even if that’s not the way you really are, you believe in your thoughts anyway.
So if you’re genuinely wondering what it means to overthink, it’s spiraling through the same set of thoughts constantly and letting that control your life.
What Are The Signs Of An Overthinker?
If you’ve resonated with some of the things we’ve already talked about above, you must be wondering what the signs are.
There are specific indicators to know for sure whether you’re an overthinker or not, which we’ll be diving into in the following.
1. Dwelling on the past
We all tend to dwell on the past from time to time. We just can’t help it, as it’s the way we were wired.
Particularly if something terrible has happened in your past you can’t quite get over and you keep replaying this over and over in your head, this is one of the signs of overthinking.
You fixate so much on the past that it prevents you from being in the present or future moment.
This also means you dwell on your mistakes and terrible decisions.
You either blame everything on yourself or find something or someone else to blame.
No matter how hard you try, dwelling on the past becomes second nature for you.
2. Fixating on things you can’t control or change
When it comes down to it, there will always be things you can’t control or change.
The more you try to control certain situations or outcomes, the more frustrated you get.
If you’re an overthinker, you have a tendency to focus on things you can’t control.
If things don’t go your way and if the factor behind it is out of your control, you obsess over it anyway.
Your thoughts and mind begin to spiral negatively.
But again, the more you fixate on fixing a situation, the more stressed out you become.
Life will always become uncertain and unpredictable, and it’s part of the beauty of life.
Overthinkers will always tend to obsess over the things they can’t change since they can’t help it.
Since overthinkers are also quite anxious people, controlling outcomes is their way to gain a sense of balance.
3. You tend to self-blame
When you’re overthinking more than usual, the tendency is to put yourself at fault rather than anyone else.
You replay the same scenario over and over in your head.
You think and assume that everything is automatically your fault, even if it’s the exact opposite.
You also secretly believe that everyone is constantly judging you or that people don’t like you the way they say they do.
Even when it comes to your loved ones, you think they secretly have something against you.
Overthinkers have the biggest insecurities when it comes to this, and they always think things are their fault.
4. Never-ending worrying
Anxiety is the central theme for everyone who overthinks.
It’s not like they can help it, but they get anxious from their thoughts.
There’s always the feeling they’re not good enough or that a particular situation will happen.
If anything, overthinking is also one of the signs of anxiety and vice versa.
These two are so interconnected that it’s unlikely you can have one without the other.
5. Difficulty sleeping and eating
Since overthinking results in anxious behavior, it’s most likely that your health and lifestyle are also affected.
Your mind is the most powerful aspect of you so if you tend to dwell on your negative thoughts, this can be harmful to your overall life.
Overthinking encourages you to repeatedly replay your thoughts, even if the cycle is far from healthy.
It’s your thoughts that keep you up at night and cause you not to have an appetite.
So in general, overthinking doesn’t just affect your behavior but your lifestyle as a whole.
5 Reasons Why Overthinking Kills Your Happiness
Now that we know the signs of overthinking, here are some of the primary reasons why overthinking kills your happiness:
1. Steals your time and productivity
Overthinking steals both your time and productivity faster than you realize.
Instead of leading a highly productive day and life, you end up dwelling on your negative thoughts.
This puts a halt to all your work tasks and responsibility, especially if your overthinking triggers your anxiety.
You’ll end up feeling stuck without accomplishing anything, all because of your overthinking tendencies.
Not to mention, staying like this will eat up a lot of your time.
This is why people who overthink at night end up with no sleep at all.
It's not only that overthinking kills your happiness, but it also consumes your time and energy since negativity is that energy-consuming.
So the next time you’re overthinking, think about the time and productivity it’s eating away.
2. Magnifies problems
We’ve talked about how overthinking kills your happiness by creating mountains out of molehills.
This is the one habit that has the ability to magnify your problems, whether you realize this or not.
Whether you’re overthinking about a situation that’s just about to happen or dwelling on the past, overthinking enables you to create problems that aren’t even there.
We’re not implying that your thoughts are invalid. But as we said, your negative thoughts come from a place of insecurity and fear.
Because of this, you’re unintentionally magnifying problems that weren’t there, to begin with.
3. Misses opportunities
Another way overthinking kills your happiness is by causing a lot of missed opportunities not just for your career but also for your personal life.
You’re overcalculating every aspect, and while it can be handy, overthinking will cause more missed opportunities than you realize.
This will cause a lot of regret on your end when you realize you let your fears and anxieties get in the way of living your life.
4. Destroys relationships and friendships
You might think that overthinking doesn’t affect your relationships at all, but that’s a false statement.
Overthinking is the one habit that involves all your relationships and friendships with your loved ones.
It creates limiting beliefs that are probably not true.
Since you keep dwelling on your thoughts and believing in facts such as your friends don’t like you anymore or your partner hates you, this causes a wall between you and the people you love.
When you overthink, all kinds of thoughts pop into your head – both irrational and rational.
Thoughts such as you’re not good enough or that you’ll never amount to anything might be thoughts you tend to believe.
Not to mention, overthinking as a habit causes you to be hypersensitive about everything.
When someone you love says or does something off at that moment, you might take things personally.
As a result, it will be easy for you to become offended – even if that person’s words or actions weren’t particularly targeted towards you.
In the end, overthinking kills your happiness because you always take everything personally.
Is Overthinking Considered a Mental Illness?
Overthinking is typical behavior that isn’t identified as a mental disorder.
However, as we’ve already mentioned above, it’s linked to illnesses like anxiety and depression.
Several mental problems have overthinking as a symptom or sign.
This is because overthinking kills your happiness and disrupts your life as a whole.
When the underlying cause is a mental problem like anxiety disorder, all the more this will shift or change the entirety of your life for the worse.
You worry about every single thing, even if you don’t necessarily want to.
However, it’s also important to note that you can overthink even without an illness.
Maybe you were raised in a negative childhood or experienced a particular trauma.
This can trigger your overthinking, even if you don’t have a mental condition.
How Do I Stop Overthinking And Start Living A Happy Life?
You can stop overthinking by changing your mindset and realizing that you’re guilty of this behavior.
Every self-improvement novel will tell you that the key to getting better is to recognize that you have a bad habit.
Admitting this to yourself is the first step, and you can take things from there.
Of course, you shouldn’t just stop there, but the next step should be to shift your mindset as a whole.
When you look back at your thought process during overthinking, you’d realize that it follows a cycle.
This means that there’s a central theme for all your thoughts usually.
Maybe there’s a theme of your fear of abandonment and intimacy or need for attention.
Whatever it is, there’s always a theme.
Realizing this can help you see what inner problem you need to fix, and only then could your overthinking be more manageable.
It could also help to engage in healthier habits that counter your overthinking, such as physical activity, meditation, or yoga.
Lastly, stopping overthinking comes from within and realizing that there will always be things beyond your control – and that’s okay.
You can only stop overthinking when you actively change this pattern.
People who overthink tend to realize that this is the pattern they’ve gotten used to, and it can be challenging – but not impossible – to change this pattern.
Want to learn more about positive mindset shifts and happiness-inducing habits? Check out our latest article on the habits of authentically happy people.
It offers deeper insight and can guide you in transforming your habits.
Summary Of Why Overthinking Kills Your Happiness
In conclusion, this is everything you need to know about how overthinking kills your happiness and ways to overcome this destructive behavior.
It won’t be easy to overcome this, but it’s vital for your health and well-being that you try.
Otherwise, you’ll lead a negative and destructive life.
Every action and decision you make comes solely from your thoughts, and when your thinking is led to dwell on the negative, this will affect every aspect of your life.
Not to mention, it also affects your potential of building healthy and effective relationships and friendships with others.
Overthinking will always kill your happiness, and it’s important that you keep this in mind.
❤️ Thank you, I hope you enjoyed this article. These articles below may be of help to you if you find you are struggling with overthinking.
- 27 Things We Take For Granted (This Will Make You Appreciate Life)
- 21 Simple Pleasures To Make You Stop And Appreciate Life
I'm a full-time freelance writer with a love for writing self-improvement, relationships, mental health, and lifestyle articles. Check out my other articles here on Subconscious Servant, or also Thought Catalog (that’s where I express myself in a more creative form ✨).