Overthinking Thoughts

overthinking

“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

What a strange concept: overthinking.I was contemplating the negative connotation behind the verb “to dwell” last night and could not help but wonder just what is so wrong. Dwelling seems to be connected with negative thoughts, and with distorting reality into something dark and distorted. But overthinking?

I ask myself: what can one overthink to the point of becoming negative? Is the act of the constant thinking the evil? Or is it, rather, the act of distortion that the mind can sometimes do unconsciously? Certainly, it can not be the former.

The first thing that comes to mind with the act of dwelling is on ex-‘s, be it friends, lovers, or loved ones through death. However, for me, the image that comes to mind with this is of a teenage girl dreading her latest infatuation’s abandonment. In that context, can I imagine a loving mother telling her not to dwell. Can this apply to a healthy, thinking, humanistic adult individual? What harm can come from thinking, contemplating, twisting and turning, prying, deducing, and gleaning from a prior relationship?

Surely, we can all quickly come up with examples of the harm it can cause… but perhaps there is also great good to be learned as well. Perhaps it is the good we should strive for, and not, as they say: throw the baby out with the bath water.

A penny forΒ  your thoughts? I will gladly pay it, if needed, to atone for the pain perhaps uncovered from delving into the dwelling portions of the psyche.

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17 thoughts on “Overthinking Thoughts

  1. I truly believe that the unexamined life is not worth living, and plan to continue in therapy for the rest of my life (though I trust the worst of my suffering won’t last that long!). Thank you so much for re-framing the word “dwell” for me – I appreciate that, because I do indeed dwell in my thoughts, without it being pathological.
    Great post – thanks.

    • I dwell often as well, it’s simply how I am. To think of it any other way would force me to deconstruct how I function. It would make the way I process things a pathology…

      Great quote, that of the unexamined life. I hope you continue in it!

      And thank you for taking the time to read, think, and share your thoughts!

      • No worries.
        I don’t usually do this (truly – I do believe this is the first time I’ve ever self-referred in a comment) but I wrote a post yesterday about our tendency to over-pathologize ourselves which might interest you:
        http://dysthymiabree.com/2014/01/28/the-urge-to-over-pathologize/
        It’s so important not to go around creating things to beat ourselves up about πŸ™‚
        Can thank good old Socrates for the quote. Those ancient Greeks knew a thing or two.

      • I love me some ancient Philosophers, yes I do. Socrates is the Jesus to my Philosophy.

        No worries about self-referring. Track-backing and such is a thing it seems. I think it falls into proper blogging etiquette…? I dunno. Regardless, I don’t care, cause I like what you have to offer to the blog-o-sphere. πŸ™‚

      • I’m an ex-devout-liberal-Christian. Was ordained and all. However, one must live authentically, and while my experience of painfully losing faith cost me a lot (livelihood, friends, community, worsening mental health) it is part of the fabric of who I am. As you mentioned earlier today, to sever that part of me would be to lose part of my identity.
        Well, between the start of our conversation and this point, I have done a kickass 30 minute workout with my PT and desperately need a shower, so will catch you later.

  2. I’m a person that has a bad habit of regretting my actions a lot, which leads to self-loathing and unhappiness. I do agree overthinking will just make a person bring up negative emotions and it is a downward spiral from there on out. Dwelling makes me remember the good times I had with my ex and it really does suck.

    • Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and read!

      I can relate to the downward spiral of self-loathing and regret that can come with overthinking. I’m a divorcee, and it was an awfully rough battle getting myself back to the point of contemplating marrying again.

      A thought, if you will though – does it always have to go that way? Perhaps you can find the lessons learned from mistakes, or revel in the joys of past experiences? Or, even, just let the pain and regret funnel itself into outlets such as writing or art or working out. Whatever works for you, you only get one life.

      Another penny for your thoughts, if you want it. πŸ™‚ But regardless… I was just reflecting more than anything on what you said. Thank you for the amount of time spent here!

  3. To dwell on or in the past is negative and only brings about negativity (mostly). To dwell on a problem is to work on solving it. To dwell on the future is to make it better (mostly). To dwell on what you cannot change or have no evidence for is negative thinking.

    Remember when they told you not to rethink your answers on a test? There is a reason for that: When we continue to think on a problem it is necessary that we apply new combinations of rules for the simulation in our heads. When we do this we are not thinking about the most correct set of rules, only that we remodel the problem with a new thought. That new thought often seems right… but is not.

    • Excellent points!

      I got to thinking, perhaps it is not the act that is wrong then? But the classifiers.

      How is one dwelling? On what? For what purpose? The answer to these questions, most likely sheds light on it’s level of helpfulness and usefulness.

      Rethinking on a test…. hmm… I was never quite ever to NOT be able to do so. lol I do see the point, but my mind just…won’t function like that. I see in black and whites, and in formulas. Everything’s far too mathematical for me, so I run them through my little mental tests. I fail to realize that life (and some fields of study) is (are) not always so… hmmm… static? Not sure what the word would be here… But yeah…

      • Compartmentalized. I like that one.

        Word words words… how difficult they are to find sometimes… I always struggle with reducing what’s in my head into language.

      • There is a skill, learned skill, for doing so that not many of us have. Great speakers and writers are those that seem to naturally have such a talent πŸ˜‰ One of my favorites is Bertrand Russell who happened to say this on walking alone:

        Love is something far more than desire for sexual intercourse; it is the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives.
        Bertrand Russell
        Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com

        Some of the USA founding fathers had quite a way with words as well. IMO they should be held as heroes of a kind… at least in language lesson classes.

      • Good shit, that Russell. I took a course on “The Philosophy of Love” a few years back, it was marvelous.

        I don’t think I do too shabby with the word using business, I just overthink my thinking thoughts. Ha! πŸ˜‰

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