What Is Overthinking?

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Your date does not text back for hours. You go through every possible meaning behind the silence. You make sure you are up to date on every social etiquette with your best friend. Your mind recalls and hones in all the times you were flaked upon. 

The insecurity and the impatience manifests into neediness. You send a second text. Curt. Uh oh. You know better than that. The next few weeks, you wonder what might of been if you had not sent that last text. 


It is not that you do not enjoy social gatherings. It is just that every time you socialize, you need quite a bit of time to recharge. Socializing is just so taxing on your mind. Prior to the event, you have anxiety. How will they perceive me? Will I run into this person? What do I do if this happens?  After the event, its processing time. 

You tell yourself (and others) that you enjoy your time alone but you can’t shake the feeling that you are missing out. 


You have been seeking answers for the same existential crisis for the past year. Yesterday, you replayed a past traumatic event in your life for over three hours. At work. At night, an imaginary catastrophic future event randomly invades your mind. No, no, no. Let it go, you need to sleep! Right, as if you have a choice. All hands to battle stations. For the next two hours. 

You can’t help it. You can’t stop thinking. Logically, you even know the answers to most these questions. That does not stop you from replaying events in your mind 500 times. 


You have spent months preparing for this big moment. You planned for every possible scenario you can think of. But when the time came, you could not act. You could not decide. You could not make a choice. You could not adapt. You froze during critical moments. 

You let opportunities slide by, beat yourself up for it, and as you were beating yourself up for it, another opportunity, slide by. 

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Although these are very different scenarios, they are all examples of overthinking. These examples are all united by the same common denominator. Regardless of how it plays out, all forms of overthinking can be defined by the source of its problem. 


Mindful Strong defines overthinking as the attempt to control your future with your past.