Is overthinking leading to anxiety and affecting your mental health? Find the best mental health clinics in Mumbai.

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In recent times, overthinking has become a catch phrase - be it in the media or even in our daily lives.

The act of overthinking can certainly contribute to mental health concerns like anxiety and depression but to say it leads to it may not be accurate. And everyone tends to overthink from time to time. When it increases in frequency, intensity and interferes in functioning to a great extent is when it might be a good idea to evaluate the role it is playing.

Overthinking includes ruminating about the past and/or about the future. It differs from introspection. Introspection might have a constructive process and might lead one to gain some perspective whereas overthinking can often lead to stagnancy and feel frustrating. That is, one might feel stuck in their thoughts and as a result lead to feelings of helplessness. Dwelling on something after a point in time might also cause more extreme negative thinking. If it disrupts sleep, eating patterns, lead to anxiety regarding the topic of the thoughts, worst case scenarios, inability to focus and so on, then it is interfering in one’s functioning significantly.

It can lead to a decline in emotional well-being as it could consume one’s focus and keep one from being in the present moment. It can also impact one’s ability to deal with distress constructively and impact overall resilience.

Research has shown that ruminating is linked to a variety of mental health concerns such as depression, generalised anxiety, OCD and in some cases, eating disorders.

The question therein arises: Why do we overthink / ruminate?

This differs from individual to individual and could be a myriad of reasons, specific to each person’s context. It could be rooted in uncertainty and the fear of the uncontrollable- a person may spend time ruminating over the future and all the what ifs that come with it. For others, it might be about what happened in their past, how it influences them now. For a lot of people, they could be ruminating the present moment and how to cope.

Biologically, this has been known to activate the fear centre of our brain, the amygdala. This also explains why we feel an increased sense of anxiousness and fear.

We are also in the midst of a global pandemic that plays a role in overthinking- given that there was a huge amount of uncertainty for a very long time and still is, to an extent. Higher than usual levels of stress and anxiousness are normal and are an appropriate response to a global crisis such as the pandemic.

Reaching out to a mental health professional to understand the impact of certain stressors on yourself and ways to cope will help you take a proactive approach to dealing with overthinking.

Seek help from one of the best mental health clinics in Mumbai. Find the centre closest to you- https://mpowerminds.com/contact

For a 1 on 1 chat, please visit- https://mpowerminds.com/chat-with-us

Author
DISHAA DESAI
Psychologist & Outreach Associate, Mpower – The Centre
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