Over-think this!

I’m an over-thinker. It’s one of those things that I can’t really control sometimes.

Cover of "What If? Classic Vol. 1 (Marvel...

Cover of What If? Classic Vol. 1 (Marvel Heroes)

Since I tend to focus on the negative,(I’m working on it, chill) what ends up happening is my brain goes to a “Worst Case Scenario” kind of place, and runs with some pretty terrible ideas. I’ve read that Humans are the only species to not only focus on “What-If” type scenarios, but that our minds can’t distinguish between the thoughts of it happening and the actual experiences of it happening. This results in people(me especially) creating situations in which we’re as stressed out by the concept of something bad happening to us as we would be if it actually happened. I don’t have to experience, let’s say loosing my job, to know about the level of mental distress it would cause. I only have to sit down and think really hard about what would happen.

Since I am a freaking PRO at this, I sometimes get myself in an overwhelmingly negative place based on nothing more that speculation. I also tend to be a little hyperactive so my brain kinda starts making serious leaps of logic.

Here’s a for instance: I have a really bad day at work. So I start to think about how I want to get a different job. Well then I think how hard it is for me to look at job listings and get information sent out around work. So I decide it would be better if I quit my job first. Then I would have lots of time to apply other places. Unfortunately, that means I’m not bringing any money in. Then we would be hurting for money. What if I couldn’t find anything else? What if even fast food places and restaurants aren’t hiring? How many months could we go? Would I be able to get my old job back? Then they would resent me for trying to leave in the first place. The Wife would be disappointed that I had to go back to my old job. She would never see me as capable of providing for us. She would see me as a terrible husband.

That was just a small for instance, but you see how it gets out of hand quickly inside my head? The end thought that I get stuck with and start focusing on there is: I’m not a capable provider and a bad husband. The Wife could do better. That’s a really destructive and negative place to be stuck. I don’t want to be thinking that, and it’s a pretty long way removed from the original “Work sucked today”.

The problem is that while that sort of thought process doesn’t happen all the time, it’s a pretty quick decent to a pretty dark place. It can happen with any thought at any time, but since I sometimes lean towards being a little more negative it happens with negative emotions a little more frequently.

I’m not actually feeling like this about anything right at the moment. My recent writing renaissance has helped me quite a bit in that regard, I feel. I just happened to be pondering this morning about this here blog and I felt like I needed to explore my negative over-thinking a little bit.

Is this something the rest of you do? Did you know that Human beings are the only species that can’t emotionally distinguish between thoughts and experiences?

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2 thoughts on “Over-think this!

  1. Well this pretty much sums up my life, really. I tend to think like this on a daily basis, but instead of the example of work being bad that you used, a typical example of my train of thought goes something like: didn’t do so well in the Chemistry test today…going to fail Chemistry A Level…won’t get into my course at university…will be a failure…won’t get a decent job…will be in debt…will die alone and in debt.
    I think there needs to be some kind of online society where pros at negative, slippery slope thinking can convene and share their negative, slippery slope ideas. Because it would be theraputic to get your negative, slippery slope ideas out.
    I’m glad you’re not thinking like it so much anymore though…I hope I can reach that point someday! My life just seems to constantly revolve around ‘what ifs’ which always somehow end with me dying alone and in debt.
    But I digress. Good post, I’m glad I’m not the only one who comes up with these ultimatums!

    • So far, the biggest help for me has been to get these thoughts out in the open. These sneaky, shadow-dwelling little bastards don’t seem to like being exposed to the light so much. If I can put it all down on paper, or say it out loud to someone and just get outside my own head for a few minutes, the big scary things shrivel up a bit.

      There may not be a place yet, but feel free to stop by here and chat about whatever you like 🙂

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