Overthinking often takes the form of “catastrophizing” or another cognitive distortion.
Learn these and recognize them for what they are — faulty logic shortcuts.
We use all the time and they are destructive. Others include Overgeneralization and Jumping to Conclusions.
Here’s a complete list of the distortions.
Let’s say your company has announced there will be layoffs of 15% of the workforce, you have the least tenure in your area, and your industry is in a general slump.
You are probably thinking that you’ll lose your job, have trouble finding another one, and you’ll be forced to take a job in a whole new field and with a lower pay.
That’s not irrational.
But, if you’re an overthinker you don’t stop there.
You project into the future where you are delivering pizzas, fail to pay the rent and now you’re living out of your car. Then you’re thrown in jail and never work again.
You’ve crossed over into dangerous overthinking and cognitive distortions.
Stay fully present and think through the scenarios objectively.
It doesn’t do you any good to project worst-case scenarios and make yourself an emotional wreck.