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Anxiety and Overthinking Everything

Anxiety and overthinking tend to be evil partners. One of the horrible hallmarks of any type of anxiety disorder is the tendency to overthink everything. The anxious brain is hypervigilant, always on the lookout for anything it perceives to be dangerous or worrisome. I’ve been accused of making problems where there aren’t any. To me, though, there are, indeed, problems. Why? Because anxiety causes me to overthink everything. Anxiety makes us overthink everything in many different ways, and the result of this overthinking isn’t helpful at all. Fortunately, anxiety and overthinking everything doesn’t have to be a permanent part of our existence. 

Ways Anxiety Causes Overthinking

An effect of any type of anxiety is overthinking everything. There are common themes to the way anxiety causes overthinking. Perhaps this generic list will remind you of specific racing thoughts you experience and help you realize that you’re not alone in overthinking everything because of anxiety.

  • Obsessing over what we should say/should have said/did say/didn’t say (common in social anxiety)
  • Worrying incessantly about who we are and how we are measuring up to the world (common in social and performance anxiety)
  • Creating fearful what-if scenarios about things that could go wrong for ourselves, loved ones, and the world (common in generalized anxiety disorder)
  • Wild, imagined results of our own wild, imagined faults and incompetencies (all anxiety disorders)
  • Fear of having a panic attack in public and possibly thinking that you can’t leave home because of it (panic disorder with or without agoraphobia)
  • Worrying about a multitude of obsessive thoughts, sometimes scary ones and thinking about them constantly (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
  • Thinking — overthinking — a tumbling chain of worries, vague thoughts, and specific thoughts (all anxiety disorders)

Result of Anxiety and Overthinking

With anxiety, not only are these thoughts (and more) running through our brains, but they are always running through our brains, non-stop, endlessly. Like a gerbil hooked up to an endless drip of an energy drink, they run and run and wheel around in one place, going absolutely nowhere. Day and night, the wheel squeaks.

Over-thinking everything is a horrid part of anxiety disorders. Over-thinking everything creates more anxiety. This tip helps stop over-thinking. Check it out.Anxiety and overthinking everything makes us both tired and wired. One result of the thinking too much that comes with anxiety is that we are often left feeling physically and emotionally unwell. Having these same anxious messages run through our head everywhere we go takes its toll.

Further, another dangerous result of anxiety and overthinking everything is that we start to believe what we think. After all, if we think it, it’s real, and if we think it constantly, it’s very real. Right? No. This is a trick anxiety plays. Anxiety causes overthinking, but with anxiety, these thoughts aren’t always trustworthy.

You have the power and the ability to interfere in anxiety’s overthinking everything. It’s a process that involves many steps, but a step you can take right now to slow down that gerbil is to have something with you or around you to divert your attention. Rather than arguing with your thoughts or obsessing over them, gently shift your attention onto something else, something neutral. By thinking about something insignificant, you weaken anxiety’s ability to cause you to overthink everything.

I explain this further in the below video. I invite you to tune in.

Let’s connect. I blog here. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. My mental health novels, including one about severe anxiety, are here

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of four critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges as well as a self-help book on acceptance and commitment therapy. She speaks nationally about mental health, and she has a curriculum for middle and high schools. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

306 thoughts on “Anxiety and Overthinking Everything”

  1. I’ve been struggling with what I think is anxiety since I was probably around 19… I’m 23 now. Heck it might be longer but the last couple of years it’s been the worst & I can’t even ignore it anymore. I can’t get even my license bc of the fear & over thinking anxiety gives me. It affects my love life I can be fine for months but the out of nowhere I completely overthink about my relationship “omg he hates me” “he’s gonna leave me” “he’s being weird, this is it he’s gonna end it” constantly goes through my head 24/7 ! & it causes problems bc I start acting weird & no matter what I do I can’t stop… my anxiety has ended 2 of my relationships & im working on a 3rd. Anxiety effects my job I’m constantly worried I won’t hav enough time or I’m not doing something right I’m a cna btw. I have low self esteem I’ve had my whole life…. I haven’t had the best life I’ve seen & went through things I never should have, horrible things. I know that’s completely destroyed the way I feel about myself. I have an appointment in a few days to see a doctor…. I want medication… but then I think what if it doesn’t help what if I’m just like this & nothing I do can stop it… what if there’s just something wrong with me. I know the medication will take a little to work & even then it might not be the right anxiety medication for me. I just don’t know what to do anymore

  2. I have been suffering from anxiety for 15 years I am now 30 and have a really hard time living a normal life I always think somthing is wrong with me and it makes me super anxious it can be a simple weird feeling in my throat that will trigger my anxiety causing me to hyper ventalate I don’t like to be fat from a hospital . Does anyone else have this.

  3. Hi 🙂 I had posted a comment before but I’m not sure where it is so I’m sorry if there are two 😂😂. I’m 17 and I’ve always been a worrier. It’s not new to me to overthink everything (I overthink every interaction with people to the point that I convince myself that they hate me). I really suffer from stress in school and I was talking to a teacher about it but now I regret it cause I’ve convinced myself she finds me annoying and hates me even though she says I can talk to her any time. Im so nervous because I’m worried I wasted her time. My parents don’t really think what I feel is anything unusual or important like they say every teenager is stressed and I think they got a bit upset finding out I talked to a teacher because they felt like I was being dramatic . I just feel like everyone hates me and I have really low self esteem and confidence. I just don’t know what to do I feel so stressed all the time and most of the time there is no solid reason. I’m just always so anxious and I have a constant knot in my stomach. I just don’t know what to do 🙁 do you think I might have anxiety? Do you think it’s important or am I overeacting?

    1. I suffer with it to. Best advice I can give is to seek help sooner than later. My life was pretty much the same. Parents thought it was no big deal and made me feel like it was just me. I have even had someone tell me that I need to get over it. They don’t understand it is not something you can just get over. I had to get away from negative people. I am still looking into getting some medication to help. I would also seek out others dealing with it. I was really struggling today till I read your post. Knowing I am not alone helps. Logically that tells me and should you that nothing is wrong with us, In the sense that we are not weird. I know I know with our brain that is hard to believe, but it does help. I know I am a stranger, but you really have helped me just by sharing your story. Thank you!

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