Friday, June 6, 2014

Focus Friday: Let's Focus on "Overthinking"

"I was thinking, overthinking..."  This little line from a Relient K song keeps coming to mind after my physical therapy appointment yesterday.

I had gone to my appointment a little shook up because I had started putting about half my weight on my left leg over the last couple of weeks and I was starting to think I had messed something up. It just didn't feel right and I was afraid they were going to say I had to go back to the doctor and get it x-rayed and stay off it for a few more weeks and...I was worried.

When I talked to my wonderful therapist about it, she asked all the right questions: Did you injure it? Do you have pain that stays all the time? Does it hurt when you put weight on it?

No, no, and no. We talked it over and she said that it's probably just normal feelings I'm having as I get used to putting weight on it again. She concluded our conversation with this observation: "You know, you're a thinker. We'll keep an eye on it, but I think it sounds like it's okay."

She's right. I think about everything. I tend to overthink everything, and that gets me into trouble sometimes. It puts a great deal of stress on me emotionally as I think through various situations, possibilities, and relationships. The "what ifs" can drive me crazy.

We need to recognize the danger in the practice of overthinking. Thinking is good. Thinking can help us get ready for a situation or correct something we've done wrong. Overthinking just keeps us spinning in one place and can really get us into an emotional mess.

Overthinking the twinges of discomfort in my ankle almost set me back. I was ready to keep using my scooter until the strange feelings were gone. In reality, I have to get through some days of discomfort before my ankle is back to being fully healed.

I wonder if we do that sometimes with situations in our lives. We decide to work on a difficult relationship, but as we take the first few steps we feel some pain and discomfort. We overthink it and decide to just let it go on the way it always has been, instead of persevering through the discomfort and getting to a healthier place.

We get an opportunity to make a career change or take on a new project, but the anxiety we feel as we overthink all of the possible things that could go wrong makes us stay where we have been. It's too uncomfortable to change our routine and take on something new.

Overthinking can become a habit, especially for certain personalities. It can become our focus if we're not careful. You know by now that I'm going to ask you to turn that focus back where it belongs: on God. He'll help us think, but not overthink, as we go through our lives.

"People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don't quit." (Isaiah 26:3 The Message)

Do you tend to overthink things? What can you do to break that habit and think in more healthy ways?

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