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Overthinking + Anxiety

I have the tendency to overthink a lot of things in my life and I spiral and get overwhelmed really easily. This has started to affect my friendships and relationships with others. Anytime something upsets me or I think I’ve upset them I push them away unintentionally and then for the next few weeks I become confused and unsure of what to do. How should I deal with this?


Also, I get very confused and caught up with worrying about why I do things. I am starting a relationship and I worry that I’m too young and everything’s too fast, but then I tell myself it’s just all part of being a teenager. Is this right? What should I do when I don’t know if I’m doing it because it’s right or because it’s just a teenage experience?

Re: Overthinking + Anxiety

Hey @DC  Smiley Happy


Thanks for talking about what's going on for you at the moment. It sounds like you're noticing that when you're upset or when you think you've upset someone else, you distance yourself from that person, but you're not sure how to approach the situation afterwards? I'm wondering if you feel comfortable asking the people involved directly if you have upet them? Or when you are upset, if you feel comfortable expressing that to someone? Both of these things can be very hard to do and scary, so it's totally OK if you don't. Smiley Happy 


On the topic of beginning a relationship, I think that only you can know if you're ready and what exactly you're ready for. Being a teenager doesn't mean you have to enter a relationship, but on the other hand it doesn't necessarily mean that you can't if you actually want to. It is entirely your choice. Smiley Happy If you're a bit concerned that it's going too fast, then I'd encourage you to have a think about exactly what you are OK with in the relationship at the moment and what you are not, and have a discussion with your partner about it so they can understand. It doesn't have to go from 0 to 100 straight away just because you are in a relationship.


If you're looking for further clarity, you could also ask yourself why you are wanting to begin the relationship. For example, do I really like this person? Does this person seem like someone I can really get along with? Or am I feeling some sort of pressure from myself or others to enter a relationship? 


I think it is a good thing to think things through. Especially when they are big decisions (like getting into a relationship). I'm getting the impression though that you are concerned that you are overthinking things, and that you are feeling anxious. Am I getting that right? 






Re: Overthinking + Anxiety

You absolutely understand what I’m going through! Thank you @JanaG! Sometimes I have the courage to directly ask my friends whether I’ve upset them and how I can best manage it, however other times I simply fear making the situation worse. Lately I feel like I’m pushing away a lot of my close friends so I seek advice and comfort from my youth group leaders and ReachOut.


My partner and I talk a lot about our own boundaries and often check in about how we each feel and making sure we’re both comfortable. I think my tendency to overthink has caused a lot of my concerns around relationships. Also, my parents got divorced a couple years ago and that has been super rough, especially with my dad whom I now haven’t spoken to for about 9 months. The feelings associated with the broken relationship with my dad affect how confident I am in entering relationships too (I think!). 

Thank you for helping me to reflect on my own intentions and feelings and thoughts...that really helped! And you’re absolutely getting it right when you get the impression that Im concerned about my overthinking and anxiety!


Re: Overthinking + Anxiety

Hey @DC 


Thank you for coming here to get some support with this. I think there are a lot of people, myself included, that can relate to what you've described about overthinking. It's not easy to get a hold of our thought processes, let alone calm them down when you start to spiral. 


My tips would be to try practising grounding techniques like mindfulness. Basically taking yourself of those thought cycles by connecting with the physical. Noticing your body, how it feels, your surroundings, smells/sounds/sensation. It's worth mentioning that mindfulness and any kind of meditation takes practise. Like how when you go to the gym it takes time to build the strength to do certain exercises - it's the same with the mind. 


I think you're very insightful to see how your parents recent separation may be contributing to your anxiety, especially in relation to your relationship. You seem to know yourself well Heart It also seems like you have a really healthy relationship with your partner - checking in around boundaries is so important.


I'm just wondering if you have any support with how you've been feeling? It can be such a relief to talk to a trusted family member, friend or even counsellor about these kinds of things Heart 

Re: Overthinking + Anxiety

Hey @DC Smiley Happy


I agree with @Bre-RO that you are very insightful. It's great that you recognise that you're pushing your friends away, and are trying to manage that. I also think it's great that you're seeking support with all of this. I'm also wondering if you have someone in your life or a counsellor who you can talk to about everything?


I think it's fantastic that you and your partner check in with each other and talk about your boundaries. Like @Bre-RO said, that sounds very healthy Smiley Happy I think what you're saying about your parents' divorce and the overthinking affecting your relationships makes a lot of sense. Again, you seem to have a good idea about what's going on for you, which is a great thing. Smiley Very Happy


I second the suggestions that @Bre-RO mentioned. Mindfulness meditation is great. Smiling Mind is a great app if you're interested in looking into it. But I'd love to hear a bit more about what you think works for you? And what you normally do when you overthink or feel anxious?



Re: Overthinking + Anxiety

What you're going through sounds quite frustrating for you @DC. Smiley Sad I definitely think that you're not alone. I can recall a lot of times where I've done similar things.

Something that has helped me in the past is reflecting on my thoughts. When I'm feeling bad, I try to think about another way I could possibly think about what upset me. This doesn't help me feel better about everything bad that happens to me, but it helps me feel better about some situations.
Here is a good resource for this. Another way that you could go about doing this is identifying the 'mental shortcuts' that we often take when evaluating a situation, and recognising that they may not necessarily be true. I found this infographic helpful when trying this.

Another thing that has helped me is writing down the bad thoughts that I have, then carrying on with my day. We have an app that can help you do something similar. Personally, I just record the thoughts in a journalling app.
Have any of these things helped you in the past?

It sounds like you and your partner are really open and honest with each other, which is great to see in a relationship! Smiley Happy

I think other advice in this thread is really great too! Smiley Happy


Re: Overthinking + Anxiety

Thank you @Bre-RO, I see a psychologist who has talked a lot about mindfulness which has helped a little bit. I find the 54321 method helps me the best, also writing the thoughts down helps me to process them. Its comforting to know I'm not the only one. Smiley Happy


Re: Overthinking + Anxiety

Thank you @JanaG. The 54321 mindfulness strategy is one that works pretty well for me, also just writing down my thoughts helps me reflect and process them better. I often feel quite overwhelmed and I "spiral" when I feel anxious which causes me to overthink a lot more. It's often like there is a little voice in my head that argues with me and sometimes it's hard not to believe what it's saying is true (if its negative). That's something I struggle with, even when I try to implement strategies. Do you have any advice for dealing with that voice?


Re: Overthinking + Anxiety

Thank you @WheresMySquishy. I think that I am quite similar to you in how I process and manage my anxiety and thoughts which is super comforting to me. I find writing things down, tracking my mood through an app called Daylio, and just reflecting on my day helps to put things into perspective. 


Also, I am 14, if that helps or changes any of the advice you guys have been giving me (especially regarding my relationship)

Re: Overthinking + Anxiety

@DC  I think it's great that some strategies have helped you. Smiley Happy I also like doing the 54321 strategy, writing down my thoughts and tracking my mood. Daylio is great for identifying the kinds of activities that can make you feel better, so you can try them again in the future. Smiley Happy

It can be so hard not to listen to that 'little voice', even if you know it's wrong. Telling yourself not to think about it can also make you think about it more. Smiley Sad
Something that has helped me is trying to think what I would tell a friend in the same situation, because sometimes we can be our own worst critic. I've also heard about some people writing the negative thoughts down and then throwing them away.
I just found this really helpful infographic with a lot of other suggestions. Smiley Happy