June 09, 2022

Overthinking my overthinking

Overthinking. A rather imaginative term to describe excessive thinking. Or perhaps even better I would say, overanalyzing. Over everything. You are considering and calculating every parameter in a way that probably stresses-confuses-harms you rather than leads you to a conclusion. And the truth is that I can confirm that. You see, I consider myself one of those lucky-unlucky individuals that can call themselves with the- maybe a bit enviable sometimes- title of an overthinker. A title that we carry secretly from others and that sometimes catches us unprepared during the most inappropriate moments. A title that whether we like it or not, we have learnt to live with. A title in which I feel like I have completed a masters and about which I will present you with 3+1 fun facts. For the old ones to remember and the new ones to learn. Welcome to my TED talk!

1. Overthinking is not a button you press and it stops: How many times have we heard the phrase “Come on, stop thinking so much about it” by a friend? Thanks for the immediate solution but it doesn’t really work like that. Our brain doesn’t have some type of on-off switch so that we can choose whether to dwell on, whether the text we received could have a different interpretation between the lines, or if what we said during an argument that evening was good enough for our intended meaning to come through. For us overthinkers, things are not always easy. A simple sentence or a common incident can escalate to a monstrous pile of thoughts that keeps getting bigger and bigger. So trust me, if we had the opportunity to turn off this switch whenever we wanted, we would do it.

2. Making yourself feel bad is much easier than you might think: Our brain has enormous power over us. As easily as it can make us happy, it can also harm us. It is both our best friend and our worst enemy and whenever it wants to, it can be merciless. One thought can easily turn into five, five into ten, ten into thirty and suddenly, you find yourself at 5 am turning around in your bed after having created at least three fake scenarios - out of which none end in a good note for you - with eyes swollen from crying, your anxiety reaching an all time high and your alarm clock threatening to ring in two hours and forty five minutes. Did you like that? Neither did I, so SOMEONE PLEASE CREATE THIS BUTTON. THANKS.

3.Time is a luxury: Now you must be thinking, how is that relevant? I am going to explain it right away. First of all, the time we spend overanalyzing each situation could be utilized in working towards solving the actual problem. Having control over a situation would surely be more fruitful than stressing over the fifty different ways it could go. Besides that, overthinking surely consumes time out of your day, time that you could spend on other things. You must be wondering what I mean. I am going to answer you with what I told you before about how you end up at 5 am sleepless, but this happens during the day. For instance when you decide to work on a project for university or clean the house, you remember something that happened last night while you were out with your friends. So far so good, for a non-overthinker. On the contrary, for us, the children of an unfortunate marriage of stress and detail, this means the beginning of a circle, the end of which is to overthink even our own overthinking, our project to be left unfinished and our plans for the night to wave goodbye to us. Perfect, right?

4. There is a plan for everything: And since I have only pointed out the negative aspects of overthinking, let me tell you that +1, the bonus let’s say, the positive aspect of this situation. We have a plan, we have a program, we know what must be done. Who else would take care of every detail, calculate every external factor, be prepared for almost every possible scenario, already know what could go wrong and how to prevent it? The answer is always us. Picture us as that one bag you mum carries on every trip, that has everything you need- from a mosquito repellent to a shirt you presumed lost for a couple of years now. We are great for every occasion, we are ready for everything even if we have lost our sleep for three nights in a row.

If you can relate to all the above, congratulations, you are one of us, welcome to the club. If you didn’t, I hope you can understand us a bit better now. No matter what, love us because we are some of the best people out there even if we have 733803247 side thoughts whenever you greet us.

Photography by the Photography Team of TEDxAUTH 2022

Katerina Tsatsaroni

21 years old, studying to become a lawyer but a writer at heart. Professional overthinker, a bit of a procrastinator and hardly ever on time, but always a princess deep down. I tend to get easily annoyed, but swiftly forget the reason why. I love chocolate, Christmas lights, music by Haroulis and people with genuine smiles.

Panagiota Katsaveli (she/her)

Born and raised in Kilkis, but her imagination has convinced her that she has lived in many countries around the world. Spends most of her free time watching TV shows, while adopting the personality and behavior of her favorite characters. The combination of perfectionism and laziness that characterize her will eventually be her destruction. Chocolate, wine, coffee and pizza is what she is made of.

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Angie Stathaki

From the triptych "ballet, French and piano", she has conquered only the second, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to learn the other two! A lover of the Sun, of the Italian cuisine, and Van Gogh. You will often find her with headphones on, listening to her favorite list over and over again. Favorite moments? Good company, wine, laughter and board games!

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