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Stop the Build-Up!: The Dangers of Overthinking

I'm sure no matter the walk of life you're in, you've heard of the game Minecraft. If not, it's a game of imagination and lots of blocks. You can literally build or destroy anything you put your mind to. While playing yesterday, I found myself lost in creating my own village. I could build up all the walls and fences I want, creating scenarios and stories that weren't there before. The houses were perfect and the villagers happy, until my brother-in-law decided to destroy it all. Without much thought, I retaliated with summoning an Ender Dragon to destroy him.

(Bare with me, I'm going somewhere with this.).

This game is so simple and yet, it has a way of allowing us to build up or tear down whatever we want without it mentally bothering us. In fact, it's actually fun to make something out of nothing and a great way to waste hours of time.

Real life is about the same, however, it isn't quite that fun. Arguments and escalated situations often lead us to overthink and allow our thoughts to run wild. A few seconds of bickering turns into hours of replaying the argument and coming up with what should have happened, consuming your thoughts and turning your mood sour. If you so happen to be like me, the overthinking train is going 24/7.

When I'm going somewhere, I calculate the time it takes to get there and what could go wrong to make me late and leave according to that. I tend to think that if I'm late, I'll get judgey looks from everyone else at the venue I'm at. My mind focuses on the slightest body language or facial expressions, making assumptions about what someone might think of me. I'm someone who has a staff of about 500 tiny brain people just waiting to step into my thoughts and completely blow everything out of proportion. The truth is maybe that person had an itch or just looks like that. In conversations, maybe someone else was in a bad mood and things just got out of hand, or it was a misunderstanding. Our minds can spin the story to something it never was, throwing our emotions all over for something that didn't happen. All of this, wasting our energy on something that doesn't deserve it.

This subject is a constant struggle for myself. My mind goes into overtime anytime words are exchanged. The conversation doesn't have to be bad for my mind to work on overload. "We have to talk," sends me into apocalyptic scenario playing, stressing me out up until the moment the talk actually takes place. An over-active imagination is typically a good thing when you are a writer, giving you the ability to see a story from every angle and visualize it into words. Aside from that, it is a stress and anxiety builder. Even a good thing can be taken to extremes. I start to think why something good is happening to me: Was it pity? My abilities? Was I the last resort? Something I should be excited for turns into stress all because of my overthinking.

Overthinking has a way of building up walls, emotions, and offenses that keep us from forgiving, letting go, and accepting the reality of what is happening. It wastes our time and energy on circumstances and words that our mind has played out for us. All this does is make our bad times worse and our good times into something we feel like we don't deserve. What we really should be doing is pressing the pause button on our mind, giving us time to rein in our thoughts and imaginations and compare them to what is really happening around us. We need to take inventory of what we have, sorting fact from fiction.

This is much easier said than done I know.

We live life at a hundred miles a minute and we don't have time to waste on something that won't benefit us. This cycle of self-sabotage we put ourselves in doesn't help us or hurt the people we are thinking about. The person you're fighting with in your head isn't feeling all of the bad things your thinking, it's just making you angry and miserable. And know this too: You deserve to have good things come your way and you need to stop overthinking yourself out of a blessing. Our thought patterns are one of the most confusing and frustrating systems to try and control. It's a decision we have to make daily to not allow our imaginations to run our emotions and our lives.

Take a tip from Minecraft and just tear down and destroy the mindsets that are trying to work against your peace and happiness. If you need to, summon yourself a dragon to burn it all up and see what is really there. Just don't actually set anything on fire, because that would be bad.

That's all from me this week! I hope you all have peace in your minds and a blessed week!

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