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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

In my opinion, overthinking is a struggle a lot of people have in common. It may be about a current relationship, future dreams or goals, or it could even be about what you are going to wear tomorrow. For me personally, overthinking has been the bane of my existence. It has caused me to lose sight of my goals, appreciate the small moments, and ultimately wasted so much of my mental energy that could be efficiently used elsewhere. I think it is easy to overthink nowadays because it has become normalized and does not seem to take up energy. “Oh I got a B+ on the midterm it means I am going to fail the class” or “he has not opened my Snapchat in 35 minutes, he does not like me anymore and I am unattractive” or even “this job is not reaching back to me, guess I will just be homeless now.” It is easy to over dramatize things and go to the extreme and worst case scenario. But why? What is the point? We are consistently putting ourselves down because of it. It creates a cloud of negative energy that at the end of the day is unnecessary and very preventable. 

I always tell my friends not to overthink. Like stop stressing about an exam that is in four weeks and if you are stressed then starting studying right now. Stop worrying about a guy who has not texted you back, you are a catch he will respond when he is not busy. And honestly I know I may say these things on a daily basis, but I am one of the worst overthinkers. I catastrophize everything. Honestly, it was way worse my first two years of college. I thought just because I got a B+ in a class, then no medical school will ever want me, I would never find a job I truly care about and am passionate about, and thus I will be unemployed and unlovable. Yes, I said unlovable. I linked every aspect of my life together from school to work to family to love life to friends. This was an extremely bad habit and it was a result of overthinking. Looking back it seems ridiculous I made such absurd connections but I came to realize it is normal. I see so many of my friends pick up the same bad habits and trust me it is so hard to get out of that thought process. I am not saying I no longer overthink because trust me I do, but there are definite ways to recognize that I am being mentally dramatic and take a step back and evaluate the issue objectively. 

neon sign saying think about things differently
Pexels / Ivan Bertolazzi

You just have to commit to a clear mind. I know it sounds simple, but if it was so easy then everyone would be able to do it right? It is so easy to get tangled up in the complications and unexpected events of life. I decided to devote myself to thinking through situations by myself. I have always been the type of person to talk issues out with friends and rant, which is very healthy, but on more miniscule matters and issues that seem to become repetitive in my head I decide to sit down alone, in silence, and think about the situation logically. I ask myself questions like why is this happening? Why am I feeling this way? What is the realistic outcome of my current dilemma? I also give myself a little love by recognizing that this is just my anxiety acting out and it is okay to temporarily feel like this. Then I begin to calmly think about the situation and come to a logical conclusion. Oftentimes this method works very well, but sometimes not so much and that’s okay. The best way to combat over thinking is to be self aware you are overthinking and not be too harsh on yourself with. 

Don’t let overthinking consume you. It is merely a trick the mind is playing on you and overthinking ends up wasting so much of your energy. Our mental energy is so finite and we can only handle so much so you must use it in the most positive and effective way. Do not obsess with the “what if’s” and most importantly remind yourself that you are an amazing person and your own mind games cannot mess with you.

Yasmin is a second year student at UCLA. She is majoring in Psychobiology and minoring in Global Health. Other than being involved in Her Campus, she does research at the Semel Institute in Los Angeles and is a member of Flying Sams. She loves reading, binge watching Netflix shows, and painting (even though she isn't great).
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