• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Do you not want to stop and smell the roses?

Do you not want to stop and smell the roses?

Every human is likely to overthink, but a lucky few, perhaps the wise, have intentionally chosen not to throw themselves into that hot, stinky mental prison. There they are, living, breathing, free.

Overthinking resembles an abusive relationship. You’re aware it’s destructive, yet crave the false peace that erupts from the chaos. It feels like a faulty regulator, sometimes offering control but often leading you to miss out, fueling anxiety, and leaving you with headaches and unease. With overthinking, you mask all the good things with the dull, ugly coat of nonexistent conclusions, effectively shrouding all the beauty. Exhausting, right?

Read also: Mental health as human right

I’m guilty of this too. Weary from all the overthinking, I’ve edited this article seven times or more, and I still wonder if it’s well put together. Even after it’s published, I worry if it could have been better. Overthinking is a heavy, unnecessary weight. Life throws enough burdens at you; don’t add this one. The “what ifs” creep in: What if you fail? What if you’re rejected? What if you stumble? What if you’re not chosen? What if you’re forgotten? What if you flop? What if you stutter? Rarely do we consider, “What if you don’t?”

With overthinking, your thoughts blur with fear. It’s hard to distinguish carefulness, thoroughness, and meticulousness from plain fear. As always, I want to learn, adapt, and improve (even though it often feels like a battle without top-notch ammunition).

Here are a few things to remember:

Don’t take anything too seriously:

I mean, life’s like a playground if we choose to see it for what it is: a place with all sorts of games—horrid, happy, and everything in between. In the end, everyone, whether they had the most fun or just sat on the bench watching, meets the same fate—death.

Everyone is battling something: It could be physical, emotional, or any other kind of challenge. They might even be fighting because someone they care about is struggling. It’s a crazy world, after all.

Always stop to breathe: The world won’t stop for you, whether you do or not. Let it spin as it wants; take your own breaks, and rejoin the ride whenever you’re ready.

Stay open: Be prepared for the challenges, but also anticipate the peace. Rain comes, but so does the sun. Bad things happen, but so do good things, and you deserve those too.

You don’t know what you don’t know: Most risks are usually worth taking. When the ghosts of regret come knocking, you’ll wish you’d taken a chance with risk-taking Mr. or Ms. and embraced the clarity it brings.

As long as you’re alive, strategizing regularly, tweaking old plans, or opting for fresh starts are always good first steps to living fully. While putting your mind to work is essential, don’t get so caught up in planning that you forget to enjoy the present moment. Don’t look back and ask, “Where did all my youth go? When did I forget to live? Why didn’t I…?” simply because you’re wrapped up in fear you call ‘overthinking.’ There’s no rule book to life, but here are some ways to navigate:

1. Get professional help if you can afford it.

2. Retrace your steps. Ask yourself repeatedly, “When did I start forgetting to live?” “Why did I start forgetting to live?” “How did I start forgetting to live?” The answers might come slowly, but they will come.

Anita Oguni is a BMA Certified Creative storyteller who has successfully driven Marketing Communications strategies, from the conceptualization and planning stages through to implementation/execution.