enemy; overanalyze; okay: mind; difference; mental health; #thatkenoshajournalist; daniel thompson

Mental Health Moment: You CAN let it go, don’t overanalyze

It’s no surprise to people who know me well that I have an incredibly hard time letting a thought go. I overanalyze everything ⏤ even things that will never probably have any real significance to my life.

And don’t even get me started on the pains of moral choices in video games. 

If you need a few minutes to calm down from a little stress, this video should be useful to you.

 Overanalysis will kill us all

It’s taken a long time to realize it, but I know what the breakdown in my process is: I treat every thought as valid.

I have wasted so much time in my life on thoughts that didn’t really matter or weren’t in touch with reality. 

These have ranged from a warped view of myself, to even a warped view of the circumstances surrounding me. 

For instance, if someone says a shorter hello to you in the morning or doesn’t ask how you are, do you suddenly let yourself go down a rabbit hole of why they don’t like you anymore?

I do. That’s my nature. 

Stop overanalyzing and ask an important question

I’ve touched on my status as an anxious person before and my struggles with anxiety. I won’t rehash that here; however, I will address one part of anxiety that exacerbates overanalysis.

Southport Sound performs at Kenosha Fusion. Video by Daniel Thompson/The Uptown Observer.

Anxiety will feed you the “evidence” to validate your unrealistic thoughts. 

Your mind is you sitting on the beach staring out at the ocean. Your anxiety is the music building out of nowhere telling you that Jaws is in the water and hunting.

However, the shark never appears. But the feeling never fades. 

And often this is how anxiety plays with us.

Cut the music

I’ve realized anxiety messes with me in that it causes me to keep digging for clues. I hear the music; I don’t see anything; but instead of taking the physical evidence of safety, I decide that I’m just not looking hard enough to see the problem. 

It has to be there, right? Why else would I feel this way?

Because you’re an anxious person having an episode due to natural triggers of stress in your day. 

And if you let yourself, you will pin those anxieties on and blame part of yourself or your life that really has nothing to do with it. Remember, correlation does not equal causation.

Instead, I encourage you to try to list the differences between the subjective thoughts you’re experiencing and the objective reality you’re surrounded by. 

Subjective truth/thoughts vs. objective reality

How do you feel right now? The answer to this question is your subjective truth/thoughts. 

How far away is Milwaukee from Chicago? The answer to this question is objective reality.

Often, I have mistaken how I feel for how things really are. In fact, I’d say many Americans are in this boat right now.

And the way to tell the difference is easy in theory, but takes much commitment in practice. 

Feeling vs. Fact

What I suggest you do is to think about whether how you’re viewing your day, life or world is colored by objective fact, or simply how you feel about all of it at any given moment. 

How often are you taking your feelings about a situation as the true objective facts of a situation?

Because they’re not. 

Your feelings are not valid evidence for objective truth or an accurate way to decide what your circumstances truly are. Your feelings are fleeting and, at times, vile little brutes that trample all over logical thought. 

And the thing is, if you are honest with yourself, you may realize that you don’t really have a grasp on what your objective reality is. You just simply can’t see the reality of your life, your actions and your impact on the world through your own feelings about them.

Simple test

Here’s my suggestion, something that I’ve started doing myself: If you catch yourself starting to respond to a question about objective reality with “I feel”, stop. You’re about to answer an objective question with subjective truths. 

Brittany Lumley performs at Union Park Tavern. Video by Daniel Thompson/The Uptown Observer.

And I say stop because the alternative is to have a potential argument with someone that ends with “well, that’s just how I feel about it,” with nothing gained. Because you’re looking to confirm a feeling instead of looking to see reality clearly.

Beyond that, try to think of the things you actually know about your life. List who you are from an outside perspective, those things that anyone could prove right or wrong easily. 

Make a map of who you really are little by little. And then, the next time you have a feeling about who you are or how you’re doing as a person, look at your map. Remind yourself who you really are, what you’re made of. 

And accept that your feelings are part of that too, but not the most important part ⏤ definitely not the part that should rule the whole.

In the end, no matter what method you choose, always try to see yourself honestly and accurately. It’s the only way you can truly celebrate your progress along the way and accurately know the road that’s left to go.

And in those times you realize that your feelings have painted a picture of you or your life that is not true, just let that imposter go. There’s no need to think about it or overanalyze.

The picture you’ve painted in your head just isn’t really you. That’s all.

Let it go.

There is Help

Vivent Health offers fentanyl test strips, so that users can determine the presence of fentanyl in other substances. For more information, call 262-657-6644.

Kenosha County Public Health also offers free training and supplies of Narcan, a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/KCNarcan or call 262-605-6741.

The Kenosha County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Resource Center may be reached from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at 262-764-8555

The Kenosha County Crisis Hotline operated is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, at 262-657-7188. Kenosha Human Development Services operates the hotline.

EP 14: Do what you can Inside the Mind of Daniel Thompson

In this episode, I talk about how changing ones area of focus can make the difference between meaningfully addressing an issue or just giving up on trying to entirely. — Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/mind-of-daniel-thompson/support
  1. EP 14: Do what you can
  2. Ep. 13: The problem of being overly positive
  3. Ep. 12: 'Where have you been?'
  4. Ep. 11: 'Framing and Sobriety'
  5. Ep. 10: 'Loneliness is part of life.'

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