The many dangers of over thinking

These were the pick of the queries received via WhatsApp and answered by life coach Adarsh Basavaraj. Keep them coming!

Published: 29th August 2016 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th August 2016 12:07 PM   |  A+A-

How to get rid of over-thinking? True calling

Dear Readers,

Thinking is a natural process of life, it is what defines us as Human Beings. We are considered a SMARTER RACE because of this very special gift. It is a PART of our lives which we all don't need any special introduction to as it's a process familiar to each and everyone of us. This is also that special quality which makes each and everyone of us UNIQUE as we all THINK DIFFERENTLY.

Another trait which makes us Human is GREED. I say this as this is the fundamental aspect which makes us do TOO MUCH of any activity including THINKING and as the saying goes..TOO MUCH IS TOO BAD...which is exactly why we end up Over Thinking.

I often refer to Over Thinking as Using our ability to CREATE A DISTURBING THOUGHT & LATER COMPLAINING OF IT's EXISTENCE In a metaphorical way, I can link it to taking a pen, poking it hard into our hand and later trying to sit and figure out why the pen was even created! I say this as, in a majority of cases wherein we end up overthinking... we are either not aware or don't choose to be aware that we were the ROOT CAUSE. We poked the pen didn't we?

Why does this happen?

Simply put, We OVER-EAT, OVER-SLEEP, OVER-DRINK, We OVER-DO almost everything when we are anxious...that's when OVER THINK too.

Psychologically, we refer to over thinking as ANALYSIS PARALYSIS, Why? Because we spend so much energy in the process of analyzing that we ultimately get to a level wherein it is paralyzing or rather burns us down. Neither do we execute any action nor take any decision, thereby wasting a whole lot of time.

When we have too many choices, but aren't clear what to choose. Psychologist Barry Schwartz coined the phrase “Paradox of Choice” to describe this. He says that though increased choice allows us to achieve objectively better results, it also leads to greater anxiety, indecision, paralysis, and dissatisfaction.

Why It's bad for us

The biggest impact of Over thinking is that it tends to make us highly susceptible to depression which in turn makes us less happier in life. I don't have to tell you the numerous issues we'll face on our health front when this happens do I?

At this point, I'd like to answer another question which many of you might have, which is about being ADDICTED TO ANYTHING, be it medications, smoking, alcohol, drugs etc. It is mainly because of this VICIOUS CYCLE of OVER THINKING. Because over thinkers find it almost impossible to shut off their mind, they resort to these addictions hoping that they'll help. But they in fact only provide temporary relief and after some time we become immune.

How Do I Beat This?

The first simple thing that will help you all is to CAREFULLY AND SLOWLY READ THE EFFECTS that I've written above. Let it motivate you not to get into this habit.

Secondly, You need to understand the ROOT of your ANXIETY. It may be Studies, Work, Personal Life or anything that is driving you nuts! Then sit calmly and try to figure out strategies to deal with it. Seek help if required.

Thirdly, Keep yourself busy. Not only is An idle mind a devil's IDLE BODY is too! Go hit the gym, go for a run, swim, do long as you're able to tire yourself out. This also produces Endorphins THE HAPPY HORMONES which is your body's natural stress buster.

Finally, Please accept that there are things that aren't in your control. Hence, be clear and focus on, what your NEED is and PRIORITIZE based on that. Set deadlines and chunk down your work into smaller bits.

My final Word — We all have ONE LIFE that we're conscious about, Let's focus on creating CHERISH-ABLE REMINISCENT MEMORIES rather than sit and think about something that we do not have the ability to REVERSE or CREATE.


Here are some of the other queries answered:


How do I reduce examination tension?  Exam Stressed

EXAM TENSION is something that all of you CREATE for yourselves. It arises mainly because of two aspects. One because you don't manage time properly and are the LAST MINUTE WARRIORS (read my column on 22nd August about time management). Two, because either you or your parents set very high expectations and you pressure yourselves to perform.

In both the cases, the bottom line is to prioritize, reduce distractions, focus and dedicate genuine time to study. Plan ahead and set realistic goals and work according to that.

My advice to you is simple,

One, in the future prepare from day one. Study bit by bit and all you'll have to do during your exams is just revise.

Two, as your exams near, focus on the important topics, solve previous years question papers and mainly WRITE, WRITE & WRITE. That's the best way to make your mind remember.

Finally, if you're exams are too near, do not be unrealistic and try to study everything. Plan out a proper strategy. See which parts are easier for you and which are sure shot to come, focus on those concepts as you definitely will have options or choices. That way you'll be sure to answer the ones you've learnt completely rather than writing half baked answers to every question.


For last 10 yrs, I studied abroad. Unfortunately, last year I had to come to India for my 11th and 12th. The thing is that I have not still mentally adjusted to living here. I feel desperate and sad over the lovely memories while I studied abroad. I'm practically just a loner now. I used to have friends back there but here very few. I really hate living here and I'm scared this is gonna affect my studies. So, please help me. Culture Shock

You need to be happy that you're back to INDIA. We're one country with so much of diversity that anyone and everyone are welcomed and embraced. For all you know we might be the only country that might be able to make ALIENS feel AT HOME. But that doesn't mean that you act like one.

The first step is. You need to be very clear and accept reality, which is the fact, that you're here now and you need to FIT IN. Next, lower your expectations and focus on the positives. You need to learn to understand that you need to keep yourself distracted with some positive activity. So join up a course or class that you're interested in.

Last but the most Important. Based on my experience, the biggest challenge that chaps like you face is getting accepted. Apart from giving time for people to understand you, you also equally have to put in efforts and interact with your peers, classmates, neighbors etc and make new friends. But one honest piece of advice, please learn to pick up a NEUTRAL ACCENT and interact in simple English whilst at the same time avoiding bringing up topics like comparisons with your earlier could try.

As long as you have this covered, I'm sure pretty soon you'll be a popular chap who all your classmates want to be pals with. People are always curious to know the way of life in other places, use it to your advantage and share your experiences on a positive note... That will give you a lot of friends.


I completed my graduation in Economics in the year 2015. But my family's financial situation was very weak and I was not able to study further. Now I am in Hyderabad with my sibling in search of a job. Music is also my passion. In my past life I also used to smoke, but now I have stopped. How will I be able to get success in my life. My past mistakes makes me feel worse. Please help.   Prodigal Son

Champ, calm down buddy! You're just starting out on Life's Journey. No point in already getting low.

Your degree is just a qualification or certification. It is generally a backup in LIFE so that you are able to lead a livelihood. But if you've taken up a stream that's your passion too, then there's nothing to complain. I say this as you need to understand your passion and be dedicated towards it. If singing is your passion, join a local band first, or make some videos and upload it on YouTube and Facebook. You might go viral if you're really good at it.

This is where I suggest you search for JOB CONSULTANTS and go and meet them and explore options. It's OK if you lose some opportunities now, at least you'll be happy later. But if you take a wrong decision and join just for the money, you'll be unhappy forever.

Smoking or not smoking is left to you, you're an adult. But DO IT IN YOUR OWN MONEY. Not your parent's. That'll motivate you to earn well also.

Lastly, sitting and thinking about your past only shows that you're having too much of free time. Focus on getting a job and put in your 100% efforts  into it.


I read your article/column about Passion and learnt a lot from you! But how do you deal when your parents demoralize you? They just under rate what I do! I just can't stand this feeling when this happens? So Annoyed

The first thing you need to understand is the fact that, no matter how big or great you grow we will always be our parents' LITTLE ONES. We'll always be there children. We'll always hear a lot of earful from them.

What I want you to reflect on next, is that. You'll DO THIS TO YOUR KIDS IN THE FUTURE TOO and when your kids send me a query, my advice will still be the same. Why? It's because that's one of their main methods of MOTIVATING US. Whether that works or not is a different story altogether. But their parents did it to them to motivate them and get them fired up to become successful in life, they're doing the same with exactly THE SAME INTENTION. Trust me, it's definitely not to hurt you.

Please remember that it's THEM who will be the FIRST TO PROTECT YOU in case you're in a y TROUBLE. You're THEIR LIFE. Blood is thicker than water. You may have many friends today but trust me they all will vanish in the times of need or may only be able to help you partly, not 100% like your parents. They're under rating you because they feel you're not up to their expectations and maybe trying to push you to become better. If it's causing a negative impact, sit with them and have a open conversation. Understand their expectations, see if you can fulfill them, if not out your best efforts and tell them what you can achieve, promise to keep up to them and put in genuine efforts. If you're the FIERY types, take this as a CHALLENGE and prove them WRONG. THAT'S WHAT THEY WANT


Confused about where your life is going, what to do next, how to handle life’s curveballs or where to get great relationship advice? Never fear, The Coach is here. Life guru Adarsh Basavaraj will answer all your queries on WhatsApp! So what are you waiting for? Total anonymity will also be extended on request, and select queries will be answered in Edex

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