Anxiety and Overthinking Everything

Anxiety and overthinking tend to be evil partners. One of the horrible hallmarks of any type of anxiety disorder is the tendency to overthink everything. The anxious brain is hypervigilant, always on the lookout for anything it perceives to be dangerous or worrisome. I've been accused of making problems where there aren't any. To me, though, there are, indeed, problems. Why? Because anxiety causes me to overthink everything. Anxiety makes us overthink everything in many different ways, and the result of this overthinking isn't helpful at all. Fortunately, anxiety and overthinking everything doesn't have to be a permanent part of our existence.

Ways Anxiety Causes Overthinking

An effect of any type of anxiety is overthinking everything. There are common themes to the way anxiety causes overthinking. Perhaps this generic list will remind you of specific racing thoughts you experience and help you realize that you're not alone in overthinking everything because of anxiety.

  • Obsessing over what we should say/should have said/did say/didn't say (common in social anxiety)
  • Worrying incessantly about who we are and how we are measuring up to the world (common in social and performance anxiety)
  • Creating fearful what-if scenarios about things that could go wrong for ourselves, loved ones, and the world (common in generalized anxiety disorder)
  • Wild, imagined results of our own wild, imagined faults and incompetencies (all anxiety disorders)
  • Fear of having a panic attack in public and possibly thinking that you can't leave home because of it (panic disorder with or without agoraphobia)
  • Worrying about a multitude of obsessive thoughts, sometimes scary ones and thinking about them constantly (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
  • Thinking -- overthinking -- a tumbling chain of worries, vague thoughts, and specific thoughts (all anxiety disorders)

Result of Anxiety and Overthinking

With anxiety, not only are these thoughts (and more) running through our brains, but they are always running through our brains, non-stop, endlessly. Like a gerbil hooked up to an endless drip of an energy drink, they run and run and wheel around in one place, going absolutely nowhere. Day and night, the wheel squeaks.

Over-thinking everything is a horrid part of anxiety disorders. Over-thinking everything creates more anxiety. This tip helps stop over-thinking. Check it out.

Anxiety and overthinking everything makes us both tired and wired. One result of the thinking too much that comes with anxiety is that we are often left feeling physically and emotionally unwell. Having these same anxious messages run through our head everywhere we go takes its toll.

Further, another dangerous result of anxiety and overthinking everything is that we start to believe what we think. After all, if we think it, it's real, and if we think it constantly, it's very real. Right? No. This is a trick anxiety plays. Anxiety causes overthinking, but with anxiety, these thoughts aren't always trustworthy.

You have the power and the ability to interfere in anxiety's overthinking everything. It's a process that involves many steps, but a step you can take right now to slow down that gerbil is to have something with you or around you to divert your attention. Rather than arguing with your thoughts or obsessing over them, gently shift your attention onto something else, something neutral. By thinking about something insignificant, you weaken anxiety's ability to cause you to overthink everything.

I explain this further in the below video. I invite you to tune in.

Let's connect. I blog here. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. My mental health novels, including one about severe anxiety, are here.

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2015, December 31). Anxiety and Overthinking Everything, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of numerous anxiety self-help books, including The Morning Magic 5-Minute Journal, The Mindful Path Through Anxiety, 101 Ways to Help Stop Anxiety, The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal, The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, and Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps. She has also written five critically acclaimed, award-winning novels about life with mental health challenges. She delivers workshops for all ages and provides online and in-person mental health education for youth. She has shared information about creating a quality life on podcasts, summits, print and online interviews and articles, and at speaking events. Tanya is a Diplomate of the American Institution of Stress helping to educate others about stress and provide useful tools for handling it well in order to live a healthy and vibrant life. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 2 2018 at 10:35 am

Hi Padyee,
Don't worry about your English in writing. I can understand you perfectly. While I'm not in a position to diagnose you, I'll just make an observation that what you are describing does have some components of both anxiety and depression. But that doesn't mean that they're strong enough or numerous enough to be full-blown anxiety or depression. It makes a lot of sense that you are feeling this way and having so many thoughts about work. Returning to work after any health issue -- especially brain surgery -- is a challenge, and thyroid issues make matters worse. It's amazing how much the tiny thyroid has to do with our health and wellbeing. You were very right in communicating to your boss that you haven't fully recovered yet. I'm sorry he didn't listen. You have a lot going on in addition to healing, and it sounds like it all involves work, whether that work is at your job or at home with your family. Your kids are at challenging stages that can be exhausting physically and mentally.) You're tired from healing and from demands plus aren't able to have the element of fun/enjoyment in your life right now. That all takes its toll. This is normal and will pass, but it's difficult while it's happening. You mentioned a psychiatrist. You might not need a psychiatrist, as psychiatrists specialize in medication. You might consider a therapist (especially a woman). You can talk with a therapist, and you can sort things out. As difficult as things are right now, you will get through this. You're speaking up, and you know that you don't like how things are right now so you're looking for ways to change. Right there is proof that you'll get through this.

April, 2 2018 at 5:15 pm

Thanks Taniya for suggestion and giving me hope to look positively.

Alyssa Sequera
March, 30 2018 at 12:59 pm

this is hard for me to explain, but I’m worried about my best friend (14). We used to talk, laugh and do everything together, but recently she’s been very quiet and distant. However, this only happens when we’re in a certain friendship group because when we hang out with other people in school she suddenly becomes her bubbly self again. When she’s distant, she seems to try to avoid any conversation and is always on her phone (she never used to do this) . So, I asked her what was wrong because I couldn’t handle not knowing any line her. She says she just overthinks everything, such as other people’s reactions, and she worries too much. However, she won’t tell me exactly what’s going on with her. She mentioned that she looks at web pages to educate herself on what’s bothering her, but it makes her even more upset. She also told me that some days she’ll be alright, but on others she won’t. I’ve tried being a supportive friend by giving her advice, but I don’t really know what I should be doing. She said she’s really stressed about everything and she definitely didn’t look very happy when we were talking. I’m worried about her because I don’t want her feeling bad and overthinking anything, I want her to go back to her normal happy self. Any advice?
Thank you,

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 2 2018 at 10:54 am

Hi Alyssa,
It's really cool that you have gone to such lengths to help your friend. Not everyone would do this (how much better the world would be if everyone could be so caring and act on it). That said, it's important for you to know that you aren't responsible for other people and their happiness or actions. Do what you can do, like talking to her, reaching out for help, and know that other people have responsibility for themselves, too. I just wanted to throw that out there because sometimes people who are so caring and who value friendships like this can put too much on their own shoulders. :)
It would be good if your friend could connect with an adult who can listen and talk to her from a different perspective (outside of her peers who she feels she has to put on a bubbly face for or avoid by hiding behind her phone). Anybody that has been a positive part of her life will be a good start. Maybe a teacher, school counselor, or other school staff member, coach/activity leader, clergy member, etc. You can gently suggest to your friend that she talk to someone. If she refuses but doesn't improve, it's okay for you to go talk to the person and explain what's going on. The person will either reach out to your friend or point you to someone else that would be a better help.
A warning: sometimes (not always) people get angry when someone tries to get them help. In most cases, once the person is feeling better, he/she will be very glad for the help and no longer be angry.
I think your friend is lucky to have you as a friend. While you can't solve her problems, you're being supportive and helping her help herself. Not everyone can do that.

March, 21 2018 at 6:43 pm

hi Tanya.
I'm 19 and a student.
Currently i have this one friend. To me, he's a very good company. both of us met about 2 months ago. but actually we were in the same kindergarten years ago. we seemed to be very closed to each other. we had dinner together everyday, tried every new foods in our college, walked to class together (even though we're not in the same class and program
) and do almost everything together. Im very grateful to have a friend like him.
however, lately i realised that he's distancing himself from me. we do have dinner together, participate volunteering works together. but we dont talk much like we used to. i dont like that.
so, what happened was, last night, i asked him what's wrong?
He said that i am too clingy that everywhere i go, i always wanted him to be with me and he couldnt bear with it anymore.
i admit that i am a person like that. some people like it and some dont. dont they? so, i apologised and told him that i'll fix that. it was that actually i dont quite understand him, since we've just knew each other.
i think i've got influenced by the movies i watched where two best friends usually do things together, go everywhere together, go on a travel together, understand each other etc.
so, i expected him to do the mentioned things above. my bad.
and the conversation continued..
i told him that there's one thing that i couldnt control when i'm with him or with my other closed friends. that's Overthinking.
i used to think lots of unnecessary thoughts. like you said above, about things that i shouldve said, done and what not. but sometimes some thoughts like how my friends feel about me do came across my mind. However, i knew that these thoughts are just nothing. they're just there. so, i ignored them. i made myself busy.
but the longer i tried to ignore them, the more that i got hurt. what do i do? i really hope that you can help me, tanya.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 22 2018 at 10:37 am

Hi Harris,
Relationships, whether they're friendships, romantic relationships, and even family relationships, are so hard! It seems like the longer we know someone, the harder they become. A lot of it has to do with the thoughts you described. You made an excellent point about movies. This is something that happens a lot. We (and I say "we" because I've done it and still do it until I catch myself) tend to interpret movies and TV as representations of reality. They seem real, after all. And they often portray the ideal relationships that people want. What we forget is that they're scripted. The people say what they say and do what they do because they have lines and directions provided. (Look at how the real people, the celebrities who play the characters, behave in real life. There's evidence of non-scripted behavior!).
What has happened is that movies and TV have warped our expectations. And when things don't go like they do on screen, we question what's "wrong" and overthink to try to get things back to how we think they should be. Unrealistic expectations, no matter where they come from, cause a great deal of heartache, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and more. Something that is helpful for many people (myself included) is to take an honest look at our expectations. Even write them out. What is your vision of a great friendship? Then get honest with yourself. How many of your qualities fit in the real world? How would you define a good relationship with more realistic, unscripted, undirected, features? Then, what actions do you need to take to override your unrealistic expectations and work toward the realistic ones? Sometimes it works to observe others and talk to people you trust about their relationships.
I honestly say kudos to you for your insight about movies. You've got it! Now run with it (but know that it's a process that takes time.)

March, 20 2018 at 7:36 pm

Hello, I’m a mother to a 15 yr old teen. For the past three months he has been experiencing a lot of anxiety he also over think everything and questions everything. He questions the existence of life on a daily basis he question coincidences he questions absolutely everything and he feels like he needs the answer to everything. He is currently seeing a therapist. But he feels is not enough and as the days go by it gets bigger and a new though pops up. I can’t imagine how exhibe must feel. My husband and u are very patient with him but sometimes we don’t even know what to do and what to say anymore it exhausting for us too. We don’t know what to do. Please advise what techniques we as parent can do to help him out.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 21 2018 at 12:50 pm

Hi Andrea,
As if the teen years weren't challenging enough for teens and parents! Anxiety can grip teens, and given their stage of development and unique way their brain thinks and processes, can make it grow easily and quickly. I might muddle everything by suggesting things that might contradict the work your son is doing with his therapist (there are so many approaches to anxiety, but trying too many at one time could increase anxiety). I do have a resource to share with you. It's a book called Helping Your Anxious Teen: Positive Parenting Strategies to Help Your Teen Beat Anxiety, Stress, and Worry by Dr. Sheila Achar Josephs. Dr. Josephs specializes in anxiety in teens and helping parents help teens. The book is available on Amazon, but it might be available at your local library, too. The book contains practical, helpful strategies. Your son is very lucky, by the way. Sadly, not every parent is patient, and not every parent will take their child/teen to see a therapist. It might not seem like these are big things, but they are huge. Even if you haven't seen results, in being so caring and supportive, you are having a very positive, helpful effect on your son.

Dave Mack
March, 15 2018 at 8:02 pm

Hi Tanya, I’m a 35 year old man and in February 2017 until October 2017 I had a large chalazion on my left eye which really affected my self confidence. I stayed strong and tried to not let it get me down. Then November 2017 I start developing this forehead rash, which has also affected my self confidence just a month after feeling better about myself. This is an ongoing issue, I’ve tried creams from the doctor but no such joy as of yet. To top things off I now have an issue with my prostate. Doctor said it wasn’t cancer, it’s prostatitis. I’m in a lot of pain and I’m also suffering with erectile issues. I broke down last week. I haven’t cried since I was young. It’s all getting on top of me. I’m trying to not let it affect my wife and kids too much but I’m constantly thinking about ‘what if’. What if This forehead rash never goes, what if this prostate problem remains after the anitbiotics, what if I can’t have sex anymore. I’m so down, I can’t get to sleep, then when I do, I always wake up after a few hours. How can I get stop overthinking and worrying?
Thanks for your time

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 16 2018 at 6:29 pm

Hi Dave,
I'm so sorry to read of all of these things you have been dealing with, one right after the other. Your reaction is very normal. This article from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America has information about anxiety that relates to health, and it talks about cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). That is a treatment approach that helps people change their thoughts about themselves and things in their life:
Have you thought of what you would say to your wife or kids if they were going through what you are? What things would you tell them? How would you truthfully encourage them? If they were being hard on themselves, how would you handle it? If you give time and thought to these questions (and other concepts similar to them), you could turn the tables and say those things to yourself. Treat yourself with the same compassion as you would your family.
Finally, despite your pain (actually, because of it), find ways to bring joy into your life when movement is probably limited right now. Reading, playing games with your family, working on a model, etc. -- engage in something that helps you take your mind off of the physical and emotional pain. Whatever you do, hang in there.

Dave Mack
March, 23 2018 at 4:12 am

Thank you Tanya. I read your message a few days back and I have to say I’ve made an improvement. I think you saying “what would you say to your wife and kids if they were going through what you are” hit home the most. Very kind of you to respond to people’s messages on here. Thank you again.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 23 2018 at 9:33 am

Hi Dave,
I'm very happy to hear this. Keep going in the direction you are taking yourself. It's always my pleasure to respond because we're all in this thing called life together. :)

March, 11 2018 at 12:02 pm

Hello. I'm 18 years old and currently I'm still waiting for my result. These days i keep thinking and worried so much about my result because I'm afraid that I might be failed. If I failed then I will not get any chances to continue my studies to any University. Plus, I'm so worried that I might be dissapointed my parents as well. So last night, suddenly i was thinking about my result so I cried because I was so worried about it. And I try to crying but can't then I try to calm myself but still my brain keep thinking and worried about it so I just let myself to cry non stop because I feel like it will be more better if I let everything goes like that way. But suddenly I feel so lonely and I really need someone to talk with but I can't. Whenever someone asked me about my problems I litteraly just can't explain it because I feel like it's so hard me too. I don't know what to say but it's hurt me so bad when i cried because thinking of something and worried about it. This is not my first time having this kind of problems. I've been through a lot but still I remind okay because I don't want make things become worse but when suddenly I think it back, I'll started to crying non stop until I calm down myself. So, am I suffer of depression or anxiety? If so, tell me what should I do because I'm so confused. :') and sorry about my grammar, I'm so bad with my English

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 16 2018 at 6:09 pm

Hi Betty,
I don't think your English is bad at all. It's very good, actually. I understand exactly what you said. In this setting, it could be harmful to you if I tried to tell you that you have depression or anxiety. That would not be helpful. I will just observe that what you shared does have elements of anxiety, especially performance anxiety, perfectionism, and a lot of pressure. A big part of this type of anxiety is the belief that you must be "good enough" to pursue a certain major/program in school, job, career, etc. It can feel as though there are no options. Then the thought of disappointing parents makes things even worse. Sorting this out with someone could be very helpful. It could be a mental health professional, or a trusted relative, teacher, spiritual leader, parent, etc. There are so many paths. There are good options for you no matter what that result is, even if it's not the one you want (and who knows -- it could be what you want!). But it's hard to see those options on your own when you're so close. If you can talk with someone regularly and talk about your hopes, dreams, goals, visions for your future life and how to get going in the direction you want to go. If you feel that things aren't getting better or are getting worse, a visit to your doctor or a therapist might be very helpful, too. Right now, school and exams are huge. They won't always be. And they are a part of what you need for your next step, but other things are important, too. Opening up to someone you trust might go a long way in reducing your anxiety.

April, 14 2018 at 9:36 am

Hi :) I'm 17 years old and I don't know what to do anymore. I'm constantly worrying and stressing over everything and I over think almost every interaction I have with people and how they act around me. I have talked to one of my teachers about it but I have rlly low self esteem and confidence and I feel like she hates me and that I'm annoying her (even though she told me I could speak to her anytime) so I regret talking to her. I have rlly bad body images issues too and I'm usually really quiet because I don't feel good enough or that anyone likes me all that much. Recently I've been feeling constantly on edge and School and tests stress me out sometimes to the point of tears. I get angry with myself if I don't do as good as other people and im constantly beating myself up in my head. I know this is wrong but I don't know what to do. I don't feel good enough and i always overthink everything and stress over something as stupid as not saying hi to someone when I pass them and thinking they think I'm horrible. I feel like everyone is fed up with me. The thing is im okay when I'm with people I'm close to or if I'm distracted. I'm just fed up of constantly panicking over what other people call 'stupid things'. My parents don't really see it so they tell me that 'every teenager is stressed' and that's it not big deal and I think they were a bit upset with me when they found out I talked to a teacher. Is it a big deal? I don't know what to do I've felt like this for a long time. Do you think I might have anxiety?

Estelle Pace
March, 11 2018 at 9:00 am

I’m a 26 year old and I was moving in my new house with my boyfriend. I really was looking forward for this change but all of a sudden anxiety kicked in. I fear tk move and until my anxiety gets better I am not willing to move. It’s been over a month worrying and fearing that this anxiety wont leave me in peace. I am always asking myself why I suddenly changed my mind from moving. I am in the cycle that I am anxious about my anxiety.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 16 2018 at 5:51 pm

Hi Estelle,
Anxiety can be a trap and a vicious circle -- you comment about the cycle of being anxious about your anxiety captures this well! I'm wondering if you've heard of adjustment disorder. It's a (usually) temporary condition caused by change like a move. Even positive change can lead to adjustment disorder. Anxiety is very much a part of it. This article has some information:… If you think it sounds like it might be a possibility, you can talk to your doctor or mental health professional like a therapist. You can deal with both adjustment and anxiety and be able to move into your new house with your boyfriend.

March, 8 2018 at 6:38 pm

Hi, i've suffered with anxiety for many years. last year for a second time i was prescribed citalopram (celexa) and had the dose increased. 6 months on i'm feeling a whole lot better, life feels less stressful, i have more energy and most of the negative thoughts don't bother me any more.
My biggest problem at the moment is the chatter/overthinking which has gotten better since the medication but i'm still having a problem switching off to relax. my head just keeps chatting, checking to see if i'm relaxed or "in the moment" it's especially bad when i try to relax and watch films or tv. i'm a big big film fan and its important for me to be able to get lost in a film and relax. i just get constant questioning and checking but also my head will also at times repeat words being spoken on the screen or start of thinking what i'd say to other people about the film or tv.
Everyone tells me it's classic anxiety and it will fade over time but i keep thinking "what if it's something else" "this will never go"
I just can't seem to get out of this cycle.
Thanks for any help

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 9 2018 at 2:52 pm

Hi Mamba,
It sounds like this mental chatter is starting to really disrupt your life -- when it invades things that used to bring you peace and happiness, it definitely is natural to be frustrated and want to do something. Sometimes well-meaning people want to reassure others, like those that are telling you it's classic anxiety. If your instincts are telling you that it could be something different, follow those instincts. You seem very self-aware. That awareness is a strength you can use to move forward. You might want to start by consulting your doctor. Even though you're having success with citalopram, there's a chance that minor dosage adjustments need to be made. Also, working with a therapist might be very helpful, especially since the medication has been working but this issue is lingering. Your doctor, a therapist, or both can help you get yourself out of the cycle.

March, 10 2018 at 1:49 pm

does it sound like anxiety to you?
I get a lot of rehearsing conversations, some i'll probably never have
I don't really want to have any changes to my medication as the last 2 or 3 months are the best i've felt for a few years.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 10 2018 at 1:50 pm

the above comment is me i just forgot which email address i used

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 16 2018 at 5:43 pm

Hi Mamba,
The chatter, rehearsing, etc. do sound like they could be anxiety. Anxiety and thoughts like this so often go hand-in-hand. The nature of the thoughts vary depending on the type of anxiety you are experiencing. Also, thoughts like this can be part of other things, too, such as OCD. I would never try to diagnose you! I do think that talking with your doctor or mental health professional would help you find answers -- and the right treatment.

March, 8 2018 at 2:30 pm

I’m 14 years old and honestly worry about everything way too much. I’m in high school and whenever I have a test or assessment coming up i always way overthink it. Last time in a maths exam I knew I got 1 question wrong and literally cried for hours because I though that having 1 Mark taken off my test would lead me to having no job, no future etc. After I realised I was so silly and so annoyed at myself for getting so upset about it. And recently I’ve been feeling physically sick every time I come home because i am worried about a friend who doesn’t eat all that much but the truth is really he’s fine. I really need advice on this it’s stressing me out so much and I know this is the age that these kinds of things start to take over you. Please help me with any advice you have

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 9 2018 at 3:33 pm

Hi Alex,
Anyone who says that teens don't have stress like adults do either forgot what it was like to be in high school, isn't acknowledging the way the world has become, or both! Just from the little bit that you wrote, I think you are someone who is pretty driven and who is very caring and compassionate. Those are great qualities, strengths that you will use to get you far. These are also things that can make you more vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and other things that take a toll on mental health and wellbeing. Two things you might want to try (there are more than two things you can do, of course) will probably seem like they conflict at first.
One: Think about your sense of purpose and a vision for what you want your life to be like. BUT, and this is a biggie, don't feel that you are tying yourself to this. This is supposed to reduce stress rather than increase it. You are 14 and are beginning to explore what you want to do as an adult. The key word is explore. The purpose of this is to be grounding. With a small beginning of a vision and a plan, you can sort out what you need to go in that general direction. Maths is an important subject, and it's good to do well. But when you look at your general vision, you can see that missing one point won't destroy your chances at anything. Look at the requirements for the jobs you'd like. Even if a high grade is important, it's probably not necessary to score 100% on everything all the time. (It's not necessary because it's not possible!).
2: Let your vision just be there. You can make adjustments to it any time you want to, and you can go to it to remind yourself of what you realistically need to do, but other than that, it doesn't need to (and shouldn't) be the main focus of your daily life. Make it a habit to take slow deep breaths throughout the day because that helps calm the brain and body. Pay attention to what is going on right now, in the moment you're in. When you notice yourself feeling sick because you're worried about your friend, check in with him. See how he's doing. When you're in the moment, you can either respond to a problem that you notice (as opposed to a worry in your head), or you can dismiss a worry because you can see evidence that the worry isn't based on something real happening right now. This is known as mindfulness. If you're interested, check out This is a great resource for dealing with stress and anxiety.
The anxiety and worry you are experiencing won't last. You can do things to overcome them.

March, 6 2018 at 1:05 pm

My best friend since high school (we are in our 40s), is dealing with having to put her Father's illness. He is in a great facility now, and has ample funds to pay for it, but it was certainly stressful for awhile for her. She has not worked outside of the home in years, but she is a great Mom to three young kids, and while she was always a worrier, it was never all that bad. Since this happened she has developed crippling anxiety and I do not know how to help her. She texts me incessantly with wild scenarios and what ifs. If everything is fine (which it is now) she actually looks for things that could go wrong. I almost feel like she is only comfortable if she is worrying! And none of these things are realistically ever going to happen, and if by some wild chance they did, they are beyond her control. She worries so much it is exhausting for me and for her, and she is struggling to care for her kids. She is very negative like "Oh my kids are going to hate me, and I am going to lose my husband," because she is taking time to help her Dad. She is constantly worried about being sued, having to pay for her Father, etc. I am a lawyer, and I went through this with my own Father, but nothing I can say can reassure her. To make matters worse, I am the other extreme. I think worry is a waste of time, and am very much the type of person that says if it happens it happens. She is taking an anti anxiety drug that she was put on recently, but clearly it is not working. This has been going on daily for four months. Nothing I say helps her. I have tried just saying it will be okay, just letting her talk, rationalizing with her, but NOTHING works. I am starting to go a bit insane myself. She is like a broken record over and over the same thing. How can I help her? Thanks

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 9 2018 at 3:47 pm

Hi Lisa,
It sounds like you have been a wonderful friend. Listening, being available, reassuring, sharing your professional and personal knowledge are all the "right" things to do. (I typically try to avoid such value-laden words like "right" and "wrong," but in this case the things you've been doing are actions that have been shown to be supportive. Therefore, I'll use "right.")
Sometimes people are resistant to support. It may be that she doesn't realize that she's resisting, and it may be that her worries are so intense that they're all-consuming. Talking about them like this might be the only way she has to deal with them. That doesn't mean that you have to keep doing what you've been doing. That won't help either one of you.
It's okay to point out that you think that she needs professional help, either returning to her doctor about medication, seeing a therapist, or both. Sometimes being direct yet kind about it is the best thing. It can be effective to meet with her in person and give her a list of resources in the community (you can often find them in medical offices, community centers, libraries, and mental health resources offices like NAMI or DBSA). Share your concerns with her. Offering to accompany her to an appointment might be good, but only if it works for you and you think she would appreciate the offer. It's okay, too, to tell her that you will be there for her as a friend, but that you can't be her therapist. Situations like these aren't unusual. The "tough love" approach is sometimes the best thing to do. Even if your friend gets mad, odds are that she won't stay mad and will be glad that you led her to professional help. You're clearly a very good friend.

thea balane
March, 4 2018 at 11:43 pm

Hello... I do have a questions...
If I'm overthinking like my girlfriend is mad at me because I think I do something wrong even I didn't do anything.
I also feel going nuts if my girlfriend didn't text me wholeday.
I also think that I'm not good enough for her and all the negative is already in my mind.
I encounter this kind of issues when I was 14yrs old. I can't breath, heart racing, sweating if I'm doing a reporting, reciting. Is this a anxiety??? Went don't have that here in the Philippines

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 5 2018 at 11:24 am

Hi Thea,
The physical symptoms you are having sound very much like an anxiety attack or panic attack. The difference between them is that anxiety attacks happen because of fear or excessive worry about something while panic attacks happen "out of the blue" and relate to the fear of having another panic attack.
Anxiety can get in the way of relationships. It can often be helpful to work with a therapist about the relationship anxiety you describe. If you don't have access to mental health professionals, there are services available online, such as and They can help you with your thoughts and feelings in your relationship.

March, 3 2018 at 11:33 pm

Hello, I’ve been trying to overcame this anxiety for about over a month now. I have had it in the past and it was much, much worse. I moved to a new state and got married all in a matter of three months. My physical well being has been awful which took a toll on my mental state. Everyone I reach out to says I should seek help, I wake up everyday thinking it’s going to be a struggle. What should I do? Helllp!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 5 2018 at 11:19 am

Hi Nikki,
You've experienced a lot of changes recently (plus have dealt with health issues)! Even positive changes can create anxiety and adjustment struggles. This article is about adjustment disorder and anxiety:…), and at the end there is a link to other helpful articles about adjustment disorder. The number one thing to know right now is that it's temporary. If you'd like, check out the information in the article. That might help you decide whether to seek professional help. Working with a therapist, even for a short time, can be very effective in helping you overcome anxiety, adjustment problems, and more.

Alexander John
February, 28 2018 at 2:04 am

I have a problem or issue, i don't know how to call it, anxiety related.
I will be very short in details and it goes like this:
1) i am a very logical, rational and resonable person
2) everything i say, do or someone else says or do i ANALYZE
3) this analyze is very very stressfull and it blocks me from doing the important things in life.
4) When i analyze i mean: syntactic analyze, rational analyze, logic analyze and so on...
What are your suggestions about this?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 1 2018 at 10:24 am

Hi Alexander John,
Analyzing in this way can be exhausting, and when it blocks you from what's important, it can be a big problem. Have you ever visited with a medical professional or mental health professional about this? This doesn't mean that there is something wrong. It would be a way of investigating to get to the bottom of it. Different things can contribute to the type of analyzing you mention, and if you can pinpoint something, you can better target it so you can live your life free from this overthinking. You can also use your logic and rationality to your advantage. Some people find it useful to compartmentalize their thoughts (others need to work to stop doing this -- it all depends on the individual person). Create a "filing system" in your mind for different types of thoughts. When you are listening to someone and notice yourself analyzing, visualize yourself filing your thoughts away and locking the filing cabinet. If you want to go back to the thoughts later, you can, but if you don't want to, you can keep them locked. This is just a visualization exercise that can help you gain control over your analyzing thoughts. It can feel weird initially, and it takes some practice. Essentially what you're doing is training your brain to just tune in and ignore the tendency to analyze. You might prefer a different technique. Using your own logic could be very helpful.

February, 20 2018 at 9:51 pm

I have been overthinking for 3 months and I have problems with my family, friends and boyfriend. I was moody and so many emotional, I have been crying for 3 months because sometimes I get emotional to no reason. It’s hard for me because when overthinking that how people treat me and make me hurt even more. I don’t know who am I. I still hurt for what people hating me. Because I fight with them and fight with for no reason because I was angry and hating myself too much. But I don’t understand why I have been emotional and overthinking for past 3 months because I never had like that before. I really need help to how get over with emotional and overthinking. I just want to go back to normal life.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 23 2018 at 11:03 am

Hi Sasha,
What a long three months you must have had -- and are still experiencing. Of course you want to return to the way things were! And it's possible. It sounds like the root of the overthinking is emotions and relationships. Being able to describe this is great, because you can pinpoint the problems and start addressing them right away. With what you're describing, it's very helpful to work directly with a mental health professional. This link will take you to a list of articles with information about types of mental health treatment, where to find it, and more. Just scroll to the "Mental Illness Treatment" heading, and click on the one(s) that sound helpful to you.…

February, 16 2018 at 2:49 pm

Hi Neelam,
It sounds like you are a very caring, compassionate person. Those are wonderful strengths to have and can help you have strong, close relationships. You don't want to give that up! But like all strengths, these can get in your way, as you are seeing. You are already a step ahead because you recognize that this is happening and how it's interfering in your life and happiness. Now you can focus on shifting your thoughts. Having anxiety about the health of people you care about is actually common -- you're not alone. I actually wrote an article addressing this very thing. It might have ideas that will help you. Here is the link:…

February, 16 2018 at 7:35 am'am
I m addicted to over thinking when it comes to heath issues of anyone in my family.. I just reach to the maximum wid very little of anything.. last month my Lo was not well for 10 days.. I was going through very tensed situation where she had small viral infection.. now when after 15 days she got cold now mild fever again and my thoughts are skyrocketing as why she fell ill within 15 days.. my very tensed and feel lost in my bad thoughts..
This habit is killing me and my wonderful present not future..
Ma'am plz advise. How to cope up with this

Nestor F.
February, 10 2018 at 4:25 pm

Idk what I'm doing, but ok, so I'm 19 years old, and I have been living my life with some problems that I try to explain, but can't. At times I've wanted to do some things that I don't want to mention, but I realize how I always overthink about anything that is not to big of a deal. (for some reason I'm shaking right now) My whole life I've been trying to go out and be heard, but I get too shy and feel down when I try. I'm always "on the low," don't talk much, always listening to music, by myself, rarely go out, can't deal with strangers much or crowds. Have tried working as a server twice, but unfortunately got fired twice for the same reason (not showing up, calling "sick") but went back to delivering. I just don't know what to say. But I give what I can think of.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 14 2018 at 3:50 pm

Hi Nestor,
I'm sorry to read about what you're going through. You mentioned wanting to be out and about but being too shy. I'm wondering about something based on what you've written, but I'm definitely not trying to diagnose you. That would be wrong of me and impossible to do with just this little bit of information. Some of what you said reminds me a lot of social anxiety and, beyond that, something called avoidant personality disorder. "Shyness" exists on a spectrum with mild shyness on one end and avoidant personality disorder on the other. Avoidant personality disorder is like social anxiety on steroids. This article will tell you a bit more about this, and if it seems to fit, you can look up some more information:… Intense social anxiety can be hard to overcome, but with patience and perseverance, things will get better. You can even have a job and a social life.

February, 10 2018 at 1:15 pm

I have my eyebrows bones little exposed within two weeks of over thinking for the left one it is old one the right eye brows bones it is exposed more recently .
Is it cause by anxiety ?because I have many issues .

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 14 2018 at 3:38 pm

Hi Amad,
Anxiety can cause many physical symptoms. Whenever you have something physical like this, it's a good idea to see a doctor to rule out or treat a health condition.

February, 6 2018 at 6:21 pm

I‘m only 21 but looking back i have always had negative thoughts, circeling in my head so fast its every second lately. I feel trappes in my head and the things I think about is actually always worrying about what other people think about me while I am actually doing stuff, I am thinking like that even about my friends and family. It is probably because Im insecure in general but lately the more I stop to think about it, the heavier the tboughts get. Its like my mind is constantly racing

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 14 2018 at 3:43 pm

Hi Selina,
A constantly racing mind -- that is a really good description. Social anxiety and insecurity can definitely be at the root of this type of overthinking. And as you're seeing, it can keep getting worse! The good news is that it can also get better. Have you looked into social anxiety? Perhaps starting by looking into information about this type of anxiety will be a great first step in reducing overthinking.

February, 3 2018 at 5:58 pm

Good video. Does a therapist notice anxiety and over thinking? Mine has never mentioned it. Only one has ever acknowledged the dissociation. But we never worked on anything to stop it. I get my Mental Health care through the Veterans Admins., in the USA, so I don't think they are equipped to handle dissociation or to do therapy to help anxiety or overthinking. Sessions are usually 6-12 weeks apart :(

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 14 2018 at 3:41 pm

Hi Trace,
Some therapists do (and should) address overthinking. Others do not. I'm not sure what the VA policy is. If it's possible to try a different therapist? Also, 6-12 weeks apart is a long time between sessions. Have you tried any self-help books about anxiety to work on between sessions? That might be helpful.

January, 27 2018 at 3:59 am

Is it possible that such things are genetically passed? My mother has problem with anxiety. He never starts conversation with "how are you", instead she says "is everything OK" assuming that it's not and she wants me to prove her wrong. Why is that I always think obsessively about something even thought it's already clear. to me? I For example I know that I still have time to do something, yet I worry it will be too late. Why is that I seek confirmation from many sources and even when I am sure about something I still have this kind of feeling "what if....". I often ask the same questions and people get angry about it. It affects my relations with my girlfriend. She says I am obsessed and annoying. Then I worry...that I am too annoying and I keep asking her "am I not annoying you". Then of course, she gets angry. It's like I want to go somewhere in April and I know that I can make final decision in March but I feel like I have to do it now, I don't know where this feelings comes from. I know it's overthinking and anxiety. I keep telling myself "stop" or "it's OK, you already know that" but it does not seem to work. What can I do? I can't concentrate on everyday stuff, simple things.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 30 2018 at 11:11 am

Hello Witek,
Anxiety can be related to genetics, at least partially. It can also definitely be learned. Anxiety is no one's fault but is something complex that develops from many different experiences with our environment, within the brain, and a consequence of interactions with others, including parents. Your mom probably cares about you and wants you to be safe (physically, emotionally -- the whole deal). She might have some fears and anxieties of her own that give her reason to believe that the world is not okay, and by constantly asking and obsessing, it's her way of making sure you are okay. But having that kind of interaction and talk over and over again really could have an impact on how you interact. This is what you learned, and it's naturally how you see things and react. (This is oversimplified and there is a lot more to anxiety -- and to you as a person -- than this. This is an observation based on what you mentioned.)
You have already had a great first step. You've identified what you don't want. The next step is identifying what you do want and then create an action plan that involves small steps to work your way to who and how you want to be. It's common to think, "I know what I want. I don't want to be this way. I want to stop overthinking. That's what I want." But that isn't helpful. When you think about what you don't want, you are thinking of what you don't want. Your focus is on the negative. Just reframing and focusing on what you do want will start to make a difference. Build on that with action, and you will be working toward the change you want to, and can, create.

January, 24 2018 at 12:34 pm

Hello I am 21 years old, my name is zach, I recently just started having anxiety/overthinking issues in my life. I have so much blessings in my life and not really having nothing to complain about: I'm going to trade school and working to be an electrician, I keep a good relationship with my family and my friends, and about 2 months deep into a relationship with a wonderful woman. Shes is very mature and very understanding about a lot of things. So recently I started getting really anxious and start overthinking my actions around her. I keep playing scenarios in my head over and over again thinking "she's going to leave me she's in a bad mood." Basically almost making it believable that she's going to leave me because I'm thinking lesser of myself. Does that make sense? Our relationship is going really well and she has no intentions of leaving. She knows I have this problem and wants to help the best she can. Whenever I get into this anxious/overthinking mood it gets so bad I do not want to eat and I just get this heavy feeling in my chest. All because my mind plays scenerios that ARENT true. I just want it to stop. It's stopping me from being myself around the people I love

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 30 2018 at 11:01 am

Hi Zach,
The insight you have about your anxiety, including the fact that you know that your thoughts don't match reality, means that you're already far into the process of overcoming this. Many times, people don't realize that just because they are thinking and feeling, it doesn't make it true. (That is a common trick that anxiety plays on people, so it's not bad when that happens. It's just a different starting point for overcoming anxiety). You're aware of your irrational thoughts (that's not a judgment; "irrational" is just the word that is used and it means that they aren't what's really happening). I have two links for you that might be helpful. One is about relationships, and the other is about an approach to mental health and wellbeing called acceptance and commitment therapy. These just might have information that will help you stop the anxious thoughts and let you be yourself. (ACT is largely about learning to be yourself.)……

January, 20 2018 at 12:06 pm

Hello Tanya. i'm 21 years old girl and i have been having a lot of axiety lately. I have decided to make do certain things during the day in order to be productive, for example, studying french 2 hours, piano 1 hour, seweing 1 hour in the evening, reading, etc. When i wake up in the morning my brain is calm for some time but after 2 hours i start thinking about how the time won't be enough, that i will feel tired or lazy, how i won't progress as much as i would expect and so on, i overthink and i think that negatively affects my performance. I started having anxiety about 2 and a half years ago because i had a teacher that was very tough, i even had panic attacts at night but the it all went away but now, i just think about me not being able to be as productive as i would like to, i get tired very soon now and also, i'm from Venezuela, my country is in chaos, everywhere you go you see poverty, lack of opportunities so it is somehow a very sad environment, i don't know if that could have something to do with it too. Today, i had a awkward social interaction with someone (i'm a very shy person) and then i came home could not stop feeling bad about it and thinking it too and i'm never like that, i mean, if something like that happens i just think "whatever, it already happened, i can't change it" but this time was not like that. Something else, i suffer from metabolic syndrom and had already had hypothyroidism.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 30 2018 at 10:40 am

Hi Veronica,
From my own personal experience plus what I've encountered professionally, this drive/need to be productive is extremely anxiety-provoking. It becomes a terrible cycle: We think/worry about not being productive. So we try harder to be productive, taking on more tasks to try to solve the problem. Of course, there is only so much time, and everything we do requires time, which means we don't get to everything. That makes us feel less productive. So we take on more. The cycle continues and anxiety worsens. It even causes physical symptoms and physical illness. It can also lead to other mental health challenges -- like the way you reacted to the social interaction. That is a very normal thing to do, and it often comes from being overwhelmed. The brain becomes overloaded and it becomes harder for it to handle things.
It's hard to break out of this cycle of anxiety and productivity. Believe me, I know! One thing that is often effective is to start at the source -- the need to be productive. Make a definition of productivity that is meaningful to you and of course realistic. Define what is reasonable to do in a day, then choose the most necessary things to fit into the time frame. Jot them down so you can cross them off when you do them. That reinforces that you are doing things. Also, before bed, list what you accomplished and why it matters. If/when you keep thinking about what you didn't accomplish, write that down, too, plus why it's okay that those things didn't get done. This is a good first step to reducing this "productivity anxiety."
One thing that very likely does contribute is something out of your control: the chaos around you. These conditions absolutely can cause or add to anxiety, depression, PTSD and other trauma-related disorders, and more. I happened to research this recently for a book, so I've read studies and personal accounts about the effects of living in wide-spread poverty, long-term effects of natural disasters, war, political strife, etc. This chaos does take a toll on mental health and wellbeing. Discovering personal meaning can counterbalance the negative effects. What is important to you? Who is important to you? What bothers you that you would like to see change? If you can take time to explore what is meaningful to you, you can then do things to live in a way that matches your meaning. This has the added bonus of reducing the need to be productive because living according to your values is naturally productive and satisfying.

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