The REAL Reason You Can’t Stop Overthinking and How to Stop

Above The Middle
8 min readMay 23, 2021

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Overthinking is a problem. Like, a really big problem.

Overthinking doesn’t get you anywhere. Point, blank, and period. It’s a waste of time yet so many of us are caught in its grasps hour after hour, day after day. What gives? Why do we have this incessant need to just want to figure things out? We engage in endless rumination worrying about how we can get from A to B, or why that guy hasn’t text us back, or what the best move is in regards to situation X, without actually getting anywhere. If overthinking did what we intended it to do, we would all be problem-free but that is not the case. If anything, overthinking drags us further into the pits of our problems.

Where does this incessant need to think about things come from?

It all comes down to control

At the core, human beings are wired for control and to seek certainty. After all, it’s only logical. In our ancestor’s minds, certainty meant survival. Certainty meant knowing where to go to get food or knowing where not to go in order to avoid predation. Uncertainty simply wasn’t an option. Not if you wanted to survive the day.

Our brains adapted accordingly to ensure we were able to problem-solve to find the answers we need in order gain control and certainty over situations in our life. That’s why our pre-frontal cortex, known for executive thinking, has allowed us to become the domineering species on the planet. That is also why so many of us get stuck in bad habits of overthinking.

*Overthinking is a control-seeking manoeuvre to try and make sense of things we feel we don’t have control over.

When humans lose touch of control in the external world, we turn inwards in search of the answers ourselves. We will mentally unpack, analyse, turn over, eat up and regurgitate scenario after scenario in search of answers in the hopes we find certainty and regain control.

Above The Middle

Joe Gibson. I created Above The Middle as a place for all things psychology and personal development. Follow for frequent articles. 5x Top Writer