How I Overthink About the Future

Overthinking about the future is energy-consuming.

Rhododendron ferrugineum.

Not thinking ahead ——— Overthinking ahead

Let us view the two options each individually. I do not need to go into detail about not thinking ahead. Calamity might ensue. Unfortunately overthinking ahead is another extreme and just as bad. It is one of the basic concepts known since the Greek philosophy (if not from earlier as common traditional knowledge) that the right measure is always the golden mean. As easy as it is said it is just as much hard to put it into practice. Going to one of the extremes is easier because one does not require thinking. One just simply exaggerates and waits for the consequences. Which cannot be anything but bad – to be sure.

Just as we strive to clean our bodies every day, perhaps also to clean our soul by means of prayer or meditation… Just as we put a lot of energy into exercising and eating as healthy as possible – the same amount of care, in my opinion, should be put into the concept of the golden mean. Actually, I believe, the golden mean should be intrinsic to all our endeavors. I have read recently about a man who gradually became so obsessed with healthy foods that he started to leave out meals because of lack of time to prepare them in a really healthy way, like making his own yogurt from milk etc. Eventually he fell ill – orthorexia (similar to anorexia). In other words: it would have been a lot healthier and wiser to keep the golden mean and eat slightly less healthy than not eat at all and starve in the name of healthy foods, which is the essence of orthorexia. I do not need to go into the problem of obesity to name the other extreme.

Let me tell you my story about going to an extreme: I tend to overthink ahead. I calculated, metaphorically speaking of course, that I actually spend more energy and time on overthinking about the future THAN I do on fixing things that actually go wrong. I have gradually realized that through the last week, which was a troublesome week marked by fear of the water dripping through the ceiling.

A couple of weeks ago building contractors started to fix our roof, which is a terrace. We live in an apartment building at the top, just below the sundeck. A week ago water started dripping through the ceiling after a heavy rain. I got worried right away, pictured the worst scenario: having to replace the wooden floor due to the amount of water. I have been checking the ceiling for new patches of moisture and possible drops of water ever since. I do not dare to go out of the apartment for more than an hour and I am obsessing with what might ensue. Right now the contractors are building a temporary roof over the terrace, which should bring a lot of peace of mind to me. They also promised to repaint our apartment to cover the brown spots from the dripping. I was also worried about what might happen at night, when I am sleeping. On the whole I have spent more energy on worrying than I would have on changing the wooden floor and repainting the whole apartment, even if I had to do it myself or hire somebody. Providing there would be damage on the woodblock floor of course, for so far there has only been damage on the ceiling.

Read more about overthinking and my coping strategies in Balancing the Beast.

Take care,
Helena Smole, author of:

– a fantasy novel with romance Vivvy and Izzy the Dwarf: A series about relationships

Balancing the Beast, a book offering a bright view of schizoaffective disorder ˗ bipolar or manic-depressive type

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