Music is all around us. How can it help to cope with overthinking?
Ever had sleepless nights before an important event? Ever been in a situation where you can’t decide what to gift friends or family, even after thinking for hours? These are just some of the signs of overthinking. Overthinking is the behaviour of excessive deliberation, often over a particular event that had happened or is ongoing, and it is frequently caused by the fear of not attaining a desired result.
Overthinkers tend to constantly have questions and thoughts flooding their minds, and these thoughts are likely related to how “things could have happened differently if I had done this instead” or “should I do it this way or that way?”, even though they often have little to no control over the outcome of that situation.
One of the times people tend to overthink is after a job interview, where they have literally no control over the outcome. Questions start flooding their minds about how they could have done better, such as:
- “Would I get the job?”
- “Did I leave a good impression?”
- “Was I sincere enough?”
- “Should I have said that? What if I said this instead…?”
- “Did I seem unprofessional when I…”
And this is just covering the surface.
Once we start unnecessarily thinking about what is out of our hands, we need to know that it is time to stop.
Effects of Overthinking
Overthinking might be a good thing, especially so when attention to detail is extremely crucial. For instance, when operating heavy machinery or vehicles in the construction or manufacturing industries, it is important that minimal mistakes are made, especially when lives are at stake. In these cases, overthinking may prove useful. This allows operators to be absolutely sure that what they are about to do will be safe for all. As we all like to say, “it’s better to be safe than sorry”, right?
However, overthinking may cause more harm than good.
Unnecessary forms of overthinking hinders decision-making. Excessive competing thoughts causes people to cloud their judgement, and they may just end up making an unwise decision instead.
Overthinking is also extremely energy depleting. It is mentally draining to be constantly trying to “battle our inner thoughts”, and this will consequently affect our productivity levels.
Anxiety problems and panic attacks may also arise from overthinking, which may eventually lead to insomnia, or even depression.
How can Music Help with Overthinking?
Music has shown to greatly reduce anxiety, and it is widely used in therapy to reduce stress and induce a feeling of calm in listeners.
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”Billy Joel
So, no harm trying it out! Uplifting music that is close to our hearts would be worth a shot, as these songs often take us back to the places that we remember fondly. Instead of being bound by the running thoughts inside our heads, we can be surrounded by fond memories that we associate the songs with.
Moreover, it would be great if we can sing and dance along too!
Singing along encourages the mind to remember the lyrics to the songs, and this would also take our minds off the bothersome situations. Dancing and grooving to the music also helps as it is shown to alleviate stress and relax the mind. (Source)
On the other hand, music also helps to calm the nerves. Neuroscientists suggest the song Weightless by Marconi Union: studies have shown that listening to this track can reduce anxiety levels significantly! (Source)
Music is one of many ways for coping with overthinking. The key is to distract ourselves with meaningful activities that would clear our mind. With this, we are less likely to be confined by the thoughts that have been bothering and wearing us down. We can then move on and continue working on things with a fresh mind, without the burden of overthinking situations that we cannot control.
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”Martin Luther King, Jr.
BlankSlate Counselling is a counselling agency in Singapore dedicated to help individuals find the inner strength within themselves to achieve what they set their minds to do. Learn more about our trusted counsellors in Singapore and what we do.