Question: How do I control overthinking and feeling unloved?
Anyone who knows me well knows I am not a physical touch person. I have a personal space bubble, and I would prefer for it to remain unpopped. But, when I received this question a few weeks ago, I felt the uncanny urge to find the person who sent the request and give them the longest hug of their life, because I too have had these feelings. At one time or another, everyone has.
Before delving into the topic, I want to point out I am not a mental health professional and what works for me may not work for everybody. However, I will share my experience and my advice for battling these feelings.
During my freshman year at Oklahoma Christian University, I felt incredibly overwhelmed. The uneasiness of living away from home combined with the pressure to make friendships with the potential to last a lifetime and acquire a 4.0 GPA caused an abundance of overthinking.
Additionally, my awareness of justice, politics and racial equality broadened significantly. I spent the majority of my free time researching, watching documentaries and becoming increasingly worried about the state of society. I could not sleep.
Slowly, these anxious moments turned into a narrative of negative self-talk. I would repeatedly become frustrated at myself for my inability to turn off my brain and just calm down. On the flip side, if I stopped thinking, even for a few minutes, about the state of society I felt guilty. This is no way to live.
Through strengthening relationships with those around me, I was able to relieve some of these feelings of anxiety. Developing a steady routine in my life also helped to keep my thoughts and ideas more organized than ever before. Still, for the rest of my freshman year, I felt overwhelmed.
As my sophomore year rolled around, I had a realization which changed my life. And, as every basic Oklahoma Christian girl does, I wrote an Instagram post about my feelings.
“I’ve had an epiphany. Stressing about life doesn’t help anybody. If you spend energy endlessly stressing and complaining and worrying, you’re wasting time. I’ve wasted so much of my life stressing out about school and so many other things to the point where I’d forgotten that God is in control of EVERYTHING. He tells us ‘not to worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself,’ in Matthew 6. We have to learn how to slow down and learn to admire every moment of each day because God didn’t intend for us to be stressed. Instead, He wants us to be joyful and live fully in every moment.”
We are not in control of what life throws at us. However, we can control our reaction. For some of us, this may include visiting a doctor or a counselor. For others, journaling or getting coffee with a trusted friend may help.
In my life, refocusing my life on God and diving into his word helps greatly. In addition to strengthening faith, there is absolutely no shame in talking about your feelings or seeking help when needed.
The stigma surrounding mental health has decreased significantly over time, yet it still exists. While it may seem as though the topic is discussed frequently, I would argue we stay at the surface level of the conversation by avoiding the root causes of our feelings.
If you are perpetually feeling unloved, please do not hesitate to visit Oklahoma Christian’s counseling center.
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