Be Aware! – The Ogre named Overthinking.

Part I – Be aware! – The Ogre named Overthinking

Part 2- A few signs you could be overthinking!

Part 3- How does it affect you?

Part 4 – How to get over this thinking – Ways to overcome this habit of overthinking.

“Your overthinking isn’t helping”

Where am I overthinking this? Which part?

I need you to stop overthinking , please.

She read the message one last time before deleting them off and ruminates over her actions from the previous days, the moon slightly nudges her face, hot tears slide down fall into the dark soil, where the wilted leaves dry away. She stands unaware, the various what ifs beseech her heavy head, salty tears complete her appetite for the day.

We have all at some point in our lives thought about some problem, a riddle, a difficult phase and have indulged in deep thinking, ie thinking about the problem until we have achieved a solution to that, then it’s all back to normal and we are fine.

But what happens when we can’t let go of these thoughts and they are going on in a cycle, they never stop?

This is phenomenon which is quite normal as people say, is dangerous for it just starts with a simple thought that occupies your mind, but once you find the solace in revisiting those events, you find another option, yet another solution to that past thing that you could have done better. “Maybe I could’ve said this in the presentation that day, maybe I should have told my boss he can have things his way, etc”.This phenomenon is known as Overthinking and it is linked with other psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, etc.

This particular post has been divided into four parts, the first part is being aware that you are Overthinking – thinking more than you should, so much so that it has started affecting your daily life functioning. The later ones include the signs, how it affects you, physically, mentally and emotionally, lastly, how do you deal with overthinking.

It’s not only in your professional life that you engage in overthinking,, but rather even in your Interpersonal relationships, ie, your relationship with your family, friends, significant other. You’re stuck with the various what ifs, you feel it is difficult to fully trust your partner or your family member, feel they would cheat upon you or leave you from someone else, also find it difficult to fully trust the person and believe that whatever they are saying is the actual truth. In family setting you feel anything you do is not enough, maybe they dislike your presence, hate your eating or living habits, which would never truly be the case.

It is affects your Intrapersonal relationship, ie, the one you have with yourself, you shall doubt your own capabilities and your own self worth and find that you will have something or the other you did that makes you look like a bad person, an ugly child or a loser, a horrid partner. You will doubt your own self esteem, feel low about it and helpless that you cant seem to be better than others. You didn’t do enough, you should try to make up to the things that happened years ago.

The various what ifs are never ending, you’re being surrounded by them night and day, your day would begin with them, you won’t realise when you drank the coffee or reached the office, you won’t observe those people calling you in way, won’t remember if you have even eaten or had water, hell, have you even rested enough for the day?

At night when everyone tries to sleep peacefully, you find it difficult to get away from these thoughts, they said just turn off your thoughts, oh no, it doesn’t it stop, it keeps you awake all night, you sleep hardly a wink and even when you do, you wake up in cold sweat and the same nightmare keeps you awake yet another night, you keep thinking, till the moon leaves trails and the dawn peaks in the sky far away.

Do you feel you have experienced the following at some point or the other in your life?

Stay tuned for the next post to know more about the actual signs that you could be overthinking!

Thank you! If you have any doubt or questions related to them, please feel free to ask.

Sigmund Freud : A Short Overview into his life

Sigmund Freud, the Father of Psychoanalysis, was an Austrian neurologist and physiologist who is still considered one of the most influential people in the domain of Psychology and Psychotherapy as well as other realms of the world. His dynamic findings about sexuality, psychic energy and tripartite structure of the human mind structure were just a few discoveries that laid the foundation of contemporary psychology.

Freud was born in Frieberg, Moravia in 1856, which currently comes under the Czech Republic. He was born to a wool trader named Jakob Nathansohn, who was a typical authoritarian man who lived with his second wife, Amalie Nathansohn, a sweet, nurturing lady, serving and catering to her husband’s needs. Born with a veil that covered his head and face, his mother already believed that her caul born son, as the folkare she believed,  would be one of the greatest men the world had ever seen.

Freud was always curious about the anatomies of the organisms that surrounded him, during that time, “The Origin of Species” it’s great wide spread in the whole of Europe that time was left unmarked, even Freud himself couldn’t help but draw inspiration from Charles Darwin’s work on Evolution, which was extensively seen in his further writings, lead to the foundation of Evolutionary Psychology.

Freud started medical school at the University of Vienna in 1873 where he worked closely with Ernst Brücke who had published his Lecture Notes on Physiology. In this piece  he implied that humans like any other organism in the world are essential energy systems, thus the conversation of energy still implies to them.

He graduated in 1882 during this time, he developed a great interest in anatomy, physiology and histology under the supervision of Professor Claus and Professor Brücke. In 1885 he was appointed as an Assistant professor in Neuropathology, after a few months he decided to visit Professor Charcot’s famous neurological service and became really influenced by Charcot’s approach to hysteria and the therapeutic use of hypnosis, the basic idea being they are able to recall the unconscious life events, thoughts which they were not able to clearly put it out in words in their conscious state. Charcot’s work on hysteria and sexuality did influence Freud’s own work on sexuality and neurosis, which can be understood by a famous quote of Charcot:”It’s always a genital thing, always, always, always”

In the later year of 1886, Freud married his long-time sweet heart, Martha Freud,, who is thought to be one of the most important people in Freud’s life. He fell in love with her for the first time he saw her peeling apples, as mundane it sounds to the layman, dopamine had done its work. They got engaged after just two months of meeting, but mere love was never enough to make ends meet, Freud at that time was just an ordinary man earning hardly a dime whilst working in the scientific field. 

Freud and Martha stayed separately for more than three years, every time they wrote to one another, they gave each other cute nicknames, he called her Princess and she called him Sigil.

This was the turning point in Freud’s life, he was presented with two options, to give up his scientific ambitions and marry the girl he loved or to let the girl of his dreams leave. He took the painful decision to leave scientific work at that time and decided to become a doctor to make their dreams come true. For the next three years, Freud worked at the Vienna General Hospital; he tried his hand at surgery, internal medicine, and psychiatry, not knowing which might become his specialty. During these gruesome years, they never left hope, they exchanged love letters at every end, he gave her hope that this too should pass away. Written below is an excerpt from their letter.

My precious, the most beloved girl, I knew it was only after you left that I would realize the full extent of my happiness… I still cannot grasp it, and if that… Sweet little picture were not lying in front of me, I would think it was all a beguiling dream.” 

His perennial hope and unduly work towards this goal is something that made him the man who never left things he couldn’t start, the one who dedicated his time and efforts for the one he loved.

My beloved Marty, these difficult times will not discourage me… I know how sweet you are, how you can turn a house into a paradise” 

Their love was the light at the end of the dark tunnel, which they knew would be enough for their forever to exist. At last in1886, he married the woman he loved, who bore him six healthy children at almost every interval.

It was later in 1892 where he met a well-known physician and physiologist by the name of Josef Breuer, who practised hypnosis and shared the case of his patient, Anna. O with Freud, Freud was intrigued by this method and the case study, thus decided to leave for Paris to research this method. But he found that this method was not sufficient enough for his patients to share their current internal conflicts or thoughts, which gave birth to one of the most prominently used methods by Psychoanalysts, “Free Association.” Freud found that his patients were more relaxed when they were in an environment of silence and stress free, they were allowed to lie down on a couch and speak whatever came to their mind. In this way, Freud could list down all of their thoughts that were a part of both their conscious and unconscious mind and, in the end, assimilate those and try to analyze their thoughts and viewpoints. 

Sigmund Freud with his radical viewpoints on the mind structure, The famous three, Id, Ego,Super-Ego, which draw parallel to how the mind structure functions on the basic primal instincts ( id) to the highly moral authoritative one which compels us to go what is right ( SuperEgo) and the Ego that draws a line between the both to come to a decision was something that the world was quite unaware about.

From his work, one can see how it is very much correlated with the principle of conservation of energy, his view of psychic energy, that as humans we all have an energy- system that works to investigate, modify and build up the psychic energy that would shape the personality-of the future. He may be named one of the most controversial and sexists Psychoanalysts even in the the modern era, but one cannot argue that his work laid the foundation to what we try to name the Psychology of Human Mind.

Word Count : 1041 words

What your past does to you.

●Your past doesn’t haunt you, how you’d expect it to.

It just slowly makes that once lively heart a bit more silent, makes it beat a bit more slower, it cries while you smile on the outside, it cries at night, the sound is heard only by the one who prays today would be the day, they hope they fall asleep.

●Your past doesn’t haunt you at all.

It just takes away your ability to feel things anymore, you dont enjoy the coffee you once lived for, it rather tastes like any other liquid that passes down your parched throat. Your salty tears seem to be the only one that keep you alive, anymore.

●You feel pangs of pain in the chest, they feel like those violent rain drops that thundered that night, the one that suffocates you, when you breathe, you feel like you’re drowning in your own tears, like the way you once drowned into their eyes, but this feeling is as heavy as the weight of your lips when you tried to fake a smile when they told you they have found someone else, as heavy as the footsteps that walked away that time.

● Your past doesnt haunt you, it kills you little by little everyday.

It makes you question the thoughts and feelings of eveyone that comes in your way. You try to be a bit more sham everyday, you see how easy it is to lie to eveyone else, to fake that gorgeous smile or show them your lively Instagram life.

Yet what you dont show them, are those cigarettes buds that keep getting accumulated everyday, that spirit that you once disliked is your friend, the cold bed side and the wailing rusty fan seems to understand your plight.

●It makes you hold yourself at night, to hush off the nightmares of the past. It makes you trust less and worry more, You’re present in the moment with others but yet you never feel home,

You smile, you talk,

You show you’re fine.

●Yet this past is latched on to you like a venom of the spider upon its prey, the more you wish to get out of it, the more it sticks to your core, first your eyes then your throat and lastly the heart, this venomous poison isnt visible to the naked eye, for others would feel you’re perfectly.

Thus your past doesn’t haunt you,not at all, worse, it just makes you numb for your entire life.

  Zimbardo’s Prison experiment / Stanford Prison Experiment : 

Hi everyone! This is the first time I have tried posting something related to my field, I am sure there would be a lot of mistakes, spelling errors, the content wouldn’t be upto mark, etc. Your feedback would mean a lot.♥️♥️


The Stanford Prison Experiment or the Zimbardo Prison Experiment as it has named famously has been the highlight in almost all of my Introduction Psychology Textbooks right from my 11th grade, the reason why I selected this experiment as my essay topic is because, this experiment even though it ended abruptly was one of the highly controversial as well as an intriguing study that help shed light on a many important aspects of social psychology ( conformity and obedience) as well as opened doors for new ethical guidelines which this study gazed with thick black tinted glasses as the ones they gave out to their guards. This is my take on this topic.

On 14th August 1971, a healthy and wise student of Stanford college was arrested by the police officer and was taken away to the mock Prison setting Zimbardo and his colleagues set up right in the basement of the college.According to Zimbardo the real reason he started this experiment was because he wanted to investigate whether people would conform to the social roles of a prison guard or prisoner, when placed in a mock prison environment.

He also wanted to examine whether the behavioral changes the participants underwent was due to their internal dispositional factors, the people themselves, or external situational factors, the environment and conditions of the prison.(Bleske-Rechek, A. L. (2001)

According to Zimbardo the real reason he started this experiment was because he wanted to investigate whether people would conform to the social roles of a prison guard or prisoner, when placed in a mock prison environment.

He also wanted to examine whether the behavioral changes the participants underwent was due to their internal dispositional factors, the people themselves, or external situational factors, the environment and conditions of the prison.(Bleske-Rechek, A. L. (2001)

Twenty- one college students agreed to be a part of this experiment on the basis that they would be paid 15 dollar a day to take part and after undergoing various physiological and mental tests Zimbardo and colleagues had randomly assigned half the participants to be guards and the other to be prisoners by the flip of a coin. (Zimbardo, 1971)

The first day all the guards were dressed in identical uniforms of khaki, they carried a big billy club borrowed from the police, a whistle around their neck, and they all wore special sun-glasses.(Zimbardo, 1971)

During the time the study was conducted, an investigation of this experiment was conducted by the APA in 1973 and they concluded that the Stanford Prison Experiment did satisfy all the existing professional ethical standards, thus if we were to see this experiment from the experimenters point of view, they had not violated any ethical guidelines back then.

But after many decades of viewing and reading this historically notorious study, one can point out more than a few codes of ethics that were disregarded in this study.

In the Stanford Prison Experiment, the prisoners ( who were actually students ) were subjected to emotional trauma that ranged from moderate to high levels of emotional trauma, this can be pointed out right from the beginning of the experiment. When the prisoners were taken away or “Arrested” right from their house, ( about which no mention was made, for it was an impromptu arrest), they were also checked by a real police officer and were handcuffed and then individually taken to the prison, later on they were fingerprinted, photographed ( Mugshot) and “booked” like an actual offender.

When the prisoners were taken away or “Arrested” right from their house, ( about which no mention was made, for it was an impromptu arrest), they were also checked by a real police officer and were handcuffed and then individually taken to the prison, later on they were fingerprinted, photographed ( Mugshot) and “booked” like an actual offender.

After which they were blindfolded and were left off to a room in the made up prison, wherein they were stripped naked, were also assigned numbers in place of their actual names and their actual clothes was replaced by a smock with their number written and were presented with no underclothes. They also had a tight nylon cap to cover their hair, and a locked chain around one ankle.Mcleod, S. (2020)

This was all only about their appearance but if we were to see the way these prisoners were treated in the initial days of this abruptly ended study was that they were also mistreated, called out names, sexually teased, stripped naked, given vague punishments ( doing multiple push ups, cleaning the bathroom seat by their bare hands, etc) Along with all the other emotional trauma which went far away for one of the prisoner, who after 36 hours of the experiment was crying uncontrollably and screaming. These above mentioned practises in today’s time would be disregarding the Standard Code 3.04 ( APA, 2016) That requires the researcher to avoid harm and to maximize harm where it is unavoidable.

The guards in this experiment, too were fully engulfed in their roles, they would act hostile towards the prisoners, on the second day when the prisoners broke out in a chaos, they disregarded all the jail norms, threw away the clothes and removed the numbers of their uniform and locked the door to their cells, the real or rather the assigned role play actual came in reality, the guards tried to break in the cell through fire extinguishers, would strip the prisoners naked, would lock them up in a confined room, wouldn’t allow disobedient prisoners to eat certain meals, or serve them bad good.

The Standard Code 2.01A and 2.01C (APA,2016) which requires researchers to only conduct studies that are within their boundaries of competencies based on education, training and supervised experience was also disregarded in its totality, for in an article written in the Stanford Magazine that reflected on the participants feelings, Zimbardo admitted that he himself did not have any firsthand knowledge about Prions before conducting this experiment.

The other code of conduct which was disregarded was code 8.02 (APA, 2016) which requires researchers to inform participants of their right to decline to participate and to withdraw from research once participation has begun.
Interestingly, Zimbardo agreed that he had allowed the prisoner #819 to leave the experiment after he bursted out and started crying uncontrollably, the other prisoner which later came out and shared his part of experience namely, Richardo Yacco, said that when he asked Zimbardo’s team if he could quit the experiment, he was told that he couldn’t for he himself agreed to be there for the full experiment. Greenfield, R. (2013, October 30)


Interestingly, Zimbardo agreed that he had allowed the prisoner #819 to leave the experiment after he bursted out and started crying uncontrollably, the other prisoner which later came out and shared his part of experience namely, Richardo Yacco, said that when he asked Zimbardo’s team if he could quit the experiment, he was told that he couldn’t for he himself agreed to be there for the full experiment. Greenfield, R. (2013, October 30)

The study also failed to debrief participants until several years later, at which point it was difficult to assess what level of psychological harm had occurred as a result of participation in the experiment. Though Zimnbardo in an interview noted that none of his participants unwent any kind of long lasting emotional or psychological harm or trauma, Lastly, Deception has been highlighted constantly if not criticized by a lot of researchers, for the participants were aware about the general idea of the prison life they would experience but the reality they experience was not outlined sufficiently.

The part where Zimbardo himself takes part in this experiment, that just adds to more of his own biases in this experiment given the stake that he was the Superintendent of the Prison, also given the fact that this experiment was not clearly defined in the terms of Iv and DV, in a film remake of his experiment wherein they used the real footages of the SPE, I could observe that, when a Stanford Researcher asked Zimbardo what the IV of the Experiment was, he wasn’t really aware of the IV of the experiment nor did he clearly define the actual Hypothesis or what role or how were the guards supposed to act ( even tho in the Youtube video I watched i heard him say, No Physical Violence was allowed in his study ) yet they were so ruthless with prisoners and they went little too far.

One more thought that arose in my mind is that the entire experiment was being recorded right from arresting the participants to punishing them, and they were also being supervised by CCTV’s the entire day, so what if this affected the way they acted?

One of the most famous frenemy of Zimbardo, Ben Bluem, criticized or rather pointed to this curiosity wherein years later, he interviewed guards and prisoners, and they came forward and shared that his much-cited breakdown was merely acting on his part. Another revealed that Zimbardo had encouraged the guards to act aggressively. Olson, E. (2018, July 5).

If it was to be replicated again today, I’d say, rather select an apt sample for the study (unlike only using participants belonging to a certain race), also to debrief the participants about the motive behind the study. According to me, The BBC Prison Experiment did shed light on a few important topics ie, there were in total 322 potential participants out of only 15 were selected, 5 were guards and 10 were prisoners, there was commotion that raised similar to the SPE but here, the prisoners actually came together and rebelled against the authoritative nature of the demanding guards and they learnt that by being together they could achieve a lot of common goals, including meals, better hygiene, this collective self realization lead the prisoners to feel less depressed and stressed, they rather worked collectively towards one common goal and it was seen that in the case of guards group, where there was chaos either due to lack of group identity or group power, there was more burnout and stress among them. This study helped shed light or did justice to a SPE replication with favourable conclusion.

Researchers, Reicher and Haslam replicated Zimbardo’s research by randomly assigning 15 men to the role of prisoner or guard. In this replication, the participants did not conform to their social roles automatically. For example, the guards did not identify with their status and refused to impose their authority; the prisoners identified as a group to challenge the guard’s authority, which resulted in a shift of power and a collapse of the prison system. These results clearly contradict the findings of Zimbardo and suggest that conformity to social roles may not be automatic, as Zimbardo originally implied.

Though this study stands out to be one of the most controversial and criticized and notorious one, It would be wrong on my part if I wouldn’t point out to the real life incidents this experiment directioned us towards, the famous Abu Ghraib prison which in this Ted talk by Zimbardo himself drew parallels about how the prisoners in Abu Ghraib Iraq Prison were abused, this was similar to the ones that Zimbardo’s guards inflicted but the degree varied drastically, they were stripped naked, beaten till they bled, they had swollen eyes, they were forced to make human pyramids naked, were threatened with police dogs who bit them, etc.He had highlighted by drawing parallels to his study stating that, the thin line between good and evil resides with power, and their social authority.

Even in military settings as Zimbardo pointed out, the soldiers merely follow orders of the ones who are in power and at a greater authority than them. In everyday life, if we were to see, we are constantly following orders or doing things our parents tell us to do, our elders tell us to do or the politician tells us to do, why? For they are at a higher power than us.The entire system revolves around the Power play, wherein the one with the most of it, controls and manipulates the others who are parched of it and do they have a say? Why is it that we act as Prisoners of SPE and fail to voice our thoughts and opinions when needed and rather give in power play?

Maybe what is needed is rather a change in the system, to overrule the situation at bay, as Zimbardo correctly sums up, “If you want to change a person, change the situation. And to change it, you’ve got to know where the power is, it is in the system” and I couldn’t agree less.

……………………………………

References :

American Psychological Association. (2016). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Retrieved from http://apa.org/ethics/code

Bleske-Rechek, A. L. (2001). Obedience, Conformity, and Social Roles: Active Learning in a Large Introductory Psychology Class. Teaching of Psychology, 28(4), 260–262. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15328023top2804_05

Mcleod, S. (2020). Stanford Prison Experiment | Simply Psychology. Https://Www.Simplypsychology.Org/Zimbardo.Html.

Olson, E. (2018, July 5). Was the Stanford Prison Experiment a sham? A Q&A with the writer who exposed the celebrated study. News | Palo Alto Online |. https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2018/07/01/was-the-stanford-prison-experiment-a-sham-a-qa-with-the-writer-who-exposed-the-celebrated-study

Patricia Im. (2017, January 10). Psychology: The Stanford Prison Experiment – BBC Documentary. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4txhN13y6A

Past Ethical Issues- Stanford Prison Experiment and Abu Ghraib. (2016, November 22). Learning Ethical Qualitative Research. https://qualitativeresearchethics.wordpress.com/past-ethical-issues-stanford-prison-experiment-and-abu-ghraib/

Greenfield, R. (2013, October 30). How Did the Stanford Prison Experiment Get Out of Hand? The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/07/stanford-prison-experiment/352754/

The Study – The BBC Prison Study. (2002). http://Www.Bbcprisonstudy.Org/Bbc-Prison-Study.Php?P=54. http://www.bbcprisonstudy.org/bbc-prison-study.php?p=54

Zimbardo, P. (2008). The psychology of evil. TED Talks. https://www.ted.com/talks/philip_zimbardo_the_psychology_of_evil/transcript?language=en#t-555449

https://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/iraqi