Do you find yourself over analyzing everything? Do you feel fatigued or anxious during those times? Over thinking has become an epidemic that leads to severe depression and anxiety disorders. Through extensive research, psychology professor Susan Nolen-Hoeksema of the University of Michigan found that over thinking is prevalent in young and middle aged adults, with 73% of 25-35 year-olds identified as overthinkers. There are also more women (57%) than men (43%) as over thinkers. Are you an over thinker? Here are that signs to look for.
You have trouble detaching from your thoughts before going to sleep. Overthinkers cannot separate from the obsession of worrying. Insomnia is very common. Overthinkers will spend the night over analyzing an issue without getting to a solution, replaying thoughts over and over until they feel paralyzed. Because they don’t rest, they are prone to depression. A healthy suggestion is to write your thoughts down before retiring. Keep a journal about what you are feeling, and allow that to be a way to release the nervous energy. Creating, painting or doing a hobby in the evening also allows for the mind to detach from thoughts while keeping your emotional body focused on something positive.
You live in fear of what might happen. The overthinker feels paralyzed with anxiety worrying about the “what if’s” instead of living in the moment. This is the reason overthinkers are more likely to turn to alcohol and drugs in order to drown the constant worrying. Good advice in dealing with those future fears is to give yourself time everyday to overthink. If you are going to overthink give yourself permission to have an appointment with the thoughts. Time the session, and during that time document the thoughts or speak out loud to yourself. Creating a habit and ritual will eventually break the other habits of over thinking all day long. It’s replacing one negative reinforcement with a positive action.
You constantly over analyze. The overthinking mind feels out of control, it cannot grasp any solution. Overthinkers are quite exhausted and stricken by anxiety. Depression is always hanging over them. When the mind starts to create negative thoughts ask yourself, “What are the effects of these thoughts? Is there a solution that can be reached right now?” When you find yourself over analyzing try to take deep breaths. Close your eyes and meditate for a few minutes. Think of a special place that you love and brings you joy. Stop projecting yourself in the future. You cannot manage what has not happened.
You are a perfectionist and you take things personally. The overthinker usually has low self-esteem and is full of doubts. The mind goes on overdrive thinking about how others will view them. Realize that no one is perfect. The imperfection is magnified in giving up without even trying to accomplish whatever is swirling in the mind. Striving for perfection is always a recipe for disaster. Take baby steps. See the big picture and shift those emotions from: “I can’t do this because I will be ridiculed” to “I am incredibly brave for doing this.”
You second guess yourself. Overthinkers are indecisive and tend to live with many regrets. Overthinking is not a genetic disposition, it is a learned behavior. Therefore, when the mind starts to go to a place of unstructured thoughts it is because of past experiences. The overthinker believes that they will repeat the same mistake over and over through different scenarios. Panic then dictates every possible decision. Avoid situations that can lead to the stressors of overthinking. You can determine what causes you to stress over a particular decision. If you did something one way in the past then try doing it another way now. Work on goals and map out how you will get there without second guessing every move. Do your research. Researching dissipates the fear of the unknown. Forming positive thoughts and actions diminishes the fears of stress. In order to stop the over thinking mind, keep yourself busy with positive reinforcements: exercise, creating, sharing, being outdoors, and reaching out to friends and family. Having a support system helps eliminate the negative thought pattern.