Most people are familiar with “The Thinker,” which is the iconic statue of a man poised in deep concentration. We wonder if he is contemplating a simple task or debating a life-altering decision. Perhaps he is one of the countless examples of an overthinker plagued with worry.
Advanced thinking and reasoning are two of the abilities that separate us from the animal kingdom. You need your thought processes for self-preservation and quality life. When you start to second-guess yourself and rumination takes over your life, it becomes a severe issue.
It’s normal to go on a trip and suddenly wonder if you turned off the stove or locked all the doors. Have you ever gone back to the house to recheck everything and set your mind at ease? You are not alone in doing so.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, the famous Russian novelist, once said that overthinking is like a disease, and he was on the right track. Chronic overthinking is often one of the main symptoms of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive behavior or OCD. Mental health professionals say that these disorders can range from mild to debilitating.
Habits of an Overthinker
Has anyone ever told you that you think too much? While critical reasoning skills can advance your knowledge and teach you new things, too much thinking can paralyze your life. If you are an overthinker, the constant worry can erode your self-confidence.
When you chronically doubt yourself and second-guess every decision you make, it can ruin even the most pleasant experiences. Over time, your rumination can lead to depression and pessimism, which can sour relationships with friends and loved ones. The more you overthink, the less you can relax and enjoy anything.
You needn’t let these negative thought patterns develop into more serious mental conditions. Once you recognize you have a problem, you have taken the first step toward a solution. If you have some of these 15 habits, you may be an overthinker.
1. You Are a Perfectionist
While most people try to do their best at whatever they do, perfectionists want even more. They often put unrealistic expectations on themselves and others. Unfortunately, these people have difficulties getting things done because they demand perfection.
Is this a familiar scenario for you?
If you are a perfectionist, anything you do puts you on edge, and you can never be satisfied with the results. Your unreasonable demands may put a strain on relationships at work or home.
2. You Have Difficulty Prioritizing
Someone wisely observed that if we make everything a priority, then nothing is important. Have you ever been around people who are in a perpetual storm over the smallest things? These drama-mongers are usually so wrapped up in trivial matters that the urgent ones get swept under the rug.
When you are an overthinker, your ability to prioritize tasks and problems is stymied. You may feel so overwhelmed with daily events that you can’t struggle to stay afloat. You may feel like your energy is drained because you often use it all on things that don’t matter.
3. You Often Feel Paranoid
Remember the old wives’ tale that warned if your ears are itching, someone is talking about you? While you probably dismiss this saying as absurd, you may still think people are dissing you behind your back. Paranoia can distort your sense of reality and make you distrustful of everyone around you.
4. You Hold Grudges
Since the Middle Ages, to forgive and forget has been deemed a virtue. While you can’t forget offenses, you do have the power to forgive the offender. Or, maybe you are a person who ruminates over past hurts and holds a grudge as vindication.
For the overthinker, hurtful events from the past play in an ongoing loop in their brain. When you cling to a grudge, every remembrance keeps the wound open and sore. Only when you can focus on forgiveness can you get past the pain and walk into healing.
5. You Spend More Time Thinking Than Doing
Have you ever watched a dog chase his tail? He may try to run faster, but he ends up going in circles, and his efforts are in vain. Such are the efforts of people who are so busy thinking that they don’t get anything accomplished.
If you are a tail-spinner, your feelings of perfectionism and loss of prioritizing add fuel to the fire. Of course, you should plan and make wise decisions. However, you must learn to trust your decisions and act on them, even if you do make mistakes along the way.
6. You Like to Toot Your Own Horn
Overthinkers often get their ego wrapped up in their skewed thought processes. Although the egotist appears abundantly self-confident, it is a ruse meant to hide poor self-esteem. To continue this illusion, these people feel the need to overplay their achievements.
There’s nothing wrong with being proud of a job well done, and you needn’t feel guilty to accept praise from others. However, your achievements should prompt you to do more instead of just revel in what you’ve done in the past. Overthinking success doesn’t guarantee it in the future.
7. You Constantly Analyze What Others Say
Part of being a skilled listener is to think about what the other person is saying to you. It enhances your communication, and there are fewer chances of a misunderstanding. However, you do yourself and others a disservice when you analyze each word with paranoia.
You may be missing a fruitful conversation if you are forever dissecting every sentence, looking for a hidden meaning. When you are overly critical and mistrusting, you often assume that people are badmouthing or making fun of you in their conversation. If this continues, you may stop interacting with others and become isolated.
8. You Are a Pessimist (classic overthinker trait!)
By observing the weather patterns, you realize that every day can’t be gloriously sunny. Likewise, it’s unrealistic to think that every situation in your life will be positive. It takes both sunshine and rain for the earth to flourish, and the same goes for life.
However, this principle doesn’t give us a license to be negative about everything. Instead of learning and growing from past hurts and disappointments, some people become bitter. Have you unknowingly become a pessimist and assume the worst?