Everyone overthinks sometimes, but some people do it excessively. While it might not seem like a big deal, overthinking can interfere with your life in many ways. Knowing the signs of overthinking to watch for can help you switch your mindset and focus on something more positive.
Overthinking can take a toll on your mental health and is linked to psychological problems, including anxiety and depression. Once it affects your mental health, the overthinking usually gets much worse. It results in an endless cycle of overthinking and rumination.
While you must think about things if you want a solution, overthinking worsens the situation. You will feel worse the more you think about your problems, making it harder to decide on a favorable resolution. Your emotions can cloud your judgment, hindering your ability to make decisions.
Fifteen Telltale Signs of Overthinking
When you’re overthinking, it can be hard to identify it. You might even convince yourself that the thoughts are beneficial in some way. By learning the signs of overthinking, you can learn to change your thinking habits for the better.
1. You always have to have a plan. (One of the most prevalent signs of overthinking)
Overthinkers need to have a plan for everything, whether they make the plan or someone else does. If you’re like this, you want to know what to expect in all situations. You likely don’t enjoy uncertainty or when the plan abruptly changes.
Overthinking can lead you to believe that without a plan, the situation will never happen. You have a hard time getting excited about things until everything is in place.
2. You feel like you can’t enjoy moments of solitude.
If you start dwelling on bad things when you’re alone, it’s a sign of overthinking. Rather than enjoying moments alone, you spend the time stressing out and making yourself upset. Sometimes, you’ll spend your time alone thinking about things that’ll likely never happen.
When you’re too busy stressing and overthinking, you won’t enjoy moments of solitude. This mindset makes it hard to live in the moment and relax. Think about recent times you’ve been alone and how you felt because it can be a sure sign.
3. You always assume the worst will happen.
If you spend time thinking about the worst-case scenario, you’re likely an overthinker. Sometimes, this mindset will affect you so much that you begin assuming that the worst possible outcome is the only one. If you do this, it can make you dread every upcoming event.
When you expect the worst, you’ll always feel anxious, even when the odds of the worst-case scenario are unlikely. Living this way makes it hard to enjoy life or trust the universe. It can also cause you to give up on things because you assume it won’t go well anyway.
4. You continuously go over situations in your mind.
If you think back on situations and keep thinking about them, it’s a sign of overthinking. You might leave somewhere thinking that everything went well, but then overthink about it later and convince yourself it was terrible.
You might also continuously go over situations that haven’t even happened yet. If you have an idea, it quickly spirals into a session of overthinking and overanalyzing. Before you know it, you have many different thoughts racing through your mind at once.
5. You are often in a bad mood. (One of the most unpleasant signs of overthinking)
If you always seem to be in a bad mood, it could be a sign. People that overthink tend to have more negative emotions because they overanalyze things. When you’re always worried and stressed, it’s impossible to be in a good mood.
Sometimes your bad moods stem from wanting to work through and solve every problem right now. There are some situations that you can’t control, and they’ll weigh heavily on you. Your bad mood might also stem from being a perfectionist because you always think about what you could have done better.
6. You listen to other people’s opinions too much.
One sign of overthinking is that you put too much thought into other people’s opinions. You analyze everything other people say, and you tend to follow their guidance over your own. If you ever turn to your friends or family to make your decisions, you likely have an issue with overthinking.
7. You always think someone is mad at you.
People that overthink convince themselves that someone is mad at them. You might even try to appease everyone to avoid making them angry but then still think they’re upset. If you constantly think people are acting weird around you, then it’s a sign.
You might ask people what’s wrong and, even when they assure you that they’re fine, spend hours thinking about it. If you need constant reassurance that everything is okay, it’s a sign of overthinking.
8. You have a strong desire to connect with the universe.
While wanting to connect with the universe isn’t a bad thing, letting the feeling control your life can be. Overthinkers are happy and peaceful when they feel connected, but when they feel disconnected, it can cause turmoil.
As someone who overthinks, you might start thinking that the universe is against you and spend time wondering what you did to deserve it. If you ever feel this way, you must shift your mindset so you can find peace.
9. You frequently change your mind.
If you feel like you can’t make a decision, you might be overthinking the situation. Your brain switches back and forth so often that you keep coming up with different solutions. This mindset makes it hard to settle on an outcome and go with it.
Even when you think you’ve made a decision, you’ll keep thinking about it. You dwell on it so much that you end up talking yourself out of the plan you came up with.
10. You remember every word and detail from a conversation.
If you never forget a conversation and often spend time going over every detail, it’s a sign of overthinking. You’ll fixate on certain aspects, making yourself anxious about the conversation. Doing this makes you feel like you’re under pressure all the time, even when you’re alone and ruminating.
Additionally, it’s a sign if you can remind someone of their exact words from a conversation that happened months in the past. You store these conversations and phrases in your mind, mulling them over and recalling them later on.
11. You don’t trust your feelings.
People that overthink don’t always trust their feelings. You get to a point where you overanalyze things so much that you convince yourself of things that aren’t true. Plus, you allow unfair comparisons to interfere with your feelings, too.
While you might feel passionate about something when you’re overthinking, the feeling can quickly change when you think about something else. Because of the abrupt change, it’s hard for you to trust your feelings in any situation.
12. You have insomnia. (Lack of sleep is one of the earliest signs of overthinking)
Insomnia is a common problem for people who overthink. It’s hard to relax enough to fall asleep when you’re constantly thinking about things that worry you. As you lay in bed at night, the thoughts tend to take over and consume your mind.
13. You confuse yourself.
When you overthink, you will likely confuse yourself. You’ll think everything is fine one minute and then start overthinking the next. When this happens, you won’t know what to believe, and you’ll wonder which thought is the truth.
Plus, overthinking leads to scattered thoughts. You’ll have so many things running through your mind that you don’t know which thought process to follow. Sometimes your thoughts will revolve around unfair comparisons that lead to further confusion.
Additionally, you might feel excited about how something went and then let the worst-case scenario pop into your mind. If you let the negative thoughts take over the excitement, you’re sure to feel confused about it all.
14. You look for the meaning in everything.
While it’s true that everything happens for a reason, you should spend too much time looking for the meaning. If you dwell on the importance of everything, it causes anxiety, stress, and confusion.
Even still, you’ll keep thinking about the situation, wanting to know why things happened. You’ll wonder why people said or did something, even if there is no way to know for sure. This type of thought process can hinder your ability to forgive and move on, too.
15. You pick fights over minor things.
If you constantly bicker with people or feel annoyed by them, it could be a sign of overthinking. You might even notice that you can’t remember why the fight started anyway. Overthinking can cause you to jump from one topic to another, losing the reason for the argument.
How to Stop the Signs of Overthinking Immediately
When you want to stop living this way, you must learn the signs of overthinking. If you know the characters, you’ll know which habits to work on. You can do mental strength exercises to help shift to a healthy mindset. These exercises help quiet your mind and allow you to think about positive things.
Another option is to schedule time for worrying. If you know that you’re going to overthink, you can prevent it from disrupting your life. Pick a 15-minute timeframe to think about your problems and things that bother you.
You can also try writing your worries down in a journal or notebook. When you get all of your thoughts out on paper, it’s easier to push them out of your mind. Writing out the things you feel could have gone better is highly beneficial if you’re a perfectionist.
Final Thoughts on Identifying the Signs of Overthinking and How to Stop Yourself Immediately
The first step to overcoming rumination is to learn the signs of overthinking. You can shift your mindset immediately rather than letting the thoughts take over when you know what to watch for.
Obsessing over things you can’t do anything about isn’t beneficial for your life. Learn to let things go until you can work on them to enjoy the other moments.