The truth is that everyone struggles with overthinking from time to time. For people who overthink frequently, it can seem as if their brain never “shuts off” or relaxes. The act of overthinking itself can be linked to an underlying mental health problem, such as depression and anxiety, but it’s difficult to know which comes first, almost like a “chicken or egg” situation. Oftentimes, people aren’t even aware that they’re overthinking. Here are 23 traits of an overthinker to look out for.
Overthinking is exactly what it sounds like – it’s the act of thinking about or analyzing something too much and in a way that does more harm than good. Oftentimes, signs of overthinking are usually linked to mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.
Regardless of whether these thought patterns are ruminations about the past or worries about the future, overthinking refers to a constant loop of thoughts that don’t seem to have a resolution. If you’ve ever wondered, “Why do I overthink everything?” then you can understand how frustrating this can be, especially if you aren’t aware that you’re doing it.
23 Signs of an Overthinker
If you’ve ever heard of the age-old adage “too much of a good thing,” the same thought applies to excessive thinking. When we overthink, we tend to ruminate and worry ourselves into a circle.
Overthinking usually gets us nowhere and usually tends to increase any anxiety or indecisiveness about the situation. So if you notice that you get stuck on the same issue over and over again but aren’t reaching any sort of solution, then you’re probably overthinking.
Believe it or not, as frustrating as this can be, some people don’t realize that they’re overthinkers. Below are 23 specific examples of and signs of being an overthinker.
- You can’t stop worrying about the future.
- You often worry about things you can’t control.
- You constantly remind yourself of mistakes you made in the past.
- You relive embarrassing moments in your head over and over again.
- You can’t help but think of things you wish you wouldn’t have said when you recall past conversations with others.
- You spend a lot of your free time thinking about the hidden meaning behind things people said or did or events that occur.
- You often ask yourself “what if…” questions.
- You dwell on moments when someone says or does something you don’t like.
- You struggle to let things go, including things like arguments, failures, or missed opportunities.
- You struggle with FOMO (fear of missing out.)
- You worry about saying or doing the wrong thing in front of others.
- You spend so much time worrying about things that happened in the past or future that you miss what’s happening in the present.
- You tend to easily forget certain conversations or are constantly distracted by thoughts of the past or worries of the future.
- You think more than you do (spending so much time thinking of how to do something, you end up not doing it at all.)
- You get excited when you find a solution to your thoughts and then jump to the next problem and repeat the cycle.
- You spend more time preparing than accomplishing particular tasks.
- You want to know the “why” to everyone.
- You always want to know more.
- You dread one-worded replies because they don’t offer enough information.
- You assume others know what you’re thinking.
- You love lists.
- You constantly analyze people.
- Easy answers aren’t always good enough for you.
How to Cope With Overthinking
Although there are positive traits of an overthinker, such as patience, commitment, dedication, drive, and passion, overthinking also promotes stress, anxiety, self-consciousness, and lack of self-confidence. It can be difficult to find any mental peace when you’re thinking about every situation.
Fortunately, there are a few tips for coping with overthinking that you can utilize to adjust your brain to a healthier mindset.
- Schedule time to worry: Yes, this may sound odd, but it’s actually helpful to dedicate 15 minutes of your day to worrying instead of your entire day.
- Catch yourself when you’re overthinking: This can be tough considering that overthinking runs like a train off its tracks, but developing self-awareness about this problem starts by determining what you tend to overthink about the most. Is it your appearance? Conversations with people? How you dress? Your job? By determining what you tend to overthink the most, you can mentally prepare yourself to approach certain situations differently to avoid stress and anxiety.
- Change your perspective: Another great way to cope with overthinking is to step back from the situation for a second. Ask yourself how much this issue will matter to you a day from now, a week from now, or a year from now. Is it really the end of the world or just an unexpected but minor change in plans?
- Say it aloud: Sometimes, we have to say the source of our overthinking aloud so we can hear how unhelpful and unrealistic it is. It’s important to remember this because some thoughts we have about ourselves, past, and future can seem like facts: “People don’t like me because I don’t like myself.” It also helps to talk to someone you trust and even ask them to keep you accountable whenever it seems like you’re overthinking again.
Mental Health Support
Overthinking is a common trait in people with mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If you’re struggling with a mental health disorder or suspect that you may have one, our Massachusetts treatment center can help.
We offer residential mental health care to help treat disorders like depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and more. From diagnosing services to individual and group therapy sessions with our counselors, our patients will have the resources they need to learn how to manage their symptoms.