Being able to carefully weigh options is a useful skill, but like everything in life, getting carried away can actually have adverse effects. Overthinking creates negative emotions and can overwhelm your brain.
This happens when you’re going over every single facet of even the smallest decisions.
Perfectionists and those with anxiety are often victims of this, and it’s not really a conscious act, but more of a compulsive obsession.
It’s not something that can just be turned off. People who overthink constantly, second-guess and agonize over every decision they make.
Are you an overthinker? Let’s find out!
1. You Think More Than You Do.
Wanting to improve yourself and your skills is normal, and generally a good thing.
You’re good at coming up with new ways to improve things, and you have many ideas and detailed plans floating around in your head, but you spend so much time thinking about all the wonderful things you could be doing, that you don’t ever get the time to actually follow through on them.
You put the job or activity off for later – but after a while, you realize that you don’t have enough time.
2. You Analyze Everyone.
Even the smallest actions or behaviors can reveal a lot about a person – the way they speak or act says a lot about someone. Overthinkers are great at putting these behaviors together.
You like to know and understand the people around you – not gossip or rumors, but truly understanding their behaviors and the reasons behind them.
There are plenty of secrets that lie beneath the everyday façade, and analyzing someone well enough helps you reveal them.
3. You’re Always Looking For Hidden Messages.
Though some people do lie compulsively, most people say what they mean, especially about mundane things. But overthinking means you might see every statement as some sort of message that needs to be decoded to find its true meaning.
The smallest inconsistencies will be overblown – forgetting to say good morning means they must be mad at you.
Not getting an invite somewhere, suddenly means they hate you. If you’re an overthinker, you obsess over every little shift in tone – to try and find the true meaning of someone’s words – when there usually isn’t one.
4. You Fidget A Lot.
Having an overactive mind can lead to your body trying to keep up, and thoughts racing through your head often result in fidgeting.
Physical manifestations of mental restlessness can be tapping your foot, humming, twirling your hair, and so on. This helps to avoid panic, and is one of the few responses to overthinking that can be observed from the outside.
5. You Try To Avoid Conflict As Much As Possible.
People who overthink, hate conflict – whether it’s inner conflict or coming from those around them.
Conflict causes anxiety – making you uncomfortable and giving you something to overthink about. The second it seems like any sort of conflict is about to arise, you tend to shut down.
6. You’re Easily Distracted.
It’s hard to stay focused on one thing when there are dozens of other things on your mind. In fact, doing any activity that requires you to focus for a prolonged period of time is more difficult for you if you’re an overthinker.
For example, you can find yourself zoning out in the middle of a conversation after just a few seconds, and you become completely unaware of what the topic was in the first place – because your mind has already wandered elsewhere.
7. You Want Everything To Be Neat And Organized.
If you’re an overthinker, usually you will start to freak out when something isn’t in order. And you’re only able to calm down once you’re sure everything around you is exactly where it should be.
You make sure never to put yourself in any situation where you’re not prepared. You always want to be in control and aware, so you can handle whatever challenge you may face.
8. You Get Worried When You Don’t Get A Quick Response.
The moment you hit send on a text, you’re already waiting for a response and keeping track of every passing second.
You’re worried if what you said was wrong, if they’re upset with you, or if they might be ignoring you. Texting first is just as stressful – you wonder if they even want to talk to you in the first place, or if getting a text from you is the last thing they want.
9. You Do Not Let Go Of Things Easily.
Overthinkers tend to be incredibly stubborn, and they really don’t let go of things easily. No matter what the problem may be, you know that you can find a solution if you think about it hard enough.
You try to come up with alternatives and different perspectives on the situation. Perseverance is a commendable trait, but it can be annoying in situations where it’s simply not needed.
10. You Can Fall Into A Bad Mood For No Reason.
This is probably one of the worst parts of overthinking. You could be having a great time one second, and be hit by a sudden mood swing the next – that makes you miserable for seemingly no reason.
Whatever thought triggered the negative reaction, may have ‘come and gone’ too quickly for you to even register it – because of how crowded your mind is.
11. You Find It Hard To Forget When Someone Hurts You.
You may be able to move on from the pain someone caused you, but you’ll never quite be able to forget the incident. There will always be a small part that holds you back from letting go all the way.
This makes it hard to repair a relationship with someone who has wronged you. Regardless of how much time has passed or how many apologies were issued, you’ll never forget how they hurt you.
12. You Obsessively Google Things.
If you feel even the slightest bit sick, or the weather is worrying you, or you’re about to go on a trip – chances are, you’re researching everything about it.
Overthinkers need to have the answers they’re looking for and reassurance that everything will be fine – so they can stop obsessing and move on. On the plus side, this obsession will provide you with a plethora of information about many different topics.
13. You Worry Way Too Much.
All the worrying that comes with overthinking often makes you incredibly indecisive – no matter how small the decision, and you have back-up plans for your back-up plans for any scenario.
It might even seem natural to you, to try and be as prepared as possible. Overthinkers are very good at seeing things from every angle and seeing all of the possible outcomes – including the worst-case scenarios.
14. You Tend To Blame Yourself For Everything.
You blame yourself for everything, regardless of whether or not it was your fault. And usually, for no reason, you get overly angry at yourself and believe that you’re the sole cause of whatever disaster comes your way.
This can be problematic when it comes to relationships – both platonic and romantic. If someone’s upset, you immediately think it’s because you said or did something wrong.
15. You Have A Lot Of Regrets.
This sign is one of the more obvious ones that overthinkers experience. Despite how much you think about everything, you often come to regret decisions you’ve made, and even more so the ones you didn’t.
You regret even the simplest decisions that might not have any significance or impact on your life, and it’s difficult to move on from these regrets and to stop thinking about what could have been.
16. Sometimes You Want Others To Make A Choice For You.
This doesn’t mean you’re completely dependent on other people for your choices. You’re aware of how much strife it causes you to make any decision because of your overthinking – even if you can’t stop it.
So, whenever you’re given the opportunity for someone else to take over, you gladly let them, and sit back while the decision is made for you.
17. You Suffer From Insomnia.
For overthinkers, getting sleep can be an absolutely torturous experience. Your overactive mind is constantly ‘on’ – which often makes it hard for you to get to sleep. All of the events of the day run through your head, and you find yourself thinking about how things could have gone differently.
If you made a bad choice during the day, no matter how small, it will play back to you later. And if there wasn’t much going on that day, you find yourself dwelling on things from the past.
18. You Are Good At Picking Up Important Social Cues.
As bad as it has sounded so far, overthinking can be valuable sometimes. After observing people for so long, you’ve become quite good at accurately reading them and interpreting their actions.
You can pick up on when the right time is to speak or to stay quiet, ask a question or just sit and listen, and so on. This can even help you to have more sway with those around you.
You probably won’t use it to take advantage of others, but it can be very beneficial to you as an overthinker. While there are limitations that come with being an overthinker, knowing even just some of them can help you balance your over-thinking with more doing.
You should also try to live in the moment – open yourself up to the wonders of the world and see where it takes you. Hold on to thoughts that benefit you, and let go of the ones holding you back!
So, are you an over-thinker? If so, what are some other challenges of being trapped in an overthinking mind?