If you’re an overthinker (like me) you definitely have experienced the trials and tribulations of constant analyzing and paralyzing fear. Your days are wrought with concern and tension, as you catastrophize potential scenarios, and overthink seemingly insignificant details. Below, I’ve listed some of my tell-tale symptoms that stem from overthinking.
1. I constantly analyze people’s facial expressions.
I’m always hypersensitive to people’s emotions, and how they interact with the world. At the end of the day, I’m definitely a people-pleaser, and want my friends and family to feel positive. I worry about others being annoyed with me, and want to avoid confrontation.
2. I love making lists.
Lists help me sort out the messiness brewing in my mind, as I create a concrete plan of action. I have lists for school, work, groceries, and daily chores! Externalizing my responsibilities, and having them physically written out before me, helps abate the underlying anxiety.
3. I hate one word replies.
One word replies will be my personal demise. I cannot stand a simple “yes”, “no”, or “ok” as a text. I immediately over-analyze the tone, and fear for the worst. Heart emojis and lots of exclamation points are my best friend when it comes to texting.
4. I always want to know “why”.
I constantly feel the need to know the cause of everything. No explanation is too detailed! If you’re feeling blue, I want to help you dive to the root of your problems. If my stomach feels off, I analyze every food I consumed that could have possibly triggered my pain, until I discover the culprit. Unfortunately, in a world riddled with unknowns, the “why” often evades my reach, and I’ve had to learn to live with that.
5. I’m very patient with other people.
I never want to minimize another person’s feelings or experiences, so I pay close attention to their words, and always give them the benefit of the doubt. I know what it’s like to have a bad day, and I try to help my friends escape a nasty funk.
6. I spend more time thinking than doing.
I could spend HOURS visualizing my schedule for the day, and get absolutely nothing accomplished. Suddenly, it’s 12 p.m., and I’m in bed, paralyzed by the weight of the world, unable to decide which task to start first!
7. I replay my day before sleeping at night.
At night, the overthinking monster plays hardball, and I analyze every interaction and uncomfortable moment I had during the day. This can be torture, and keeps me up into the early hours of the morning.
8. I wear my feelings on my face.
As an overthinker, I couldn’t hide my genuine emotions even if I tried. Everything I feel is plainly plastered on my face, whether I like it or not. If I’m sad, happy, frustrated, or annoyed, the world will surely be aware.
9. I am great at keeping secrets.
I am always wary of who I share private information with, fearing that my vulnerability will come back to bite me. Therefore, I’m always extremely sensitive to keeping people’s secrets locked down.
While being an overthinker broadens your emotional capacity, it also has its drawbacks. It’s important to recognize when you fall into patterns of catastrophic thinking, where unfounded fears muddle your thinking. Overanalyzing a situation will only propel you down a rabbit hole, where you are stuck in a vicious cycle of heightened self-reflection. So when you feel the anxious thoughts begin to swarm in your head, try grounding yourself in reality, by engaging in a creative task, doing chores, focusing on work, or exercising. Distracting your mind will help you disengage from these unhealthy thought patterns.
However, if you believe you need extra assistance to combat these feelings, there is no shame in reaching out for help from a medical professional, who can guide you to mental health resources, such as a therapist or psychiatrist.
For more information on overthinking and anxiety, click here!
Written by: Brianna Rauchman