There are many different kinds of cheeses. You walk into any given grocery store, and there it is, the long, daunting shelf of cheeses. There’s orange cheddar, white cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, provolone, Colby-Jack, the list goes on. All you need is cheese for tonight’s dinner, but this is turning out to be the hardest decision of your life. If you can relate to this, or a situation less ridiculous but similar to this, you are probably an over-thinker. Many of us are guilty of being over-thinkers, and there is nothing wrong with that. Here is a list of eight things that over-thinkers can relate to.
1) Over-thinkers apologize too much.
Before you even are sure if something is your fault, you are already apologizing for it. This leaves you feeling vulnerable and exposed to more trouble, like for example, taking the blame for every situation may cause others to take advantage of you. Over-thinkers tend to want to smooth over the rough patches, but it can cause more trouble than it’s worth.
2) Over-thinkers relive embarrassing past experiences in their head.
You tend to repeatedly relive the moments you are less proud of in your mind. For example, imagine that you are having a perfectly normal day, then your brain decides to remind of that one time in middle school when you ripped your pants in gym class, and just like that your whole day is ruined. You tend to relive these past experiences and imagine how it could’ve gone differently.
3) Over-thinkers appear more insecure than they really are.
Because of your indecisive nature, it may cause others to view you as unsure of yourself, or under confident. This becomes apparent in working situations because you take too long to make decisions for clients or projects.
4) Over-thinkers have problems sleeping.
When you lay down at night, your brain starts to process all the information you learned from that day. If you’re a natural over-thinker, your brain goes haywire at night trying to organize all the thoughts that you are having. You may lay down in your bed at 9:30 PM only to find yourself wide awake at 1 AM forming a plan of how you’re finally going to start going to the gym on a regular basis. A Study published in May 2003 states that there is a direct link between rumination (or overthinking) and negative emotions and thoughts. Sleep quality and depressive and irritated moods go hand-in-hand.
5) Over-thinkers worry about making others happy.
You often disregard your own desires for the sole purpose of satisfying someone else. You may repress your own opinion so as to not contradict someone else. You constantly make decisions based on how other people would react to them, rather than what is best for you.
6) Over-thinkers can be Hypochondriacs.
A hypochondriac is someone who constantly worries about their health. In your mind, every minor health problem turns into something major. If you’re having a small headache one day, you may search the internet for your symptoms, self-diagnose your condition, and accept that you have cancer and you have 2-3 weeks to live. A study done by the University of Iowa in 2003 states that Hypochondriasis “affects 4 to 9 percent of family practice or primary care outpatients” and it affects every aspect of your life especially in your interpersonal relationships.
7) Over-thinkers always need a second opinion.
It is hard for you to make a decision on your own. You may spend hours in the department store because you’re taking pictures of every outfit and sending it to all your friends for their input. It may be difficult for you to make even simple decisions without consulting an outside source.
8) Over-thinkers spend time worrying about things they have no control over.
Whether you like it or not, there are always going to be things in this world that you have no control over. In fact, most things fall into that category. If you’re an over-thinker, you tend to lose sleep over things that are completely and utterly uninfluenced by you. It’s okay to accept that some things are out of your reach.
Sometimes over-thinkers make their lives more difficult than they have to be. A study published in September 2008 titled “Rethinking Rumination” states that there is a strong relationship between overthinking and mental illness. Based on a person’s proneness to overthink you can predict the likelihood of that person being depressed, having anxiety, or of being a binge eater. Not all of these things are bad. Being an over-thinker can make you good at critical thinking as well as sympathetic to others and their problems. There are many options out there to stop you from overthinking your life. Try to put things into perspective. Do some meditation or deep breathing. Stop waiting for everything to be perfect, because that more than likely won’t happen. If you’re an over-thinker, try overthinking the good things in your life rather than focusing on the “what ifs.” If you do this, it will make life a whole lot better.