People who are quite obsessive in their thinking have the ability to brood and ruminate over things for long periods of time. This can be GREAT if you are having positive thoughts! However, if you mix overthinking (or brooding) in with things like negative thoughts, low mood, low self-esteem or social anxiety then it can have all sorts of negative impacts.
If you are an over thinker/brooder, then it is likely first of all to believe that most people behave in this way and that it is completely normal – you believe that you HAVE to think about things carefully in order to work out what’s going on in a situation… feeling and life! But here’s the question…. Does it actually help?
Here are 10 common things that people who over think and brood do:
1. Spend a lot of time worrying.
Do you think and worry about things that have happened in every little tiny detail? Do you think about all the things that MIGHT have happened or MIGHT happen as a result of a situation? Do you go over things a hundred times trying to figure it out or plan how something might work out? This is brooding.
You probably feel that by thinking in this way you will eventually understand it and how you feel about it but actually, what is going on here is the need to feel in control. But actually, by thinking in this way you are more likely to reinforce all of the negatives in a situation and feel even less in control! I’ve yet to meet anyone who has actually make things better by overthinking.
2. Difficulty getting to sleep/stay asleep.
You go to bed feeling really tired after a long day at work. You get into your nice comfy bed and low and behold you are wide awake! Sound familiar? Then we lie there are go over the days events and think about all of the things that have happened and begin the analysing process. You probably start getting twitchy or tossing and turning. Maybe you get your phone out or read for a while in the hope that you will eventually get to sleep if you distract your mind with something else.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to just get into bed and fall asleep without that inner voice starting up?
3. Work hard to maintain order and routine.
Planning and organising things to the very last tiny detail? This is perfect for someone that is an over thinker/brooder because just think about how many things there are to think and worry about! Whether it be a task at work, planning a day out or planning a party you have to think about every single tiny detail. Again, this is because of a need to feel in control. Usually because you don’t have the more helpful coping strategies that would help you to manage situations without causing stress (If you want to learn how to develop these skills simply and effectively, book a free consultation to find out how at www.thrivinginlife.co.uk).
4. Get frequent /headaches/tummy aches/suffer with I.B.S (irritable bowl syndrome)
A great number of over thinkers suffer regularly with these issues. It is only ever the obsessive thinkers that I see in my sessions who struggle with these kinds of symptoms. Why? It is because the over thinkers keep worrying about them! By continuing to think about stressful events, it creates even more stress! Then, by over analysing and thinking about all the extra stress that MIGHT happen it creates even further stress and confusion. This leads to even more unhelpful thoughts and these actually maintains these stressful symptoms! Phew! That was stressful!
5. Being organised and making lists.
Lists, lists of lists, ‘to do’ lists, lists on your phone. The list goes on.
Like maintaining order and control, this is all about feeling in control. If you have a list, you can’t forget anything. If you don’t forget anything that you will feel better right?
Probably not. You will just spend time worrying that you have forgotten to add something to the list instead. (well, you’ve got to have something to worry about! That’s what you do!)
6. Be a “bit OCD” and like to keep things tidy and in the right place.
“I’m a bit OCD.”, “I’m going to have to move that else it will annoy me!”. No, I know that you probably haven’t been diagnosed and that it’s just a turn of phrase. It’s something we say off hand but actually, it’s still that sense of control again, being picky, wanting things to be “right”.
Does it help the situation, event or your feelings? No.
7. Are motivated and committed to certain hobbies.
Are you a regular at the gym? Do you have your nails done every two weeks? You might be wondering how on earth this links to overthinking but actually it’s the reasons behind these routines that are important.
Quite often with over thinkers we are committed to activities because we think we should be. “I can’t let my team mates down.” “I need to stay fit and healthy.” “If I don’t do it then…reason.”
8. Be a “bit funny” with things like food and hygiene.
Would you use a friend’s toothbrush? Do you go to the toilet if someone might be able to hear you (or smell your poo)? Do you avoid certain foods or worry about how something has been cooked?
Overthinking when you overthink about food or hygiene you do so because you believe that it is a way of being safe or helping yourself stay well. If this was true however, surely everyone would be the same? Or at least everyone else would be ill much more often? Think about it…..
9. Feeling anxious if you are not in control and on top of things
The problem with overthinking/ over worrying/ over planning is that even when you have done all of that, it still might not go to plan. Then what?
Yep…. You start worrying again! Why hasn’t it gone to plan when I thought of every little thing? Why does this always happen to me? I must be doing something wrong? We start creating anxiety and stress all over again. But the fact of the matter is that you can not possibly be control of everything and everyone. If you don’t have the coping skills and strategies to deal with things not going to plan, then the only thing left for you to do is to start worrying all over again and overthinking ways to make sense of why is went wrong.
10. Spend a lot of time weighing up the options.
Should I? Shouldn’t I? What if? What would happen? What might they say/think? What if I did it this way? Such and such wouldn’t like that, so I’ll have to do it this way? Round and round and round they go (the negative thoughts). Over thinkers believe that this way of thinking helps them to come up with the best solution to a problem or at least helps them to understand a problem but again, I have NEVER met an over thinker who has solved a single problem that they had by having these thoughts. The problem is that thinking about things over again to try and gain control and perspective actually does the complete opposite. You feel less in control and things become more out of perspective.
If you can relate to more than a couple of these points, then you are without a doubt an over thinker. The good news is that you don’t need to be! Once you develop the coping skills that you need to deal with situations rather than try and figure them out then you soon realise that you don’t need to overthink any more. It is such a liberating feeling!
You choose to brood. This means that you can choose to stop. But you need to catch yourself at it and challenge your thoughts. For tips on how to stop book a free consultation with me today and I can tell you how easy it really is and how it can change your life!
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