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7 Crazy Things That Over-Thinkers Can Relate To

7 Crazy Things That Over-Thinkers Can Relate To

Imagine this: You sent a text to a person that you just went out on a date with, and it said you had a great time and would love to hang out again. Then, 20 minutes later, the person replies with a smiley face :) You think, “OMG, what does that mean? It’s a smiley face, so that’s good, right? That must mean he wants to see me again too! But wait. He didn’t actually say that. Maybe he really doesn’t want to see me again and didn’t want to hurt my feelings, so he thought it was easier to say nothing and just send a smiley face. But wait. Maybe he’s just busy and didn’t have time to write anything, and he’ll write again later saying he had a good time too. But wait. If he was really interested, he would have made the time to write back even if he’s busy … But wait …”

Does this sound like you? If it does, then you just might be an over-thinker.

And here are 7 crazy things that you will be able to relate to:

1. We always make assumptions.

“She rolled her eyes at me, she must think I’m stupid.”

“He didn’t text me back for 3 hours … he must be doing that on purpose. He’s trying to blow me off!”

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“I haven’t seen my fried Mary for 3 months, and she’s probably mad at me for not calling her.”

These are assumptions. They are not necessarily based in truth. But an over-thinker’s mind makes all sorts of assumptions. That’s part of the problem. Usually, making assumptions creates more problems – and more over-thinking. Then you get caught in a nasty downward spiral. Instead, us over-thinkers should live by this rule: “DNAA” … Do Not Assume Anything. Instead, ask people for the facts. Don’t jump to conclusions.

2. We always assume the worst.

“He was supposed to be here by 5:00. It’s now 5:12. OMG what if he was killed in a car accident? I wonder who I would call to find out? What route was he driving? Let me go check the police and traffic reports online to see if everything’s okay. Oh, that’s ridiculous. He’s only 12 minutes late. Maybe he just lost track of time. But maybe he didn’t. OMG what’s wrong?!?!”

Usually, the worst doesn’t happen. Sure, it does sometimes, but if you think about it, 99% of the stuff we over-think and over-worry about doesn’t actually come to pass. So wasting so much mental energy trying figuring out why people died or were captured by an alien really doesn’t do us any good.

3. We always think in terms of “What if…”

“This guy asked me out, and I don’t really think I like him, so I’m not going to go. But what if he’s really my soul mate? If I don’t go out with him, I’ll never know! But he’s kind of short. Oh that’s stupid – am I really not going to give him a chance because of that? Oh, but what if I go out with him and he’s a bump on a log. Then I’ve wasted a few hours of my life. And if I went out with him, what would I wear? Nothing too sexy because I don’t want him to like me THAT much. But what if I really do like him, then I will want him to find me sexy….”

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There are literally infinite “what if’s” that could occur. And we imagine every little teensy tiny scenario. They drive us over-thinkers crazy! We’re afraid to make a mistake, so we think about all the things that COULD happen. So we should try to practice living in the NOW. Because that is really all we can control.

4. We always stress that we can’t control things.

“My son loves baseball. I HATE baseball. But what if he took guitar lessons and started a band? I would love that … because I love music! Oh, but I can’t take way his baseball, that would make me a bad parent. Maybe he would like football? At least that’s not boring. Oh but what if he gets a concussion and has brain damage. That would be awful. What other ways can I make sure that I don’t have to go watch boring baseball games? Oh, if only I could wave a magic wand and make things happen the way I want them to!”

We can’t control anything or anyone but ourselves. Over-thinking about how we can change things so we can be happier, or life will be better somehow, just sends us into another crazy cycle of spinning our mental wheels.

5. We are frequently wrong.

“After days of sleepless nights because of over-thinking it, I am convinced he doesn’t like me!”

“That little jerk! I’m sure he said that because of …”

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Because over-thinkers imagine SO many different possibilities and scenarios, statistically speaking, we’re often wrong with our assumptions. Because if you come up with 100 different possibilities in your head, there’s going to be a 99% chance that you are wrong – because only one of those actually WILL be right. So don’t convince yourself that you are right – or wrong. Most of the time, you will never know the truth with your own over-analyzing.

6. We get sick of our own “analysis paralysis.”

“OMG, just stop it! You’ll never figure it out.”

“I know I’m torturing myself … but I just can’t stop it!!!”

“My head hurts and I’m exhausted from thinking about this!”

Over-thinkers say these things to themselves very frequently. Running things over in our minds over and over really does lead to exhaustion! Sometimes we really wish there was an “off switch” in our brains so we can stop. When this happens, try thinking about something else. Or doing something else. It really can distract you and calm you down.

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7. We seek other people’s opinions to help us over-think (or help us stop).

“I’m going to forward this text to Julie and see what she thinks he means.”

“I got a job offer, but I can’t make a decision because I can think of too many pros and cons! Let me ask 5 of my friends what they would do … ”

Because over-thinkers get stuck in “analysis paralysis,” they often look outside themselves for answers. They either get sick of themselves, exhausted, or the situation just becomes so cloudy from the over-thinking that they can’t think straight. It’s during that times that over-thinkers turn to other people to help them make decisions, and even to calm them down. This is actually a good thing to do. It helps put some objectivity into our minds, and/or distracts us from our own craziness.

Over-thinking isn’t necessarily bad. It says we care. It says we have complex minds. It shows that we know there are multiple scenarios that can play out in life. But the secret is to gain control over your mind so it doesn’t run out of control. And you can do this, it just takes some effort!

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on March 5, 2021

Science Says People Who Talk To Themselves Are Geniuses

Science Says People Who Talk To Themselves Are Geniuses

I talk a lot to myself. It helps me to keep my concentration on the activity on hand, makes me focus more on my studies, and gives me some pretty brilliant ideas while chattering to myself; more importantly, I produce better works. For example, right now, as I am typing, I am constantly mumbling to myself. Do you talk to yourself? Don’t get embarrassed admitting it because science has discovered that those who talk to themselves are actually geniuses… and not crazy!

Research Background

Psychologist-researcher Gary Lupyan conducted an experiment where 20 volunteers were shown objects, in a supermarket, and were asked to remember them. Half of them were told to repeat the objects, for example, banana, and the other half remained silent. In the end, the result shown that self-directed speech aided people to find the objects faster, by 50 to 100 milliseconds, compared to the silent ones.

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“I’ll often mutter to myself when searching for something in the refrigerator or the supermarket shelves,” said Gary Lupyan.

This personal experience actually made him conduct this experiment. Lupyan, together with another psychologist, Daniel Swigley, came up with the outcomes that those to talk to oneself are geniuses. Here are the reasons:

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It stimulates your memory

When you are talking to yourself, your sensory mechanism gets activated. It gets easier on your memory since you can visualize the word, and you can act accordingly.[1]

It helps stay focused

When you are saying it loud, you stay focused on your task,[2] and it helps you recognise that stuff immediately. Of course, this only helps if you know what the object you are searching looks like. For example, a banana is yellow in colour, and you know how a banana looks like. So when you are saying it loud, your brain immediately pictures the image on your mind. But if you don’t know what banana looks like, then there is no effect of saying it loud.

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It helps you clarify your thoughts

Every one of us tends to have various types of thoughts. Most make sense, while the others don’t. Suppose you are furious at someone and you feel like killing that person. Now for this issue you won’t run to a therapist, will you? No, what you do is lock yourself in a room and mutter to yourself. You are letting go off the anger by talking to yourself, the pros and cons of killing that person, and eventually you calm down. This is a silly thought that you have and are unable to share it with any other person. Psychologist Linda Sapadin said,[3]

“It helps you clarify your thoughts, tend to what’s important and firm up any decisions you are contemplating.”

Featured photo credit: Girl Using Laptop In Hotel Room/Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

Reference

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