Are you plagued by indecision? Do you overanalyze whether or not there’s a hidden meaning behind someone’s words? Do you look for the possible trap or snafu that will make everything blow up in your face and leave you riddled with regret or shame?
These thinking patterns can be debilitating if you run away with them. When you simply observe, rather that get consumed by them, you can keep a healthy distance and choose a different path.
Here are five signs that you could be an over analyzer.
- Your friends keep saying, ”Just let it go.”.
- You feel more stressed, instead of less stressed, by trying to make the right decision.
- Your default internal monologue is, “I don’t know what to do.”, and you mentally go in circles.
- You focus on the worst possible scenario, and end up staying stuck.
- You rarely accept things at face value.
Here are five tips to break the over analyzing thinking patterns.
- Practice mindfulness. Check in with yourself periodically and notice what you are feeling. If you are experiencing a negative emotion, check your thought process. Make note of negative or obsessive thinking. Breathe. Release.
- Distract yourself. Go for a walk, get a glass of water, or pet a cat. This can interrupt the reinforcement of the neural pathways supporting the over analyzing tendency. Neurons that fire together wire together. Engage in an activity that is soothing and requires a different behavior.
- Time block it. Allow yourself a certain amount of time to focus on a problem, and then move on. It satisfies the urge to thoroughly consider an idea while limiting the amount of time and energy spent (or wasted) on it. Block out 10 minutes or one hour, whatever feels right for you.
- Take stock of your successes. Trace your memory back to a time that you were challenged and overcame the obstacles. Focus on what you did to be successful. Savor that for a few minutes.
- Practice gratitude. You can be grateful for something – like having a roof over your head, your good health, access to running water, or heat in the winter – not everyone has those things. Gratitude has been found to be the antidote to anxiety and shame.
If you’ve tried all these and they just don’t work for you, then step up your game and call a therapist to explore treatment options. Always remain hopeful that you can change the patterns that sabotage your goals. Very few things in life are permanent. We live in a constant state of change and flux. Impermanence is one of the joys of life. Even the most painful experiences can become manageable with the right support and skills.