what we consider to be a negative behavior and somehow assume that it’s possible to simply STOP doing it. That would be the ideal outcome, anyway. Maybe.
In this case, you say you want to “let go” and “go with the flow.” Sometimes we CAN do those things…. but all of the time? Probably not. That’s like asking a turtle to be a lizard. Ask yourself: is it in your nature to over analyze? Yes? You say you’re INFP (i.e.: a perfectionist and an idealist)? Simply “stopping” that behavior is probably antithetical to who you are.
However, can we INFPs learn to stop analyzing things to death, at least some of the time? Of course. First of all, and this may be the hardest step, we need to give up our black and white “all-or-nothing” thinking. We’re masters of seeing a million shades of gray until it comes to ourselves. If we don’t achieve a “perfect” score or record in something we’ve set out to do, we think we’ve failed. As if we should be something more than human. THIS, more than anything, (I believe), holds us back from achieving things.
So why am I responding when I’ve not mastered the art of not over analyzing things in all ways, at all times, and in all situations? Because I’ve made some small progress in this area. If I were to come up with a summarized list of steps, like many of the Quora respondents do, it would look something like this:
1) Stop believing that this, or anything else, is an all or nothing event.
2) You’re human, INFP, and you’re wired to analyze and be idealistic. Make peace with that.
3) Know that you’re your own worst critic. Most people aren’t watching or judging or qualified to judge what you’re doing. If they do actively criticize, learn to discern whether or not that criticism is constructive or destructive. Discard the destructive and try to praise yourself when you do well, even when it’s not perfect.
4) Know that, even when someone gives you constructive criticism, (like your friend, for instance) what they recommend is coming from their personal perspective. They’re not you. You have your own lens on life and it’s every bit as valid.
5) If you decide that you’re still over analyzing things to a degree that disrupts your enjoyment of life, (or salsa dancing, specifically) then I would suggest: a) When approaching an activity in which you’d like to think less and flow more, remember a time when you were in flow, even if it was a single moment, doing dishes. Take that feeling and use it to help you let go. b) Learn to meditate. (Another topic entirely, but not as far out and daunting as most people assume.) c) Find other activities (such as doodling, baking bread, or working with clay) that require very little thought and build from there. If you still find that most of your thoughts swirl around the possibility that someone else can see your slip showing, practice this in private until you can internalize the truth that most people don’t care how proficient you are.
As a rule, thinking is a good thing and while some people don’t do it enough, some over-think everything. Both genders can fall into either category – today we’re going to chat about the one who does too much.
Some people think theofagnation, frustration, exhaustion, anxiety and even illness. They have an aptitude for making the simple, complex, they, hard, theor issue, a major drama and the pain-less, pain-full. They are adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and also at wasting their time and talent through age-old art of oveover-analyzingerything and everyone; analysis paralysis. They are experts at misinterpreting what people are saying and if there is a way to have their feelings hurt, they’ll find it. Even go looking for it. Not only do they have a history of almost doing things but more often than not they are obsessive, compulsive with perfectionistic tendencies. They worry too much. About nearly everything. They are people-pleasers who want change (different) but the change process scares them. They don’t need other people to sabotage their dreams or goals, they can do that all by themselves. They are highly skilled in the art of self-sabotage and if anyone will get in their way, it’s them. They are… the Over-Thinker.
So, if you identify with any of the above, then you probably inhabit the cerebral landscape somewhere between casual Over-Thinker and chronic Over-Thinker. HereHere areew tips to help you deal with your Over-Thinking-Ness (a word). (Now).
1. Stop waiting for perfection (perfect timing, perfect conditions) before you do what you know you should have done long ago. Being ambitious is great but aiming for perfection is unrealistic, impractical and debilitating. Aim for constant improvement and consciously and methodically work towards positive change where you need it most.
2. Don’t assume. Don’t act on hunches, act on facts.
3. Be more proactive; do stuff! Get out of the theory and into the practical. Now! Do at least one thing each day every day that will get you closer to where you want to be. Even if it scares you. Especially if it scares you. To steal someone else’s book title, “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.” Don’t let fear hijack your potential or run your life (into the ground).
4. Ask yourself the right type of questions; the ones which will put you (mentally) in a positive, practical, productive and solution-focused head spaheadspaceledge the problem but be all about the solution. Consciously find the good.
5. Have a sounding board (coach, friend, mentor, relative); someone who will provide you with relevant, meaningful, specific, unemotional feedback – you can’t be objective about you. Make sure it’s someone who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
6. In order tTotly and consciously move from mediocre to amazing, create a plan and totally coit. Don’t give yourself an escape clause. Identify and commit to your non-negotiable behavioursbehaviorsrationalisirationalizingg and explaining what you’re not doing. Try honesty, it’s quite effective. And liberating.
8. Keep a Success Diary (wanky name but great concepa t). Journaling your thoughts, decisions, behaviours abehaviors, is a great way to keep perspective, stay focused and motivated and to de-emotionalde-emotionalizeprocess. It’s also a good way for you to learn what works – for you.
9. Get out of your thoughts. Eckhart Tolle talks about finding that very quiet, relaxing and beautiful space beyond our thoughts. The place where peace, calm, joy and freedom live. This is something which needs tthatworked on but with practice you’ll be ab,le to do it almost anywhere at any time. We don’t know how hard it is to stop thinking until we try. And the irony is that moving beyond our thoughts is not really about but about letting go. Of the chaos. The mind can be an exhausting place and sometimes we need a holiday from it. If you struggle with this concept, start by losing yourself in some of your favourite musfavoriteout of your mind and into the music; away from the cerebral and into the creative. The spiritual. The non-thinker. If you’re interested in exploring and understanding this concept more, check out Eckhart Tolle’s book the Power of The. It’s kind of heavy going (possibly weird depending on where you’re at) but well worth it if you can persevere and digest his words thoughtfully.
10. With all the thoughts traveling around in your head, some of them should be evicted, others are stuck and are too scared to come out. See your brain’s thoughts as one massive Apartment Block. Let’s look at Level 2 of your Apartment Block … as you walk down the corridor, you hear the ol’ crazy womaoldbehind Apt 22 “you should have done it this way stuuupid…”. Fustupidwn is the chatterbox in Apt 28 who always has her door open and jumps out and distracts you, just as you’re trying to get somewhere. At the end of the corridor is Mr Gotnothingbet.tertodo who without fail stops you dead in your tracks “if you only saw how silly you looked you’ve never do that again!done These trouble-making tenants are in fact those that interupt your interruptforces and freeze you with guilt, anxiety and reasons t, keep us still. These tenants are really easy tohaven’t paid rent in years, are up to no good and are causing trouble to all the other (good) tenants. These tenants must be evicted – effective immediately!
Start right now – select the most disturbing tenant you know is doing you no good and hand deliver yohand-deliverW! Get in that elevator, press the button to the floor that you know you keep avoiding.. and march to their door with confidence and hand deliver thhand-deliverf they don’t co-operate, grab them by the ankles and toss them out. These tenants have been settled for a long time and know how to perknow-howu – so don’t give in! Remember, you have other fantastic tenants there that will be right by your side to support you in this mass evacuation.
This will make room for new, inspirational tenants. Make this Apartment Block your own – bring it back to life, create activities for your community, put in groovy carpet, bring in leafy plants, put in a bar upstairs with 24/7 feel good music feel-goodthe brain spa and indoor pool) – even renovate a complete level and turn it into a brain haven where your tenants can go to put their feet up and recuperate. It’s your Apartment Block – the possibilities are endless!
Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’re anything like me, and over analyzing everything is a fundamental part of who you are, there isn’t a magical thing that you can do to simply stop based on my experience.
Something I find myself doing when I’m alone, and my own mind is getting the worst of me, is I’ll start disagreeing with whatever idea I’ve cooked up out loud. I suppose you could do this around people too, but for me personally that would jack everything up to be so much worse. But when I’m over thinking every little detail of something and twisting it all into my own shitty, negative perspective, I’ve found that hearing myself disagree loudly, telling myself to fuckin snap out of it, and listening to my own voice remind me of all the other times I was wrong about something really helps me to relax. It sort of sobers me up a bit and gives me an opportunity to just chill the fuck out. And I’m sure you know just how difficult chilling the fuck out can become.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a foolproof way I know of to make yourself stop entirely. I used to be a lot worse with it, but any improvements I’ve managed to make have come gruelingly slow. And they didn’t come by practicing a strict regiment of thought exercises or positive self talk. I’ve never had a “method” except for that one I mentioned, but it isn’t like a routine or anything, it’s just something I fall back on from time to time when things get bad and I’m by myself.
There might be a therapist on here somewhere who may have some tricks you can use. If there is, hopefully he or she sees this and gives you a better answer than I did. But if not, and you find yourself needing a better answer to this question, you can request answers from people narrowed down by their credentials, so give that a try too.
Analyzing things,basically over looking every detailing and presuming situations that haven’t happened yet. I wouldn’t consider answering it like a genius as I do over analyse everything myself. But then i enquire thyself with such questions also;
- In the past,have inspecting a situation to such an extent did any good to me?
- Did I acted as a messiah for anyone when i consumed my mind power into manufacturing thoughts that could’ve easily be inclined into something more powerful?
- Was I able to change definite occurrence that transpired?
- Was I satisfied with the resolution that concluded?
- Was it really necessary and was I genuinely happy with my own wits?
You have to keep in your intellect that in any situation you have very less or no authority of the end game, you might alter something in between but the closing will always remain the same.
Now, some actual proposal for what you might do to stop analysing.
- Think like a child, you’ll never see a child asking her/his mother about the ice-cream. The price,other flavors,subsitutes,vendor information,the weather or wonder about their health. They’d just say “Mom,i want an ice-cream now!” See the difference?
- Parallax, take a glimpse of how others would react to the same. Talk or simply try to put yourself in their shoes and see,will they be worrying or analysing as much you’d/you’re doing at the moment?
- Divert the energy,whenever you feel like you’re on sitting on that deep cloud again, focus on something more productive. Write,work,draw,express your creativity,take a stroll,sleep and who knows you might start believing that whatever may happen shall pass too as it had bygone and in the process you’d come up with the best ideas.
This was an over analysation of over analysing things. Hope this helps in the slighest way,I’d feel delighted.
I almost want to joke and say “You can’t.” because I struggle with this too, and it’s so automatic for me. I wonder what it would be like to stop, a miracle!
But in all honesty, it’s about what you believe and who/what you put your trust in. Over-analyzing (in my humble opinion) stems from distrust of situations, people, or life in general. You don’t feel like anything is quite stable. And you feel like there’s a hundred possible reasons for something happening.
You go over what people say to you, what you say to people, you wonder a million different possibilities as if you could go back in time and experience the moment again in those million different ways. And you do, in your mind. You then also think of many different ways people might think of what you think in a situation, or how you said something, or what to buy, or where to go. Which answer on the test is correct and then you over-think and end up choosing the wrong answer.
It’s exhausting for me to even think of all the various ways I overthink – and I feel other people may also overthink.
The reality is we tend to worry that we did something the wrong way, or that there’s a better way, or that there’s a deeper meaning, or that we can fix something – when maybe we should just let it go, and rest.
The question is, in what. (For me that is faith in my God).
We can rest in the knowledge that things will work out, and that we don’t have to be the ones to figure everything out. We don’t have to be the ones to hold the world accountable and we don’t have to be the ones to fix everything, or discover the best way. Because by overthinking, we’re just going in circles.
It also I think it connects to anxiety and constant worry. We overthink because we’re worried that we did something wrong – or that we hurt someones feelings..etc. If any of this relates to you, you might be a very feeling person. You might actually be intuitive, so you tend to always want to read people. But it’s not always going to be accurate. If you have to think to hard, perhaps you’re thinking too hard – once again going in circles.
Over-analyzing possibly stems from distrust and sometimes anxiety as well as trying to read people/situations. Remind yourself when you start over-analyzing that you can’t really figure everything out. And that the possibilities are endless. Trust that things will work out – have faith (which is hoping and trusting based on an experience – based on a prior fact) that things will work out. And know that you definitely won’t be able to solve everything/figure everything out. Just keep reminding yourself of this. This is what I plan to do too.
I don’t think it’s possible to “over-analyse”. Rather, there are two related problems which afflict some people:
- Bad Analysis. This is, for example, when you read more into something than is actually there. We all do this sometimes, especially when it’s something we really care about: (e.g. last night you went on a date with a colleague that seemed to go well, but this morning she doesn’t smile at you: “why didn’t she smile when she said ‘hello’ this morning? Is she angry with me? Is it because she found out that I got those flowers I sent her at a discount store? What can I do to have her forgive me? … – when the truth is she didn’t smile because she had a sweet in her mouth.)
It’s easy to think this is over-analysis, but it’s just bad analysis. You are making logical jumps that are not justified, you are inventing thoughts that are unlikely, you are misattributing effects to possibly non-existent causes, etc.
So, what can you do to stop: Here are a couple of ideas:
- Use Ockham’s razor. In the absense of evidence to the contrary, choose the explanation that is simplest as the most likely.
- If you’re more mathematically minded, use Bayes’ Theorem – it’s a way to look at the probability of a given cause (e.g. she’s angry about the flowers) in light of an observed effect (she didn’t smile).
- Focus on actionable things. Do you really need to know if she’s angry about the flowers? Probably not. The only think you actually need to decide is, maybe, whether to ask her out again. So if you’re interested, then you’re going to ask her out anyway. If she’s angry she may decline, but maybe not – either way, you’d be a fool not to ask her again – so the question you’re worrying about is non-actionable, regardless of what you conclude, your actions will not change.
- Indecisiveness. This is also a form of bad analysis, but a specific one, in which the so-called analysis fails to take account of the value of time. (Very simple example:, if you earn $50/hour, you cannot afford to spend 30 minutes on a decision that might save $10).
So the first step of your analysis of any situation might be: “how much time do I have to analyse this?” or “how much resource to I want to invest in getting the right answer here?” There are, however, a few very simple ways to improve this, for example:
- Work out if you really need to analyse it at all: There is a wonderful rule of thumb which says: “5% of decisions need to be right. 95% of decisions just need to be taken.” Try to identify when you are in one of the 5% situations (e.g. “do I want to drive home drunk?” or “should I become an Arsenal fan?”). But most of the time it just doesn’t really matter all that much – just pick one and go with it. Or better, think about it quickly and if there’s not a clearly right answer, then it probably doesn’t matter so much,
- Accept that sometimes there’s no way to know in advance: it may matter, but right now you just don’t know enough to decide (e.g. which of two good schools should I send my child to – it’s very important to get the right school, but maybe there’s just no way to know in advance, so all you can do is pick a good school based on the information you have available now). A “good” analysis will help you understand also what you cannot predict based on what you can know now.
- Sometimes delaying a decision is the correct action. Again, a good analysis might tell you that the decision is super important, and that while you do not know enough today to make it, there is a good probability that you can find out more (or do a deeper analysis) – and that the increased probability of getting the right decision more than justifies the extra delay. But if you’re doing this, be intentional about it.
- For all those small decisions, sometimes a compromise is a real option. “Should I eat a Big Mac now?” (well, the answer is ‘no’, but just for the sake of argument …) – if you’re not sure, just eat a hamburger. “Should I set up a meeting about this plan?” (again, the answer is ‘no’, but some people like meetings …) – if you’re not sure, just give a quick call to the most important person you’d like to have at the meeting and talk. It will be simpler, and yet by getting one person’s input, you greatly reduce the chance that you’ve missed something important – and, who knows, maybe after talking, you’ll realise you do need a meeting – or maybe as you reach the counter you’ll remember that you don’t like McDonald’s …
- What’s the worst that can happen? This is probably the single most important tool in enabling good and timely decisions. Big companies do risk analyses, investors look at market and stock volatilies, golfers look at lakes and bunkers, … but very often we discover that the worst that can happen isn’t really that bad. We go to a concert and it’s not so great – so what? We ask the woman out and she declines, or even laughs – is it really a big deal? We try to run a marathon but don’t finish – but it’s still a great experience. And so on. Even the investor, well the worst that can happen is that she’ll lose her money – not a great outcome, but also not the end of the world, especially if the upside is high and the risks are low.
The point of this analysis is to find things that are really bad – safety risks, health risks, relationship risks, … – which really would be disastrous. Once we’re satisfied that there are none of these, usually it becomes much easier to decide and to do what we really want to do.
I started writing about two years ago.
It was during my study abroad experience—I wanted to share my journey through writing with whoever wanted to *virtually* tag along. Mainly, I did it so my mom could see what I was up to.
During the week I’d journal in my personal notebook and prepare for a weekend of travel (I spent most of my weekends city-hopping). When I returned back to my dorm each Monday, I would sit down and write a long, long piece detailing every aspect of my new adventure in a new city.
Sometimes the articles would take me three, even four hours to write. Sometimes they’d take longer. I wanted to make sure to include everything I experienced but still write I cohesive piece. When I finally felt that my article was ready to go public, I would read it over one last time.
Then, more often than not, I’d delete it.
I would literally spend hours each weekend trying to turn my experiences into an enjoyable article for people to read, only to delete it before posting.
I had an overanalyzing problem.
I tried to put myself in the shoes of the reader. In doing so, I became extremely critical of work. That criticism turned into a fear of posting.
It wasn’t that I was afraid of negative feedback or people not reading it. I just really, really hated everything that I wrote. I held myself to a ridiculously high standard that no new writer would be able to reach. I would edit my pieces, tearing apart each paragraph sentence-by-sentence until what I wrote was no longer recognizable. Then I’d trash it altogether.
For every five articles I wrote, I posted *maybe* one of them. I’d link my personal blog to Facebook and hoped people would like my peices. Most people did like them, or at least they said they did.
I doubted their sincerity.
This unwarranted doubt combined with the ridiculous amount of negative self-criticism fueled my overanalyzing problem. It got to the point where I stopped writing altogether for awhile.
About two months into my break from writing, I ran into an old friend from high school. I hadn’t seen him since graduation.
“Hey Jacko! How are yah buddy!?”
“All is well over here man, how are you?”
We caught up a bit, talking about the past couple years and laughing at old memories we made back in school. Just as we were about to part ways, he turned to me and said:
“Hey, wait, what happened to your blog posts man? I read all of your articles—they were great! I showed my mom she loved them too.”
My head hung a bit as I scratched the back of my neck, looking for an excuse to make.
“Yeah, uh, I’ve just been kinda busy…”
“Well, we love everything you write. You should really stick to it when you’re not too busy.”
I thanked him for the fine complement and we bid adieu.
Only then did I realize how destructive overanalyzing was.
I criticized myself to the point that I was surely convinced writing wasn’t for me. I mean, I took a passion of mine—writing—and utterly gave up on the premise my work wasn’t good enough.
For an overthinker, it can be tough not to overanalyze. I realized this first hand. But the fact of the matter is, 90% of the time you spend worrying, overthinking, overanalyzing—whatever—is time wasted. You leave absolutely no room for growth.
Eventually, enough is enough. In order to become the best version of yourself, you need to allow mistakes, underachievement, failures. You need to be OK with missing the mark sometimes.
It’s better to fail trying than to overanalyze and not try at all.