“The sharpest minds often ruin their lives by overthinking the next step, while the dull win the race with eyes closed,” wrote Bethany Brookbank.
Overthinking sounds like a simple problem. Unfortunately, from the inside, it is anything but.
Our world is just not made for over-thinkers. It is made for mindless doers. An overly active mind can cause indecision, anxiety, and a paralyzing sense of self-doubt. Being a chronic over-thinker is difficult. Loving one can be even more so.
Here are 16 things you should know if your loved one is an over-thinker:
1. Telling your partner to stop overthinking is as useless as telling them to stop breathing. If anything, doing this will only lead to more overthinking about overthinking. This is not a good cycle.
2. Word choice is important to an over-thinker. Speak with as much clarity as you can. Honesty and transparency are appreciated.
3. Your actions must be consistent with your words, values, and identity. Otherwise, all three will be doubted. Your over-thinker needs to be sure of who you are.
4. Project confidence in your relationship. Your partner will pick up on this and feel more safe and secure. This can help to alleviate their racing thoughts and keep them in the moment. Stop overthinking your relationship.
5. Over-thinking can often lead to pessimism. Your partner will appreciate someone who shows them the bright side of life.
6. Commitment may come more slowly with an over-thinker. Give them time and space to come around. Rushing them will only cause more doubt and anxiety.
7. Encourage your partner to do their over-thinking out loud. Offer to act as a non-judgmental sounding board. Verbalizing a worry can help the brain to process it more effectively. This exercise also increases trust and understanding.
8. An over-thinker will always notice and appreciate the good things that you do. They are unlikely to take your good intentions for granted. In fact, they might appreciate you like nobody else ever can.
9. An over-thinker is easily overwhelmed. Give your partner time and space to process information.
10. It can be difficult to get an over-thinker out of their own head. If you manage to do it, however, know that it is a powerful moment in their life.
11. They need more planning than others to feel in control of a situation. Spontaneity may seem romantic, but it isn’t always a good idea.
12. Try not to become irritated if your over-thinker needs constant reassurance. It means they care.
13. Details are important to an over-thinker. Indulging your partner’s need for detail will help to alleviate their anxiety. It may seem tedious, but in the long run it will decrease frustration for you both.
14. They have no more control over the way their brain processes information than you have over your ability to see colors or hear musical tones. It’s a part of them.
15. An over-thinker will ask more questions than most. It can be easy to take these as accusations. Don’t worry – they’re not. Over-thinkers just need more information than others do to feel secure.
16. Their mind is already playing games with them. They don’t need you to do the same.
“Overthinking, also, best known as creating problems that are never there,” wrote David Sikhosana.
Unfortunately, these problems are very real to your partner. The intellectual knowledge that they are over-thinking does nothing to slow their thoughts and lessen their anxiety. Your patience, consistency, and trust, however, can do wonders to improve their peace of mind.