We’ve all been guilty of overanalyzing a situation from time to time. It’s part of our human nature. However, some of us have a tendency to overthink more than others. As referenced by Psychology Today, Yale clinical psychologist Susan Nolen-Hoeksema defined overthinking or rumination as “a method of coping with a negative mood that involves self-focused attention” and “repetitive and passive focus on one’s negative emotions.” Overthinking steps outside of the realm of “normalcy” when the negative and intrusive thoughts become so loud, disruptive, and upsetting that they interfere with your ability to perform everyday activities, impact the overall quality of your relationships with others, or cause you to feel physical symptoms.
One of the areas in which many women report suffering from chronic overthinking is within their romantic relationships — particularly, new relationships. Making yourself vulnerable and opening up to someone new can be an anxiety-inducing experience. As you get to know this new person, the very real possibility of having your heart broken or your trust violated can linger in the back of your mind, leaving you worrisome and fearful of what the future holds. As a result, overthinkers have a tendency to mull over the tiniest of details.
“All of us overthink from time to time,” Dr. Kathryn Smerling, PhD, LCSW, a marriage and family psychologist, told Bustle. “The key is distinguishing when it’s a once-in-a-while occurrence from when it’s becoming a serious problem and can shatter even the strongest relationships.”
Now that we’ve established what it means to overthink. let’s take a lot at some of the signs that you’re a chronic overthinker.