Imagine having to make an important decision in your life: what career to study, where to buy a house, to end a relationship, to have children or not. What is your attitude towards this decision making? Are you one of those people who thinks about it for a few days and then venture out and wait for the best? Or maybe you are one of those people who spend months analyzing, collecting information, asking questions, thinking and spending sleepless nights before announcing your final choice?
We were still taught to act before making decisions, falling to extremes is not always good and the disadvantages of overthinking can fall on us, Leaving us stuck in inaction.
Disadvantages of overthinking
Being analytical and thoughtful is helpful in decision making. People with these characteristics generally have the ability to visualize different possible scenarios; but when these qualities become excessive, the disadvantages of overthinking become present. These are the main ones.
Thinking too much leads to an accumulation of worries. After a new thought, a new anguish appears. However, these thoughts and anxieties are only in the imagination, they are possible circumstances that will occur if X or I occur but they do not yet exist in reality and therefore have already generated the fear of what could arrive.
Prospecting all possible scenarios around a situation can be useful and helps to glimpse the picture and act on it. The problem is that when faced with every situation, a concern can be generated which becomes something overwhelming.
2. Excessive concern for the future
Should I choose to study medicine or law? If I choose medicine, I have to consider that I will spend many years in school and maybe in the end I will not find a job and I will just stay because I will not have had time to live. with friends and to meet someone to marry me; or it may happen that i become a good doctor and earn a lot of money, but then i will have to think about moving to another city and maybe it will take me away from my loved ones. If on the other hand I am inclined to study law, it may happen that I get involved in dangerous affairs while continuing my career or that I can do social work and help people who need it, but then I will not have money to survive and have a family.
In the end, it is very likely that you will have to decide on one or the other race, but have already imagined what can happen. it permeates the atmosphere by filling us with doubts and worries. Even if you choose another profession, there will also be inordinate doubts and fears that you have spent too much time thinking about what might happen.
For this reason, all the worries that arise during a comprehensive analysis of a situation shape one of the downsides of overthinking that people with these characteristics may experience: the difficulty of limiting predictions.
3. Fall into inaction or “analysis paralysis”
As we have seen, there are decisions that have an “expiration date”. There comes a time when you have to choose. When a person who thinks too much faces this moment, he may be inclined to choose from among the many people he was thinking about, and still hesitant or afraid or tormented as to whether this will be the best choice, in the end he will have to have made. a determination.
But there are situations that do not require a specific date or time to act. There is no external social pressure, and even if there is, one way or another it can be postponed. Even the situations in which it is precisely analyzed whether or not it should be carried out. In these cases, the decision-making can stretch into infinity and appear endless scenarios and worry and anxiety about what may happen.
It is in this inaction that creative, family and professional projects are truncated.. This business that excites us but we are not sure it will work, we leave it hanging in the form of hypotheses, and we get lost in vague ideas that we think and think without achieving anything. The trip we have dreamed of for years but do not know if we will be able to do it. To settle in this city or this country which always excites us and where we have been offered a job but in which we are not sure to adapt …
If action is to be accompanied by reflection, we must be very careful not to fall into the disadvantages of over-thinking which leaves us paralyzed and without taking action.
For these reasons, we need to understand that planning is only one phase of the process, and stopping here too long can bring us more frustration and angst than the satisfaction of following through on our thoughts to give way to the learning and experience it gives us. to carry out our plans.
4. Perfectionism and self-demand
It’s also good to recognize that overthinking is also good. It is useful for the planning phase of any project, it is enriching in the debate of ideas, in the structuring of critical thinking, the analysis of proposals … obviously in the development of hypotheses and research and in everyday life itself having a wide panorama of possible scenarios, is useful in decision making.
The problem with overthinking is when it is combined with fear, perfectionism and self-demand, Leaving us in the incapacity to concretize an election and to postpone it for nothing more than that of “I even think about it” because there is no date on which Orille to have a result. In addition, excessive perfectionism can significantly affect self-esteem.
- Hewitt, JP (2009). Oxford Manual of Positive Psychology. Oxford University Press.