Introverts and highly sensitive people process everything internally, which means we most likely overthink way more things than we’d care to admit.
Here are 5 signs you’re overthinking and doable ways to put a stop to it, or at least lessen the amount of time you spend doing it.
#1 - Feeling Tense
Do you find yourself tensing up and feeling anxious when you’re thinking about things that make you stressed out or uncomfortable?
When a highly sensitive introvert’s mind races around and loops all different types of scenarios that could possibly happen or some way something could go wrong, your body naturally tenses up.
Your shoulders will wind up at your ears, your face is contorted in a way that either looks angry or constipated, and your teeth are clenched. These things aren’t ideal, so it’s in your best interest to bring awareness to when you’re feeling this way, nip it in the bud and find ways to distract yourself.
Let me be clear about something – this isn’t to avoid situations or feelings that need to be dealt with (I’m very big on handling emotions), this is to get you away from the negative effects worrying and overthinking cause - because let’s get real, overthinking never solves anything.
Try this out: Partake in activities that calm you like: journaling, prayer and reading the Bible, working out, yoga, listening to music, taking a walk, photography or baking.
It’ll help to shift your mind towards something more positive, something you enjoy!
Scripture for anxiety and worry
Philippians 4:6-7: do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
#2 - Mind Won’t Shut Off
Overthinking and highly sensitive introverts go hand in hand. It can be a straight up downward spiral if you let it. Your mind will go around and around in circles (and sometimes up, down, left, and right).
One thought builds on another and it just mutates from there. None of it is productive and, if anything, causes more and more worry, fear and anxiety.
Shutting the mind off, or even slowing it down, can be tricky but not impossible. Like I mentioned above, awareness is key. That way you’re able to make better choices to avoid getting sucked into the web of overthinking.
Try this out: Journal it out. Brain dumping can dramatically help an overactive mind to clear and calm down.
Grab a notebook, go out and buy a cool new journal, open up a blank document on your computer, or just grab a piece of paper. When you feel your mind going into overdrive go right to your journal and let it all loose.
You’ll be surprised at the way your brain feels more settled and at ease afterward! (Journaling and prayer are my two favorite go-to’s for dealing with my overactive brain)
Scripture for an exhausted and overactive mind
Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
#3 - Second Guessing
Worrying you’re going to make the wrong decision is some people’s Achilles heel.
Is this the best decision for me? What will happen if I don’t make the right choice? Will I make so and so angry at me if I do this? What if I miss a better opportunity? The list of what if’s can go on and on.
But, honestly, how many decisions have you made in your life that were THE WORST, terrible, or end of the world bad that you never recovered from it?
Probably not many, if any, am I right?
So, let’s try a different spin on the decision making.
Try this out: Be easy on yourself and let go of perfectionism. Let your choice be good enough, not perfect.
Don’t give yourself too many options, it creates too much pressure and overwhelm and you’ll wind up not making any decision.
Pray and trust your gut, that is the Lord guiding you.
I don’t necessarily believe in “bad or wrong decisions.” I think sometimes we don’t like what comes of a particular choice, but I do believe things aren’t always sunshine and rainbows in life and sometimes we have to learn or come to realize something and that’s why things don’t always go “our way.”
Scripture for doubt and second guessing
James 1:5-8: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
#4 - Expecting the Worst
We’ve all done it - played out the worse case scenario in our minds and just kept rolling with it. Your heart begins racing, you worry about the negative repercussions of the situation, or how bad you’ll feel if everything goes south.
I mean, who really wants the worst things to happen to us?
The truth of the matter is, sometimes crappy things happen, things go wrong, or we don’t get what we want. There are good and bad days no matter what.
Getting your mind wrapped around that in huge first step. Life isn’t linear. It’s up and down and what matters is how we deal with things that happen, good or bad, and Who we continue to turn to and trust in (Jesus, He is faithful).
Try this out: A great exercise is to write down the worst case scenario you think could happen. Play out the scenario, how you would react if it happened, how would you feel, and what would be the worst thing to come from it? This is a great exercise to decrease the fear of all the what ifs and help you refocus your attention back to reminding yourself that you’re not in control, but God is. I know this helps take a lot of pressure off of myself and allows me to feel more at ease.
He is faithful and will get you through any situation He puts you in!
Scripture for fear
Psalm 112:6-8: For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
#5 - Taking Things Personally
I know from experience that this is a big one for highly sensitive introverts. I spent a lot of my life taking things to heart and getting my feelings hurt. Most of the time the other person had no idea what they even did.
I added a few different fixes for this one because taking things personally can come at different angles. It can be that the other person is a different personality type than you and doesn’t really understand, the person deals with life and their issues in a way that puts others down, or a combination of the two where a person doesn’t understand, or care, about you and your feelings and intentionally tries to hurt you.
Try this out: Remember that we are all programmed differently, especially introverts and extroverts and sensitives and the not-so-sensitives (and men and women!).
Something an extrovert might say to you could be something you take offense to and take to heart, but they could have meant zero harm by it.
Extroverts can brush things off much easier than introverts and they don’t really understand why introverts can’t.
Remind yourself what others do isn’t because of you or something you did or didn’t do - it’s a reflection of themselves. It reveals who they truly are, not who you are.
Forgive them. Easier said than done, I know (trust me, this was one of the hardest things for me). If someone has hurt you, put you down, or belittled you something to keep in mind is that forgiveness isn’t about them, it’s about releasing the ugliness of it from you. You don’t need other people’s trash, which is what it is. So, do yourself and favor and forgive them and keep moving forward. God will deal with them in His time, that’s a promise.
Scripture for taking things to heart and forgiveness
Ecclesiastes 7:21-22: Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.
Matthew 18:21-22: Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Are you feeling like you're consumed by your thoughts that have just taken over? Do you feel alone and that no one gets it or understands?
If you answered yes, then you might just be a highly sensitive introvert who is overloaded with internal processing and thinking patterns, but don't know it yet.
Not being aware of your high sensitivity can put a damper on your self-esteem, decrease your sense of worthiness, cause a lot of overwhelm, and just make you feel like there's something "wrong" with you.
The first step towards to moving forward with your struggles is to get a better understanding of your personality type, so let's jump on a call together and I'll help you gain some clarity and figure this out!