Are You A Serial Overthinker? - Does Your Brain Keep You Up At Night?

Last updated by Katie M.

The concept of overthinking was brought to light by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, and is defined as someone spending hours rehashing things, imagining the worst, all whilst imagining the worst. That’s right, all this unnecessary brain activity is a surefire way to bring on a migraine. However, that being said, there are certain techniques that are proven to help you overcome overthinking, so all isn’t lost.

Are You A Serial Overthinker? - Does Your Brain Keep You Up At Night?

How to recognize overthinking? - A torrent of negative thoughts

Why don’t I feel happy? Did I do something wrong? Am I doing enough? Why can't I do it? 🤯 There you have it, a snippet of all the negative thoughts that are constantly running through my mind. Whether it be replaying past events, stressing out about current ones, or worrying about what the future holds, my brain never really manages to switch off.

A single drop that triggers a flood of negative thoughts

All these headaches do not come from nowhere, there is often a trigger, you know, an event which gets the ball rolling. Whether it be a dirty look from a co-worker, being late to an appointment, an oversight or even a compliment, something stirs everything up. Being an overthinker means being assailed by a flood of negative thoughts for the slightest reason. And once the floodgates are opened, it’s already too late…

Because yes, the big problem with overthinking is that it doesn't encourage action. We brood precisely because deep down, we don't really want to take action, to correct things, hence the annoying tendency of overthinkers to pose as victims, but also to lock themselves in a vicious circle. We often rack our brains searching for past reasons as to why we currently feel bad, all whilst getting anxious (👋 hello anxious anticipation) about a future that does not seem as rosy as expected. 🙈 Finally, we skillfully jump from one negative thought to another without solving anything.

Woman and anxiety: Worries accumulate

If you are a woman, bravo, you surely tend to deliberate much more than your male compatriots. In fact, most women, especially those in relationships, have a higher degree of involvement than men. They are more sensitive to the judgments of others and tend to listen to their emotions more, however, that doesn’t mean that they know how to manage them better.


Susan Nolen-Hoeksema conducted a survey, in the United States, on 1,300 people, and she concluded that women were twice as likely to ruminate than men. If in addition you are affected by anxiety, it is the winning duo towards overthinking. If the slightest remark can trigger a multitude of questions and thoughts, the uncertainty linked to the future and the tendency to see it in a dark light do not help musings.

>>> You will take 5 minutes... How to better manage your emotions on a daily basis

How do I know if I am a serial overthinker?

If you often have negative thoughts, if you tend to be pessimistic about your future and to dissect your past, if you do it often and if you brood over these thoughts again and again, then there is a great chance that you are a victim of overthinking.

A few things can help you test yourself:

Do you often feel lonely, tired, and unmotivated? Do you find it difficult to concentrate? Do you often think back to missed actions, mistakes, failures? Do you replay the movie several times? If you often or always find yourself in such or such a situation, it is surely that you have a tendency to replay.

Switch off

"Unplug, turn off the lights and block out the noise. Unplug. Unplug everything."

10 solutions to stop overthinking

The problem with these incessant deliberations is that they lock you into a negative pattern and can often lead to depression. It's all the more serious because it's very difficult to free yourself from overthinking because it's a real vicious circle: the more I contemplate, the sadder I am and the sadder I am, the more I cogitate, etc. 🐄

In her book, Women Who Think Too Much, Susan Nolen-Hoeksema offers strategies for breaking the overthinking cycle:

  • 1. 8 minutes of distraction: It may seem short, but it is the time needed to break the circle of obsessive thoughts. The ideal is to immerse yourself in an activity that requires your full attention and distracts you.
  • 2. Disassociate your deepest self from negative thoughts: "you don't spend enough time with your son" The little voice that tells me, this is only the voice of negative thinking, it is not me expressing myself, and it is not who I am.
  • 3. The STOP sign 🛑 : This is THE thing to visualize if you start to feel like an overthinking session is on its way.
  • 4. Write down your fears: Writing already takes a weight off your shoulders and by listing your fears, you can also realize that many of them are irrational.
  • 5. Small daily pleasures: Every day, offer yourself a small pleasure that will make you feel better.
  • 6. Make time for overthinking: If you are facing a difficulty, whatever it may be, make time for it. This way, you won't feel like you're running away from your problems and later on, you'll be able to take a step back from the situation.
  • 7. Think practical: If you feel a little sluggish, before letting existential questions torture you, ask yourself if you have had enough sleep, if you are not a little stressed, etc.
  • 8. Forgive: Learning to forgive is one of the keys that will allow you to move forward more serenely in life, with a clear mind.
  • 9. As I am and as they are: Do not constantly compare yourself to others. Be in agreement with yourself and your values. Accept yourself as you are, and accept others as they are. Don't be too demanding of others.
  • 10. Don't wait for someone to come and save you: When something is bothering you, take action to change it or accept it. I have often thought that taking action requires a lot of strength, courage and effort, more than I have. But taking action doesn't have to mean changing your life, turning everything upside down, starting over. Sometimes the changes can be small and still bring a maximum of well-being. Just as accepting a less than ideal situation is not an act of weakness. No situation is perfect. Accepting is also learning to let go and focus more fully on what is essential, on what makes us happy.

3 Tips to avoid overthinking

To avoid relapse, there are also a few little habits to put in place:

  • 1. Avoid disturbing situations that generate overthinking: Typically, we surround ourselves with positive people and avoid those who are negative, psychic vampires and other toxic people.
  • 2. Stop setting unattainable goals that are often discouraging and a source of frustration. To set achievable goals, follow your wishes and above all, practice the SMART method.
  • 3. Practice open-mindedness and self-discovery by engaging in new activities. Everything is good, as long as you feel good about it and above all, calm.

It happens even to the best of us: 7 quotes about overthinking ✒️

  • "Take time to deliberate, but when the time to act comes, stop thinking and go for it." Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • "We die from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything." Anthony Hopkins.
  • "If you treat every situation as a matter of life and death, you will often die." Dean Smith, University of North Carolina basketball coach.
  • "Man is not so much concerned with real problems as with the anxieties he imagines about real problems." Epictetus.
  • "We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them." Albert Einstein.
  • "No need to see the whole staircase, just climb the first step." Martin Luther King.
  • "I think, I think and I think. I've thought a million times about not being happy, but never about being happy." Jonathan Safran Foer.

Editor’s opinion: Constant deliberation is often associated with other disorders…

Too much cogitating ends up making us feel horrible. Overthinking is a source of great suffering, but the good news is that avoiding having thoughts in a loop can be worked on! Often, this disorder is associated with a generalized anxiety disorder or a cognitive distortion, which is why you should not hesitate to make an appointment with a psychologist to discuss it. Over the course of the sessions, you will calm down and be able to say stop to overthinking!

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... It's here and now!

Be sure to check out these articles too;

Article presented by Katie M.

🌻 Discover the world through my eyes.

Our most popular 'psychology' articles:

What Happens When A Narcissists Loses Control? These 10 Things...

You probably know by now that narcissists only ever look for one thing and one thing only; and that’s control! Whether in their personal or professional life, folks with this personality disorder need to be in the driving seat and the one calling the shots, otherwise all hell breaks loose. 😨 Although their cunning and manipulative nature means they are often hard to escape, it is still possible to turn the tables on them and take the upper hand. Yet, you’ll need a thick skin to do so because when they feel their power slipping away, they become even more dangerous and abusive; here’s how they react when that happens.

The 10 Weak Points Of A Narcissist Revealed

Each one of us has our own weaknesses that hold us back in life; be it at work or in relationships. However, on a more positive note, most of us have the will to work on them and transform them. That being said, once narcissists are brought into the picture, the idea that they want to work on their weaknesses doesn’t exactly seem feasible. For a deeper understanding of these narcissists and more insights into the workings of their minds, discover their weak spots and which pointers they struggle with on a daily basis, yet aren't willing to admit or work on 👎.

What Do Narcissists Hate The Most? - 10 Things That Drive Them Crazy

Knowing what narcissist manipulators hates can help victims to break free from their evil psychological grip. Indeed, even these manipulators see themselves as invulnerable beings, their victims often ignore how their pathological narcissism makes them suffer in many ways. 😱 Let's take a closer look at what these cunning beings cannot stand, and what exactly drives them wild. Now, we all get angry for one reason or another, but people with this personality disorder have different triggers related to the things they despise.

Can A Narcissist Become Obsessed With Someone?

Now, narcissists are known for demonstrating a worrying lack of empathy along with deviously manipulative traits, oh, and before I forget to mention it, HUGE egos too 😈. Yes, that’s right, they love spending hours looking in the mirror and being told how fabulous they are. To put it in other words, people with this personality disorder are firmly in love with themselves, to the point of being totally obsessed with their so-called perfection, but the question is, can they put their self-admiration aside enough to become preoccupied with someone else? If, on the other hand, you're looking to get a narcissist hooked on you, you're in the right place with these tips.

Are Narcissists Insecure?

There is no denying that narcissistic personalities display some deeply worrying and disturbing traits, but what if these devious traits were just a means of protection? What if they were in fact a complete facade, fabricated to keep people away, in the hope of hiding their deepest darkest insecurities? 😱 After all, everyone has weak spots, even the most confident and put together of people, so why wouldn’t a narcissist deal with the same niggling doubts as everyone else? It's time we got to the bottom of this and discovered why these folks are so insecure.

What Is The 333 Rule For Anxiety And Panic Attacks? It's A Soothing Technique

I want to be completely open and honest with you, so let’s get started. Anxiety has dominated my life for the past 5 years and has been at the root of countless panic attacks and bouts of intense stress 😟. You’ve probably guessed it, but it has had a devastating impact on my mental health and has therefore changed my life for the worst. Now, I’m not here for a pity party, but instead of focusing on the negative sides of this condition, I want to share the most effective tip I’ve found when it comes to feeling less anxious and reducing panic attacks; so without further ado, let’s take a look at the 3-3-3 rule.

Split Personality

Are you familiar with dissociative personality disorder? You may well think of schizophrenia, yet the two conditions are different. What is dissociative personality disorder? We’ll explain all.

How To Heal From The Pain Of Being Rejected

Whether it’s the breakdown of a relationship, a family dispute, or even being fired dismissal... We have all experienced the feeling of being rejected, excluded, or left out. Whilst some people manage to bounce back quite quickly, others suffer from it in a persistent way. As for me, I understood how to move on, because I was able to recognize my rejection wound. So, how can we overcome the fear of rejection and move on from it?


“He’s lying through his teeth!” You’re confronted with a mythomaniac in your close circle. You had no doubts about what they were saying and after conducting your own little investigation, you’re stunned! They’ve been leading you on since the beginning… They invented a life for themselves. But why? How do you recognize a liar, and how can you protect yourself? We’ll tell you everything.

Why We Feel So Socially Exhausted After Lockdown

“Are you coming to the party on Saturday?” After months of restrictions and several lockdowns, I must admit that I wasn’t expecting to hear this question. So I did a series of things, I had drinks with my girlfriends, I went to parties, lunches, etc. And without realizing it, I felt exhausted. Why do I feel like I've been running on empty since the end of lockdown?

More insights into our personalities:

Ergophobia: When The Fear Of Work Eats Away At You…

I know the real fear of work. I suffered from it for a long time, but I’m happy to say that today I’m cured. It’s an illness that can make others smile, as you can easily be seen as lazy. However, it’s not the case for people suffering from ergophobia, the fear of work. Where does this fear come from? How can it be treated? All will be explained.

6 Reasons Why Narcissists Never Apologize - They Hate Saying Sorry

I’ll be the first to admit that my stubbornness means I’m not exactly the most willing person when it comes to uttering the words ‘I’m sorry’, but I always push through my pride; although unfortunately, the same can’t be said for narcissists... Indeed, people who suffer from this personality disorder will simply never hold their hands up and accept responsibility for their actions, despite how deeply they’ve hurt your feelings. 😱 You know the idiom getting blood from a stone, right? Well, when it comes to apologies from these toxic personalities, nothing is more appropriate, and here are 6 reasons why!

6 Differences Between Being Self-Centered And Being A Narcissist

When it comes to mental health disorders, the parameters of each condition often seem blurry, and this explains why many of us have trouble identifying them. Plus, certain disorders frequently encompass similar symptoms and traits, making recognizing and therefore understanding them even more complicated. Let’s take being selfish and having a narcissistic personality disorder, for example. Because they overlap on such a huge scale, upon first glance, they do in fact seem indistinguishable to many of us. That being said, when you dig a little deeper, the differences do become more and more apparent.

I Have Fits Of Anger

Anyone who’s never felt anger can close this article! We’ve all felt this virulent emotion at one time or another 😡. It’s neither bad nor good, but it has the right to exist. It’s healthy to feel angry when you’re betrayed or a victim of an injustice. However, when anger attacks are recurrent, it’s good to learn how to control them. When anger hurts others or ourselves, it becomes a problem.

I’m Scared Of Failure

“I won’t manage it”, “I can’t do it”… I often say this because I doubt my abilities tremendously. Being so negative allows me to calm my fear of failure a bit. By doing nothing, I don’t run the risk of failing. I prefer to do nothing and remain in a state of waiting, for fear of not succeeding. So I procrastinate, thinking about the fact that I didn’t take the plunge out of anxiety. How can I overcome this fear to really start doing things?

Why I Hate Conflict And What I Need To Do To Face It

As soon as I feel tension build up with someone close to me, I take flight. I don’t like conflict, even if I don’t agree with the other person, I run from it. As a result, I keep it all inside of me, which can generate a lot of annoyance. Rather than this eating away at us from the inside, we need to learn to overcome this fear of conflict to make our voice heard. Why do we run away from conflict? How can we overcome this fear? Here are some explanations.

What Are The Signs That You Are Unhappy?

I sometimes feel bad, I don’t have the energy anymore… When we encounter financial, family, or other difficulties, as well as serious events such as bereavement, we accumulate psychological wounds. We can be resilient and move on, but we can also be overwhelmed by a growing sense of unease. There’s no shame in feeling bad psychologically, it happens to us all. However, spotting the signs of unhappiness enables us to be alert and to take care of our mental health.

8 Reasons Why Millennials Feel So Lost

If you ever find yourself watching the news or reading traditional journalism outlets, you’ll no doubt have picked up on the bad rep that millennials get. That’s right, we millennials (those of us who were born between 1981 – 1996) are often criticized for being ‘woke’, overly sensitive, entitled, and lazy. Now, isn’t that a bunch of adjectives you’d instantly like to forget! As you can probably tell, I don’t agree with the evaluation regarding our age group and am here to explain why we feel so lost and disconnected.

Why Do We Like Being Scared?

Making up ghost stories, talking about horrible legends, wanting to talk about spirits… I think we all did it when we were children. Even as adults, if we like watching horror films or documentaries about serial killers, it’s because we love scaring ourselves! 😱 However, the question we may ask ourselves is why we like being scared? There are neuropsychological and sociological reasons behind this attraction. All will be explained!

How To Get Rid Of Your Horrid Complexes

Legs too fat, lips too small, scars or even shyness, whether it’s physical or psychological, complexes often have the bad taste of spoiling our lives and making us unhappy. But we won’t let them do that to us! We’re worth more than that, right?

Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

Wengood's playlist


  1. Only LoveBen Howard
  2. Invalid date
  3. Fix YouColdplay
  4. Beautiful DayU2
  5. Thinking out LoudEd Sheeran
  6. White FlagDido
  7. Lay Me DownSam Smith
  8. Nine Million BicyclesKatie Melua
  9. Put Your Records OnCorinne Bailey Rae
  10. Summertime SadnessLana Del Rey
  11. Imagine - Remastered 2010John Lennon
  12. Shake It OutFlorence + The Machine
  13. Space Oddity - Love You Til Tuesday versionDavid Bowie
  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
  15. With Or Without YouU2
  16. HelloAdele
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
  18. Skinny LoveBirdy
  19. WingsBirdy
  20. Californian SoilLondon Grammar

How to detect a narcissist?

How to detect a narcissist?

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde