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Breaking Free: How to Stop Overthinking as a Highly Sensitive Person

complex decision diagram

HSPs can be overthinkers with a tendency to worry too much.

Whether it is replaying our last interaction with the waitress (you can also insert: bank teller, hair dresser, postal worker, neighbor, friend, best friend, sibling, parent, you get the point) or preparing what we are going to say, either way.....HSPs can really overthink. And then worry. And they worry about overthinking.

Which came first the chicken or the egg?

Does the overthinking cause the worrying or does the worrying cause us to overthink? Here are some reasons I think HSPs dwell:

1. INFORMATION OVERLOAD: In today's information-saturated world, people are bombarded with news, opinions, and data. This information, even if it is neutral or positive, can overload an HSP and cause overwhelm and overthinking.

2. UNCERTAINTY: Unpredictable, ambivalent, ambiguity - these are all HSP kryptonite. Highly Sensitive people have an innate discomfort with the unknown. We thrive on structure and routine. We feel safe when we know what to expect. When faced with inconsistency we overthink to try and reduce the uncertainty and make sense of what is happening.

cartoon brain wearing glasses who overthinks

3. WAY TO COPE: If we feel threatened (think fight-or-flight), our HSP brain likes to think worst case scenario and then prepare for them. My old brain: "I don't know what to expect so I will just conclude the scariest possible outcomes, then that way when they happen I'll be prepared and in control. Genius." Thanks brain. So glad I trained my brain not to think that way anymore.

4. STUCK IN THE PAST: When our HSP brain isn't busy worrying about the future, it likes to take a trip down memory lane to overthink the past. Similar to #3, our brain is trying to make sense of what happened so when (my old brain wouldn't have been optimistic enough to think "if," it automatically assumed the worse and went to "when") it inevitably happened again, it will be prepared this time. According to our brain, preparation = safety and safety = not having to worry.


So, there you have it – the inside scoop on how highly sensitive peeps can get trapped in the overthinking and worry cycle. Sometimes it's like having a thought tornado in our head! The key is to find that sweet spot between deep thinking and driving ourselves nuts. Just being mindful that we are caught up in the pattern can help towards kicking the worry habit. Here's to less overthinking and more living!

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