Stuck In Analysis Paralysis? (Overthinking and Over-Analysing)

The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking

Sign Up for Our Mental Health & Mood Disorders Newsletter

Thanks for signing up!

A friend told me the other day to stop overthinking.

“Bah ha ha ha!”

That’s like telling the pope not to get on his knees, my daughter to stop craving sweets, or a teenage boy not to think about sex.

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who didn’t need a second longer with a menu. The truth is, I don’t even read the whole menu because I get so overwhelmed. I go to the salads section, where I only have to choose between five items. And I hope that it comes with dressing, because that decision could involve up to 10 candidates.

Decisions have always pained me. Because the inability to make them is a symptom of depression, which I’ve had my whole life.

Every month or so when I see my doc, I fill out a depression questionnaire, so that she can scribble a nice number in her notes to indicate the severity of my symptoms. I have to rate 20 or so questions from zero (never) to four (always) —torture for the average depressive. Two questions ALWAYS get rated FIVE: “feelings of guilt” and “inability to make a decision.”

The more depressed I am, the more excruciating the decision process is.

Last summer, I flipped a coin for every decision I made. Go to the grocery or start the laundry? Call my mom or make dinner? Go to church tonight or get the kids up in the morning? I was simply incapable of making any call. Even after I saw that the coin was heads or tails, the anxiety didn’t go away. So I ended up saying “two out of three,” then “three out of five,” then “50 out of 99.”

On this one particular afternoon, my husband came home from work early to take our daughter to swim practice because I was trying to write in the afternoons. For weeks, though, setting aside that time to write was causing panic attacks, because I would sit in front of my computer for two hours not being able to compose one sentence. So sometimes I would take her to practice myself and swim laps again, for the second time in a day, because swimming was the only thing that could calm me down.

“Am I taking her or are you?” he asked me.

This is not a hard dilemma, right?

I was completely incapable of choosing one plan.

Back and forth, pros and cons.

“If I swim, I will probably sleep better tonight. But I’ve already swam today, and I don’t want to blow out my shoulder … I can’t afford an injury."

“If I stay, and am unable to write anything, I will hate myself more …”

I flipped the coin. Heads, I’m going. Then again, tails, I’m staying. One more time, heads, I’m going. I got up to five and would have flipped that bloody coin all night, except that I had both my daughter and husband yelling at me.

“What the heck are you doing? You’re going to be late!”

It didn’t end there. Oh no.

I circled around the block and then came back and asked my husband to take her.

I sat at the computer for two hours, trying to squeeze something, anything of substance, out of my brain, but it didn’t come. Instead I spent the whole 120 minutes obsessing about my making the wrong decision.

Indian mystic Jaggi Vasudev once wrote, “The sign of intelligence is that you are constantly wondering. Idiots are always dead sure about every damn thing they are doing in their life.”

That’s true in the case of my best friend from college. I still remember the horror of her having to choose a major. Night after night at the dining hall, we’d go over the pros of a sociology major versus a psychology major. An overachiever (and the valedictorian of our class even as English was her second language!) she was already majoring in French.

“But Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) in the movie ‘Basic Instinct’ was a French and psychology major. What if I turn out to be a psycho like her?” she asked me.

“Are you serious?”

“This decision is going to affect the rest of my life.” She was genuinely scared, and I could appreciate that panic.

“You can always go back to school,” I said. Turns out that she went on to get an M.B.A. and an M.A. in Business Psychology from Columbia University, working on Wall Street for several years.

We bonded over that decision because it was about more than choosing a major. It was about coping with the anxiety of choosing a path, as inconsequential as whether to eat chicken or pizza for dinner or as important as choosing a mate. It was about embracing the unknown, grieving possibilities, and moving forward despite feeling as though everything in our lives were so out of control.

I don’t think it’s possible for some people to stop overthinking. The only times I’ve succeeded have been when I was drunk or high, because those substances led me to the “quiet car” in my brain, which is why I overindulged and had to give them up for good.

What helps, though, from getting to “500 out of 999” or something crazy like that is surrounding myself with fellow overthinkers who can remind me that the anxiety I’m feeling isn’t so much about Thing One and Thing Two. It’s about the overexcited reptilian part of my brain, including the amygdala, and the power outage in the left frontal lobe. More than anything, it’s about the chemistry of depression and panic.

The message tucked away in my anxiety is erroneous. Even if I choose the wrong thing, or do the wrong thing, I will, in fact, be okay. If I pass out Kit Kats at Halloween instead of Snickers, the night will still be fun and the greedy teenagers will come at the end of the evening without costumes. If I skip the school auction to have a quiet night at home, the school will continue to have its annoying magazine drive. And if I decide to work for two hours instead of take my daughter to swim practice, but can’t produce a word, there will always be another chance to try again.

Last Updated:6/25/2014
Important:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.
Any opinions, advice, statements, services, advertisements, offers or other information or content expressed or made available through the Sites by third parties, including information providers, are those of the respective authors or distributors and not Everyday Health. Neither Everyday Health, its Licensors nor any third-party content providers guarantee the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any content. Furthermore, neither Everyday Health nor its Licensors endorse or are responsible for the accuracy and reliability of any opinion, advice or statement made on any of the Sites or Services by anyone other than an authorized Everyday Health or Licensor representative while acting in his/her official capacity. You may be exposed through the Sites or Services to content that violates our policies, is sexually explicit or is otherwise offensive. You access the Sites and Services at your own risk. We take no responsibility for your exposure to third party content on the Sites or the Services. Everyday Health and its Licensors do not assume, and expressly disclaim, any obligation to obtain and include any information other than that provided to it by its third party sources. It should be understood that we do not advocate the use of any product or procedure described in the Sites or through the Services, nor are we responsible for misuse of a product or procedure due to typographical error.

Video: Overcome Analysis Paralysis - Stop Overthinking Subliminal Affirmations

The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking
The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking images

2019 year
2019 year - The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking pictures

The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking advise
The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking advise photo

The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking pictures
The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking images

The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking new picture
The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking new pictures

photo The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking
foto The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking

Watch The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking video
Watch The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking video

Communication on this topic: The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking, the-paralysis-of-analysis-on-overthinking/
Communication on this topic: The Paralysis of Analysis: On Overthinking, the-paralysis-of-analysis-on-overthinking/ , the-paralysis-of-analysis-on-overthinking/

Related News

8 Best Moves To Target Arm Fat For Women Over 40
5 Good Credit Habits That Are Bad
This Is the Number One Cause of Teen Car Accidents
10 Ways to Not Make People Hate You As a Bride
ColourPop is Launching Its First-Ever Eyeshadow Palettes, and We’re FreakingOut
Ginger For Weight Loss – With Ginger Tea Recipes
11 Best Places to Visit in Canada Canada Tourism
How to Practice Qigong
Original Hottie Brooke Burke Shares Her Food and FitnessDiary
What your headache is trying to tell you
Running and Aging Knees
10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Mineral Water

Date: 06.12.2018, 06:02 / Views: 55492