by Brianna West, Thought Catalog
1. When something irritates or fascinates you, you cannot stop thinking about it. It’s not even that there’s anything that you need to mentally dissect – it’s just a compulsion to keep thinking about things ad nauseam.
2. You want to understand the deeper meaning of things, which usually leads to an interest in philosophy, psychology, engineering, or anything that explains how things work or at least theorizes why they are the way they are.
3. You create problems in your life and think your way out of them. If you’re completely honest with yourself, you get a weird high from focusing on issues you semi-construct in your mind, and then “overcoming them.” You’re always looking for the next thing to fix.
4. You subconsciously feel overthinking serves you and protects you. In other words, you think that worrying about things going wrong is the way to make them go right, or that if you are aware of every possible outcome of a situation, nothing can surprise you and nothing can hurt you.
5. Sometimes, you think about your life more than you live it. You wonder what an interaction means more than you enjoy connecting with someone; you fear for the future more than you prepare for it in the present, and so on.
6. You ascribe meaning to everything. Sometimes, this works in your favor (you’re able to be aware of small transgressions before they lead to larger ones). Other times, it works against you very much: you’re left believing every little slip up is a major issue.
7. You agonize over decisions. Sure, indecision is the product of not trusting yourself, but it’s also the product of being too smart for your own good, and being able to see the positive side to any situation.
8. You extrapolate. You spiral when you have a bad day or a negative experience, and start thinking up all the ways it “means” something about who you are or how good your life can be.
9. You can sometimes focus on what things say about you more than how they feel. If you’re honest with yourself, you can see how you may have made choices in the past because they were what appeased your mind, but maybe not your heart.
10. You Google weird stuff. Like, really weird stuff that if your search history was somehow ever hacked and released you’d be forced to live as a hermit for the next 30 years.
11. You have a fascination with creepy, dark or bizarre things. Anything that’s a shadow side of something that exists in real life is something to be mentally explored. Why? Because so few people talk about it (or worse, they reject/avoid it) leaving an endless bank of knowledge to be uncovered.
12. You get really super emotionally involved with TV shows and books and whatever you’re really into at the moment. You can’t just watch a show and then turn off your computer and go to bed. No, you’re left thinking about all the possible scenarios that could emerge from that one incident you saw in the pilot…
13. You want to know what’s “meant to be.” People find this fascinating because there is actually no literal way to ever know that (other than observe what is). Because it’s such an illusive unknown, it’s something you can think through a thousand times over (and never get tired of thinking about).
14. You have to find ways to “drain your brain.” When you need to relax, you basically need to find a way to completely distract yourself or consume yourself with a different task. Just sitting around and reading a book doesn’t do it for you.
15. Even though you claim to overthink, what you really do is over-feel. Emotions are almost always the stimulus of overthinking. Surprise!
16. You’re interested in people and their stories. You like “seeing in the windows” at night. It’s fascinating to you that there’s a whole planet of people living around you that you’re completely unconscious of. The things you don’t know you don’t know are perhaps the most fascinating things of all
This article was originally published on thoughtcatalog.com