Have you ever noticed that someone you know, perhaps someone close to you, is often psychologically drained by their own thoughts? Have you ever wondered what goes on inside his or her head that makes the person so exhausted and possibly suffering from mental health issues because of them?

In the case that you have noticed and would like to know more about it this article will delve into more detail about the topic of overthinking and how to tell if someone is an overthinker.

Who are Overthinkers?

The term itself refers to the action of excessively investing one’s energy in the evaluation and analysis of one’s thoughts, most often in the attempt to understand the meaning behind these thoughts. Overthinkers can easily be haunted by their thoughts leading to multiple negative implications (Clark, 2020).

Overthinking is most often linked to anxiety which if taken to extremes can create dysfunctional patterns (Fader, 2021). The following text will identify 3 behaviours which will help you to spot an overthinker.

The “What if-“ Questions

Overthinkers usually play out specific scenarios multiple times attempting to understand the meaning behind these scenarios or playing the possible outcomes that could happen in a future scenario. Ideally you would hear these “What if-“questions multiple times. “What if he didn’t mean to be aggressive?”, “What if it wasn’t an accident?”, “What if I lose my voice at the moment I have to perform in front of everyone?” (Morin, 2019).

Obsessive and Intrusive Thoughts

Say for example, a person is overthinking on a particular individual, perhaps someone the overthinker is attracted to but is afraid that this man may not like her. Overthinkers would be haunted by obsessive and intrusive thoughts about the behaviours of this man, debating whether his behaviours show interest or not, perhaps even thinking about what his thought process could be about. Some may also have obsessive thoughts on what they should have said or done instead to receive better results or outcomes (Fader, 2021).

Lack of Concentration on what is Happening Now

People who overthink may find it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. In conjunction with obsessive and intrusive thoughts it’s hard to put your head in the game and often have a low performance at what is happening now (Fader, 2021). These intrusive thoughts distract us from thinking clearly. For example, when giving a presentation in front of an audience, overthinking on what the audience thinks about you can cause a lot of anxiety and lose concentration on what is being said and presented.

Overthinkers are most often haunted by their thoughts related to their anxieties. You can recognise that they are overthinkers by their “what if-“ questions, obsessive thoughts as well as their problems in concentration. However, it is without a doubt that they too can heal and grow from their overthinking, just as much as we grow from our own problems.

Lyon Vella is a Psychology graduate from the University of Malta and a Volunteer with Willingness Team.


Clark, D. A. (2020, January 18). Are you an overthinker? Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-runaway-mind/202001/are-you-overthinker

Fader, S. (2021, February 26). What is overthinking disorder? Better Help. Retrieved from: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/personality-disorders/what-is-overthinking-disorder/?utm_source=AdWords&utm_medium=Search_PPC_c&utm_term=_b&utm_content=118051369647&network=g&placement=&target=&matchtype=b&utm_campaign=11771068538&ad_type=text&adposition=&gclid=CjwKCAjwvMqDBhB8EiwA2iSmPLSyCq-u7Rk8R1Z2hyFfDnhWslCUt4w_dfqLspAIYf4JmQjCKw-nXxoCaVQQAvD_BwE

Morin, A. (2019, January 7). 10 signs you’re an overthinker. Inc. Retrieved from: https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/10-signs-you-think-too-much-and-what-you-can-do-about-it.html