It’s the thing that you do right before an important meeting or after a first date. It’s also what you do in the shower. And it’s what’s stopping you from getting a good night’s sleep. That’s right, it’s overthinking! (Actually, should we write it as Overthinking? Or OVERTHINKING? Because it’s a really big problem, affecting not only yours truly, but millions of people across the globe. Oh, God, it’s going to be our downfall, isn’t it?! [Overthinks about overthinking.])

People on the internet are sharing witty but truthful posts related to overthinking and we’ve collected some of the very best. So scroll down to give your grey matter a bit of exercise and upvote the pics that you can relate to. We’d also love to hear all about your experiences with overthinking and how you keep it under control, so drop us a line or two in the comments below. Bored Panda reached out to Suzanne Degges-White, professor and chair in the Department of Counseling and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University, to talk about overthinking. Scroll down for our full interview with the professor.

If you love thinking about overthinking, then when you’re done enjoying this awesome list, check out Bored Panda’s earlier articles about overthinking right here and here.

#1

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PjandBolt
Community Member
9 months ago

Hold up ima use that real quick lol

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#2

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Jo Choto
Community Member
9 months ago

I can't bear it when people watch me do stuff.

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#3

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Hans
Community Member
9 months ago

Rinse and repeat every few hours.

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According to professor Degges-White, "Most humans do tend to ruminate on the negative things in life. In fact, one research study indicated that we’d need to hear '5 good things' about ourselves to undo the emotional hold from a single 'negative thing' that happened.

"It’s called the negative bias effect," she added.

"Part of this comes from anxiety related to avoiding making the same mistake in the future, but the more we concentrate on the past error, the more ‘familiar' the error becomes and the more likely we might be to repeat it. Our brain goes where we train it to go."

#4

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Hans
Community Member
9 months ago

I thought everyone would get weird gut feelings when thinking of major mishaps from when you were six years old...

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#5

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Jacqueline Arana
Community Member
9 months ago

Every time especially after working retail and finding out they are always watching you as a thief 😬

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#6

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Ty_Is_Bored
Community Member
9 months ago

I used to do that too, but it was always the worse when you've already prepared for your section and the teacher says "we can skip that paragraph/page" then calls on you LOL

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Bored Panda wanted to know if overthinking things can lead to passiveness and inactivity, as well as if there's anything that we can do to stop it. Degges-White explained that "if you are too wrapped up in overthinking a situation you may absolutely miss an opportunity."

"When we devote all of our mental energy to going through every possible outcome of a decision, there’s a chance that we’re going to talk ourselves out of doing anything, due to the almost magnetic attraction fearful outcomes have with our brains."

"Some people are absolutely unable to make a decision, though, because they know—at some level, if not consciously—that by making a decision they have eliminated all other possible pathways. However, they might fail to realize that by _not_ making a decision, they have actually made a decision—and shut down all potential possible outcomes," the professor continued.

#7

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ispeak catanese
Community Member
9 months ago

It's Steve Carrell!

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#8

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Michelle Chevalier
Community Member
9 months ago

THRICE!

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#9

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Jo Choto
Community Member
9 months ago

I always fail those because of the leaking over the edges of the squares.

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"To reduce overthinking, we need to train ourselves to trust our first impressions and instincts—and commit to a decision," professor Degges-White told us. "We need to recognize that the longer we ponder, the more confused we are likely to get. Thus, we should practice making the decision that feels right and learning from the new behavior. Creating new patterns in who we approach life isn’t always easy, but we can train ourselves to do things differently with practice."

Finally, Bored Panda wanted to find out if the younger generations tend to overthink more than people in the past. The professor said that "we have a lot more time to think than other generations—when people were super involved in the physical acts required in 'making a living'—when this meant rising early, physical labor all day, and no time for luxuries such as 'creative thought,' 'rumination,' or video game playing or mindless television watching. Life didn’t give space for a lot of overthinking—life was uncertain and you had to act quickly and instinctively, in many cases."

"Overthinking is probably part product of increased leisure time, advances in cognitive complexity, and the ridiculous array of choices that life now presents us. When you had to worry about protecting crops, livestock, feeding a family, and making do with what you had, you don’t have the time worry about the trivial things that modern man has the luxury of over."

#10

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Nerevar
Community Member
9 months ago

This isn't ovethinking... it's natural to introverts.

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#11

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Pittsburgh rare
Community Member
9 months ago

And it's even better when you just imagine a confrontation that MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT happen. Absolutely thrilling

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#12

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Veronika Kuderová
Community Member
9 months ago

Me!

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Now that we’re all overthinking if we tend to overthink in our daily lives, it’s time to get our hands dirty and figure out what causes it, why it’s not the most helpful of things to do, and what we can do about it.

Licensed psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Huttman told My Domaine that overthinking means “constantly analyzing and anguishing over one’s thoughts” can trap us in a loop of “mentally rehearsing” our past or present decisions and actions. Huttman explained that overthinking can be caused by self-doubt, self-esteem issues, concern, traumatic experiences, or anxiety. Overthinking wastes our time, is unhealthy, and leads to analysis paralysis.

According to the psychologist, there are a few things that we can all do in our day-to-day lives to reduce anxiety and turn overthinking into regular plain old thinking. Huttman suggests practicing mindfulness by meditating. Those of you who are skeptical of mediation should know that it increases attention and reduces depressive symptoms. So it’s always worth giving a try and seeing for yourselves.

However, there are plenty of other ways you can reduce anxiety. Regular exercise, yoga, tai-chi, even breathing exercises can have a massive impact on your mental health and wellbeing. And because we’re all different, something that works for you might not be the best fit for someone else. That’s why it’s so important to try a variety of activities and see which ones give the best results. Just try not to overthink which course of action is the most efficient. Just do it.

#13

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Veronika Kuderová
Community Member
9 months ago

All the time...

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#14

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Mary Jaye
Community Member
9 months ago

My cat is not stupid but she never ever over thinks one thing. She has no trouble sleeping and she sleeps most of the day.

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#15

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C
Community Member
9 months ago

LMAO! Catastrophic

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#16

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Deku
Community Member
9 months ago

I have faint good memories but the ones I remember the most are the ones where I felt like I did something horrible but like no one actually remembers how awkward I am

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#17

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Sea Urchin
Community Member
9 months ago

bro I know I'm annoying and it's annoying when I apologize for it and I'm sorry for doing so and

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#18

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Falcon
Community Member
9 months ago

I feel like this isn't overthinking, more a random thought. I do similar things a lot where I become curious about the most random scenarios. My co-worker gets so confused every time though.. <_<

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#19

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Hans
Community Member
9 months ago

It will be akward. Always

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#20

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Rick
Community Member
9 months ago

And then your brain stops messing with you and lets you finally drift off to sleep... twenty minutes before your alarm goes off to wake you up for work.

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#21

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Rick
Community Member
9 months ago

Do you ever wonder if dogs feel like this? Like “OMG Rex, you dumb son of a bitch, I can’t believe you barked in that way when you saw Smokey at the park yesterday, it sounded so lame and now he probably thinks you suck and omg I hate my life”?

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#22

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How Terribly Unfortunate
Community Member
9 months ago

OMG. YES!

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#23

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C
Community Member
9 months ago

God this one!!! Rather suffocate than have to cough again

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#24

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Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
9 months ago

Someone is always in front of the cheese. Every time.

Bobby's Girl
Community Member
9 months ago

Now I want cheese.

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Falcon
Community Member
9 months ago

I usually make a lap around the isle, get something else I need and go for the 2nd attempt 😋

Darcey Young
Community Member
9 months ago

This is even worse when you're in a wheelchair and need all the space to get past but someone is engrossed looking at something (cheese maybe) ... how many times is ok to say excuse me... after asking twice I feel like I'm being rude so I just sit there.... then the person says you should have asked me to move... arrgh!

Bumblebee
Community Member
9 months ago

If acceptable where you live, also try tapping on their upper arm/shoulder if you can reach and say: excuse me. It helps! Another thing. I posted this at another article with a similar example. When people are standing in front of what you want to get. And you just stand (well sit, but I say stand/walk anyway) there, waiting for them to move. You are timid, but if this happens, I suggest just ask the person if they want to hand it to you. Since I ended up in my wheelchair (12 years ago), I became less shy! Now I just ask if they want to hand me the product. Same when something is too high to reach, I look in the aisle or the aisle over for someone to ask if they want to get it for me. And well, I can tell you, 99,9-100%, people are happy to get you something you can't reach! I have never encountered someone who was annoyed at me asking. They are always happy to help! Even though you are shy/timid, try it out! Your life can change! After a few times it becomes normal :-).

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Hermione Granger
Community Member
9 months ago

OK WHO IS TAKING THESE OF ME?

Darwin
Community Member
9 months ago

Are you spying on me

Mal
Community Member
9 months ago

But then you don't want to be the person in the way, so you shop like the goddamned Flash and end up looking like a weirdo anyway.

Sardonic Scribe
Community Member
9 months ago

Nah. I just make it awkward for them. Hey, if you're gonna stand in front of the 2 whole choices in turkey bacon for five minutes, I'm going to be right behind you - silently staring.

moeless
Community Member
9 months ago

But it works. When they see me looking, they push me aside every time! I swear to you, in a Miami Publix I had a NY Jew push me aside to look at the bacon I was checking. I love me some Jews but come on, Chaim!

Jjjane20
Community Member
9 months ago

😂

My O My
Community Member
9 months ago

Meanwhile I approach this differently. I stand and stare at the person in my way. They usually get really uncomfortable, apologize and go away

NanZ
Community Member
9 months ago

I think I have a problem with overthinking now. I am afraid to keep reading.

Dianna Siever
Community Member
9 months ago

I thought this was just polite. Stand close-ish, look at something else for about two minutes, glancing at them at 30 second intervals, then if they're still there politely say "excuse me, I just need..." as you reach and grab whatever off the shelves.

David Dunn
Community Member
9 months ago

I just butt in and get what I need, and say excuse me. AITA? Lol, I ran out of polite patience in my late 20's

Susan Gardner
Community Member
9 months ago

Or they have their hands on something you want and it's the last one! La la la

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#25

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Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
9 months ago

I do this but when I'm asleep. I wake up worrying about random things.

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#26

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C
Community Member
9 months ago

hahah!!! I felt that

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#27

Um, Obviously Everyone Else Is Wrong Because Overthinking Is A Darwinian Survival Trait So Yeah, I’ll See You Come The Next Purge, Unconcerned Therapist. Right Now I’m Feeling Poison Ivy. Who Wants To Hmu And Claim Harley Quinn?
.
#overthinking #overthinkindsupwrpowsr #andpoison #poisonivy #greensmycolor #overthinkingmemes

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Lily Mac Dennard
Community Member
9 months ago

uno reverse card

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#28

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Rick
Community Member
9 months ago

That’s just plain common sense. Answer a scam call and your number will be placed on “positive” lists, resulting in more calls from unknown numbers from these scammers.

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#29

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mummy pig
Community Member
9 months ago

And then dreading about the moment when i have to call them back

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#30

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C
Community Member
9 months ago

I hate when people say that. Just ask!!

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#31

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Freya the Wanderer
Community Member
9 months ago

I know the feeling!

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#32

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Falcon
Community Member
9 months ago

Oh damn, I've done that. Another thing is when someone asks you a question and you start typing, erase, type, erase and then just write "yeah", then feel like shit cause the other person was expecting a long response... 😩

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#33

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FABULOUS1
Community Member
9 months ago

I do this not just with friends, surprised I am still happily married sometimes

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#34

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Ben Steinberg
Community Member
9 months ago

Is that woman roasting a watermelon with a propane flame-thrower?? Forget the meme, I want to know the real story behind THIS picture...

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#35

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Jacqueline Arana
Community Member
9 months ago

I speak Spanish and English, took classes in Spanish most of elementary then in 7th grade after 3 years of only English classes when my named was called for roll call I said presente. 😳

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Note: this post originally had 71 images. It’s been shortened to the top 35 images based on user votes.