Overthinking behavior is a habit that can develop and consequently occur in both introverted and extroverted people.
Yet, I would argue that our personality traits have an influence on developing overthinking behavior.
Could it be that certain personality types or people with certain characteristics are more vulnerable to developing overthinking behavior? Is it possible that we can accurately predict if someone is more prone to developing overthinking behavior than others?
Let’s explore the personality traits’ influence at developing overthinking behavior.
Overthinking behavior meaning
Overthinking behavior, in simple terms, is thinking too much. It can become a toxic, and hard to break habit if done frequently enough.
And while being thoughtful and calculating is not a bad thing, but in fact something to be desired, it can become detrimental if we let our mind and thoughts take control of ourselves.
We should consider that thinking is a mentally draining process and should be performed sporadically and at the right moments, instead of having our brain firing on all cylinders all the time.
Overthinking behavior can also be a symptom of mental disorders such as depression, OCD or social anxiety.
Are certain personality types more at risk for developing overthinking behavior?
I do believe that certain personality types and people possessing certain attributes are at a larger risk of developing overthinking behavior than others.
Your personality traits are largely genetically/biologically determined. Some people are simply put more introverted, while others are more extroverted by nature. Of course, the environment plays an important role in developing new skills and expanding your personality.
We know that genetics are real and not a made up social construct like some people like to argue, and we also know that our personality traits are largely biologically determined. That’s why we can agree that people who possess traits are inherently more at risk for developing overthinking behavior.
Personality traits are remarkably stable throughout adulthood, yet are most susceptible to change when a person’s still in childhood.
What personality types and traits are more at risk for developing overthinking behavior?
Introverted people live more in their own head than extroverted people do.
This is often the case because they find their own rich internal world more fascinating than the outside, physical world.
But because they spend so much time living in their own head and enjoy thinking, they are at an increased risk for developing overthinking behavior. Simply by merit of spending so much time reflecting and analyzing everything in depth.
Hyper aware people
Hyper aware people are people who are extremely aware of their surroundings. Much more so than the average person.
People who are hyper aware focus a great deal of energy and their attention on analyzing their surroundings. And thinking is a requirement in order to analyze.
Analyzing requires a lot of thinking and thought processes because analyzing something means figuring out the objective and subjective meaning of things.
This increased attention for the hyper aware person’s surroundings might lead to developing overthinking behavior.
People who suffer from a mental disease or disorder
People who suffer from a mental disease are at an increased risk for developing overthinking behavior.
Let’s use depression as an example.
A common and well known symptom of depressed people are negative thoughts. Analyzing all these negative thoughts might lead to developing overthinking behavior and procrastinating as well.
Vice versa, overthinking things might lead to seeing the negatives more clearly. The increased focus on these negatives thoughts can in turn lead to people developing even more negative thoughts. And dwelling on these negative thoughts and feelings can lead to depression and/or anxiety disorders.
Furthermore, people suffering from anxiety can develop overthinking behavior as a result from a negative self-image and due to being overly self-aware. Important to note is that being self-aware has both its distinct advantages and disadvantages. However, being overly self-conscious can have devastating, negative results.
Agreeable people are more concerned and are easier influenced by what other people think and want than disagreeable people are.
While disagreeable people, also called people low in personality trait agreeableness will simply put go after what they want without caring too much what other people think of them, agreeable people have a hard time specifying what they want and going after their own goals and needs without taking into account other people’s opinions and feelings.
Trying to please other people means figuring out what other people want and what their values are. And constantly pondering what other people want might lead to developing overthinking behavior down the road.
Non-assertive people have a hard time standing up for themselves and their own needs.
Since they are less likely to voice and go after their own needs, they are more prone and likely to bottle up their own individual needs and feelings, which might in turn lead to procrastinating.
This procrastinating behavior might lead to developing overthinking behavior.
People high in personality trait neuroticism
People high in personality trait neuroticism experience negative emotions like fear, failure, and anxiety more intensely and frequently than people low in personality trait neuroticism do.
This means that a couple of negative experiences for people high in personality trait neuroticism can have a strong and long-lasting negative impact.
Thus, this might lead them to continuously dwell on those negative emotions, which can be a trigger for developing overthinking behavior.
We can conclude that people who possess the above personality traits are at an increased risk for developing overthinking behavior.
But don’t despair. Just because you have these specific attributes doesn’t mean you are certainly going to develop overthinking behavior.
It just means you’ll have to be more weary of the possibility of developing overthinking behavior. Thus, you must take extra measures to protect your mental health as well as you can.
Overthinking is also influenced by environment, culture, and your mindset.
CBT, short for Cognitive behavioral therapy, can be especially useful for developing healthy habits while simultaneously combatting harmful, negative habits in order to combat overthinking behavior.