INFJs often see the big picture, which can be advantageous — but it can also lead to painful overthinking.
Whenever I thought about writing for Introvert, Dear, I would read the guidelines at least twice, brainstorm ideas, and sit down to write… but I was never able to get past the research stage because of my overthinking and self-doubt.
Like me, if you’re an INFJ, the rarest of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, you might relate to the following statements and questions:
Let’s wait till next week.
I can deal with it later.
What topic should I choose?
What if they reject my article?
Am I even eligible to write for them?
What if I cannot write for them ever again after they reject my article?
And on and on… and on!
I have been experiencing these questions in my mind for over six months. Still, when I try something new, the overwhelming pressure scares me, and it doesn’t go away until I shift my focus onto something else… and then I end up indefinitely postponing it. Although I knew all these emotions were nothing more than mental barriers, I had difficulties getting past them for a long time. Maybe it’s an INFJ problem you can relate to.
But the fact that I finally wrote an article for Introvert, Dear — this very one — is proof I overcame the mental barriers and succeeded.
As a result of similar inner struggles and self-brainstorming sessions, I stumbled upon a few solutions to deal with overthinking that I’d like to share. Even if you’re not an INFJ, but still an overthinking introvert, you’ll probably be able to relate.
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7 Tips to Stop Overthinking as an INFJ
1. Practice meditation (even if it sounds boring or you think you’ll be bad at it).
My closest friends were always telling me to meditate more. Back then, I didn’t understand what was so remarkable about meditation.
In retrospect, I understand their reasoning because my thoughts can be random. For example, I can have several dozen thoughts in just a minute.
But I found meditation can filter these random thoughts and help me focus and organize my ideas much better.
Even though I don’t meditate every day, I close my eyes and do it whenever I want to think more clearly. This practice has helped me to feel less overwhelmed and more relaxed in the present moment.
Mediation doesn’t have to mean you close your eyes and concentrate on your breath: If you focus on something and forget what’s around you, that can also be considered a form of mediation.
For me, listening to relatable songs is a kind of meditation. It calms my mind and helps me focus on tasks better.
So ask yourself: What is your form of mediation? Ask your family or friends when they find you the happiest or most focused and listen to what they have to say. Maybe it’s when you’re reading, taking a walk, or playing with your pet.
Whenever your thoughts are overflowing, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and plug in your good ole’ introvert headphones – or do something else that calms you down.
2. Make small decisions in order to lead up to a bigger one.
Some things don’t affect our lives much, such as what to wear, going out or staying in, and so on. Instead of trying to determine the best possible outcome for every scenario – even the “small” ones – try to act fast on less consequential tasks and see the difference yourself.
For example, I thought about whether to shave my beard or not. But later, I did it anyway, and nothing happened. This decision saved me from analysis paralysis, which is what happens when a person can’t make a choice.
To prevent overwhelm, practice making small decisions quickly until you can handle the bigger things.
3. Don’t think about the big picture; instead, focus on one thing at a time.
INFJs tend to think about how everything connects, trying to see it all from an eagle-eye point of view. This can be helpful in many situations, but it can also hold you back when you see how much effort you have to put in to get the desired results.
Instead, do whatever tasks you can today rather than thinking about how each task works or fits into your life. Focus on one thing at a time — try “single-tasking” — rather than worrying about the larger outcome.
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4. Make your life more predictable and plan things in advance.
You might find yourself overthinking when you have to make a decision, but what if everything was pre-planned for the day, week, or even a month in advance? Planning ahead may give you relief, knowing what you will be doing in the coming days, and it will keep the pressure low.
To make your life more predictable, become more organized. Introverts are natural planners, so it’s time to put that skill to the test! Schedule everything from work tasks to social invites to alone time. And don’t add anything to your schedule that you cannot complete in a reasonable time just for the sake of doing it. We INFJs tend to be people-pleasers, and now’s the time to start saying “no” more.
5. When in doubt, just start!
Perhaps you make an actionable plan with each step accounted for, but of course, you cannot move mountains only with your thoughts. You have to start somewhere.
Sometimes we fall into a cycle: To start a task, we need to stop overthinking, but to stop overthinking, we must act now – which feels impossible when we’re overthinking!
A few years back, I wanted to delve into the stock market and start day trading. Back then, it was kind of a big deal to me, and I had a lot to figure out.
Even though it was mentally exhausting, I wanted to see what would happen if I just took action; I grew tired of overanalyzing and thinking about everything.
Just like they portray in the movies, it wasn’t an overnight transformation. I researched the best brokerage services, their application process, gathered all the required documents, and finally tried it out. It took more than a month to do everything correctly.
So know that unless you start, you cannot bring your big idea into existence. (Once again, this article is an example of this, too!)
6. Stop thinking about a task over and over again.
Thinking repeatedly about the same issue without the end goal in mind will only give you a headache. To get out of this pattern, you need to identify the problem, map out the steps carefully, collect the necessary resources, and develop a possible solution.
Here’s how you can do that: Think about the worst thing that could happen if you fail to accomplish “X” thing. This will remove the uncertainty and will prepare you for it mentally.
List the possible outcomes one by one. Choose the best solution among the list by eliminating less effective ideas, then start acting on them before you lose momentum.
By doing this, you will be able to stop thinking (over and over again) and end up with better outcomes.
Another strategy is to keep yourself distracted or busy until it is the time for the task at hand.
7. Accept help from friends and colleagues.
When you’re constantly thinking about something, talking to a friend or colleague can help.
Invite them to coffee, dinner, or whatever you two usually do, and make sure no one disturbs your conversation. Then, start talking about what is bothering you and let them share their honest opinions.
The right person can offer you unique insights, identify your drawbacks, find a different perspective, or give you valuable suggestions.
These conversations may not give you a solution every time, but it will make you feel more positive and less stressed than you were before.
For example, when I write a rough draft of an article, I send it to my friend for proofreading and editing. He gets back to me with suggestions, correcting any grammatical errors and giving me feedback on my ideas.
I know, it is not easy to take action, particularly if you are an overthinking introvert like the INFJ. Finding the systems that work for you will make it easier. While the transformation is a slow process, it’s effective in the long run, trust me.
You might like:
- 21 Signs You’re an INFJ, the Rarest Personality Type
- 12 Problems All INFJs Will Understand
- 4 Meditation Tips for Introverts Who Struggle to Focus
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