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By Brianna Wiest

Anxiety is usually bred out of inaction. We were born to actualize our potential, not just analyze it. Binge thinking is what happens when introspection becomes a means of avoiding a problem. Critically evaluating your life is supposed to facilitate living it, not the other way around. Here, all the things that happen when you let your life exist more in your brain than in reality. 

1. Your goals are perfect outcomes, not perfect actions. You’re more in love with ideas than you are with work and processes required to make them reality. When you dream up your perfect life, you think about how you’re seen, rather than what your daily tasks include.

2. You’re a maladaptive daydreamer. Maladaptive daydreaming is when you imagine extensive fantasies to replace human interaction or general function. Many people experience it while listening to music or doing some kind of rocking motion (walking, pacing, swinging, etc.) Rather than cope with issues in life, you just daydream about grandiose alternatives that give you a “high” to eliminate the uncomfortable feeling.

3. Your purpose in life is abstract. You know that you want to help people, or teach, or give a voice to the voiceless, but you don’t know how to do it, and you certainly don’t focus on embodying it in your present life, in the situations you’re already in, with people you come across in day-to-day interactions.

4. The solution to most of your problems would just be to make some small change but you absolutely refuse to. This is the classic sign that you’re using overthinking as a means of deflection. It’s easy to do, as picking apart a problem is a noble-seeming distraction, but it’s only useful until you have the answer – then you actually have to act on it.

5. You’re always busy, yet never productive enough. Your work never seems to be done, you lose hours and don’t know where they’ve gone, you’re always stressed and frizzling-out your brain, as though you’re perpetually in the middle of a high-intensity task that never sees completion.

6. You tend to resist what you want the most. Rather than putting forth genuine effort, opening up to it bit-by-bit, you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not worth it, or that it’s impossible, or that to have what you want means you could also lose what you want (so better not to have it ever than have it for a little bit.)

7. You’re one of those people who only bonds over what you hate. All this really means is that you a) aren’t doing enough to have something else/more interesting to talk about, or b) are so deeply insecure you thrive off of recognizing that someone else is on your level (judgment = a need to be superior, which = feeling incredibly inferior.)

8. Most of your problems come back down to a fear of judgment, or exclusion. If this fear is present in your life to any significant degree it’s usually because you’ve already constructed a lot of what you think you like or do based on what other people think. It’s for this reason that you don’t naturally take action – you think about it, change what you want to do in some way, and then (maybe) act (still fearful) that people will not like the façade either.

9. If you stopped and thought about it, you could come up with 10 things you are grateful for. Your “problems” aren’t so much “not having” as they are not recognizing what you do have. Gratitude incites more doing, more reciprocation. Positive feelings never leave you stagnating and over-thinking them.

10.  You want to change something about your life, but your focus is on dismantling the old rather than building something new that renders it obsolete. In other words, you’re one of those people who tries to find comfort in over-analyzing old things to make more sense of them, when in reality, complexity is a product of insecurity, and insecurity a product of being unable to accept the simple reality of the situation.

11. You look for quick solutions more than you focus on restructuring the questions. When you try and fail at something, you spend too long focusing on why you failed, rather than learning what you need to then moving on and trying something new. You keep yourself stuck between knowing what’s not right and not being willing to figure out what might be.

12. You’re always imagining what you want to do, yet never really doing it. You’ve convinced yourself that life begins when all the pieces are in place, but in reality, life is the act of doing just that.

Image: Anthony Delanoix

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