When you spend all your time overthinking, it makes it difficult to get anything done. It can be exhausting thinking so much to the point it halts all your actions. I often find myself wishing I could turn off my brain and enjoy the moment.
INFP’s ability to get lost and live in their head is both a blessing and a curse. I often can spend hours contemplating ideas and different worlds, but then reality comes crashing down. I have to get some work done in the physical, as opposed to, imaginative world. When it comes to the real world, I often find it very hard to improvise. You know those people you have worked with on a school project who have not prepared at all for the upcoming presentation? But then they wing it and sound comfortable and knowledgeable? Then there is me who has left the project until the last minute, but stayed up all night trying to prepare. Regardless of my preparation time, I let out a fraction of what I planned to say. And along the way, also eliminated all my “funny” jokes I was going to throw in.
It is not only presentations, but just interacting with other people and making decisions. Other INFPs can probably relate that talking through text or writing makes you sound a hell of a lot smarter than the burbles that will come out of your mouth. That media allows you to stop, ponder, and erase. I guess that is why I enjoy blogging so much. Alternatively, I will escape to the other side of the country if you want me to make a speech.
It can get frustrating when I am overthinking everything and not living in the moment. Through my life, I have improved on learning to do things without overthinking them. At least a little bit. Here are a few tips.
Embrace Your Impulsive Friends
As an anxious INFP, I have found that if I am given too much time to think over something, it is much more disastrous than if I only have a couple of hours. I can be a big procrastinator for this reason. I will leave things for the last minute and avoid thinking about it. I’d rather overthink and worry for a few days instead of a span of weeks.
We all probably have that friend who asks us if we want to hang out and do something last minute. You ask them what time they want to meet up and they tell you they are already outside your door. Yeah, that friend. The friend who I will have to hurriedly throw on clothes, sloppily straighten my hair and rush out the door for. Those friends can actually be a blessing. You are given zero time to ponder and worry, and have to make a split second decision. Now unless they are trying to make you do something crazy, I would encourage you to just trudge through your beauty routine and get out the door. Don’t allow your mind to have time to start questioning anything and everything. There are so many things I would not have done if I didn’t have that impulsive friend getting me to do it before I could even have a moment in my brain.
Write Through Your Feelings
I have found it can be incredibly helpful to just write out what your thinking and feeling in the moment. At one point you might feel really excited and motivated to do something. I think it is important you capture those feelings for yourself. Later on, you might have conflicting feelings, and it can get confusing knowing what’s best to do.
I like to have a journal or personal blog that is not organized at all. It is just a ton of ramblings that I can put anything and everything I am feeling or thinking. If I am thinking it would be amazing to travel and live in a new country for a year, you can bet I am going to have days where I am feeling it is a terrible idea and everything will go wrong. Capturing your feelings as they happen over the course of many days will allow you to see a consensus. If you are short on time, write up a pros and cons list. If you have so many good feelings and so many “pros” over “cons”, then allow yourself permission to go through with it. Don’t let the few bad things that may or may not happen keep you from the positive.
Tell Everyone You Are Going To Do It
I often make plans in my head and don’t let anyone around me know about it because I am afraid I will not actually go through with it. I could have a new idea and worry it will flop, so I don’t tell anyone know out of fear of being judged. In reality, that is not the case and my friends are usually supportive about my ideas and projects. It is also incredibly helpful to have people holding you accountable.
I have found when my friends talk to me about my plans as something I am or will actually be doing, it cements them in reality. It no longer is just an idea in my head. INFPs often come up with many great ideas that end up going nowhere. Sharing these ideas with others will help get the ball rolling on turning your idea into a reality. Friends can ask you about the practical sides that INFPs often don’t focus on, and help you figure out a plan. It can even be helpful to ask a close friend to keep you accountable and check in with you. I know I sometimes find it hard to ask for help and want to do things all by myself. However, people can truly be a great help in my endeavors. Even if I want to get rid of them half the time so I can just sit at home alone and play video games.
Allow Yourself to Breathe
If you are having an incredible amount of overwhelming feelings and thoughts, it is important to take a pause before you can come to the best conclusions. I know I can hardly make a rational decision if my feelings are incredibly strong. INFPs get the stereotype of not being logical and that is because they are a feelings type. However, I have found that while yes, my feelings can overwhelm my thoughts to the point they don’t feel logical, if I take time to address my feelings and let them breathe, I can make wonderfully logical decisions.
It is important to accept your feelings for what they are. Do not try to erase and avoid them. Allow yourself time to sit through them until they feel not so overwhelming. I sometimes just lay down and listen to music without doing anything. It allows me to just focus on the music and breathing to calm my body and mind down. You can do whatever works for you. Even just taking five minutes to do this will allow yourself to have a clearer head. Often what I believe is “overthinking” is actually “overemotional-ing.” When I calmed my emotions, I could get out and do what I planned to do.
Thank you. Your blog feels like having a twin out there.
I’m glad you enjoy this blog and can relate! Hopefully I will update more frequently soon :).
I’ve been analyzing the crap out of my work for about 2-3 years now…to the point I’ve almost completely stopped actually making stuff. So I feel that.
I had to realize, you can’t always come to the solution just by thinking about a problem or planning it out or analyzing it. There are practical skills that you develop only by actually working on something. For example, you mention having a hard time talking to people. I can think all day about how I can talk to people better, but it’s not going to help me as much as actually practicing talking to people. There is a point up to which thinking can help you, and then it’s diminishing returns. Past the point of diminishing returns, you have to actually get that practical experience by using what you learned in a real situation.
Kind of like, no amount of staring at a guitar fretboard is going to teach you the notes. You actually have to play the guitar to learn the notes.
Here is my gift to you…google the band Cloudkicker…I am listening to them now. I bet you will dig em.
See you in another life
Your insights are very interesting Michael! I agree that dwelling on things and thinking about them are not as beneficial as putting things to practice and taking action. I definitely need to do a better job at living in reality instead of my head and getting things done. Thank you for the recommendation. I always enjoy a good band/musician with instrumental music.
So I’ve been thinking about my type for a while. Your last point seems pretty on point. Thanks for that, im currently struggling with depression over what to do in terms of career. Your blog’s a real blessing
Oh my goodness! Can we please be friends?
Dude this is awesome
I’m a male infp…your writing is very much true and matches the way I think and feel. It’s a struggle for our type because we are more sensitive and emotional than others. Yet we have creative intelligence and can be really successful in domains requiring creative and imaginative intellect. Many famous and successful people are infps so cheer up … You are unique and no one is perfect.
Hello Eva, I just want to say how much grateful I am to have discovered your blog. Thank you for sharing all those INFP moments that I could relate to such as when you talked about how you ended up getting messy with the presentation, I laughed so much because I also see myself there! Thank you so much again and hope you are doing well wherever you are.