Overthinking is the most tiring and even frustrating part of being an INFP. We overthink finding a solution to circumstances that haven’t happened yet. We overestimate situations and invest emotions – a massive amount – until it hurts our heads or even causes anxiety.
As an INFP, I don’t like it. Dang, no one likes it! But as dominant feelers, is there anything we can do to beat this distressing habit?
Many INFPs fall victim to their own overthinking. I did, too, but I guess mine has decreased as I age. Having to experience a whirlwind of emotions, I guess, INFPs can’t fully stop overthinking.
But somehow, we can reduce such prolonged overthinking and grasp good control with our thought process.
That said, in this post, I’ll share with you some insights about how and why INFP overthink and my personal approach to reducing them.
What does INFP Overthink About?
As INFP thrive through this world, these idealistic spirits inevitably battle against dilemmas, self-deprecating thoughts, and even fear.
INFPs may overthink from one situation to another but the issues often fall into two categories: they overthink about which path to take and they worry excessively about other people’s sentiments.
Come to think of it, these overthinking habits emerge from INFP’s worries.
- INFP worries they will choose the wrong path.
- INFP worries they’re “bad” or not considerate enough to others.
Let’s dig deeper into these:
Oh wait, to understand more about the INFP mind, you can read, “How Does the INFP Mind Work? 4 Cognitive Functions Explained.”
Overthinking #1: Ni Critic – INFP Worries About Choosing the Wrong Path
INFPs are always caught in a dilemma. Always.
Due to their ability to see multiple opportunities, they may feel that every career path is their calling. They may see opportunities as equally good, or see paths as equally bad. They get lost as they circle round and round which route to commit to.
But have you ever wondered why INFPs feel lost in a wave of approaching opportunities? Why do INFPs struggle to commit to a plan?
The Ni critic is responsible for such overthinking.
Introverted Intuition (Ni) is a function that perceives ideas and narrows them down in one profound path. Ni-dominants such as INFJs and INTJs often come as strong-willed and committed to what they set their minds to.
But with INFPs, Ni is placed at the 6th cognitive spot and works as a critic function. That said, Ni as a shadow function shakes INFP’s choices.
It asks INFPs, “Is that the right path? Are you sure to leave the other behind? Well, if you go down that path, you might regret the consequences. Or better yet, you might end up wanting the other.”
And because of such pressure and critical take to each choice, INFPs would rather delay, abandon, or not make a choice. Because they’re stuck, INFPs would lean on inactivity rather than committing to a plan.
They worry about falling into the wrong path and how much their decisions can affect others. That said, the fear of being caged in the wrong path leaves INFPs with excruciating overthinking.
Overthinking #2: Fe Opposing Role – INFP Worries They’re Not Considerate Enough.
Introverted Feeling (Fi) is INFP’s dominant function, and it gives us a strong sense of self – an attachment to our values, morals, and standards. However, INFPs can’t forever be caged within themselves, right?
Why? Because Fi’s direct rival, our 5th cognitive function, is Extraverted Feeling (Fe) – a function that pursues social harmony and tribe mentality.
Truly, INFPs know what’s good and bad for them, but due to the Fe shadow, INFPs drift to consider other people’s feelings, too.
That said, these free spirits are caught in the loop of “what I feel” VS “What other people feel.”
INFPs want to follow their desires, but they also worry about offending anyone. They may have other plans for themselves, but they will try to fit others into their schedule. INFPs worry about hurting other people’s feelings.
Should INFPs follow what they desire, or should they extend their hand to others despite the friction it personally causes them?
It’s one heck of an overthinking INFPs go through.
How Can INFP Stop Overthinking?
How do you ease such emotions? How do INFPs stop overthinking, or even reduce it in some way? Here is some way that I find helpful whenever I’m stuck in rut between my choices.
Disclaimer: Like every INFP, I suffered and poured tears due to overthinking, too. But while the list has become so helpful to me now, it may or may not fit all INFPs since we carry unique situations.
Before I layout, I like to inform you that these tips require patience and consistent practice.
1. Make a decision only when the deadline approaches.
Making decisions in the spur of our ever-changing emotions leads to mind-whacking overthinking.
Our emotions change, so the way we see our options change, too, and leaves us in a loop.
As long as there’s time to think, that means our feelings are also bound to change.
That said, I suggest that you decide only when nearing a deadline.
In most cases, it won’t hurt if we utilize the “P” in INFP. It means perceiving or prospecting — the trait of waiting out for last-minute changes. So wait out the last-minute changes in your feelings, too.
Reminder, only do this when you see it fit.
So if you’re given 2 weeks to decide on a matter, don’t dive into the thought until you’re, maybe, 1 or 2 days nearing the deadline. Save yourself from overthinking and decide only when you know the emotions will no longer shift.
Back then, I was overthinking whether I should leave my toxic job or go back to the university. Tears, frustration, fear — it was a mix of all these feelings.
On good days, I told myself I still can carry on and won’t quit. On bad days, I vowed to leave the hellish workplace and earn a degree. I was in a loop.
But on the last day of student admission, I felt like it was a “now or never” situation so I rushed to file my application. Because honestly, urgency washes away any unnecessary thinking.
Before the deadline, INFPs overthink the possibilities.
After the deadline, INFPs are drawn to prove their decision is right.
Now, I rarely overthink opportunities and circumstances, because I tell people and myself 2 words:
It means, I will decide when the right time comes, and I’ll see if my emotions change after some time.
Related Post: 5 Healthful Ways INFPs Overcome Procrastination
2. Gather external knowledge.
When INFPs lack experience, our Fi (a judging function) has insufficient information to properly evaluate our options. It can’t determine which path leads to good or bad results.
In these cases, INFPs can utilize their Te function.
INFPs who developed their Extraverted Thinking (Te) function become more rational and patient towards their work, dreams, or as simple as daily tasks.
Te allows INFPs to gain external information. By imitating a proven strategy, technique, or method, INFPs solve their problems and can achieve similar successful results.
That said, INFPs must gain knowledge from other people’s experiences, proven researches, and testimonies. Because they can’t judge well with the lack of experience, they need to wear others’ shoes, follow their ways, and decide in the light of other people’s eyes.
No wonder INFPs love gathering information through books and tutorials. It reduces their uncertainties rooted in their lack of experience.
You may also like: 6 Powerful Self-help Books for INFP Personality
3. Consequences make INFPs move, more than their goals.
When INFPs foresee an unfavorable future such as embarrassment, suffering family, or losing their home -– they will do whatever it takes to prevent these issues from materializing.
INFPs become the best problem solvers when they’re in a pinch.
Is the issue troublesome? INFPs will avoid it.
And if they can’t avoid it? They’ll solve it.
I know this might be harsh, but here’s some truth: money and rewards don’t motivate INFPs. Maybe at first, but not in the long run. Sorry to break it down to you but even passion alone can’t fuel them unless there’s a larger call.
It’s like, why would an INFP make a move if they’re perfectly safe and at peace?
Consequences. INFPs need consequences to make them move.
It transforms them from default overthinkers to master problem solvers.
As an INFP, I realized that I love problems and challenges. Without problems, I will be stagnant, living as a hermit with no purpose.
That said, more than looking at the goals, I suggest that you look more at the consequences. Use your disadvantage to propel yourself into action.
Think of consequences like:
- “If I don’t work, I can’t pay the electric bill.”
- “If I don’t pursue my education, I will struggle for the rest of my life.”
- “If I can’t make my business work, I have to return to my hometown with nothing.”
Can you picture a consequence now? You better do, because it catapults you to make better. Know that INFPs are self-improvement junkies by default.
You have to solve a problem.
However, pressure from friends, bosses, or families doesn’t work on INFPs. These free spirits must find a personal connection and a risk to their peace of mind before they dive into the concern.
Otherwise, they would leave the scene due to the excessive pressure drilled on them.
I’m not sure if this really is a tip to overcome overthinking, and I’m not wishing for anyone to be uncomfortable. But this can serve as a guide on what motivates INFP to work and not settle on analysis-paralysis.
Sometimes, taking a step back is a good way to beat overthinking and even other concerns we have in life. Knowing how you tick prompts you to act according to how you function.
Key takeaways on stopping/ reducing overthinking:
- Let the situation unfold and decide only when you’re sure the emotions won’t change – it mostly happens during approaching deadlines.
- Read, research, and listen to credible resources to aid your decision-making.
- INFPs shift from overthinking to taking action when they face impending problems.
I’ve used these tips to reduce my overthinking. Hope these gave you insights.
Thanks for reading!
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