I admit it. I’m a chronic worrier and a perfectionist. I come by it honestly. My mother is the champion of worrying and she taught me well. In her case, she feels she has no purpose if she’s not actively worrying about the people she loves. For me, it’s not so steeped in meaning. I have learned from a lifetime of being told to BE CAREFUL! that to make a mistake would be a catastrophe, so I over-think every move before I make it. A lot of us are like this, but know how dysfunctional it is and how much it limits our capacity to experience joy and richness in our lives.
I saw this little article the other day that says that analytical thinking is the primary tool of chronic worriers. Since analytical thinking is my primary modus operandi I was intrigued. The article describes that worriers and perfectionists use systematic processing and analysis to check and double check themselves due to a lack of confidence in themselves and fear of making decisions. Having grown up in a family that scans the environment for every possible source of disapproval before making a decision, I know how limiting this level of systematic processing can be. And I’ve seen it a lot in the clients that come to me for help who want to make changes in their lives but are afraid that others will not approve.
So, for the most part I really liked this article and thought it would be worth citing here. The article poses that by using cognitive-behavioral therapy one can learn another way to manage thoughts that’s not so debilitating as over analyzing. I’m a big fan of cognitive-behavioral therapy, so I have no problem with that. But the article starts out also talking about gut instincts, stating that chronic worriers are people who don’t listen to their gut. I had hoped that the article would go on to talk about intuitive thinking and the value of trusting your gut instincts. Unfortunately, however, the article never got back to talking about intuition after that first statement.
I recommend reading through the article if you have problems with over-analyzing or with worrying. Cognitive Therapy is an excellent option for the worrier. I recommend, however, balancing cognitive work with work on learning to sense and trust intuition. Listening to intuition means listening to the heart and following your internal “knowing”. This is a skill we are all born with but squash out of ourselves as we learn that over-analysis is more highly regarded. If you are interested in ridding yourself of that pesky voice that keeps you from trying out new options and ways of being I recommend finding a therapist that will help you to trust your intuition as well as challenge your negative thought patterns. In the meantime, please take a look at the article. http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/08/31/chronic-worriers-tend-to-rely-on-analysis-not-gut-feelings/59057.html