If you're an INFP, you will be horribly familiar with the concept of "overthinking." It's when your mind gets caught in a loop, and you go over and over (and over) the same thoughts again without ever deciding what to do. Sometimes the problem is so severe, you can procrastinate for years without ever reaching a resolution.
There's nothing wrong with thinking things through, but there's a fine line between ruminating and torturing yourself over details. Here are four tips to help you stop thinking and start making your ideas fly.
1. Set a decision-making deadline
Deadlines are an INFP's friend. It's amazing what you can accomplish when there's a deadline breathing down your neck. So, next time you catch yourself struggling to make a decision, give yourself a time limit. Setting a short deadline, even a fake one, is a good way to become more action oriented.
For example, when you have a small decision to make (what shall I wear? How shall I structure this report?), give yourself 10 minutes to decide. For larger decisions, give it to the end of the day or the week. Give yourself time to brainstorm and do a certain amount of soul gazing - but stick fast to your time limit. Once you reach the predetermined deadline, you must stop analyzing and go into action. You might find it beneficial to set multiple deadlines throughout the week to help keep you on task.
2. Put things into the present perspective
Since INFPs are future focused , it can be very difficult for you to zoom in on what you are doing and feeling right now. The main trap of overthinking is that you allow the thing you're obsessing about to move beyond the present moment and become much bigger than it actually is. So your friend didn't call you today like she promised. Is that really a trigger for putting your entire relationship under the microscope? Do you really need to dissect this small, momentary action, or will this create a problem that was never there in the first place?
Ask yourself, "Will the thing I am struggling with matter one day, one week, or one month from now?" If the answer is no, then stop worrying so much. The problem has only a low level of importance. It does not deserve so much of your energy.
3. Take time out
Taking a break when you're overthinking helps a lot, especially if you choose an activity that's absorbing enough for you to engage in it fully. Examples include watching a movie, practicing sport, having a conversation with a friend, or writing. Focusing completely on something else helps take the subliminal pressure off your thinking. You'll feel refreshed and productive, and this should make the issue you were struggling with easier to resolve.
4. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good
INFPs will often overthink an issue as a result of their perfectionism, but aiming for perfection in your life isn't going to take you far. On the contrary, it is more likely to prevent you from getting started with something. The idea of perfection is intimidating - if the concept you've created in your head is unattainable, then what's the point?
Instead of waiting until you have a completely airtight plan for something, take action as soon as you can. This will stop you from overthinking since you have put a plan into motion now. There's no time for your thoughts to go 'round like a hamster in a wheel because you've already limited your options. The step you've taken may not work out quite as you imagined, but that's OK. You've moved from "should do" something to "doing" something. The rest you can create as you go.
The point of this article is not to encourage you to stop thinking entirely. No self-respecting INFP would ever jump in without spending at least a little time weighing up the consequences. But you have to admit, overthinking is a habit, and like all habits, it can be changed. You have to give it your full attention and commitment, and really challenge yourself to get out of your head. But get it right, and the results could be remarkable.