How to tell the difference between intuition and over-thinking

We are so often told to listen to our gut feeling or our intuition, but sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether it is our instinct telling us that something isn’t right, or over-thinking and anxiety clouding our judgment. Here is how you can tell the difference between intuition and over-thinking.

Relationship feelings

When you are in the midst of a love fog, it can be easy to get carried away and miss warning signs and red flags. On the other hand, if you are an anxious person, or perhaps you have been hurt before, you might be worrying incessantly. You might also find yourself with a niggling feeling in the back of your mind. This quiet voice is intuition, and this is what you should always be listening out for.

Photo: BURST

Don’t go it alone

It can be dangerous to just go with your intuition at all times, as it is easy to get that mixed up with a fear that something is wrong, rather than an actual feeling. If you feel as though something is wrong and it is backed up by something more solid, even a slight red flag, you should follow your intuition. This is particularly important in relationships as it can be the way you spot an abuser or someone being unfaithful. A narcissist will make you doubt your beliefs and begin to gaslight you so you feel as though you can’t trust yourself.

Intuition Vs. Overthinking

Intuition is usually less of a verbal thinking action, and more a deep sense or vibe that you feel inside you. Overthinking is less deep and occurs more in your head – often as an incessant chatter. Sometimes one can lead to the other, for example, if you ignore a gut feeling, it might turn into overthinking. In this case, it is important to step back and consider why you are spiralling and work out if there is something underlying that you need to look at.

Photo: BURST

Go for a walk

If you are trying to make a decision but are struggling to decide whether you are being ruled by your intuition or just anxious over thinking, the best thing to do to work out the right idea is to go for a walk. Try not to think about the question directly and just enjoy the fresh air. By the end of the walk, you will know what the answer should be. Research suggestions that by doing this, you are no longer fighting to rationalize things and your brain becomes quiet, and so your intuition is able to shine through and point you in the right direction.

Learning to differentiate between your gut instinct and overthinking is a difficult skill to learn, but one that, once perfected will serve you very well in the future. When our intuition is telling us something, it is important to heed its warnings, but be aware not to confuse that with our own anxious overthinking. After all, this is all about telling the difference between intuition and over-thinking.