it's a funny name for a serious problem.
As a person with anxiety, I know that everyone gets anxious from time to time.
But there's normal everyday anxiety, and then there are anxiety disorders.
Binge thinking is a term I read about first in the Daily Mail, and it instantly clicked for me. They describe it as being "a form of emotional oversensitivity that often spirals uncontrollably into nervous anxiety or a sense of anger at the world, and leaves you feeling defeated."
If you're worried you might be a binge thinker, check out these five signs to know for sure.
1. One negative thought can make you spiral.
You're on vacation with your family having an amazing time. It's supposed to be relaxing and fun. But right when you closed your eyes on the beach you remembered that awful lecture your boss gave you last week. Once a negative thought like that crosses your mind it's all over. Your mind leap-frogs from one negative thought to another until relaxation and happiness are impossible to achieve.
2. You're a total perfectionist.
Your life can be wonderful and rewarding. Something your life can never be? Perfect. Free of flaw. It's just impossible. This is unacceptable for the binge thinker. They are perfectionists. A great meeting is considered a failure because you stammered over one word. A new dress ruins a night out when it creases in a funny place when you sit down.
You spend your life cataloging all the small things you need to change to make your life something it can never be: absolutely perfect.
3. You focus on the worst case scenario.
If you feel sluggish at work, this translates into you assuming that your slump in energy has not only been noticed, but will cause you to be fired, and once you're fired your boyfriend will leave you because he doesn't find unemployed people attractive and you will get kicked out of your apartment and and and and — STOP.
Binge thinkers always think in terms of the worst case scenario. You spend so much time bracing yourself for impact that never comes that you lose out on life's small enjoyments.
4. You constantly compare yourself to others.
A binge thinker can't stay in their own lane, so to speak. A binge thinker sees a woman in a well-tailored skirt and assumes that she's wealthier, prettier, and smarter than they could ever be. Rather than focusing on doing your own best, you are obsessed with doing BETTER than everyone else. It's a recipe for alienation and unhappiness.
5. It's challenging for you to 'let go' of things.
It takes time to get over a loss and don't you ever let anyone tell you otherwise. But if your grief for a departed friend or for a partner who left you has you so entrenched in negative thoughts that you develop symptoms like headaches or major fatigue it's a sign that you might be a binge thinker.
Letting go, to you, means admitting failure which means admitting you aren't perfect, and that's heartbreakingly hard for you to do.
Does this all sound like you? Don't worry, not only are you not alone, but there's hope!
Stress is a major trigger for binge thinkers. If you are looking for a way to stop the obsessive cycle of negative thoughts that is clouding up your life and keeping you from being truly happy, start by identifying your stress triggers.
Prioritize your sleep and exercise to keep you feeling well-rested and energized. The hardest part of giving up binge thinking is not beating yourself up if you don't succeed IMMEDIATELY. You're going to fail.
That's what humans do. So when it happens, take a minute to acknowledge it, and then give yourself the permission to start all over again, brand new.