Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Thoughtlessness Of Overthinking: New Study Reveals The Disadvantages Of Extreme Rumination

I recently received this article about ruminators and found that I recognized myself in the information. Ruminating goes hand-in-hand with my life as a person that lives with OCD that presents most frequently with intrusive thought.

Are you a ruminator? Do you find the statistics coincide with your experience as a ruminator or non-ruminator? Let me know what you think in the comments.

A new study by PsychTests.com indicates that ruminators are not only less happy, they are also less resilient and have very poor self-esteem.

Montreal, Canada - September 25, 2018 – We have turned #FAIL into fun. We glorify the folly of amateur stuntmen who ride their bicycles off roofs, intentionally electrocute themselves, and who walk (or rather stumble) along the fine line between bravery and absurdity. Thoughtlessness, it seems, is entertaining. The other end of the spectrum, however, is far more somber. Research from PsychTests reveals that people who think too much live a life of constant fear and stress, worrying about a seemingly endless array of what-ifs.

PsychTests divided a sample of 2,608 people who took the Emotional Intelligence Test into 1,319 ruminators and 1,289 non-ruminators. Ruminators are people who tend to over-think and over-analyze a distressful issue to the point where it completely occupies their thoughts. Researchers found significant and alarming differences on a number of factors. (Note: scores below range on a scale from 0 to 100).


  • Score for ruminators: 35
  • Score for non-ruminators: 84

Perhaps not surprisingly, ruminators are much less content with their life. They are often so focused on everything that could possibly go wrong they have no time to pay attention to what’s going right.

Emotional Regulation

  • Score for ruminators: 31
  • Score for non-ruminators: 80

Ruminators have a lot of difficulty managing their emotions. The endless rampage of negative thoughts creates an upsurge of stress-related emotions, and scattered, wild thinking leads to scattered, wild emotions. When a person doesn’t make it a point to consciously choose his or her thoughts, it causes a chain reaction where emotions become difficult to control.


  • Score for ruminators: 44
  • Score for non-ruminators: 89

The basis of rumination for many people is the belief they don’t have what it takes to deal with an issue. Similarly, the basis of poor self-esteem is an inability to recognize one’s value and power. If a person has low self-esteem, there’s a good chance he or she is also going to be a ruminator.


  • Score for ruminators: 41
  • Score for non-ruminators: 84

Ruminators tend to have a lot of difficulty motivating themselves to take action, often because they are simply unsure what is the right thing to do. They may jump from one concern to another, one possible solution to another, poking holes in everything until they sink in their worries. It’s really difficult to take action when a person endlessly analyzes its viability, leading to indecisiveness.

Positive Mindset

  • Score for ruminators: 43
  • Score for non-ruminators: 85

When ruminators spend more time imagining worst-case scenarios or focusing on the bad side of a situation, it becomes extremely challenging to visualize or anticipate a positive outcome. With constant worries, fears, and self-deprecation taking over their thoughts, ruminators are more likely to become pessimists.


  • Score for ruminators: 35
  • Score for non-ruminators: 75

Ruminators tend to hold a lot back. There are likely a lot of things they wish they could say but don’t, for fear of rocking the boat or of causing irreparable damage to a relationship. Some may re-create an argument in their heads, playing it over and over, saying all they wanted to say but never quite achieving that elusive feeling of catharsis or closure.


  • Score for ruminators: 51
  • Score for non-ruminators: 89

In spite of the fact that they think about their problems a great deal, ruminators are not really facing their problems head-on or handling them in a manner conducive to resolution. Moreover, when something is bothering them or stressing them out, it’s all they think about. Unfortunately, resilience can only be developed by overcoming hardship and learning from it, which cannot happen when they keep running around in a vicious circle.

Need for Approval

  • Score for ruminators: 60
  • Score for non-ruminators: 19

While ruminators may dislike a person for saying something hurtful (and will obsess over it for quite some time), deep down they still desire approval. Like most people, ruminators want to be liked. This is often why even lighthearted barbs tend to cut them deep.

“Ruminators have an obsessive mind,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “They can think about a problem for hours and still feel like the issue is not resolved, or over-analyze situations, finding problems that don’t really exist. This often leads to sleepless nights spent thinking incessantly about anything and everything. As you can imagine, this takes a significant toll on a person’s peace of mind and mental health, leading to issues like anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Ruminators analyze situations so pedantically they make them a lot worse in their minds than they are in reality.”

“Going through life without thinking things through is rather foolish and potentially dangerous, but over-thinking can actually be just as detrimental. At most, it offers a false sense of control, because while looking at a problem from different angles may yield a good solution, ruminators try to account for every worst-case scenario possible - often elaborate ones that are unlikely to happen. This only leads to more worries, and decisions made out of fear unlikely to work out well.”

Want to assess your EQ? Check out https://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3979

Professional users of this test can request a free demo for this or any other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr

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About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com). The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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