There are major differences between healthy doubt and unhealthy/pathological doubt.
Qualities of healthy doubt:
*Asks questions and searches for evidence in a scientific manner.
*Is not anxiety or mood driven.
*The skepticism ends when solid sense evidence is found.
*It is neither obsessive nor compulsive.
*It accepts sound evidence and does not anxiously override it.
*It does not demand absolute certitude.
*It is not connected with daisy pulling or OCD behaviors.
*It is not kneejerk skepticism.
*It is relaxed and reasonable.
Qualities of unhealthy doubt:
*It appears driven by anxiety and moods and has a reflexive kneejerk quality.
*It demands absolute certitiude and can't abide by uncertainty.
*Is not supported by sense evidence and appears irrational.
*It is often connected with OCD behaviors and self-defeating daisy pulling decisions.
*It does not accept sound and scientific evidence--it overrides them in an irrational fashion.
*It seems to arise out of distorted "gut thinking" where feelings are accepted as facts.
*We feel compelled to believe our doubts.
*"What if" questions show up. We envision a worse case scenario happening.
*Common sense evidence is dismissed with rationalizations.
*Persons around us comment that our doubts seem irrational and incredible.
*We resist rational arguments against our doubts even if the doubts appear strongly illogical.
How does someone overcome unhealthy/pathological doubt? Here are some methods:
*Anxiety driven doubts tends to meltdown as the individual becomes more relaxed and can think rationally. Someone might want to use relaxation exercises like the Longevity Maneuver, the Dive Reflex, or our Hand Warming--Belly Breathing Exercise.
*Do not participate in Self-Defeating Daisy Pulling style decision making which is anxiety and mood driven and will almost always wind up in a bad mood.
*Check out and change any "Gut Feeling" Thought Distortions. Visit our Thought Distortions List.
*Use the scientific method in arriving at evidence. Be wary of not accepting sound evidence. Is it being overridden by anxious continued questioning and rationalizations?
*Utilize integrators on the anxiety driving the unhealthy and unscientific doubting.
*Streams of obsessive doubting can be ground to a halt with the "Thought Chiller".
*Writing out anxiety driven thoughts can make for more objectivity and clarity.
*I like exaggeration, magnification, and joking as potential ways of taking the steam out of intrusive doubts. Here we blow things up out of proportion.
*The Avoided Emotion Finder can be used for flattening anxiety driven doubting.