No matter which aspect of my life I’m focusing on, whether by choice or chance, I’m all in.
100% of Jen is dedicated to whatever I’m into at the moment. I’m unable to find the balance that most people have and do several things at once, or to engage in an activity without going in full throttle.
While 100% extreme personalities make for good characters on reality TV shows, and my life gives me ample story material for writing and entertaining friends, my lack of life balance can have a serious downside- especially when it comes to overthinking. I’m 100% Jen there too.
The topics I over analyze vary. Sometimes, they are big things. I overthink decisions about parenting my gifted sons. I overthink my future possibilities based on my current life choices. I overthink about the nature of mankind and acts of injustice.
Other times, my mental wheels are churning about mundane things that other people probably give mere moments of thought to. I’m too embarrassed to admit the number of minutes I’ve overthought buying the pre-packed school supply box for next year versus filling the list myself. I still have not reached a decision yet. I overthought what to do with the strawberries I bought last week that should be tossed at least 14 times since in the past 72 hours.
I wish this were an exaggeration.
Voicing my anxieties or concerns with issues I’m processing has lead to many comments from other people. The most common thing that I have heard is to “Quit thinking about it. You’ll be fine.”
As a gifted person, telling me to quit thinking about something, just causes me more anxiety, and to overthink more. It is like telling me to quit breathing. and I’ll survive. I won’t.
Thinking is what gifted people do best.
Overthinking has a bad reputation, but it is a necessary part of my mental processing. Plus, it is usually beneficial to me. It has helped me be prepared for emergency situations, plan vacations, achieve goals, and anticipate the needs of family and friends during times of need.
You’ll notice I said usually beneficial. I’m not going to lie to you. Sometimes, overthinking leaves me feeling like the Sicilian in The Princess Bride during the battle of wits.
Man in Black – Truly you have a dizzying intellect.
Sicilian – Wait ’til I get going!
I mentioned earlier, 100% Jen has an extremely difficult time with balance. (Yeah it’s 3rd person, and I’m not Royalty, but just roll with it. I’ve overthought the wording on that sentence enough already.)
My mental patterns can start to loop in circles and leave me feeling physically and emotionally drained.
Truly, my brain is amazing, but wait ’til it gets going. I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be that way.
I might not be balanced, with my 100% mindset, but I’d rather be on the upside of life’s teeter totter. When I find myself overthinking, it is a signal for me to dig deeper to get to the root of what’s really bothering me.
Spoiler alert… It’s probably related to fear. I spent a year facing my 40 fears, so I’ve thought about this a lot. Though counter-intuitive, to escape from overthinking, I need to think more, and so should you.
You have a big, sexy brain, right? Use it to think more.
Instead of beating yourself up about a decision, or wondering for the umpteenth time whether or not your darling cherub is having his or her academic needs met in the classroom, think about a different way to frame your question, and to challenge your mindset.
Why am I fixating on this?
What’s the real underlying issue here?
What, if any, fear is there that is causing me to dwell on this issue?
Feeding your mind different questions to shift your focus can restore mental balance, or at least stop your mind from spinning circles.
While focusing on questions, I find it helpful to
Connect with nature and move.
It can be especially beneficial to move to process mentally if you have ADD like I do. Changing your scenery to a more natural environment is refreshing, and can help shift your mental focus.
I believe that most people have the answers to the questions they are overthinking already. It’s just a matter of adjusting how you’re approaching your questions to discover the answer is there already.
After writing this, I took my own advice. I’m going to order the school supplies, and I already tossed the old strawberries.
Sometimes, you just need to think about an issue a little bit longer, or in a different way.
This post is part of Hoagies’ Gifted Education monthly blog hop series. This month’s topic is about overthinking. Click the link or graphic below to read more about this topic. Trust me, it’s worth your time. No need to overthink it.