What’s my problem? I think too much. I may not know much, but I sure do overthink about what little I do know. So much so that I have developed a compulsive behavior. It’s not smoking, drinking, or drugging. Nor is it bad grammar, yet now that might become a possibility. It is overthinking.
When does it happen? When I am faced with a decision or a deadline, my mind starts cataloging all the data necessary (and unnecessary) for my consideration. I get sucked into exploring too many options. For example, an overflow of data happens regularly during my day job where I am tasked with the layout and design of a professional periodical publication. How will I manage to fit 52 pages of content into 48? Which content can be bumped to the next issue? What’s the shelf life of the news item? I know the content will be stale, yet will there be relevant, historical value upon publication? Will the author ever forgive me if their content is edited for length or even dumped? Not to mention the constant e-mails, phone, calls, and other tasks that battle for my attention throughout the day.
How do I know it’s a problem? My mind races around non-essential tasks. When I’m in the drive-thru at Starbucks. Should I order the iced passion tea (no sweetener) or the flat white? Will the lack of caffeine today really provide me with the energy to focus and get the 48 pages layout finished by the deadline?
Why is it a problem? My thoughts begin to circle into a compulsive need to explain actions. Actions by me or others. My god, I feel I need to provide an explanation for anything, everything, and nothing. I turn molehills into mountains. Left unchecked, my simple concerns might evolve into unreconciled anxieties. Each decision-making paradigm turns into a decision-making paradigm.
Why should I care? Because I have a soul. I am (too?) empathetic.
How do I stop from overthinking? I breathe. I watch (too much) TV. I read. I write. I doodle. I walk. I think.
I drafted today’s post after considering the writing prompt, Hyperbole, by the folks over at Daily Post. You might recognize the image of the brain shown above. It’s from a previous post, My Twelve Minute Brain.