Thinking and questioning are skills we humans need to live. However, overthinking is another matter. Much of my life I have been a person who would do what I call overthinking. I did it frequently, but I was unaware I did it. Overthinking includes worrying a lot about the future. I used to even plan what I would say, almost full conversations when I had to deal with a problem. I was always sure I was wrong, so I had to defend my position.
I also had expectations about my marriage, my job, and people I love. What was interesting with all this overthinking, I did not ask myself important questions such as: What did I need and want? What were my deepest concerns? What was I willing to do? What was I unwilling to do? I thrived on my fairy tale-like expectations which never came true. (I still do NOT like Disney because so many of his movies sell this fairy tale version of life to little girls and even boys.)
With all of this overthinking, often I had very little peace. Instead, I had a lot of anxiety with all this constant thinking, usually about others, and I did not even know myself. One thing more recently that has helped me stem some of my overthinking is to meditate regularly.
In my practice with meditation, the amazing monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, keeps showing up in my life. Read about his life story online. He has endured great suffering, so his teachings are revealing and always helpful. I love his perspective and his simple and beautiful explanations about life.
On youtube there is this video about Plum Village where this great monk has a center in France; it has subtitles.
Another piece of overthinking seems to be criticizing. The ridiculous part about criticizing is that it is a usually a waste of time. I still criticize how other people drive, instead of just paying attention to my OWN driving. Of course, I am talking to myself in my own car about the “bad” driver, and that other person cannot hear me criticizing them anyway!
I think I’ll go and meditate on this some more!
One other negative consequence of overthinking, it keeps me from experiencing the present. Because I am obsessing about whatever, I miss seeing the bird flying, a flower, a child do something that makes me smile, a squirrel, or even enjoying a breeze on my cheek. I miss the beauty in my own life.