Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

The World Needs More Overthinkers

37 Comments

photo courtesy of Unsplash, Tachina Lee

Thinking has gotten a bad rap. If you do a lot of it, which you know you do, you’re called an overthinker. And that’s something you’re supposed to avoid.

Personally, I know people who are under-thinkers. I bet you do, too. Don’t you just wish those under-thinkers would overthink once in a while? I know I do.

Granted, you can think so much that you get super anxious. You can think so much that you don’t score well on multiple choice tests because you can explain why all of the choices are correct. You can think so much that you never finish painting your bedroom. You can think so much that you don’t have time to sleep. You can think so much that you forget to tie your shoes.

Too much thinking can become a problem. We know this.

But, honey, you’re kinda stuck with it. It’s how your brain works. Your big brain is very very active. All of the time. So, for you, it’s not overthinking. It’s just thinking. Or being. It’s curiosity. Analysis. Wondering. Creating. It’s the quest for the holy grail.

It’s you being you.

And yet, your colleagues, friends, relatives, partners, teachers, therapists and maybe even your children would like you to STOP THINKING SO MUCH.

Yeah. I get it.

And maybe you also tell yourself to stop thinking so much.

I think you need to rethink thinking.

And, of course, find ways to take care of yourself when your thoughts turn into anxiety or paralysis or sleeplessness. Give yourself permission to self-soothe. Whatever that looks like for you. If you need some ideas, try this post on anxiety and this one on worry.

But don’t stop “over”thinking, wondering, creating, and analyzing. Seeking the holy.

Being. You.

________________________

To my bloggEEs: Have you been accused of overthinking? When is it a problem for you? How is it beneficial? Do you have a way to explain it to others? Thank you for sharing your feelings, experiences and complexities. All are welcome here.

You can find more posts on this topic from the fabulous bloggers with hoagiesgifted.org. Click on the graphic.

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Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rain forest to describe this population. Like the rain forest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore.

37 thoughts on “The World Needs More Overthinkers

  1. Yes. This is such a pet peeve of mine! People usually use the term “over analyze” with me. I say there is no such thing. You can only analyze a thing until there is nothing left to be analyzed. Most people miss so many things because they do not analyze enough. I always differentiate that from worry and anxiety although it can be a fine line. Analysis and exploration are always moving in new directions. They may come back to the same place sometimes to check to see if they really have exhausted all the possibilities. Anxiety and worry are repetitive and circular thinking.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Paula, I really like your comments about underthinkers… Yes, we see a lot of them, especially these days, but, oops, I shouldn’t get political here! Anyway,great points. You do justice to the benefits of thinking and the fact that many overthinkers are just wired that way and have to adjust without letting it get overwhelming. And they need to learn to enjoy it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That made me giggle! =) Thinking is an amazing thing, a gift, being able to think things through seems the most obvious and logical and useful and pleaurable thing to do, unless, it is caught up in ‘not so much …’. I hate to hurry my thinking, I know whenever I’m forced to make a ‘snap’ decision, I’ll very likely regret it, and that my next thoughts and so on, will be much more reflective of where/what I actually really mean/think/like/dislike etc… To be told I overthink for me feels like an insult, it is often how I have self treated some touugh experiences. And, how I’ve problem solved and created. Paula, I love your sharing always. =) Gail, thank you for sharing the humour. Politics is I think the reason that people fear ‘Thinkers’…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I do think folks can feel insulted when they’re criticized for “over” thinking when they’re just doing something that comes so naturally and is, in fact, having a deeper level of analytical ability!

        Like

    • Thanks, Gail. I hear you! Your post on this topic was so comprehensive and helpful. (and can be found if readers click on the link above)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As always, you nailed it, Paula. Thanks for calling out the good side of this kind of mind! You always do provide a good sanity check. “Well, I can think of good things about overthinking, too…but maybe I’m just fooling myself!” (You know…by thinking too much. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thanks Paula, I always appreciate your posts! Some of the best people I know are overthinkers and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d definitely prefer a few less sleepless nights, but I can’t complain too much because it’s usually excitement that keeps me up rather than worry these days!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m often an over-thinker.
    Sometimes that gets me in trouble.

    I’m often an under-thinker (often known by the trendy label “living in the now”).
    Sometimes that gets me in trouble too.

    I guess I’m just a troublemaker.

    A very intense boat-rocking, wave-making, undisciplined daydreaming, ruminating, over-analyzing, inconvenient-truth-seeking – in a world of alternative facts and mindless positive mindfulness – chronic over-thinker.

    I guess that’s OK. Thanks for the reminder Paula.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Love that description, Mark. Over and under-thinking. Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I first got into exploring New Age and Eastern-style spirituality long before “being present” became a household expression. It took me a few years before I realized that some of the “bad” expressions of my ADHD (particularly impulsivity, which is classic “under-thinking”), could be seen as “good” if they were simply interpreted as “living in the moment”. haha

        Liked by 3 people

  6. A world of yes to this. Thinking about things deeply is such a joy (sometimes, less so when happening obsessively late at night, I grant you). And under thinkers – we really need to tackle the people who don’t bother to think about things and then act randomly… nothing but trouble. the world needs more thinking in it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this post so much, Paula. What a delicious breath of fresh air. Thank you – once again – for reminding us that it’s okay to be us. ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I just want to turn my brain off most days. Or at least mute so I can hear my own thoughts…if that makes sense. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Jen. Nice to see you here. Not sure I quite get that…turning off or muting your brain to hear your own thoughts. Fascinating. Whose thoughts are in your brain??

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      • Jen, maybe it’s your very busy life taking care of family and your empathy that overwhelms you so that you have trouble finding your self?

        Like

      • LOL! Yeah, I guess that didn’t make a whole lot of sense out of my head. 😉 Hard to parse out IN my head, for that matter.

        I think what I’m trying to say is that I overthink to the point that I can’t think. I’m constantly thinking or worrying or mentally working out concerns that I have a hard time concentrating. It’s a HUGE reason why I’m struggling with writing right now; my writing voice is buried beneath the all the worries and thinking about homeschooling/running a household/teaching flute/the state of the world/being a wife and mother and friend and colleague/my future…you name it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Jen … If you find a mute button let me know where to find it!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post! Maybe I’m a bit off topic, but along with over-thinking comes the realization that others don’t necessarily go through the same process.

    If you’re playing 3D chess while everyone is playing tic-tac-toe, you’re more often than not running circles around yourself thinking about contingencies and weighting possibilities no one else is even considering.

    It was a big realization for me to grasp that others can’t read my mind. Let me explain before this gets misconstrued. I’ve always finished people sentences with ease once I understand their thought process and I’m usually able to bring it to its logical conclusion faster than the person who currently formulating it as they’re talking. The more logical the person, the easiest it is. I’ve always assumed that everyone could easily do the same, and that I was so transparent everyone could tell what I was thinking pretty much all the time. Not so much! So much effort spent trying to preserve my inner privacy while such complicated schemes either made me completely obvious or excessively cryptic while making me oblivious to what is actually going on…

    Then again, I’m probably overthinking this…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Love the 3D chess versus tic-tac-toe analogy, Godefroy. I think we often don’t realize that what’s easy for us may not be as easy for everyone else. Thanks for sharing your examples.

      Like

  10. Thank you Paula for pointing out the benefit and positive part of having a Rainforest Mind. I love that you encourage us to embrace all parts of who we are. I agree that there are entirely too many people who under think.

    It is especially difficult if they are “hypothetically” family members closely related to your husband, and you have to interact with them a lot. You know? When they come to your house to visit their grandchildren? And tell you that you think too much? I’ve heard that can be especially challenging. Hypothetically.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. If it’s worth thinking, it’s worth overthinking.

    I think about what’s there and while most people stop there, I go on to think about what isn’t there and why, like Sherlock Holmes.

    Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
    Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
    Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

    The dog wouldn’t bark at someone who belonged there, limiting the case (Silver Blaze) to a handful of suspects.

    There are times you just need to put your brain into overthink.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I love this so much (along with all of your posts!). Thank you for your wise reassurance. I especially love your point about underthinking (yes!!). Thank you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree. Why has thinking gotten a bad rap?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sometimes “overthinking” is a sign that I’ve not been feeding my brain enough to “do”…it’ll wander off and chew on the nearest bone relentlessly if I don’t give it a decent meal of *something* to puzzle over, and it’ll take over all the regular processes in that pursuit of something interesting to gnaw on. My thinking processes are a gift that’ll keep on taking if I don’t tend to it’s needs. Knowing that, and seeing it as a need that has to be nourished means I can help myself “overthink” in a healthy way.

    Liked by 1 person

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