It’s the insoluble problem that comes to mind in the middle of the night. The coworker who blew up at me for making a mistake, a government that is composed of mostly generals arguing with a country that has nuclear weapons, a relationship with a sibling that has ended, regrets over actions not taken, having a decision to make that could go either way, running through the list of things to do in the next month; these are the things that I think about if I wake up during the night.
Problems with overthinking can occur in early childhood if children are empathetic and aware of what’s going on in the world. With horrible news streaming in every day (and I am a news hound), children are exposed to horrible things happening all over the world. How are we going to help them cope with the seamy side of life? When six people were murdered a mile from our house, my daughter slept with me for two weeks and refused to go in the basement because there might be dead people down there.
How about problems when topics are covered in school, like slavery, war, the Holocaust, the labor movement, or immigration. There are so many to choose from. How does a parent help a child who overthinks? There are some links at the end of my article that might help, and reading books on mental health issues is a part of my reading every year. When my son was a senior in college, he had a course in business ethics that showed videos of the Holocaust, Apartheid, Rwandan genocide and more. His grades fell, he dropped enough classes to pass the rest, and he made up the courses that summer before and after he got married.
Some problems are not so easily solved. A loved one’s mental or physical health problems can cause long-term obsessive thinking. Anxiety can be so debilitating that it interferes with sleep or with going outside one’s house. In these cases, counseling or medication may be helpful. I am a grateful member of two support groups and recommend them to many people.
Finally, decisions can be difficult if an individual is trying to weigh all the options. Often, overthinking can hurt students who look at problems differently. Their scores on tests can reflect the fact that they have taken too long to answer fewer questions, or have seen several answers to difficult problems. Extremely intelligent children (180+ IQ) may see and do things their own way, regardless of the consequences. Children with high IQs often don’t care about our schools’ reward systems, and make choices that camouflage their abilities.
Lolly Daskal has suggestions for overthinking on her web page “10 Simple Ways You Can Stop Yourself From Overthinking”. Another page with suggestions is The Positivity Blog, “How to Stop Overthinking Everything: 9 Simple Habits” by Henrik Edeberg and this one, too: “How to Forget the Past, Live in the Present, and Not Think About the Future” (no author listed).
I hope you find these pages useful.
This blog is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page Blog Hop. If you wish to follow other posts about overthinking, please click on either of these links.