I admit it, I do this a lot. I overthink.
The are two main components to my overthinking: seeing something simple as complicated and fear of consequences.
Something Simple as Complicated
This component is usually associated with my interactions with people. Sometimes I can be oblivious when my attention is not directed, like walking onto the street before the pedestrian light flashes. Most of the time I am a fairly observant person, especially towards peoples' behaviours and gestures. I find it pretty fascinating how people act in different environments and social situations.
That easily leads to overthinking because I might see a small gesture you make as meaning more. For example, if you smile but I intuitively feel that it's not genuine then I will see it as a sad smile which leads me to wonder what has happened in your day that made you sad.
Of course I don't extrapolate this much for every person around me but when my mind is focused in conversation with a person, I tend to notice these details.
Other times when I'm trying to learn new knowledge and connecting ideas so I understand it, I often take a more complicated route to sew my ideas together. Somehow if it's a concept that I don't understand on the spot, I feel that it must be complicated so I have to match a difficult connection of ideas with it when the simple answer can be right in front of my eyes but I overlook it by overthinking.
Fear of Consequences
As an overthinker, sometimes I can be critical of those who make rash decisions. How can they just do such an action without thinking about the consequences? Another part of me would like some of that bravery to not think and just act. I ponder about "ifs" and "supposes" often.
Thought process: "Suppose I do this thing, then this could happen or that could happen. I'd love for this to happen but if it goes wrong, will I be able to face the consequences of that happening?"
With this lack of uncertainty, I make plans and lists so I can increase the chances of favourable outcomes but even after careful planning I might not execute a plan in the end. My overthinking can stunt my willpower to do things out of my comfort zone. And I don't like that.
So at the beginning of 2013 I made a small commitment to myself that I will not let myself stop myself any more because I don't want to have any regrets. There's a difference between making wise choices and not making choices at all. I will just have to take the risk of encountering poor choices in order to be able to appreciate the wise choices I do make.