'Women Who Think Too Much' by Dr Susan Nolen-HoeksemaI am a constant worrier. My last thought as I go to bed at night is my to-do list for the next day. Don't forget to do this. I hope this doesn't go badly tomorrow.
I spend most of my time worrying, thinking, over-analyzing. Sometimes I spend so long in a tangent of thoughts I forget where I am and what I am supposed to be doing.
Dr Susan Nolen-Hoeksema calls this overthinking. Her research shows that women (as the majority of overthinkers in Dr Nolen-Hoeksema's study were women) think too much too often and this leadis to higher incidences of stress, anxiety, sadness and depression.
Worrying is predominantly a female problem, and it seems to correlate to the higher rates of depression and anxiety in women.
"When you overthink, you go over and over your negative thoughts and feelings, examining them, questioning them, kneading them like dough."
Overthinkers repeat the bad things - a throwaway comment from a coworker about mental health, or a family member's comment about your weight - over and over in their heads. The more you repeat something, the more true it can feel. In this way, overthinking causes inherent damage to your mental health.
As an overthinker, my thought process often goes something like this:
"I can't think of anything to say or talk about...people will think you're stupid and boring..Now you're scratching your arm...people will know you;re crazy...Can you see my cellulite?"
Jumping from one negative comment about myself to another, the majority of my overthinking relates to how I think others perceive me. I can feel so paranoid about my shyness, my appearance, and my mental illness that the everyday act of meeting someone new can become blown out of proportion and into a life or death, make or break scenario. I am forever jumping to conclusions about what people may really think of me.
But how do you stop it?
If you identify yourself as an overthinker, this book has some great strategies for helping you work your way through it.
Nolen-Hoeksema suggests the following tips:
- Give it a Rest
- Get up and Get Moving
- Hand it Over
- Lean on Others (Meditation and Exercise)
- Bolster a sense of self
I really enjoyed the book and left that I could relate to many of Nolen-Hoeksema's examples and case studies. The tips seems somewhat simplistic when listed above, but trust me, with individual chapters dedicated to each one, Women Who Think Too Much not only effectively notes the excessive negative thoughts women in this day and age face, but also has time to show you ways to defeat these thoughts too.
Women Who Think Too Much by Dr. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema can be bought in all good bookstores or online.