Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Book Review: Women Who Think Too Much

Overthinking is not your friend because it steals your power. You can’t deal with life if you’re concentrating on something from the past rather than on positive actions you might take in the present. The subtitle offers hope: How to break free of overthinking and reclaim your life.

According to author Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, we can be our own worst enemy through “overthinking.” Many of us fret, worry and ruminate far more than is good for us. In fact, we can think ourselves into depression. I appreciated the way the author illustrated her points with interesting and believable case studies to which I could relate. And I also appreciated how she ended the first three chapters with detailed Quick Reference Guides to guide us in taking action to overcome overthinking.

Nolen-Hoeksema opens the book describing the problem and offers techniques to help resolve overthinking. For instance, if you find yourself stuck on thinking about a bad day at work, give it a rest by focusing on something positive, such as reading a good book or engaging in a hobby. While the author acknowledges life can be unfair, she offers strategies to move your thinking to higher ground. The Quick Reference Guides list strategies to deal with overthinking and descriptions of how to apply the strategies along with concrete examples of action to take.

The author shows insight into people and situations. Her suggestions are practical enough for anyone to apply. Chapters deal with specific areas of overthinking: marriage, parents and siblings, children, jobs, health problems, loss and trauma.

Nolen-Hoeksema is a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan who earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, so she is well qualified to write. And her writing is very understandable with engaging case studies to which readers can relate.

The book includes an index plus pages of notes giving documentation of her content. The back cover offers a quick quiz to check if you might be an overthinker. As an overthinker myself, I copied the Quick Reference Guides and expect them to serve me well. If you worry, second guess your decisions or can't get your mind off troubling issues, I highly recommend this book.

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