Women Who Think Too Much by Susan Noln-Hoeksema, Ph.D. is one of the best books on the subject of… well, duh… women who think too much. I should know! I’ve read a bunch and think too much — oh, a little rhyme! <<< But see, even that proves how much I think… about… EVERYTHING. All. The. Time. There’s never a time when I’m not thinking, which explains a lot about my anxiety disorder. And my dreaming life, while I’m asleep, I mean, although it could be said, also while awake. And why I struggle so with meditation.
Consider this quote from the book, which kinda sums up my life:
“For overthinkers, whose feelings and thoughts about their loss linger much longer than those of nonoverthinkers, the social time clock for “getting over” loss is really punishing. People become tired, even annoyed, with overthinkers for continuing to talk about their loss. They may simply withdraw, or if they can’t withdraw, they may eventually blow up at the overthinker, expressing anger and frustration rather than sympathy and concern.”
Uh. Yep, and yep. And, oh yeah, yep.
They key word in this book… and the one that separates the over-thinkers from the worriers… is fixate.
Hi Google… define “fixate”:
- cause (someone) to acquire an obsessive attachment to someone or something.
“she has for some time been fixated on photography”
|synonyms:||obsessed with, preoccupied with/by, obsessive about, single-minded about, possessed by, gripped by, in the grip of;|
I fixate. I obsess. I ruminate. I iz an over-thinker. This was not news to me. *sigh*
Nolen-Hoeksema asks four questions in this book:
- Do you keep yourself awake at night trying to anticipate your children’s needs, or strategizing how to care for your aging parents?
- Does your career have you thinking and rethinking the choices you’ve made, and the ones you suspect you’ll be faced with in the future?
- Do you suffer from negative thoughts about your body and your health?
- Do you have trouble getting over losses or setbacks?
My answers: Yes, yes, OMG! YES, and yes. How about you?
Two things I’d like to touch on here. The tendency to over-think is more prevalent in women than men, according to this book, which is for women, after all.
Just for fun, I plugged in “Men Who Think Too Much” and found this book: Mike’s Tips: Advice for men who think too much by Michael Ryan, so presumably, men do this too. Just not as much as women. Maybe. Maybe they’re just quieter about it?
There are lots of strategies and tools for you here but I’ll be honest. While the book is very good, it’s also very wordy. I got lost (here and there) with the … well, it’s been said… wordiness of it. The first time I read it, I found myself skipping through pages, looking for charts and headlines. I’d get what I needed from the pages and skip around some more. Later readings were easier, because I knew much of the material already, but (not gonna lie) I still felt a little overwhelmed by words. The print is relatively small and there’s just so much of it!
But make no mistake… even if you can take 1/4 of what’s offered, you’ll be ahead of the game.
In one of the ironies of this trait, the more you think about changing it, the better it gets for you. And here’s another thing… also ironic… self-help leads to over-thinking, if you’ve a propensity that way. Consider the questions: Who am I? What am I doing with my life? Ye GADS! Talk about setting yourself up to over-think. Do you agree?
Most of the tools offered in this book are simple – not easy – but simple, if you’ll only DO what is offered. Take, for instance, this small list on page 77:
- Get your hair done
- Get a massage
- Take a bubble bath
- Play with small children
- Watch a funny movie
- Tell some jokes
- Go for a walk in a beautiful place
Seems so… average... doesn’t it? I mean, yeah, we get it, keep yourself busy and you’ll have less time to over-think. Point is: it actually WORKS.
Fridays are my day off and I could have spent the day in bed with the cats. I thought of it! But in the end, I decided to go out in search of pretty scenes. I like to put a daily photo up on Instagram (you can follow me HERE if you’re on that platform). And you know, it’s so true that while I was out there, I was only thinking about my surroundings and what looked interesting and/or pretty – the water, sky, a bench… and then I saw this boat that was dry-docked. *snap* I’m sharing it below. Isn’t it neat?
I guess that’s why I like taking pictures so much… they keep me in the present, at least for a little while. And that’s a very good thing. Especially for over-thinkers in search of healing. Are you one?