Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life

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9781559278539: Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life

From one of the nation’s preeminent experts in the study of women and emotion, a breakthrough new book based on the author’s award-winning research

It’s not a surprise that our fast-paced, overly analytical culture is pushing people—especially women—to spend countless hours thinking about negative ideas, feelings, and experiences. Renowned psychologist Dr. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema calls this “overthinking.” Her groundbreaking research shows that an increasing number of women—more than half of those in her extensive study—are doing it too much and too often, hindering their ability to lead a satisfying life. Overthinking can be anything from fretting about big questions such as “What am I doing with my life?” to losing sleep over a friend’s innocent comment. It is causing women to feel sad, anxious, or seriously depressed, and she challenges the assumption that constantly expressing and analyzing our emotions is a good thing.

In Women Who Think Too Much, Nolen-Hoeksema provides concrete strategies that can be used to escape these negative thoughts, move to higher ground, and avoid future traps.

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About the Author:

Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. She received her B.A. from Yale University and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Her award-winning research has been funded by major grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, and several private foundations. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband and son.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

From Women Who Think Too Much:
Over the last four decades, women have experienced unprecedented growth in
independence and opportunity. We are freer to choose what kinds of relationships to have, whether and when to have children, what careers to pursue, and what lifestyles to lead.

But too often, many of us are flooded with worries, thoughts, and emotions that swirl out of control. We are suffering from an epidemic of overthinking-getting caught in torrents of negative thoughts and emotions that overwhelm us and interfere with our functioning and well-being. Our concerns are about fundamental issues: Who am I? What am I doing with my life? Answers do not come easily to such questions and so we search and ponder and worry even more.

Types of Overthinking:

o Rant-and-Rave
This is the most familiar type of overthinking which
usually centers on some wrong we believe has been done to us. Women prone to this kind of overthinking tend to take on an air of wounded self-righteousness and focus on designing retribution that will severely sting our victimizers.

o Life-of-Their-Own
This type of overthinking begins innocently as we notice we're feeling upset or when we ponder a recent event. Then we begin to entertain possible causes for our feelings about the events. Overthinking causes us to exaggerate problems and make bad decisions.

o Chaotic
This type of overthinking occurs when we don't move in a straight line from one problem to another. Instead, it is as if all kinds of concerns, many of them unrelated, flood our minds at the same time.

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Susan Nolen-Hoeksema
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