Stop Overthinking – Nick Trenton

“You are not your problems. You are not your failures. If you can put distance between yourself and your life challenges, you gain perspective and untangle your sense of identity and self-worth from the temporary moment you’re experiencing.”

I was recommended this book by my therapist. She said that it would provide helpful tips on slowing fast-paced thinking and controlling negative thoughts, which have seemed to flare up on occasion for me with work, relationships, and friendships. But it’s important to note that you have a choice and are not at the mercy of distracting intrusive thoughts.

I’ll be honest, it’s not like this book has changed the way I think but I believe there is value added from the methods and examples on how to destress and be easier on yourself, which I think is helpful for anyone who struggles with anxiety and/or overthinking. It helped ease my mind.

This book offers good insight for understanding why you feel anxious and self-deprecating. There are solid techniques for changing how you think and what you believe. I would recommend this book to those who suffer from issues of self-esteem.

Highlights

  1. How many people mourn the passing of certain long-gone moments without realizing that this makes it impossible to appreciate the brand-new moment they have right now?
  2. You have every right to feel as you do.
  3. Overthinking puts our ordinary cognitive instincts in overdrive.
  4. Open your mind to see that there are, in fact, other ways to think about things.
  5. They are desperate to solve the “problem,” not considering that their appraisal of what is a problem is in fact the problem.
  6. Anxiety as the root cause (the why) and overthinking, the effect (or the how).
  7. There are no “anxiety genes” that destine you to a fixed fate you can never escape.
  8. Genetic predisposition + stressful precipitating events = overthinking.
  9. Stress and anxiety are not the same things.
  10. Stress is something in the environment – an external pressure on us, whereas anxiety is our internal experience of this pressure.
  11. We all respond differently to the same stressful event because we all have different inner resources and thresholds, and our response can include other emotions and physical symptoms.
  12. Whether we experience anxiety comes down to the relationship between our unique genetic and biological characteristics and susceptibilities and the events, pressures, and conditions we find in the external environment.
  13. It’s not the load, but how you carry it.
  14. Once you’ve told yourself, it’s a threat, you will behave as if it is – and get anxious.
  15. Steering your life, rather than feeling like it’s steering you.
  16. If overthinking has been a lifelong habit, you may have come to believe that it’s basically a part of your personality.
  17. Four techniques to remember: Avoid, alter, accept, and adapt.
  18. Avoid: You can simply walk away. We can’t control everything in life, but we can arrange our circumstances so that we don’t have to be in stressful surroundings, or with stressful people.
  19. When you avoid stress, you are not running away from obligations or denying genuine problems. You are simply learning to say “no.”
  20. Acceptance doesn’t mean pretending you don’t feel how you feel; it’s an acknowledgment that it’s okay to feel that way. Validate your own emotions and own them.
  21. Remember that forgiveness is something you do for yourself and not the other person. When you forgive, you are releasing yourself from the stress and energy of resenting and blaming the other person.
  22. Don’t judge your thinking. Instead, take a compassionate, curious approach and stay open-minded.
  23. Overthinkers are typically intelligent, but sometimes that just means they’re really good at hiding obvious things from themselves.
  24. Journaling may start to feel like it only encourages more unhappiness and overthinking. try to finish every journaling session with something positive and grounding.
  25. People are meaning, making machines, and we make meaning by telling stories about who we are, and what events of our lives signify.
  26. We are not wrong or bad to have problems, and we don’t judge or blame ourselves for having them. Nevertheless, we do have the power to change how we talk about ourselves and our lives, and we can make meaningful changes.
  27. Overthinkers can sometimes have problems with being over-responsible. They may unconsciously downplay their own wellbeing or pleasure and believe that all the serious and unpleasant work of life has to be the first focus, and relaxing is a rare treat they can only earn when everything in life is checked off the list (ie, never !).
  28. You can’t plan for everything in life, and there’s no way around the fact that unexpected events can and do happen. Sometimes you can get caught in the grip of anxious overthinking despite the best-laid plans.
  29. When you overthink, your brain lights up with electrochemical activity that is then converted to a biological reality in your body, via the body’s messengers, hormones. These then cause your body to tense up, tighten and constrict.
  30. Doctors have long observed that a muscle, when tightened strongly then released, tends to release tension and be more relaxed than before it was tightened. It may seem counterintuitive, but you can achieve deeper states of muscular relaxation when you begin tensing first, as opposed to just attempting to relax a muscle that’s already stressed.
  31. Rather than jumping to attention every time some anxiety idea pops into your head, you make it wait. You are in charge of where your conscious awareness goes. You don’t allow just anything to distract you or disrupt your focus.
  32. Worry Postponement – a deliberate choice to put off worrying for another time. This is different from saying you won’t worry. This is more about taking control and managing your worry, proactively deciding how much of an impact you want it to have on your life. In the moment, can seem so urgent and all-important.
  33. It can seem non-negotiable being towards those thoughts and feelings. But, you have a choice.
  34. If you delay the worry, you often don’t want to do it later anyway.
  35. Can I do anything about this problem right now?
  36. When it comes to anxiety, the mind plays the most significant role. It’s the way we think, our mental structures, and our inner cognitive interpretation of the world that most shapes our experience of it.
  37. Failure is normal, and it’s not the end of the world.
  38. Internalizing: We are the reason behind phenomena.
  39. Externalizing: Going too far the other way, and blaming others for what is rightly ours.
  40. Both of these distortions remove agency and lead to a sense of helplessness.
  41. The bias speaks to our core beliefs that things will always be bad, to such an extent that we don’t even see the good anymore.
  42. Catastrophizing: “The only thing that could possibly happen is the worst thing.”
  43. The idea is always to take control of thought patterns that are making you anxious, and consciously replace them with ways of thinking that help you feel calm, in control, and capable.
  44. Have the attitude of compassionate curiosity rather than judgment.
  45. People who are overthinking are often very hard on themselves or beat themselves up for their perceived flaws and weaknesses.
  46. When we change the way we look at things, we change the way we feel.
  47. The tricky thing is that the most stubborn and damaging automatic thoughts are usually the vaguest and difficult to articulate – at first.
  48. What voice do you use with yourself? Is it positive or negative? Accurate or inaccurate? Realistic or unrealistic? Kind or unkind? Helpful or unhelpful?
  49. What is really the difference between a person overwhelmed by negative overthinking, and someone who can face any challenge and tension with resilient composition? It’s all about the attitude.
  50. Action without thinking is idiocy, but thinking without action is anxiety.
Realize that you really are in control, and are the author of your own experience - other people are not to blame for our perception, and equally, they cannot save or teach us; we are the experts of our own experience.
*I take no credit for any of these points.

Recommend me a book

No horror books, please!!