Books

8 Books That'll Help You Stop Overthinking

Give your frazzled brain a break.

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You know that bit in Harry Potter, the first one, where Harry, Hermione, and Ron get caught up in the Devil's Snare? They're panicking, they're not sure what to do, and suddenly Hermione cracks it, and slips through the plant's tentacle-like leaves unharmed. How? "Just relax," she says. Harry relaxes and is freed, but Ron's still trapped and overthinking it. The more he tries, the less he can shut down his own mind. Eventually, he succumbs, but life can often feel like your own Devil's Snare. So, here's some books to help combat your overthinking, to release you from the Snare.

It's a cliché because it's true — often the thing that gets in the way the most is your own head. Things should be easier, but the more desperate you are for everything to be simpler, the harder things seem to become. It's not long until your head becomes a tangle and your thoughts quite literally give you a headache.

A way to get out of your own head is to read the words from someone else's. There are ways to help you get out of that overthinking maze, so that you can take on this year feeling more present, refined, and less crammed with the thoughts. Here are my book suggestions for just that.

1

The Body Keeps The Score by Dr. van der Kolk

Dr. van der Kolk uses his 30 years of experience to delve into trauma, how it can affect you and your family for generations. This book helps uncover an alternative approach to therapy and recovery for trauma to heal mind, brain and body using tools like sport, drama, yoga, mindfulness, and meditation.

2

My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem

US Therapist Resmaa Menakem details how racism not only affects your brain but what the physical repercussions can look like in your body. It’s a guidebook with practical advice to help you understand and take steps to heal from racial traumas, and it’s a must read for those affected by the events of last summer.

3

The Worry Trick by David A Carbonell

With a scientific rooting in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy — a practice said to help your brain refocus), The Worry Trick is a certified way to help streamline your thoughts. The book gives you multiple tricks for evading your anxiety, by first making you confront it. By first understanding your overthinking, and why you might be so prone to it, you should be able to eventually combat it. The only way out of the tunnel is through, after all.

Buy it here

4

Brain Food: How to Eat Smart and Sharpen Your Mind by Lisa Mosconi

This book gives a whole new meaning to the old saying ‘you are what you eat’ using science, she looks into the connection between what you eat, your gut and your brain, and even what foods can help prevent dementia. Brain Food is also full of great recipes to go along with the food suggestions and research.

5

Just Eat It by Laura Thomas

In Just Eat It, Laura Thomas puts new meaning into "trusting your gut." Similar to what Ruby Tandoh's been campaigning for, Thomas is pushing an anti-diet agenda, and in this book she champions the importance of tapping into what you're "emotionally hungry" for, which can combat the overthinking and overanalysing tendencies you might tend to feel under diet culture. This book understands that your overthinking often comes from societal and systemic causes beyond your control, and it should nourish you into thinking less busily, alongside that understanding.

Buy it here

6

Reclaim Your Brain by Joseph A. Annibali MD

If you're more into listening than reading, then Reclaim Your Brain, an audiobook from Audible should do the trick. You'll hear a range of mind management techniques to help you declutter your brain, while this self-help guide also takes a more physical approach than most of its other competitors — truly melding mind and body to help unbusy your mind, and root you back to your body.

Buy it here

7

Rewire: Change Your Brain by Richard O'Connor

Rewire: Change Your Brain comes from an award-winning writer whose radical ideas have gone onto inspire psychiatrists working with anxiety and depression, according Richard O'Connor's official site. In this book, O'Connor offers another revolutionary concept — that there are two types of brain — one that is automatic and one that is deliberate. This book helps you control the overthinking tendencies of the former.

Buy it here

8

Clear Your Mind by Steven Schuster

Steven Schuster's Clear Your Mind gives comprehensive tips for compartmentalising your thoughts, truly understanding them, and knowing what the most appropriate action is for each of them. It's basically thinking your way out of overthinking — an exercise that you should get more adept at the more you read. It also has a firm foot in the present day, as this book argues — probably quite rightly — that social media can lead to a lot of overthinking. Time to put the phone down, and to pick the book up.

Buy it here