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 enter the New Year feeling more present, refined, and less crammed with the thoughts that are dragging you down. Here are my book suggestions for just that.
1'Unf*ck Your Brain' by Faith G. Harper
Unf*ck Your Brain is probably the most direct way of putting it, and much in line with her title, Faith G. Harper's methods for untangling your thoughts in a crowded mind are direct and forthright. This book really feels like a friend, or a very wise drunken auntie who just wants to help out and guide you out of your overthinking culs-de-sac. It also accounts for all the gradations of overthinking — from those little niggles to post-traumatic stress disorder. No matter what, you're covered.
2'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 hell is through, after all.
3'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.
4'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.
5'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.
4'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.
5'Embrace The Chaos' by Bob Miglani
People tell you that travel is the way to overcome your demons, but those people are all rich. If you can't afford a mind-expanding trip to India, then Bob Miglani's Embrace the Chaos is the next best thing. His travels around the huge country gifted him the ideas in this book. A bit like The Worry Trick, Miglani advises that the best way to overcome your overthinking is to confront it head on. You can find complete calm in the chaos, he assures.