Whispered Ink

Stop Overthinking - 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress... - Nick Trenton (Book notes)

Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present is a book about anxiety and how CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) can help to deal with it. It's a simple, small and direct book with lots of techniques.

These are my personal and actionable notes, with the things in the book that I want to remember and practice. If you think this is interesting and could help you, I recommend reading the whole book to get tips and insights that were not covered here.

Overthinking = anxiety

Anxiety = genetics + habits + environment, so you can change!

We can't do much about our genetics, but we can do a lot about everything else.

Hypostress = "to be stressed by the complete lack of stimulation", "...when we aren't being challenged enough by our environment. (...) we don't need a stress-free environment, we need one that's optimally suited to our needs."

What can you do in your environment to lower your anxiety levels? Noise, clutter, light? Beware of your daily habits (social media, not sleeping or eating well, etc.)

We respond not to stress, but to our perception of stress.

The 4As of stress management: Avoid, Alter, Accept, Adapt. When anxious, go through each one of them in order.

  1. Can you Avoid this stressor (walk away)?
  2. If you can't avoid it, can you Alter it? For example, "can you communicate your needs and feelings directly, rather than suffering in silence"?
  3. If you can't alter it, Accept it. You can accept it and still dislike it. Or maybe you can forgive? "... forgiveness is something you do for yourself, not the other person."
  4. If accepting it is difficult, you have to learn how to Adapt to the stressor and reduce its potential harm as much as possible, by making changes within yourself.

Journaling helps to analyze and evaluate your thoughts (keep a pocket paper journal with you, so you can also seize the opportunity to disconnect). Always finish every entry with something positive or possibilities and solutions.

The 5-4-3-2-1 technique:

When things are really awful in life: The Next Right Thing

It’s weird, when you think about it, just how many of us prioritize stress in our lives. We allocate all our available time to activities that worsen our mood and leave us feeling anxious or depleted.

(Don't do that!)

Guided imagery: imagine a relaxing place, using all your senses if possible. Tell a story to yourself. Go back to your happy place whenever you need it.

Progressive muscle relaxation:

Suggestion of evening routine to do before bed:

  1. Progressive muscle relaxation
  2. Visualization
  3. Journaling
  4. Gentle reading
  5. Prayer
  6. Music

Five attitudes to incorporate into my mindset:

  1. Focus on what you can control and not on what you can't
  2. Focus on what you can do, and not what you can't
  3. Focus on what you have, and not on what you don't have
  4. Live in the present, not the past or the future
  5. Focus on what you need, not what you want

Emotion regulation by doing the opposite action, feeling the opposite emotion for a fixed period of time.

This is important—emotional regulation begins with emotional acceptance. We do not become better at working with our emotions by learning to push them away, but by learning their names and becoming well acquainted with them.

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