· Do you ruminate about your relationships?
· Do you stress over deadlines?
· Do you agonize about where your career and life are heading?
· Do you brood about money?
· Do you worry about worrying too much?
Then this book is for you!
Written by mother-daughter team Deborah Grayson Riegel and Sophie Riegel, who have struggled with anxiety their whole lives, “Overcoming Overthinking: 36 Ways to Tame Anxiety for Work, School, and Life” is a compassionate, practical, and entertaining book for anyone who wrestles with worrying.
80% of Americans report feeling stressed during their day, and almost 40% of adults worldwide experience feelings of worry. With our fast-paced, ever-changing, complex, and ambiguous world, these numbers are on pace to grow. Furthermore, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental illness in the United States, affecting 18% of adults and 25% percent of children ages 13-18. Their research also shows that, while anxiety is highly treatable, less that 40% of those suffering get help.
This book is one way to help those of you who think and think and think about the past, the present, and the future. Inside, you’ll find 36 user-friendly ways to:
If you are interested in these topics for your company, school, community, etc., click Find out More.
Deborah to Sophie: Why are we writing this book?
Sophie: Part of the reason is that there are so many strategies out there everyone seems to recommend or use that may not be helpful to everybody. The same advice is given to people with anxiety over and over again, and I think we have something new to share. Also, both of our experiences combined help us relate to people of all ages. But the biggest reason I wanted to write this book is that, when I speak, the questions I get are really fascinating, and I realized that in my first book, I left a lot unsaid. So, what better way to answer people’s questions about my first book than with a second book?
Sophie to Deborah: Why do you think we’re writing this book?
Deborah: Not to be immodest, but when you are out there speaking about anxiety, many of the mindsets and strategies you share start with, “Something I learned from my mom is…” I realized that you had internalized a lot of my techniques and that these were worth sharing to help others who might benefit from this advice. Also, I have learned so much from watching you navigate your anxiety, and I wanted others to learn from you, too. Oh, to heck with modesty: You and I are smart cookies, and we have a lot of life wisdom to offer on this topic.
Deborah to Sophie: What do you think parents should keep in mind if their kid has anxiety?
Sophie: The first thing that parents should keep in mind is that this isn’t their fault—even if they passed the genes along like you did, Mom. (Sorry, but I’m keeping it real.) Parents should also know that they should support their child in reaching out for help, and not to take it personally if the person they reach out to isn’t you. And while anxiety isn’t their fault, it is their responsibility to create the conditions that help their child feel supported, understood, and hopeful about the future. Finally, even though anxiety can feel like it’s taking over their kid, it’s only one part of their kid—it doesn’t define who their kid is. Remind yourself that—and remind your kid that, too.
Sophie to Deborah: What do you think a kid should know if their parent has anxiety?
Deborah: It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. (There. I’ve said it three times, which makes it true, right?) Even though an anxious parent might use language that feels blaming (which I hope, after reading this book, they will stop doing), it’s often misguided and misdirected. And even if you’re a typical preteen, tween, or teen—pushing the boundaries and wrestling for independence—you didn’t cause this.
It’s also not your job to fix your parent or to take care of your parent. That’s what other adults are for—friends and family, and professionals.
What you can do is be compassionate, patient, and understanding, as well as be assertive in advocating for your needs.
One tip: In my work as an executive coach, I often find my clients being especially hard on themselves, or reluctant to address an urgent issue affecting their lives. As soon as I ask, “What would you do differently if this were your child?” their approach softens immediately. They are much more likely to be caring and kind and take action.
What does this have to do with you? If you think your parent might benefit from help, ask him or her, “What would you do differently if this were happening to me?” And then encourage them to do just that.
Finally, living with a parent who has anxiety isn’t easy. You’re entitled to get the support you need to keep from getting sucked in.
Deborah to Sophie: Let’s say you don’t have anxiety, and your family members don’t have it, either. Who else do you think could benefit from this book?
Sophie: You don’t need to have chronic anxiety to be an overthinker. Most of us overthink at some point. It could be situational, like before a big test or an important presentation. And it can even be helpful at times if it makes you feel more confident, and that confidence positively impacts your outcome.
But how do you know when overthinking shifts from helpful to harmful? What should you do if “regular anxiety” starts impacting your happiness, productivity, and relationships? You don’t need to have a disorder to benefit from the strategies in this book. Even if you don’t think you are an overthinker, you probably know someone who is and may be able to help them. And, these strategies aren’t just helpful for overthinking; they also provide helpful problem-solving techniques, interpersonal skills, ways to reduce stress, tools to make your life happier and more fulfilling, and so much more.
Sophie to Deborah: You also felt really strongly about thirty-six tips, even though thirty-seven is your lucky number. Why thirty-six?
Deborah: I love the number thirty-six for our strategies because, in Judaism, eighteen (chai) means “life.” Therefore, thirty-six (double chai) represents our two lives together, our two paths through anxiety, detailed in this book.
We both hope that this book gives anyone struggling with anxiety a new and more hopeful approach to life. In addition, it is said that, at all times, there are thirty-six righteous people in the world who are concealed among us (and their specialness is concealed even from themselves). I wonder, “What if some of them are struggling with anxiety, which is getting in the way of them saving the world?” I would hope that even these hidden righteous people have some time to read —-and that this book could help.
Deborah to Sophie: Anything you want to add?
Sophie: If our readers come up with more questions, I’ll write another book!
“I wish I had Deborah and Sophie’s honest, direct, actionable book a lot sooner in my own career. Don’t put buying this off – it is a life-changer!”
Rita McGrath, Professor, Columbia Business School
“Emotions are contagious, and we don’t always realize how our anxiety affects not just us but the people around us. Anxiety—and its friend, perfectionism—can be debilitating in the workplace when not managed effectively, and this book has clear and sensible advice for anyone to improve their repertoire of coping skills.”
Hillary Anger Elfenbein, Professor of Organizational Development, Olin School of Business, Washington University in St. Louis
“We all know someone who has been touched by an anxiety disorder or may have experienced it ourselves, particularly in the workplace, where employee mental health is increasingly recognized as an important part of individual well-being and employee engagement. Overcome Overthinking is invaluable in the workplace for managers or employees to help themselves support their teammates or help themselves. A great series of 36 actionable and practical strategies, all told with a sense of vulnerability, honesty, and fun!”
Darren Menabney, Lead - Global Employee Engagement at Ricoh Co. Ltd.
“What a joy it is to read a mother-daughter collaboration about how to overcome overthinking. Often these patterns are passed down generation to generation, so strategies to break them expressed through family dialogue is powerful. I plan to share this book with my own son, and other members of my family. Especially during the holidays when overthinking can run rampant, this is the gift that keeps on giving.”
Lissa Minkin, VP, People and Workplace, Tile
“As a Developmental Psychologist, I appreciate how the authors have expertly curated the most effective strategies for coping with daily anxiety, and explained them in a tangible and approachable way. As a mother of two teenage daughters, I am grateful for the way this book demystifies complex emotions, and takes subjects that were previously taboo out of the darkness and into the realm of healthy family conversations. And as a plain old human being, I am deeply moved by the example set by Deborah and Sophie to show up to life with vulnerability and love.”
Amanda Jacobs Moreno, Associate Professor of Child Development, Erikson Institute
“In this time of everything feeling rushed and the world spinning out of control this book helps us slow down, take a breath and come out feeling it will all be ok. Deb and Sophie’s conversational questions and answers provide the right amount of honesty and suggestions to provide a sense of calm through the clutter of life. Anyone looking for insights and ideas to assist with taming stress and anxiety will find this book easy to read and full of useful, understandable advice. Parents, family, coworkers, friends – this book is for you if you have someone in your life dealing with anxiety at work, school and life.”
Joy Brand-Richardson, Vice President, Director of Training and Professional Development, JCC Association of North America
“Guess what? Anxiety is a part of your life. The bugger of it is that it’s mostly hidden and frequently misunderstood. And whether it’s your anxiety, a family member’s anxiety, a colleague’s or perhaps all of the above, Deb and Sophie’s book provides a practically powerful punch of helpfulness in an authentic, humorous, and transparent format. As a mom, coach, and leader in a healthcare organization, I found the 36 strategies to be refreshing and useful for every aspect of my personal and professional life. I will no doubt revisit these tools many times.”
Charlotte Click, Manager, Leadership & Professional Development in Healthcare
“Great for coping or coaching. Whether you’re dealing with anxiety or know someone who is, this book provides so many practical and actionable tools to overcoming the negative aspects overthinking. Looking forward to implementing them in my personal and professional life.”
Eric Bacolas, Chief People Officer, Newsela
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