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Eating, Drinking, Overthinking
by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema

eating thinking overdrinking by susan nolen-hoeksema What happens when your life is filled with stress and self-judgment, and you need to spend your energy making sure everyone else is okay, leaving no time for yourself? If you're like a lot of women you react by binge eating or drinking, or spiraling down into depression — or all three. This toxic triangle — binge drinking, eating disorders and depression — is a lot more prevalent than you might imagine. In fact, if you're reading this review, chances are you may be suffering from the effects of this triangle, or you at least know someone who is. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, author of Women Who Think Too Much, has addressed this toxic triangle, and her new book offers up some solutions for women whose relationship with food, booze and moods has spun out of control.

According to Nolen-Hoeksema, the toxic triangle originates, and is a response to overthinking — the habit of mulling over a problem or personal issue ad nauseum without ever searching for a solution. Women in general are known for ruminating over problems, while men generally go directly for the solution — any woman with a circle of girlfriends and a husband or steady guy (or even close male co-worker) in her life has noticed this. But she may have also noticed one of two female friends for whom this trait has become downright debilitating. That is whom this book is directed towards. These women are more likely to overeat, abuse alcohol and suffer deep depression. No wonder — when someone lives in a problem and cannot see a way out, the helplessness is overwhelming. Nolen-Hoeksema includes the tales of a number of women (as a professor of psychology at Yale and someone who has researched women's mental health issues for many years, she certainly has enough case studies to draw from). She also offers insight and exercises to help women wean themselves off the toxic triangle. Many of these exercises are meditation and visualization-based, meant to help bring awareness and open up a fresh perspective. Nolen-Hoeksema also has suggestions on how to deal with close family and friends who may be resistant to your changes, and importantly, devotes a chapter to addressing the toxic triangle in teenage girls — a must-read for parents.

While Eating, Drinking, Overthinking is not a replacement for professional help, it certainly can help women realize that the toxic triangle doesn't have to be the Bermuda Triangle — there is a way out. And for those who have a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, that is a big step.

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