If you have anxiety, you should look into therapy. However, in addition to getting help from a professional, some books might help you learn more about how your brain works — or they might simply make you feel less alone. Here are some of the best books to read if you have anxiety:
1. When Panic Attacks by David D. Burns
“Are you plagued by fears, phobias, or panic attacks? Do you toss and turn at night with a knot in your stomach, worrying about your job, your family, work, your health, or relationships? Do you suffer from crippling shyness, obsessive doubts, or feelings of insecurity? What you may not realize is that these fears are almost never based on reality. When you’re anxious, you’re actually fooling yourself, telling yourself things that simply aren’t true. See if you can recognize yourself in any of these distortions:
All-or-Nothing Thinking: “My mind will go blank when I give my presentation at work, and everyone will think I’m an idiot.”
Fortune Telling: “I just know I’ll freeze up and blow it when I take my test.”
Mind Reading: “Everyone at this party can see how nervous I am.”
Magnification: “Flying is so dangerous. I think this plane is going to crash!”
Should Statements: “I shouldn’t be so anxious and insecure. Other people don’t feel this way.”
Emotional Reasoning: “I feel like I’m on the verge of cracking up!”
Self-Blame: “What’s wrong with me? I’m such a loser!”
Mental Filter: “Why can’t I get anything done? My life seems like one long procrastination.”
Now imagine what it would feel like to live a life that’s free of worries and self-doubt; to go to sleep at night feeling peaceful and relaxed; to overcome your shyness and have fun with other people; to give dynamic presentations without worrying yourself sick ahead of time; to enjoy greater creativity, productivity and self-confidence. With these forty techniques, you’ll be able to put the lie to the distorted thoughts that plague you and your fears will immediately disappear. Dr. Burns also shares the latest research on the drugs commonly prescribed for anxiety and depression and explains why they may sometimes do more harm than good.
This is not pop psychology but proven, fast-acting techniques that have been shown to be more effective than medications. When Panic Attacks is an indispensable handbook for anyone who’s worried sick and sick of worrying.”
2. Don’t F*cking Panic by Kelsey Darragh
“If you are one of the millions of people struggling to manage your mental health right now, stop whatever you are doing and read this interactive workbook created by comedian and mental health advocate, Kelsey Darragh. With a completely raw and honest approach to discussing, accepting, and managing debilitating anxiety, panic, and depression, Don’t F*cking Panic: The Shit They Don’t Tell You in Therapy About Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attacks, & Depression is a refreshing and often painfully hilarious guide to long-term recovery and healing. Whether you are experiencing a panic attack RIGHT NOW, or simply realize there is seemingly no end to how many ways your beautiful brain can mess up your day with uncool thoughts, this workbook is about to become your new best friend and a permanent resident on your bedside table.”
3. You Will Get Through This Night by Dan Howell
‘There’s a moment at the end of every day, where the world falls away and you are left alone with your thoughts. A reckoning, when the things you have been pushing to the background, come forward and demand your attention.’
Written by Daniel Howell, in consultation with a qualified psychologist, in an entertaining and personal way from the perspective of someone who has been through it all—this no-nonsense book gives you the tools to understand your mind so you can be in control and really live. Split into three chapters for each stage of the journey:
This Night – how to get through your toughest moments and be prepared to face anything.
Tomorrow – small steps to change your thoughts and actions with a big impact on your life.
The Days After – help to look after yourself in the long term and not just survive, but thrive.
You will laugh and learn—but most of all, this book will assure you that even in your darkest times, there is always hope.
You will get through this night.”
4. Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry
“Do you ever wonder what is happening inside your brain when you feel anxious, panicked, and worried? In Rewire Your Anxious Brain, psychologist Catherine Pittman and author Elizabeth Karle offer a unique, evidence-based solution to overcoming anxiety based in cutting-edge neuroscience and research. In the book, you will learn how the amygdala and cortex (both important parts of the brain) are essential players in the neuropsychology of anxiety. The amygdala acts as a primal response, and oftentimes, when this part of the brain processes fear, you may not even understand why you are afraid. By comparison, the cortex is the center of “worry.” That is, obsessing, ruminating, and dwelling on things that may or may not happen. In the book, Pittman and Karle make it simple by offering specific examples of how to manage fear by tapping into both of these pathways in the brain. As you read, you’ll gain a greater understanding how anxiety is created in the brain, and as a result, you will feel empowered and motivated to overcome it. The brain is a powerful tool, and the more you work to change the way you respond to fear, the more resilient you will become. Using the practical self-assessments and proven-effective techniques in this book, you will learn to literally “rewire” the brain processes that lie at the root of your fears.”
5. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
“Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.”
Read more: thoughtcatalog.com