During Mental Health Awareness Month, we prioritize mental health by sharing resources to help cope with anxiety, depression, etc. Anxiety is a normal emotion, but rarely do we know how to deal with it on our own. This week we are looking at some of the most insightful non-fiction books that have helped us with anxiety and will hopefully help you. Remember, it is never too late to start your mental health journey.
5 Books To Guide Your Through Overcoming Anxiety
Many people struggle with anxiety throughout their lives daily. Some are fortunate to have the right resources to combat their battle with anxiety, while others are not so lucky. There is no doubt that mental health resources should be more accessible and affordable. Unfortunately, the world is still catching up on making mental health a top priority. Hence, we know it’s important to share any tips that may help, especially in the world we’re living in right now, where anxiety has become inevitable. We’ve created a list of five non-fiction books to help cope with and overcome anxiety. Some have worked for us, and we hope they’ll work for you.
1. Unwinding Anxiety : New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind by Judson Brewer
Anxiety tends to rule our lives when we’re caught up in the daily routine of fear. Fear becomes normalized by how often we expose ourselves to it in unhealthy habits or by choosing to ignore it. In Unwinding Anxiety, Dr. Judson Brewer challenges our obsession with fear by replacing it with mindfulness. Brewer discusses new brain-based techniques to help readers break the distressing cycles of anxiety. In this book, he provides a step-by-step guide that is clinically proven to break the fear that drives anxiety and addictive habits.
Toxic habits don’t always look so severe, but we participate in them more often than we think. Such bad habits can look like stress-eating, procrastination, and doom scrolling. So how do we combat such bad habits and anxiety? First we must understand how the brain works. In Unwinding Anxiety, we learn how the brain works and how to use its techniques to our advantage. Often we forget that the brain functions like any other organ in our body. We have to nurture it more than anything with mindfulness. Learning how the brain works will allow us to identify our triggers and know how to diffuse them in healthy habits. Dr. Brewer’s 20 years of research have proven to be very effective in managing our mental health struggles. Mindfulness of our anxiety can help us overcome that fear that holds us back.
2. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? – Everyday Tools For Life’s Ups & Downs by Dr. Julie Smith
Dr. Julie Smith’s debut book,Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?, is a great resource to provide readers with skills to tackle daily life issues and manage our emotional and mental health. Dr. Julie Smith is a clinical psychologist who ran her own private practice before launching her now widely popular Tik Tok channel. There, she provides accessible mental health education to everyone. In her book, Dr. Smith gives expert advice and coping mechanisms to help deal with many mental health struggles. She teaches readers how to “manage anxiety, deal with criticism, cope with depression, build self-confidence, find motivation, or learn to forgive yourself.” These mechanisms or tools can help manage our struggles and provide practical solutions to everyday problems.
Additionally, Dr. Smith emphasizes how important it is to prioritize your mental health just as you would your physical health. Both are deeply connected. One may often go about their day avoiding the state of one’s mental health, when it can just as easily result in a physical illness. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? will give you a better insight on how to better care for your mental health, especially anxiety. While providing readers with accessible mental health education, Dr. Smith takes an empathetic approach to helping those of us dealing with anxiety.
3. On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety by Andrea Petersen
A personal account from Andrea Petersen’s experiences with anxiety, On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety, provides readers with a closer look at the biology of anxiety and the wave of new treatments. Peterson is known for being a well-respected science and health reporter. In her book, On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety, she opens up about being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder when she was 20. She describes what her anxiety looks like with fears of driving on highways, going to movie theaters, and even licking envelopes. While this book is less focused on mental techniques to overcome anxiety, I believe this book is just as useful for those who deal with anxiety. It reminds us that we are not alone in our struggle.
Honest and genuine, Petersen compares her experiences with treatments and explores the role of her environment in her battle with anxiety. She provides her personal experience with psychoactive drugs to non-drug treatments, biofeedback, and exposure therapy. While discussing the role of her environment, she also informs readers about her family history of mental health. Her story is inspiring and motivating in learning more about our mental health. Although everyone’s experience with anxiety is different, Petersen reminds us that we are not alone in this fight.
4. Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Fear, and Worry by Jennifer Shannon
While we attempt to control our anxiety by avoiding it, we actually make it worse. Psychotherapist Jennifer Shannon explains that the more we are willing to be mindful of our anxiety and confront it head-on, the more likely we overcome it. Yes, there’s no doubt the process can be scary, but not as harmful as years of anxiety. In Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind, Shannon provides readers with a guide that follows a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based approach. It helps you recognize “the constant chatter of your anxious ‘monkey mind,’ stop feeding anxious thoughts, and find the personal peace you crave.”
One might ask what the “monkey mind” refers to. According to Shannon, “ancient sages compared the human mind to a monkey : constantly chattering, hopping from branch to branch—endlessly moving from fear to safety.” Anxiety triggers the mind when we are afraid. Hence, the mind moves from different parts of our brain to feel safe again. Well aware that we can’t simply turn off our anxiety, Shannon suggests we learn how to stop feeding into it or rewarding it with more fear. Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind gives us proven-effective exercises to learn about and identify our anxious thoughts. While using these exercises, the book also encourages cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness techniques to uncover the core of your fears and have the ability to face them.
5. Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion by Dr. Wendy Suzuki
Neuroscientist and Author Dr Wendy Suzuki is rewriting how we think about anxiety in the best way possible in her book, Good Anxiety. Anxiety is often met with ideas of fear and negative emotions, but what would happen if we changed the way we perceived these feelings? Dr. Suzuki teaches us how to turn our anxiety into a powerful asset. If we look at anxiety as an essential part of our mere survival, we may be more inclined to welcome it. While drawing from decades of neuroscience and her own research, Dr. Suzuki suggests that by approaching anxiety as something to avoid, we actually miss out on ways to improve our lives.
Anxiety can be used as a tool like any other emotion. We just need to learn how to use it the right way. By listening to our worries or fears “from a place of curiosity, instead of fear, can actually guide us onto a path that leads to joy.” This may be a lot easier said than done, but Good Anxiety gives readers a science-backed guidebook to unpack and unlearn their anxious triggers. While providing extensive research on the subject, Dr. Suzuki also provides her own personal experience. She teaches us that anxiety can become a key component in living a favorable life.
Prioritizing Our Mental Health
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we will be providing readers with some of the best resources for mental health. This week we are focusing on those that are struggling with anxiety. Anxiety is something many of us deal with daily. Whether you struggle with social anxiety, anxiety attacks, or an anxiety disorder, it’s important to remember you are not alone. Again, it’s never too late to start prioritizing your mental health.
If you’re looking for more mental health resources, keep reading here!