Being in a relentless state of worry and panic — otherwise known as anxiety — can really wear on a person. Anyone that struggles with anxiety or knows someone who has understands that it can interfere with daily activities, jobs, and relationships. The condition consumes people and makes them feel trapped and sometimes even depressed. Whether you've been officially diagnosed or not, there are some great books to read to help you cope with anxiety.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly 40 million adults suffer from anxiety in the United States, and women are more likely to suffer than men. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) categorized nervousness that is constant and excessive as an anxiety disorder. You may have extreme anxiety or a very mild case, but regardless you'll want some extra guidance on how to handle it. And books can be extremely beneficial to your healing process.
Whether you want to do some intense research on the diagnosis or are simply looking for a way to feel less alone in your struggle, there is a book to help you on your journey. Here are nine books to help you cope with anxiety, and hopefully bring you comfort in whatever way makes the most sense for you.
1. 'Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy' by David D. Burns, M.D.
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns contains a lot of solid research in cognitive therapy, which is a series of techniques that helps a person get rid of their negative thoughts and has been around since the 1960's according to Web MD. If practiced properly, a person will be able to identify their negative thoughts and correct them immediately. This is a good book for anyone looking to help themselves without the use of prescription drugs. The methods in this book are behavior based and run off the premise that you can condition yourself to not think the same irrational thoughts over and over again.
2. 'The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook' by Edmund J. Bourne, PhD
Edmund Bourne's The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook is highly recommended for people suffering from anxiety. The book touches on cognitive therapy, relaxation techniques, and even lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.
3. 'Monkey Mind: A Memoir Of Anxiety' by Daniel Smith
An excellent read for people seeking solidarity and wanting to feel less alone in their struggles. Daniel Smiths' Monkey Mind: A Memoir on Anxiety explains everything that has made the author nervous throughout the years since childhood. Many readers said the book was refreshingly honest and at times very funny.
4. 'Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things' by Jenny Lawson
This one is you want to laugh about anxiety (no really). Jenny Lawson's Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things takes a thing that most people don't laugh about (crippling anxiety), and makes people laugh about it. Lawson describes her struggles with mental illness in the best way she knows how — honestly and hilariously.
5. 'Hardcore Self Help: F**k Anxiety' by Robert Duff
If you like blunt self-help sprinkled with a few expletives, Hardcore Self Help: F*ck Anxiety is for you. Robert Duff's book is perfect for people who loathe traditional self help books and find them mind numbingly boring. He uses direct and colorful language to deliver the advice you need to hear about anxiety and gives you the blunt directions to get started on conquering your condition now.
6. 'My Age Of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread And The Search For Peace Of Mind' by Scott Stossel
My Age Of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread and the Search For Peace of Mind by Scott Stossel is a researched book with personal experience intimately woven into the text. Stossel tells stories of his panic attacks and plethora of phobias, one of which is emetophobia, or fear of throwing up. The book includes research on therapies, medications, and alternate treatments.
7. 'Freeing Your Child From Anxiety' by Tamar E. Chansky, PhD
Freeing Your Child From Anxiety by Tamar E. Chansky will help parents struggling to figure out if their kid is experiencing normal anxiety or clinical anxiety. The book offers simple solutions for parents to try with their children and it also points to ways parents can help their kids cope with our stress in our modern society.
8. 'The Pregnancy & Postpartum Anxiety Workbook' by Pamela S. Wiegartz, Phd and Kevin L. Gyoerkoe, PsyD
New motherhood can create a lot anxious feelings in a person that aren't normally there. According to the Postpartum Progress website many new moms report having disturbing thoughts that they've never had before and racing feelings like they can't relax. Pamela S. Wiegartz's The Pregnancy & Postpartum Anxiety Workbook is one of the only books on the market specifically geared towards pregnant or postpartum women. There are a series of worksheets and exercises that supplement the reading as well as chapters for partners to help them understand what their significant other is going through.
9. 'What To Do When You Worry Too Much' by Dawn Huebner
This is a great book for young kids struggling with anxiety because it has big text and great illustrations. It's a book that parents and kids can read side by side. What To Do When You Worry Too Much is written for children ages six to 12, and includes easy cognitive behavioral techniques, as well as worksheets and activities geared specifically to kids.
Sometimes just the act of reading can help a child or an adult take a breather from thinking about their anxiety. In addition to self help books, maybe the best books to help us cope with life's struggles and challenges are the ones we truly enjoy for their content, genre or story line. These books might have nothing to do with anxiety. Part of getting through any hard time in one's life is trying to hold onto the things that are enjoyable. And if reading a Harry Potter book, Agatha Christie mystery, or Emily Dickinson's collection of poems is how you like to read, do you.