Mastering the art of anxiety reduction takes time.
You might be anxious and frustrated but the process of recovery doesn’t care how you feel.
It doesn’t care what you want. And it doesn’t care how long it takes you to get it right.
Recovery demands that you take certain steps first. Steps that you cannot skip.
And if you try to skip steps you will pay a price.
The price, of course, is eternal stagnation. A never-ending loop of short-term relief followed by more anxiety.
So what is the first step towards recovery? The answer is education. And not just any old type of education, either.
The kind that requires you to actually open a book and act like you care.
First, let me just say that internet research is not all bad. The internet is a useful means of looking up information quickly.
The problem is that if this is your only means of gathering information most things that you learn will become disorganized and unrelated in your head, which renders the information useless.
Books on the other hand, are well organized and hammer a single topic. This is what you want: Expertise, structure, accuracy and focus.
Over the years I’ve read a lot of books about anxiety but only a few stood out.
Here are my favorites:
1. Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Claire Weekes
This is a classic anti-anxiety book. It was written by an MD with bad nerves. What else could be better?
She provides an informative but easy to understand picture of anxiety. She defines it so well that you’ll be nodding your head at least half the time.
2. Pass Through Panic (Audio book) by Claire Weekes
I told you, this lady is awesome. I bought this CD about 8 years ago and it never let me down.
She has a no nonsense way about her that tends to bring you back to reality.
3. At Last a Life by Paul David
This guy has a huge following for a reason.
Paul David will school you on how to accept anxiety and move forward with your life. The book is not well polished but the message is.
4. The Science of Fear by Dan Gardiner
Anxious people develop fears about a lot of things, which of course only serves to worsen their anxiety.
Dan Gardiner dives into the human mind and explains how we develop irrational fears.
5. Misunderstandings of the Self by Victor Raimy
This book was written in 1975 but remains relevant.
It breaks down how misconceptions develop and provides critical insight into the therapeutic process.
6. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns
Do you want to change your negative thinking? Then read this book.
7. The Anxiety and Worry Workbook by David A. Clark
Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective only when you work at it.
This book will help keep you organized as you work towards strengthening your CBT skills.
Obviously there are many other books that you could read to educate yourself about anxiety. However, these are a good start for anyone that feels stuck.
I read some of these books when I was really anxious and others I used as research material. But they all provide something of value.
As you embark on your journey toward recovery don’t forget that the first step is to understand what you’re up against.
Blind hope is not a solution to your problems. You have to arm yourself with the right knowledge because it will light the path towards ultimate freedom.
What are your favorite anti-anxiety books? Comment below!