These three books can be quite helpful if you would like to learn more about—or manage your own—fear and anxiety.
Brantley, J. (2003). Calming your anxious mind: How mindfulness and compassion can free you from anxiety, fear and panic. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger
Dr. Brantley is a psychiatrist but this book is not about drug treatments. It is about mindfulness. Brantley discusses mindfulness and meditation in a way that is easy to understand. The author explains how these practices can be helpful in managing anxiety.
The book has experiential exercises as well. These exercises are meant to help the reader better understand mindfulness concepts. Here is one of the exercises:
Select three or four raisins. Hold them in your hand. Sit comfortably and begin to examine them as if you have never before seen or tasted a raisin. Use all your senses. Look at the raisins. What can you discover about the raisins and about eating them? Let your curiosity arise. Whenever your mind makes up a story about what you are doing, try to let go of that story and return your focus to the raisins.
Bourne, E. J. (2015). The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook (6th ed). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger
This book (last two editions are also fine) covers a lot of ground: anxiety, panic, self-esteem, nutrition, medication, relaxation, exercise, meditation, assertiveness, and much more.
Note that the information in some sections, such as nutrition, is based on the author’s “personal experience” and readings, and is “intended to be suggestive only—not prescriptive.”
The book contains numerous worksheets (e.g., for dysfunctional thoughts or worries) that the reader is encouraged to complete.
If I may digress, I would like to address the issue of homework. Many readers dislike doing homework; they find it unnecessary, feel it takes too much time and effort, etc. In some cases the exercises may also bring up very uncomfortable feelings.
But cognitive and behavioral perspectives in particular find that doing homework is necessary for improvement. Approaches that use mindfulness also require exercises. Sometimes, however, the exercises are meant only to illustrate a principle or clarify an issue.
I would suggest that you:
- Consider the logic behind the homework assignments
- Never do anything that makes you intensely uncomfortable
- Remember that these texts are written for a general audience and are not customized to your needs
Barlow, D. H., & Craske, M. G. (2000). Mastery of your anxiety and panic (3rd ed.). New York: Psychological Corporation
Those of you who have been following my blog might have noticed that I often cite Barlow. The reason is that Dr. Barlow is a giant in the field of emotional disorders, and for decades has written extensively on the origins of anxiety disorders.
This book by Barlow and Craske (a professor of psychology at UCLA) is well-written and useful especially to people who experience panic attacks and agoraphobia.
As the authors note, panic attacks are rushes of intense fear that can make you believe “you are sick, dying, or losing your mind.”
Panic attacks are usually accompanied by anxiety about “the possibility of another attack. Together, the panic attacks and general anxiety are called panic disorder. Agoraphobia refers to anxiety about, or avoidance of, situations where panic attacks or other physical symptoms are expected to occur.”
There are many self-help books on the market, and it can be difficult deciding which ones to read. If you are uncertain, it might be a good idea to look at university websites. Their recommendations are more likely to be based on expert opinion and not sales or other factors.
If you have found a book particularly helpful, please mention the title and the author in the comments section.
In the meantime, I hope you have found my recommendations useful. Happy reading.