According to the ADAA, anxiety disorders are the “most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).” But anxiety and depression are also the most treatable of mental health conditions, according to Tamar E. Chansky, PhD and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety: 4 Simple Steps to Overcome Worry and Create the Life You Want (Da Capo Press).
Dr. Chansky, a clinical psychologist, is the founder and director of the Children’s and Adult Center for OCD and Anxiety. In her book Freeing Yourself from Anxiety, she shares powerful strategies to help change how one reacts to anxious thought and responds to stress.
In her book, she explains what anxiety is and how negative thinking causes major problems. She outlines four steps to “re-frame” anxious thought and help you mobilize, address the situation clearly and move on. Each chapter has quick exercises that summarize the main points and the book provides simple, everyday exercises that help build new “thinking skills,” which, according to this author, will help create a better life.
Chansky believes it’s never too late to change negative thinking patterns. “The fact is that neuroscience, and specifically the burgeoning field of neuroplasticity, is documenting the great capacity of the brain to change or rewire connections, even those long-standing. This offers hard evidence that each one of us is capable of learning new connections and changing the patterns that our minds take.” This news will give hope to the chronic worrier.
One section of the book provides real-life situations that help the reader “test drive” through “life’s bumps on the road.” In the context of life responses, the reader develops self-awareness. This awareness will help change old, automatic responses of behavior (like jealousy, anger, hurt, shame, procrastination, perfectionism, difficulty with criticism) into healthier automatic responses.
Chansky is a gifted writer. Her style is clear and entertaining; it’s definitely not a clinical, textbook read. She provides illustrations and quotes which add levity and help the reader understand the concepts she describes.
This book will appeal to anyone who suffers with an anxiety disorder or anyone who knows a life-long “worrier” who is in need of help facing everyday challenges. It’s for the person who just got pink slipped; the friend who needs to steer away from negative thought; or the college kid who needs to sleep better at night.
I highly recommend Freeing Yourself from Anxiety. The book turned me into a believer: anyone at any age can be liberated from stress and achieve greater happiness in his/her life. Freeing Yourself from Anxiety’s breakthrough is focusing on possible thinking, not just positive thinking.