15 Best Books on Overcoming Anxiety and Social Phobia
What are the best anxiety books? What books should you be reading to overcome anxiety and live a happier and fuller life?
Anxiety is a disorder that many people cope with daily. It had a major impact on the lives of over 40 million Americans last year, and who knows how many more minor impacts?
The question is how we deal with anxiety. Whether it controls us, or we control it. This is something that is completely within our control. The 15 books on anxiety on this list are the best books for taking charge of your life and controlling your anxiety.
These books on anxiety are varied. Some books are technical, written by experts who have spent their lives researching anxiety. Other books on this list are written by experts with years of experience counseling those afflicted with anxiety. Finally, there are personal tales of peoples own experience getting control of their anxiety.
Lots of good stuff here. If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from anxiety you will find the best books on anxiety below. Get informed. Get inspired. Make those habit changes in your life to get your anxiety under control.
What are the "Best of the Best"?!
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15 Best Anxiety Books List
Monkey Mind: A Memoir on Anxiety by Daniel Smith
A witty and insightful book that charts the landscape of what it is to have anxiety. It is a single person’s story of dealing with severe anxiety. Daniels story touches the lives of everyone who has ever dealt with the doubt and despair of severe anxiety. His story is funny, gripping and above all - real!
This book is an interesting look into a single person’s experience with anxiety.
However do not think that it is going to answer all the questions and tell you how to live a life with anxiety. That is not what this book is for. Many other books on this list give some great actionable ideas on what to do about anxiety. This book is more about the author and relating his unique experiences. However, if you know someone with severe anxiety, or suffer from it yourself, chances are there will be a lot to relate to with his interesting story.
Want to find out more about the psychological condition of "Monkey Mind". Check out this post: How to quiet your monkey mind.
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns
Pessimism, guilt, anxiety and low self-esteem are all too common these days. It is far too easy to let these negative emotions get to us: keeping us down and feeling sad and lonely. Noted psychiatrist, Dr. David Burns, outlines many ways to deal with all the negative emotions in his new book on anxiety.
- How to deal with guilt
- The causes of mood swings, and how to deal with them
- Effective ways to handle the criticism and hostility of other
- Overcome the need of excessive approval from others
- How to handle negative emotions
- Techniques for building self-esteem
- How to feel good daily and keep that feeling going
Just like the title says, Dr. Burns book is all about “feeling good”. He teaches us how to use cognitive therapy techniques to get rid of negative thoughts and decrease depression. There may not be a magic bullet to forever “end” depression and anxiety. But this great anxiety book gives excellent tools for controlling anxiety.
Note: Dr. Burns also has a companion book to this one: the Feeling Good Handbook. In some ways this book goes beyond the original, but there is a lot of overlap between these two books on anxiety. One of the big differences being that the workbook has more worksheets.
My recommendation: read the less expensive “Feeling Good” first. If you enjoy that, then get the workbook to act as a refresher and companion piece.
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne
This is one of the classic books on the subject of anxiety. It has been read and recommended by psychiatrists and psychologists for years.
This book does an excellent job with giving a clear and concise understanding of the causes of anxiety. It also shares many great ideas of many of the treatment options available. This book on anxiety also delivers a multitude of strategies that can fit different people with differing levels of anxiety. After all, not all people suffer anxiety in the same way, so the treatments should not be cookie cutter.
A great educational resource updated with the latest and greatest on the science of dealing with anxiety.
With this workbook, you'll learn a range of proven methods for overcoming anxiety:
This workbook includes many great methods for coping with anxiety.
- Controlling negative self-talk
- Relaxation and breathing techniques
- Understanding your mistaken beliefs
- Nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes that will impact anxiety
- How to prevent and cope with panic attacks
- Importance of commitment to therapy
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
Funny and anxiety are two words that are rarely used in conjunction with each other. It is hard to find funny things about the soul sucking feeling of anxiety. Jenny Lawson manages to tow that line creating a book about anxiety that is hysterically funny, educational and touching.
So many books on this list are clinical. They have great ideas on how to cope with anxiety and depression. This is certainly the only one that is actually laugh out loud funny. With her unique voice sharing her personal experiences in a collection of essays Lawson gives a glimpse into her unique mind. This book is a journey with and lots of laughs for those who have only had sadness when dealing with anxiety. A great break from books teaching you how to deal with your problems.
Hardcore Self Help: F**k Anxiety by Robert Duff Ph.D
This book is likely not for everyone. If you like honest, plainspoken, blunt advice, and some colorful language, this might be the book for you. It takes some of the stigma out of mental illness, with the author talking more as a friend than delivering lectures on what steps to take.
None of the information is exactly “new” in this book. Many of the other books on dealing with anxiety cover the same ground, often in more detail. The strength of this anxiety book is the unique delivery of details in such an easygoing manner. The lack of scientific jargon makes this eminently readable and able to reach everyone. A great read for anyone who likes plain speaking and honest hard truths.
This is another personal story about how one man went from having a panic attack during a roll call to becoming a successful public speaker. It details the lessons he learned the steps he used and the training he underwent to make this transformation.
It is always a nice change of pace to move from dull fact based books with solid strategies for beating anxiety, to these personal accounts. There is something special about reading the trials that others faced and how they specifically dealt with the issues. For anyone who feels that they are alone when facing anxiety, Dan’s book lets them know they are not alone and that they can get better. Using simple writing Dan tells his inspiring story and shares a ton of good ideas for decreasing anxiety in the process.
A personal, well written and engaging book on anxiety and coping strategies.
What to Say When You Talk To Your Self by Dr. Shad Helmstetter
While not specifically a book on dealing with anxiety, What you say when you talk to yourself is an important self-help book milestone, that every person who does have anxiety should read at some point.
Dr. Helmstetter’s book is about the power of the mind. In fact, according to this book we can become what we think and tell ourselves. This book teaches us some easy tools and methods to use the power of our minds to stop unwanted thinking/behavior patterns in their tracks. It teaches us to "erase and replace" these negative thoughts that hold us back, such as anxiety with thoughts that can give a positive mindset and can help to build our successful lives.
Wherenberg’s anxiety book seems to be based on a simple concept. If you want to fix a problem in your brain, you need to understand your brain. She gives good scientific explanations of the causes of anxiety and then 10 brain science techniques that actually work, without needing to resort to medication.
The chapters that deal with the specific physical and cognitive and behavioral tools for handling anxiety are excellent. They get right to the point and can have a big impact, specifically for those who do not currently see a psychologist (who may recommend similar techniques). Full of practical tips that you can immediately put to use in combating anxiety, this workbook can be very helpful to those dealing with generalized anxiety, social anxiety or even panic.
The author of this great anxiety book is not writing about a clinical dull topic. He is writing about something that matters to him, because he has been a sufferer of anxiety for many years. While Scott discusses his personal feelings and his own personal situation vis-a-vis anxiety, those discussions are not all this book is about. He spent years avidly researching every single facet of dealing with anxiety and shares this knowledge in this great book.
This book hits all the important points of coping with anxiety. Stossel discusses the social, neurological, and environmental causes of anxiety as well as many tools and tricks for decreasing the impact of these anxiety triggers. He discusses the specific experiences of many people and their anxiety, including but not limited to his own experiences. In one important section he talks quite a bit about pharmaceutical solutions, their side effects and alternate forms of treatment.
Some other anxiety books may go deeper into treatments and causes of anxiety. Some books are more personal and revealing. Some books may have more cutting edge science, being written by leading researchers. But this anxiety book is the one that really hits ALL the bases in its thorough discussion of the topic.
Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks by Barry McDonagh
Yet another "must read” anxiety book for people who believe that it is impossible to live life without panic attacks or anxiety.
The tools, examples and in depth explanations in this book are down to earth and extremely motivational. Not only are these pages filled with great facts, but it inspires you to go out and make changes in your life.
Based on science and Barry’s personal experiences helping those who suffer from debilitating anxiety. Barry shares a comprehensive guide that draws from his extensive experience helping those who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.
Based on hard science and over 10 years experience. Barry shares his most techniques for helping people who suffer from anxiety. The DARE technique can be used by everyone. Age or background do not matter. It is possible to live a life free from anxiety or panic attacks.
In this step-by-step anxiety guide you will discover methods to do things like:
- Face specific anxious situations you avoid (speaking/driving/flying, etc.)
- End anxious thinking
- Good supplements to help relieve anxiety
- Tools for stopping panic attacks
- Tips for getting a good night’s rest free of anxiety
- How to decrease feelings of general anxiety
- Increasing your confidence and self-esteem
One problem with many self-help books is that they spend too much time preaching their techniques. They often supply some good material, they make you think… but they do not inspire follow through and action. I am a big believer in taking action and always appreciate books that encourage you, either by design or by inspiration to take the steps they offer and actually put them into action. This book does that!
This book gets right to the heart of the different ways anxiety affects the lives of its sufferers. It gives great detail on what causes people to feel anxiety as well as clear steps to decrease anxiety. They key to this book is in its approach to the material. This book is just more fun than some others. Being interactive and even having things like quizzes to ensure you are truly learning the material and making your learning experience worthwhile.
This is not “simply” a book about anxiety. It has sections dealing with all sorts of emotional issues: anger, focus, anxiety, depression, obsession, lack of focus and memory issues. This book is a thorough academic (yet practical) book about the relationship between our brain patterns and problem-behavior that can help us cure a myriad of mental problems.
One of the major differences between this book and others is the stance on using prescription drugs. Many books take a stance against these drugs or at least offer alternatives without drugs, while this book lays out many strong arguments for drugs in some situations and lets the readers know when they should be used and when avoided. Although I am strongly against over medication and I think many are too ready to turn to drugs as a solution to problems, there certainly are times when drugs might be the answer, and I like the balanced approach this book brings to the subject.
- Do you prefer to be on your own?
- Are you a people pleaser?
- Does noise bother you immensely?
- Do you startle easily?
- Do you need time to decompress?
- Are you highly empathetic?
- Do bright lights (specifically fluorescent) bug you?
- Do you find it hard to say, “No”
- Are you a perfectionist?
- Do you scare easily?
- Do you have creative job (or hobbies)?
- Do you react more than others?
- Does loud talking bother you?
If many of these questions sound like they could refer to you, then you may well be a highly sensitive person. These symptoms for an HSP are more than just aspects of your personality. An HSP is just more susceptible to stimulation (e.g., from loud noise, bright lights, strong odors, large crowds, etc.) than most. This book makes you aware of exactly what makes up HSP. Additionally, it teaches how an HSP can properly balance their lives to keep from feeling overwhelmed.
Just because someone has anxiety does not automatically make someone HSP, and all people who are HSP do not necessarily surer from anxiety. But there is a lot of overlap. The high susceptibility to stimulation often means that an HSP will feel anxious and overwhelmed in social situations. Due to this fact it is important to understand yourself and know whether you need to treat common anxiety or just balance your life effectively to not get overwhelmed.
Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry by Catherine M Pittman PhD
In this excellent book on dealing with anxiety psychologist Catherine Pittman offers a unique, evidence-based solution to overcoming anxiety based in cutting-edge neuroscience and research. Discover how the amygdala and cortex are keys to the neuropsychology of anxiety, and what you can actually do to control these feelings where they start –your brain.
Personally I have read books like this before. It is a useful and well written book, but it does not really break any new ground or have a unique perspective. What it does well is cover the complete causes of anxiety in the brain and give an idea about how we can all make habit and life changes and deal with it.
Those that have been in treatment for anxiety or done DBT or CBT will find this book a refresher at best. IF you suffer from anxiety yet do not know what DBT or CBT is… this might be a good science based book to start with.
Anxiety: 5 Little Known Ways to Naturally Fight Anxiety by John Franz
Earlier I mentioned a book that openly discussed prescription medications as possible cures to many anxiety disorders. This is something that rarely happen in books, which often go for a more holistic approach. This book is the opposite of that previous choice. It heads in the opposite direction just discussing natural cures for relieving anxiety.
To be completely honest, I am a bit of a traditionalist. Crazy sounding solutions are not always for me. However, anyone who suffers anxiety is going to want to get all the options posible to help deal with their anxiety. These solutions are off the beaten path. They are certainly not the ONLY thing you should be trying to do to fight anxious feelings, but they are interesting nonetheless.
If you are building a toolkit to combat anxiety why wouldn’t you want to try to understand all the tools that could be at your disposal?
To give you an idea of what this book discusses here are some of the natural ways to fight anxiety discussed:
- Importance of Relieving Anxiety
- Essentials Oils for Anxiety Relief
- Herbal Teas for Anxiety Relief
- Bath Salts for Anxiety Relief
- Calming Body Butters
- Herbal Remedies and Habits to overcome Anxiety
Not the only ways to combat anxiety, but these are methods you may not discover elsewhere.
Conclusion of the best anxiety books
That is it for the anxiety books. I hope you enjoyed them.
If you are more concerned with managing your stress, why not jump directly to this list of 16 best books on stress.
Click the next page button below to see more another book list of the 175+best habit books list button to go to the summary of all the books listed.
Are there anxiety books missing from this list? Are there books on anxiety that don't quite fit? Do you find this list useful? Do you have any favorites? Make sure to let me know in the comments on the the main page of the 250+ Best Habit Books List