Whether you’re officially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or trying to handle the excess of nerves and uncertainties that have you down, we’d like to share a reading list with you. From practical guides on combating anxiety to spiritual narratives about finding calm to volumes that look at common contemporary stressors, the books below are chosen for their variety. Whatever your approach, philosophy, or ethos, we think you’ll find something here to help you cope.
Many people find themselves overwhelmed with the pace of present-day living. Not surprising, what with a news cycle that turns over so fast we miss half of what’s going on, social media feeds constantly updating, and capitalist expectations of fast, nonstop work. In this new book, Ryan Holiday looks at the power and necessity of slowing down. Drawing on examples from history, he charts a way for readers to find stillness, too.
When you’re awake late at night with spiraling worries, or when you can’t get going on work because you’re anxious, that’s when this book comes in handy. Full of centering activities, lists of soothing facts about common concerns, and mantras to memorize, this book is both useful and funny (laughter, after all, is a great stress reliever).
In the aftermath of stress, disappointment, and trauma, people often fall into survival mode, even while a part of them longs for more. Juggling multiple demands and responsibilities keeps them busy, but not healed. As a survivor of sexual assault, racism, and evacuation from a civil war in Liberia, Dr. Thema Bryant knows intimately the work involved in healing. Having made the journey herself, in addition to guiding others as a clinical psychologist and ordained minister, Dr. Thema shows you how to reconnect with your authentic self and reclaim your time, your voice, your life.
As a boy growing up in South Texas, Simran Jeet Singh and his brothers confronted racism daily. Despite the prejudice and hate he faced, he refused to give in to negativity. Instead, Singh delved deep into the Sikh teachings that he grew up with and embraced the lessons to seek the good in every person and situation and to find positive ways to direct his energy. These Sikh tenets of love and service to others have empowered him to forge a life of connection and a commitment to justice. Part memoir, part spiritual journey, The Light We Give is a transformative book of hope that shows how each of us can turn away from fear and uncertainty and move toward renewal and positive change.
Breathwork is the term commonly used to describe conscious, controlled breathing patterns that can help shift your focus, alter your state of mind, and calm your body. Breathwork practitioner and teacher Ashley Neese collects 25 practices she’s created for different needs, each with a desired outcome, like Letting Go, Negative Thinking, Unwind, Sleep, and more. Keep this near you, practice in times of stress, and learn to breathe.
The U.S. is a country that has always praised individualism above the might of the collective, which is ironic, really, when considering its foundation required cooperation, compromise, and community. David Brooks, a conservative New York Times columnist, returns to the idea of community in this book, where he examines the joy that can be found once we let go of purely selfish concerns and work for and with others.
Whether it’s knowing to tip your server or to ignore your phone while a friend is telling you something serious, there are plenty of seemingly unspoken rules that govern how we behave. Such social contracts are deeply ingrained in us when we’re brought up, and they can lead us to avoid conflict, even the productive and necessary kind. These psychologists help point them out and show us how to have more productive, open conversations.
Develop well-being and peace of mind through the calming practice of list-making. This lovely journal features 52 inspiring list prompts— one for each week of the year—to help you focus on self-care, compassion, and acceptance to overcome stress and anxiety.
If you live in one of the states where recreational and/or medical marijuana is legal but you’re trepidatious—maybe even anxious?—about trying some, this book, by a physician and a weed-for-wellness advocate, is for you. Beginning with the long history of this plant and moving toward the various ways in which THC and CBD can help mitigate anxiety, chronic pain, sleeplessness, and more, this read is the ABCs for all your weed needs.
Matt Haig has been there—as an adult, he developed anxiety, depression, and a panic disorder. One way he sought control in the face of these mental illnesses was by trying to understand them and what might have contributed to his development of them. In his newest book, he examines how the societies we live in, full of advanced technology and capitalist systems, might be making us all unhappier, and how we can subtly change things.
Many of us don’t know how to let go of productivity and simply enjoy our mind’s internal musings, but Patricia Hampl, a lover of solitude, has gone to the other extreme. Seeking out the houses and places where famously solitary people spent their time in leisurely thought, she muses through her own life and theirs, finding richness in the surprising places her mind takes her, and she invites readers along to try it out, too.
Alan Watts draws on the wisdom of Eastern philosophy and religion in this timeless and classic guide to living a more fulfilling life. His central insight is more relevant now than ever: when we spend all of our time worrying about the future and lamenting the past, we are unable to enjoy the present moment—the only one we are actually able to inhabit. Watts offers the liberating message that true certitude and security come only from understanding that impermanence and insecurity are the essence of our existence.
Not everyone is ready to do a total 180 on their lifestyle—we’ve got jobs and kids and life to grab at while we’re here, right? Still, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to take some time, even a little bit, for yourself. In these quick yet effective meditations that employ different senses and mindsets, you’ll learn how to build a practice of mindfulness into even the busiest, most anxious of lives.
Anxiety, stress, worry, and fear—these are the mental maladies that literally plague us, contributing not only to our growing unhappiness but also to physical ailments such as heart disease and obesity when left unmanaged. As Hindu priest and renowned speaker Dandapani shows in this eye-opening and enriching new book, it is only through mastering one skill—the skill of focus—that we can permanently lay these mental roadblocks to rest.
It’s hard to find motivation for self-care some days. If you’re looking for a practical guide to keep yourself accountable, check out this wonderful journal. With beautiful images and notes toward beginning a daily self-check-in list, this is the kind of journal that will help you actually take time to listen to and consider what you need.
As a teen or young adult, things like school work, social media, and navigating friendships can bring tons of stress, and you may often feel anxious and overwhelmed. That’s why Psychologist Terri Bacow, Ph.D., developed this book with fun and accessible writing exercises designed to diminish worries, insecurities, fears, conflicts, and stressors just for your unique issues.
Ever notice how conflict or its memories, pain or its triggers, and vulnerability can cause your breath to speed up, your anxiety to spike? We fear and run from what might hurt us—even when what might hurt us is what and whom we love or care about deeply. This book shares the path Steven Hayes explored to develop flexible thinking and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), as well as ways to try it yourself.
Look, we get it. Not everyone is into self-love or some spiritual understanding of stillness. Don’t fret, because Cory Allen is here to show you that you don’t need to use the jargon or the yoga mats or the incense in order to feel present, alive, and better. In this guide, he gives you no-BS tools to live in the now and relax (flowy clothes not required).
Discover why 90% of your worries won’t come true in this highly practical, internationally bestselling guide by the renowned Zen Buddhist author of The Art of Simple Living. Think of a time when you were worried about something, but then you suddenly realized how insignificant it was. Isn’t it amazing how much lighter you felt? The key is to focus only on the here and now. By doing so, you free yourself from unnecessary anxiety, and your mind will be at peace.