More than 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder. It can cripple their lives, rob them of joy, and jeopardize jobs, families, relationships, and futures. Yet, anxiety can alert us that something’s wrong, out of kilter, or off-track. The key for those who struggle with anxiety or family members eager to support their healing is to find appropriate treatment and practical strategies to assist in recovery.
How Reading Can Help Support This Position
When a loved one has anxiety, it can be challenging for family members to know what to do and say. The loved one’s medical professional, therapist, and support group sites for those with anxiety often offer suggested reading materials. A common question is whether reading a book helps with anxiety. The answer is “yes,” and the reasons are understandable.
Reading a book can be done anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t require a doctor’s appointment or a prescription, so it’s convenient and readily accessible. Although books for people with moderate to severe anxiety should never be a substitute for professional treatment, the best literature can answer common questions about symptoms, let you know you’re not alone, and provide helpful tips for managing fears that may be robbing you of your joy.
List of Best Books About Anxiety and Depression
What are some good books for people with anxiety? Here is a list of some of the best books about anxiety and depression. Remember that severe anxiety and depression require medical intervention, so any books for anxiety and depression should be considered informational resources that can allay concerns and help people realize they aren’t alone. (Millions of people struggle with anxiety and depression.)
You Are Not Alone: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need to Overcome Anxiety and Depression, by Zachary Westerback
Written by a mental health first aid-certified specialist, college success coach, and professional speaker, this is one of the best books about anxiety and depression. The author, Zachary Westerback, suffered crippling anxiety and depression, diagnosed in 2016. He wrote this book to help college students dealing with similar issues, yet it’s a helpful book for anyone whose loved one or family member has anxiety. The book includes practical options for dealing with anxiety, including tips for stopping racing thoughts, promoting happiness and calm feelings, regaining self-confidence, and living a life of empowerment. – See Book on Amazon
Be Calm: Proven Techniques to Stop Anxiety Now, by Jill Weber, Ph.D.
Dr. Jill Weber, Ph.D., wrote this book as a guide for anxiety relief strategies. The book teaches invaluable techniques for those struggling with anxiety to manage specific situations, cope with physical and emotional symptoms, banish disruptive thoughts, and get through behavioral disruptions. The author also details the latest psychological tools, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness practices. There’s an excellent section on supportive journaling. – See Book on Amazon
Redefining Anxiety: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and How to Get Your Life Back, by John Delony, Ph.D.
The author, Dr. John Delony, struggled with anxiety and is now a leading voice on mental health and relationships. His book walks readers through some of the myths about anxiety, details practical steps for getting your life back, and provides long-term strategies for healing. Dr. Delony says, “Anxiety is simply our body’s way of telling us something is wrong. If we stop and listen, we can calm the alarm and move forward into healing and hope.” This is one of the more recent best books about anxiety and depression and a worthwhile read. – See Book on Amazon
Help Is Here, by Max Lucado
Max Lucado, a pastor and best-selling author, wrote this powerful, uplifting book. Its message is that the Holy Spirit can help everyone take on any difficulty and embrace life with joy, enthusiasm, and empowerment. It is not specifically about depression or anxiety but more of a spiritual guidebook. The gentle storytelling draws readers in and helps them overcome pain, grief, despair, or whatever they’re struggling with. – See Book on Amazon
How to Control Your Anxiety Before It Controls You, by Dr. Albert Ellis, Ph.D.
Renowned therapist Dr. Albert Ellis, Ph.D., lays out practical steps to help those with anxiety learn how to keep anxious thinking under control and manage the body’s reactions to anxiety. The techniques are rooted in the rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) that Dr. Ellis created. Included are examples from the hundreds of his patients successfully treated for anxiety. – See Book on Amazon
When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life, by Dr. David Burns, MD.
Dr. David Burns, MD., a renowned psychiatrist and award-winning author, was a pioneer in the development of cognitive therapy. He’s also the founder and creator of TEAM-CBT, a treatment that assists with recovery from anxiety and depression. The book contains 40 simple yet effective techniques for cognitive therapy to help people cope with fears, phobias, panic attacks, shyness, doubt, worry, and feelings of insecurity. This is an excellent addition to other best books about anxiety and depression. – See Book on Amazon
Managing Anxiety with CBT for Dummies, by Graham Davey, Ph.D.
Many people worry too much yet don’t know where to turn to get help dealing with their anxiety. This self-help technique book, written by Graham Davey, Ph.D., is easy to read and a popular choice for someone looking for books about anxiety to get a primer on the condition and how to tackle fears. Utilizing CBT, the book is a practical guide to understanding anxiety, zeroing in on solutions to problems, creating and maintaining goals, and preventing relapse. – See Book on Amazon
The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) has helpful resources for those dealing with or caring for someone diagnosed with anxiety and depression. the ADAA bookstore and reading list detail some of the best books about anxiety and depression written by ADAA mental health experts. The website has tips on managing anxiety and stress, depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, co-occurring disorders, PTSD, and more. One of the newest books for people with anxiety listed is Acceptance and Commitment Skills for Perfectionism and High-Achieving Behaviors: Do Things Your Way, Be Yourself, and Live a Purposeful Life. – ADAA Website
What’s the 3-3-3 Rule for Anxiety?
Much has been written about the “3-3-3 rule for anxiety,” but what is it, and how can it help? When someone is anxious, they’re tense, confused, and desperate to rid themselves of the unsettling feeling. The 3-3-3 rule involves targeting the senses to pull you back into the present.
The 3-3-3 rule makes use of emotional grounding to minimize anxiety. This involves shifting the focus away from troubles and worries and returning to the present moment. The short description focuses on what you see, hear, and touch.
- When tension mounts, the neck stiffens, and anxious thoughts intrude pause. Look around, pick out three physical objects in the surroundings, and examine the details.
- Listen to see if you can focus on individual sounds. Pick three that are distinct. What is it about them that you recognize? Tone, source, and pitch are some examples.
- Finally, touch three parts of the body. Focus on each one by one. Move gently, like turning the neck from side to side.
What happens when someone with anxiety uses the 3-3-3 rule? Concentrating on what you see, hear, and touch helps create space between you and anxious thoughts.
Helpful Ways to Minimize Stress and Anxiety
While reading is beneficial when a loved one has anxiety, it’s no substitute for professional treatment, should that be necessary. Still, the individual experiencing stress and anxiety, and family members wanting to support that person and help train themselves to decrease anxiety, can benefit from the following tips, which are often included in books about anxiety.
- Laughter is good — Engage in a healthy belly laugh occasionally. Watch a comedy show or movie, or sign up for a joke newsletter. Check out a local comedy club for an entertaining evening.
- Get a massage — Ease muscle tension that is so common with anxiety with a massage. Acupuncture is also helpful in coping with physical tension.
- Reduce stress with Tai chi or yoga sessions.
- Honor (and care for) your body — To help train yourself to get rid of stress and anxiety, get sufficient sleep each night. Also, remember to eat well-balanced meals.
- Engage in mindfulness — The chief benefit of mindfulness is that it’s a simple yet effective way to cope with anxiety and stress. Being mindful means focusing on the present and allowing whatever feelings you experience to pass through and not linger.
- Breathwork helps — This therapeutic method involves using specific breathing techniques to cope with and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Step away — When things get hectic and the anxiety increases, get away from the situation for a while.
- Physically leave the room or involve yourself in another activity.
It’s Okay to Ask for Help
It is not only possible to live a normal life with an anxiety disorder, but with professional treatment, it is highly likely. Asking for help is easy. Our experts at FHE Health can help you or your loved one manage their condition and get back to a happier and more productive everyday life. Got questions? We’re here to help.