7 Best Anxiety Self-Help Books
Self-help books for anxiety can be excellent tools for empowering you to reduce anxiety’s power and live well. They can be used on their own or paired with therapy. The right anxiety self-help books aren’t just feel-good words but instead offer legitimate substance to help with stress and anxiety.
Not all books are created equally. Dr. Srini Pillay, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (2017), asserts that self-help books and programs can be quite beneficial as long as they are credible. To help people assess quality, Pillay uses a system he calls REST. REST is an acronym representing what we should look for in anxiety self-help books:
- Research. A self-help book should be based on research, not just someone’s thoughts about reducing anxiety. To determine if the book is researched-based, check for a bibliography at the end of the book. If there is a list of references, it means the author based the book on proven ideas and approaches to reducing anxiety. A lack of references means the author used his or her own ideas rather than evidence-based ideas.
- Expertise. What are the author’s qualifications? An author with an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree, MD, Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. typically has more academic training in the topic of his or her self-help book. Licensure in a field, such as social work or counseling, also points to credibility and experience.
- Self-Applicable. Does the book appeal to you? A book could be the best anxiety self-help book in the entire world, but if it doesn’t resonate with you or provide the type of information you’re looking for, it’s useless to you. Some self-help books address thoughts while others address feelings and still others address behaviors. What are you looking for? Seek out books that you find personally helpful.
- Trustworthy. Anxiety self-help books that claim to have quick-fix approaches or the ability to solve all problems are based on false claims and false hope. As much as we all want to get rid of anxiety completely and quickly, that’s not realistic. Beware the book that seems like a magic wand.
These guidelines will help you find self-help books that move you forward rather than waste your time.
7 of the Best Self-Help Books for Anxiety
There is a good number of credible anxiety self-help books available. The following list adheres to the REST method of assessment and contains seven of the best self-help books for anxiety, listed alphabetically by title.
- The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, Ph.D. While a bit long, this is an outstanding resource to help people master their own inner and outer lives. It contains a wealth of valuable, practice information that is user-friendly and easy to read. It also contains helpful exercises so readers can immediately apply what they’re learning.
- Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 Steps by Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC. This self-workbook teaches readers to use the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy to break the chains of anxiety and general unhappiness and create their version of a high-quality life.
- The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns, MD. This comprehensive book helps people overcome both anxiety and depression using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The book provides information to help readers understand the role thoughts play in anxiety and guides readers as they apply that knowledge to change anxious thoughts.
- Maximum Mental Health: Overcome Depression, Anxiety and other Mental Illnesses with 20 Principles for Happier and Healthier Living by Aleks George Srbinoski, MS. Great depth in a relatively short self-help book, Maximum Mental Health provides a practical, usable approach to overcoming problems such as anxiety in order to live well.
- The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free From Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by John P. Forsyth, PhD and Georg H. Eifert, PhD. This anxiety self-help book allows readers to use proven tools and strategies to address anxiety and fear and take meaningful action toward their goals.
- A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook by Bob Stahl, Ph.D and Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. This easy-to-use self-help book responds to panic, anxiety and stress in a constructive way. Readers create balance in their lives using a clinically proven mindfulness-based program.
- Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—and Your Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn. A very useful addition to any anxiety self-help book list is a mindfulness self-help book. Mindfulness is an important component of many anxiety-reducing approaches, but it’s not always easy to practice. This book puts mindfulness in your reach so you can use it to beat anxiety.
Check your favorite bookstore or online to examine these books that are among the best self-help books for anxiety. Choose the right one for you.
Last Updated: 17 May 2017
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD