When it comes to anxiety, I truly believe that reading is one of the best tools that you can use to help you overcome some of the obstacles that you face. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be the best reader or particularly bookish (In fact, I’m a mega slow reader) but it’s all about finding what books work best for you. I have five suggestions that have found incredibly useful so I hope that they might do the same for you.
Humans Of New York, Brandon Stanton
“We’re gonna be fine.”
This may sound like a bit of an odd one really but there was something about Brandon Stanton that I instantly felt as though I could relate to. A guy that had had no formal training but simply took photographs because stumbling upon a diamond was enough “to keep me wanting more.”
Stanton started his blog after discovering that he loved photographing people, and from there, Humans of New York was born. The book came as a direct result of the success of his growing online presence and captures New Yorkers and their stories.
As soon as I bought this book, it helped me in a way that I didn’t know was possible. I found the notion of “everybody having their own baggage so I’m not in this alone” really comforting. After reading some of the incredible little anecdotes within, I would be surprised if you didn’t either.
Stanton captures the reality of everyday life perfectly which makes it so easy to relate to. And in a world that is consumed by the pressures of social media, that seems pretty hard to come by.
Natural Superwoman: The survival guide for women who have too much to do, Rosamond Richardson
“A practical, down-to-earth guide for busy women of all ages on how to survive the stresses and strains of modern life.”
I love that the book is described as “down-to-earth”. Again, and very much like Humans of New York, this book is incredibly relatable and easy to follow. Which for someone like me who often finds reading a slower process than most, is perfect.
The book really does cover a lot and is one that I often reach for when I am feeling anxious. It covers topics such as “Balancing relationships and work”, “Surviving stress”, “Eating well, naturally” and “Pure and simple beauty care” just to name a few.
It reminds me that I don’t have to be all things to all people and emphasises the importance of “Soul time.”
Quiet Power, Susan Cain
“It’s ok to cross the room to avoid small talk.”
Out of everybody I know personally, I am by far the most introverted. Growing up in school, introversion and extroversion were topics that were never really discussed. I saw the fact that I often would rather spend time with my closest friends or alone than at a house party as something of a negative.
That’s when I discovered Susan Cain. After watching her Ted Talks speech that has been viewed over three million times (not just by me, I swear), I realised that introversion was something to be celebrated.
Then “Quiet” was released. A book that helped those “Growing up as an introvert in a world that can’t stop talking.” and it really did help me with my anxiety.
A lot of the situations that would cause me to feel anxious were as a result of my introversion. Struggling to be around huge amounts of people that I didn’t really know for long periods of time, seeing acquaintances and really dreading small talk and the fact that I didn’t feel the need to know lots and lots of people, were all things that triggered my anxiety at times. However, they are all discussed in this book.
She really became a little hero for those people who are frequently finding themselves being asked “Why are you so quiet?”
Calm, Michael Acton Smith
“I’d been intrigued by meditation but had always been too busy to give it a try. Like a lot of people, I was put off by the shroud of mysticism and “woo-wooness” of it all. The biggest issue, though, was that I simply couldn’t quiet my mind.”
I have referred to this book on my blog before because it is the one publication on the topic of mindfulness that I have benefited the most from. As a creative, I find it wonderfully engaging and understandable. It’s just a really honest book.
Regularly throughout, there are specific pages for you to note what made you feel calm on that day, what you are grateful for and the three highlights of your day. Which is perfect because once you have completed the little journal feature, you can re-live your personal journey to calm.
There are also a few added features, one of which is that you’re encouraged to cut out the blue ribbon book marker and tie it loosely around your wrist. The ribbon can then act as “a simple symbol of calm that can bring you back to what you’ve learned when you find yourself slipping.”
The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, Sarah Knight
“This irreverent and practical book explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame and guilt – and give your f**cks instead to people and things that make you happy”
Its a simple concept really, but one that I often find hard to put into practice. Having said that, after reading this book I found it a hell of a lot easier.
Sarah Knight is an absolute maverick and captivates her readers so effortlessly. Sub-headings include “Sort your fucks into categories”, “A fuck not given is something gained” and “So, do I have any friends left?” Seriously, what’s not to love?
Not only will you be left feeling that slightly less anxious, after all anxiety is pretty much overthinking about things that we really shouldn’t be giving that much of a fuck about, but you will want Knight to be your best mate.
I hope you find something that helps you within the five books that I have discussed, I certainly did. Also, feel free to name down below any books that have helped you with your anxiety that I haven’t listed. Let’s all help each other out. We’re all in this together peeps.