’One of the keys aspects of the book is the focus on positive thinkin’
Title: Overcoming Anxiety
Author: Gill Hasson
Reviewer: Lynne Partington, head of research, evaluation and technology, The End of Life Partnership, Cheshire
What was it like?
This book opens by asking who hasn’t been anxious at some time or another, thus setting itself up to appeal to a large proportion of the population given the stressful times that most of us live and work in. It sets out to address, over two key parts, ways to understand and manage anxiety.
It is systematically organised, beginning with three sections to understand anxiety and six sections to manage anxiety. It flows well from section to section, although that can mean that it is not particularly easy to dip in and out of.
There is an introduction to some of the theory around anxiety, with some interspersed elements of theory through the book, but on the whole, this is quite a practical book providing lots of tips for “doing”, such as activities and simple techniques.
What were the highlights?
One of the keys aspects of the book is the focus on positive thinking, for example, promoting the idea to spend time to identify and appreciate the good things in your day to encourage a habit of positive thinking – the things that we often stop doing when we are stressed.
The book presents the idea of informal mindfulness (different to formal mindfulness such as meditation and relaxation etc.) and tackling anxiety by not pre-living the future, but by staying in the moment.
A new mindfulness based behaviour therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is introduced, which aims to manage anxiety by acknowledging issues to be able to let go of them rather than avoiding them.
Strengths & weaknesses:
There are a number of strengths in this book: Each section finishes with bullet points entitled ”In a nutshell”, which helps to focus on the key points. Throughout the book are a number of strategies to help implement new insights such as the introduction of a ”plan” to change the way in which anxiety is thought about.
One slight detractor from the book is the brevity of some sections and a feeling that there is not always enough detail around some of the strategies introduced.
Who should read it?
This is not a book aimed specifically directed at health care professionals but could be read and utilised by most people. It contains many pointers and tips for coping that could be useful, even in less anxious times.