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Published 2017 by Penguin Random House UK. Paperback, 242 pages.
Where did I buy this book?
I don’t usually buy physical books new – I either get them in charity shops or buy the digital versions. This was an exception. I saw The Anxiety Solution and two other similar books in The Works, and they were reduced right down. Because the subject matter was relevant to me, I went ahead and purchased them.
What is The Anxiety Solution about?
As the title suggests, this book is all about anxiety, and how to ‘solve’ it. The author has suffered from anxiety herself, and she begins by describing her own experience with it. After this, she moves into explaining why we get anxious, and then goes through various techniques and lifestyle changes that can help relieve anxiety. These include exercise and diet.
What is the target audience for this book?
It soon became clear that this book is tailored towards women, even though there is no mention of this on the cover. It addresses the reader as a woman, and contains gender stereotypes. For example, when talking about self-care she suggests making sure your nails are manicured and your eyebrows are tidy. This is relevant for some people, but I think she could have chosen better examples of self-care that are relevant to all people, not just the segment of society who are into manicures. However, I understand that she is talking from her own experience, and she comes across as a ‘girly girl’.
If you look past the fact that it is aimed at the stereotypical woman, the information in this book is relevant for anyone who experiences anxiety.
What is it like to read?
The book is written in everyday language with no technical jargon, and it is in a friendly, conversational style. This makes it easy to read. It does however contain the occasional swear-word, so if you are sensitive to that then you might not like this book.
I feel as though the book takes a while to get going, and is quite repetitive in the early chapters. But once it gets going, it becomes a lot more practical and concise.
Each chapter starts with a quote which is nice, and there is a useful summary at the end of each chapter. The summary reminds you of the key points you have read about in the chapter, which helps things to sink in.
There are exercises throughout the book, which the author recommends doing. I didn’t feel inspired to do many of the exercises, but I suppose each reader can pick and choose the exercises that they want to do.
There is a list of resources at the back of the book, including mental health websites, further reading and apps. I haven’t checked them all out yet but they look helpful.
Sections that stood out for me
- ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ on page 27 because it was positive and empowering.
- Chapter 5 which is about decisions, because it was very relevant to me and my current thinking.
- Chapter 8 which about food, because it was a convincing reminder to eat more healthily.
An interesting fact I learned from this book:
Animals shake themselves after a trauma to burn off the rest of the adrenaline. Therefore shaking our bodies (or exercise in general) can help humans too if we have suffered with trauma or excess anxiety.
Would I recommend The Anxiety Solution?
There wasn’t much new in this book that I didn’t already know. It had all the basic advice that you would expect. However, it was an easy read, and a good reminder of why it is a good idea to exercise and eat a healthy diet! Therefore, I would recommend this book as a light read for anyone who experiences anxiety. You might not get anything new from it, but it’s a good reminder of the well-known coping strategies.
It’s not a book that I would read all the way through again, at least not in the near future. However, I will keep it to dip into if needed. I would give this book 3 out of 5 stars.