Show Your Anxiety Who’s Boss by Joel Minden provides strategies drawn from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help manage anxiety. CBT is an evidence-based treatment, so while the strategies won’t necessarily work for everyone, they are legit, unlike many of the other self-help books floating around.
The approach is broken down into three major steps: predictions, not anxious fictions; take action, demand satisfaction; and accept and redirect. The book is divided into three sections based on these steps.
The book starts off with information about some of the important elements of anxiety. The author explains that anxiety involves overestimating the degree of threat and underlying our ability to cope. Two key problematic responses to this are avoidance and emotion-focused coping (things that ease the anxiety temporarily but actually end up feeding into it).
While you may be familiar with the term cognitive distortions, for the most part, it’s not used in this book. Instead, the author uses the term anxious fictions to describe distorted predictions about the future. The three key anxious fictions identified are probability overestimation, catastrophizing, and inadequate coping.
The author points out that anxiety is a problem of over-control, and he offered an interesting explanation. While anxiety can feel totally out of control, it’s associated with a low ability to tolerate uncertainty, as well as attempts to mentally get control over things that are totally out of our control.
The second section of the book focuses on pushing through avoidance and engaging in meaningful activities to live a satisfying life. The book uses the mantra “do it anyway.” The author acknowledges, as he does a number of times throughout the book, that actually doing this isn’t going to be easy.
Various activities are suggested, including identifying manageable first steps and conducting behavioural experiments to generate evidence. Questions scattered throughout the book help to stimulate thinking. Scenarios help to illustrate some of the major concepts covered.
Each chapter ends with an explanation of how the material covered can help and what’s next, as well as bullet-point summaries of the key points. The final chapter gives a very good quick and easy point-form summary of the book’s major concepts. The second to last chapter is written Q&A style to address questions you might have about the material.
This book was quite good. There’s wasn’t anything that stood out enough for me to say it was great, but if you’re looking for a CBT book for anxiety, this one is well worth considering.
Show Your Anxiety Who’s Boss is available on Amazon (affiliate link).
I received a reviewer copy of this book from NetGalley.