The 10 Best Books For Anxiety of 2022, According to an Expert

Our experts agreed, "Be Calm" provides a guide of relief strategies

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Reviewed & Approved

"Be Calm" is an easy-to-use reference guide that teaches proven techniques to manage heightened anxiety in the moment. We also like "Don't Feed the Monkey Mind" for an entertaining read.

In 2020, the American Psychological Association (APA) declared a National Mental Health crisis in America. According to the annual survey that has been conducted by the APA since 2007, stress in America is at an all-time high. Anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental health illness. Forty million adults in the United States, or roughly 18% of the population, are affected by some form of anxiety disorder every year.

Despite the fact that anxiety is very treatable, only about 40% of people who struggle with anxiety receive help. While anxiety is a normal human emotion felt by all people at some point or another, anxiety disorders can make certain aspects of life unmanageable, such as social situations or test-taking at school.

It’s important for each person to find a daily routine and treatment approach that works for them. Self-help books that target anxiety management can be a very useful part of the treatment journey. The best books for anxiety are written by trained medical and mental health experts and based on scientific research. Also, consider the length and writing style before making your purchase.

Here are the best books for anxiety on the market, all written by experts.

Be Calm: Proven Techniques to Stop Anxiety Now

"Be Calm"

Courtesy of Barnes and Noble

Pros
  • Quick reference guide

  • Easy to use layout

  • Effective techniques

Cons
  • Not a 'sit down and read' book

  • Title is not discreet

  • Strategies will take practice

Designed to be used more as a reference book rather than as a 'sit down and read' book, “Be Calm” is the result of techniques that author and psychologist Dr. Jill Weber has seen work for her patients after years of observation.

The book can help you find relief from heightened anxiety or panic attacks quickly by using the reference guide to find options for relief in the moment. Keep in mind, these techniques come with practice.

Price at time of publication: $19

Don't Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of the Anxiety, Fear, and Worry

Don't Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of the Anxiety, Fear, and Worry

Amazon

Pros
  • Fun illustrations

  • Easy and entertaining to read

  • Effective strategies

Cons
  • Strategies will take practice

  • Strategies are easy to forget when not practiced

  • Lots of homework

A much-needed option for people who feel like their brains never take a break from the vicious cycle of overthinking and constant worrying. Psychotherapist Jennifer Shannon teaches us to accept how our anxious brains operate, while not allowing the anxious thoughts to escalate and take over all pleasant parts of life. 

Price at time of publication: $19

A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters

A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters

Amazon

Pros
  • Insightful and well-researched

  • Easy to read writing style

  • Effective techniques

Cons
  • Long length at 448 pages

  • Very technical, can be overwhelming to some

  • New concepts take time to practice

This book challenges the traditional views of anxiety by teaching that it is natural to hurt and that we hurt because we care. Learning to listen to the pain rather than avoiding it helps heal it instead of intensifying it.

As a psychotherapist who had an epiphany during a panic attack of his own, author Dr. Steven Hayes uses acceptance and commitment therapy to help teach psychological flexibility skills to greatly decrease painful symptoms of anxiety and make room for the joyful things that matter most in life.

Price at time of publication: $27

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Workbook: The 4 DBT Skills to Overcome Anxiety by Learning How to Manage Your Emotions. A Practical Guide to Recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Workbook: The 4 DBT Skills to Overcome Anxiety by Learning How to Manage Your Emotions. A Practical Guide to Recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder

Amazon

Pros
  • Highly individualized

  • Effective techniques

  • Very Informative 

Cons
  • Specific to anxiety caused by personality disorders

  • Best used in conjunction with talk therapy

  • Workbooks can make some people feel like they’re back in school

Workbooks are a great way to personalize new strategies and to find techniques that work for you. While it’s best to use workbooks in conjunction with therapy, Dr. David Lawson designed this workbook to address the anxiety caused by personality disorders and feelings of overwhelm when anxiety strikes.

Price at time of publication: $14

Negative Self-Talk and How to Change It

Negative Self-Talk and How to Change It

Amazon

Pros
  • Short, easy read

  • Addresses core cause of anxiety

  • Effective techniques

Cons
  • Short may be confused with ineffective

  • Simple may be confused with ineffective

  • Not suited for treating panic disorders

If anxiety is fire, then negative self-talk is the fuel. After publishing 20 books, Dr. Shad Helmstetter has condensed his years of experience into a 60-minute read. With simple language and effective techniques, this book is made for the busy person who just needs to know what works. 

Price at time of publication: $4

Expert Advice

“When looking for a good book on the topic of anxiety, one should consider the writer’s credentials as well as the scientific evidence used to back up the information presented. Also, look for a book that focuses on specific issues and symptoms in order to provide more targeted advice”—Anna Travers, LMHC

Feeling Better: CBT Workbook for Teens: Essential Skills and Activities to Help You Manage Moods, Boost Self-Esteem, and Conquer Anxiety

Feeling Better: CBT Workbook for Teens: Essential Skills and Activities to Help You Manage Moods, Boost Self-Esteem, and Conquer Anxiety

Amazon

Pros
  • Targets teen issues specifically

  • Individualized format

  • Effective techniques

Cons
  • Best used in conjunction with talk therapy

  • Workbooks can feel like schoolwork

  • Teens may struggle with staying focused

Teenagers have unique types of stress due to the phase of life and stages of growth they are navigating. Pressures from school, peers, and future goals can create confusion, stress, and anxiety.

Understanding and implementing positive stress management techniques can help teenagers avoid falling into self-destructive stress management patterns. 

Price at time of publication: $20

Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls

Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls

Amazon

Pros
  • Very educational

  • Supported by research

  • Important topic

Cons
  • Problem specific

  • Written for adults, not teens

  • Gender specific

Clinical psychologist Lisa DaMour tackles the specific pressures, stress, and heightened feelings of anxieties that girls experience during growth and progression through child and teenage years. This book is a must for parents, teachers, coaches, and anyone who works with teenage girls. Know the warning signs of anxiety and ways to help.

Price at time of publication: $10

How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety

How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety

Amazon

Pros
  • Effective techniques

  • Good stories and humor

  • Easy and entertaining to read

Cons
  • Problem specific

  • Strategies take practice

  • Long length at 304 pages

People who are shy or introverted often struggle with social anxiety. In this book, Dr. Hendriksen teaches readers that they already have everything they need to be successful in social situations, they just need to learn how to access it. Social anxiety can come from the inner critic speaking too loudly. This book shows you how to be yourself and feel good about it.

Price at time of publication: $27

Retrain Your Brain (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks: A Workbook for Managing Depression and Anxiety)

Retrain Your Brain (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks: A Workbook for Managing Depression and Anxiety)

Amazon

Pros
  • Scientifically backed techniques

  • Highly individualized

  • Easy to follow guidance

Cons
  • 7 week time commitment

  • May be too structured for some

  • Works best in conjunction with talk therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most scientifically backed therapy approaches for anxiety management and relief. Clinical Psychologist Seth Gillihan shows readers how to recognize anxiety causing thoughts, stop them, and replace them with sound minded thoughts.

Price at time of publication: $16

Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief: A Revolutionary Approach to Understanding and Healing the Impact of Loss

Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief: A Revolutionary Approach to Understanding and Healing the Impact of Loss

Amazon

Pros
  • Informative and innovative

  • Easy to read

  • Effective techniques

Cons
  • Very specific niche

  • Can bring up painful memories

  • Can be an overwhelming topic for some

Sometimes the source of our anxiety can come from a surprising source: grief. Licensed therapist Claire Smith explores the often overlooked link between grief and anxiety. When we understand how the two connect, we can begin to calm the anxiety through the right techniques.

Price at time of publication: $27

Final Verdict

Be Calm: Proven Techniques to Stop Anxiety Now and Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind are two books that offer sound techniques for all anxiety types. These two books are a good place to start in the anxiety healing journey. Be Calm is more serious and will take longer to read, while Stop the Monkey Mind is more entertaining with humor and stories.

What to Look for in Books for Anxiety 

Effective Techniques

While a lot of people have opinions about what works to decrease anxiety, it is always best to stick with authors who are trained in the medical and mental health fields and use techniques that are supported by scientific research.

Easy to Understand Language

A self-help book does not help at all if it is too boring to read all the way through. Look for language that you jive with personally and find easy to understand and implement. Books that combine humor and stories with techniques help us better remember the learned concepts. 

Realistic Length

We're all busy. It’s important to choose a book that fits your current schedule. A lengthy, in-depth book will not help if you are in a chaotic phase of life. A longer, more in-depth book may be helpful if you are carving out time specifically to address your anxiety and wellness. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do books help with anxiety?

    Reading any book can help reduce levels of stress and anxiety. In fact, studies demonstrate that even 30 minutes of reading can positively impact psychological distress.

    Reading a book that’s specifically about anxiety can also help. These self-help books help you better understand yourself and your anxiety, including triggers and past experiences that lend to your stress. Additionally, many equip you with methodologies to reduce anxiety, address triggers, and work through complex feelings as they arise.

  • What causes anxiety?

    There’s no primary or single cause of anxiety. Instead, research indicates that many factors come into play. These known factors include being genetically predisposed, environment, lifestyle choices, and personal experiences.

    For example, research tells us that first-degree relatives of someone with general anxiety disorder (GAD) are more likely to develop a mood or anxiety disorder. Also, women are twice as likely to experience anxiety disorders, which is why experts recommend routine anxiety screenings for any female over age 13.

    Stressful situations related to work, school, family, relationships, and other social dynamics can also impact anxiety levels.

  • Can I read anxiety books in place of therapy?

    Anxiety books aren’t considered a replacement for therapy. Instead, they’re a supplemental tool that can help you better understand and work through anxiousness. A therapist can provide a precise diagnosis and offers a highly personalized plan to help mitigate your anxiety now and over the long term.

    We understand that not everyone has easy access to in-person therapy and that the cost of therapy may be prohibitive. Online therapy is an alternative for those who don’t have nearby options or can’t travel easily. To reduce the cost, seek low-cost or free therapy at area colleges and universities, contact your local public health department, and look for providers who offer sliding scale payments.

Why Trust Verywell Mind? 

As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with over 15 years of experience working with clients who struggle with mental health issues, Mary Tatum understands the importance of finding quality resources and techniques that work for each person. Not everyone will have the same kind of healing journey, so having many options to choose from is vitally important in creating a lifestyle that combats mental illness and promotes health and wellbeing.  

6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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