What To Read When You’re Coping With Anxiety


Anxiety sucks, but you don’t have to deal with it empty-handed and alone. I’ve got some books to help you cope with anxiety the next time it strikes, so you won’t be left without resources when you need to tune out of the news and into something a bit more cheerful.

If you’re feeling more stressed-out and anxious lately, you aren’t alone. Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high in the U.S.

Books about anxiety are selling more frequently in bookstores, and that could be a good sign that people are practicing self-care. Recent research shows that reading fiction can alleviate loneliness, and feeling less alone can be integral to coping with your mental illness.

Please know I’m thinking about you, and I hope the book recommendations below will help:

Okay Fine Whatever: The Year I Went from Being Afraid of Everything to Only Being Afraid of Most Things by Courtenay Hameiste

Host of the popular radio program Live Wire, Courtenay Hameister lived with intense anxiety for years. If you’re interested in hearing how someone else overcame anxiety and had adventures along the way, Hameister’s Okay Fine Whatever is the book you need to read.

Back Cover Copy of Okay Fine Whatever: For most of her life (and even during her years as the host of a popular radio show), Courtenay Hameister lived in a state of near-constant dread and anxiety. She fretted about everything. Her age. Her size. Her romantic prospects. How likely it was that she would get hit by a bus on the way home.

Until a couple years ago, when, in her mid-forties, she decided to fight back against her debilitating anxieties by spending a year doing little things that scared her — things that the average person might consider doing for a half second before deciding: “nope.”

Things like: attending a fellatio class. She did that. She also spent an afternoon in a sensory deprivation tank, got (legally) high in the middle of a workday, had a session with a professional cuddler, braved twenty-eight first dates, and (perhaps scariest of all) actually met someone who might possibly appreciate her for who she is.

Refreshing, relatable, and pee-your-pants funny, Okay Fine Whatever is Courtenay’s hold-nothing-back account of her adventures on the front lines of Mere Human Woman vs. Fear, reminding us that even the tiniest amount of bravery is still bravery, and that no matter who you are, it’s possible to fight complacency and become bold, or at least bold-ish, a little at a time.

Purchase your copy here.

 

Unf*ck Your Brain: Getting Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers by Faith G. Harper

With zero judgement and a ton of support, Faith G. Harper’s Unf*ck Your Brain is here to help you work out constructive ways of dealing with your disruptive anxiety.

Back Cover Copy of Unf*ck Your Brain: Our brains do their best to help us out, but every so often they can be real assholes―having melt downs, getting addicted to things, or shutting down completely at the worst possible moments. Your brain knows it’s not good to do these things, but it can’t help it sometimes―especially if it’s obsessing about trauma it can’t overcome. That’s where this life-changing book comes in.

With humor, patience, science, and lots of good-ole swearing, Dr. Faith explains what’s going on in your skull, and talks you through the process of retraining your brain to respond appropriately to the non-emergencies of everyday life, and to deal effectively with old, or newly acquired, traumas (particularly post-traumatic stress disorder).

Purchase your copy here.

 

Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump by Dan Pfeiffer

If headline fatigue has got you feeling down in the dumps, Dan Pfeiffer’s Yes We (Still) Can will give you the hope you need to make it through the political news cycle.

Back Cover Copy of Yes We (Still) Can: On November 9th, 2016, Dan Pfeiffer woke up like most of the world wondering WTF just happened. How had Donald Trump won the White House? How was it that a decent and thoughtful president had been succeeded by a buffoonish reality star, and what do we do now?

Instead of throwing away his phone and moving to another country (which were his first and second thoughts), Pfeiffer decided to tell this surreal story, recounting how Barack Obama navigated the insane political forces that created Trump, explaining why everyone got 2016 wrong, and offering a path for where Democrats go from here.

Pfeiffer was one of Obama’s first hires when he decided to run for president, and was at his side through two presidential campaigns and six years in the White House. Using never-before-heard stories and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, Yes We (Still) Can examines how Obama succeeded despite Twitter trolls, Fox News (and their fake news), and a Republican Party that lost its collective mind.

An irreverent, no-BS take on the crazy politics of our time, Yes We (Still) Can is a must-read for everyone who is disturbed by Trump, misses Obama, and is marching, calling, and hoping for a better future for the country.

Purchase your copy here.

 

Awayland by Ramona Ausubel

This collection of fabulist short stories will help you get away from the hard and anxious realities of life. Pick one up whenever you need to make a quick getaway from your anxiety.

Back Cover Copy of Awayland: Acclaimed for the grace, wit, and magic of her novels, Ramona Ausubel introduces us to a geography both fantastic and familiar in eleven new stories, some of them previously published in The New Yorker and The Paris Review. Elegantly structured, these stories span the globe and beyond, from small-town America and sunny Caribbean islands to the Arctic Ocean and the very gates of Heaven itself. And though some of the stories are steeped in mythology, they remain grounded in universal experiences: loss of identity, leaving home, parenthood, joy, and longing.

Crisscrossing the pages of Awayland are travelers and expats, shadows and ghosts. A girl watches as her homesick mother slowly dissolves into literal mist. The mayor of a small Midwestern town offers a strange prize, for stranger reasons, to the parents of any baby born on Lenin’s birthday. A chef bound for Mars begins an even more treacherous journey much closer to home. And a lonely heart searches for love online–never mind that he’s a Cyclops.

With her signature tenderness, Ramona Ausubel applies a mapmaker’s eye to landscapes both real and imagined, all the while providing a keen guide to the wild, uncharted terrain of the human heart.

Purchase your copy here.

 

The Late Bloomers’ Club by Louise Miller

In this heartwarming novel, two sisters must navigate their small town a little differently after they inherit a sizeable piece of land belonging to a well-liked resident. There’s just one problem: a big-box store wants to develop the late woman’s property, and the townsfolk are divided.

Back Cover Copy of The Late Bloomers’ Club: Nora, the owner of the Miss Guthrie Diner, is perfectly happy serving up apple cider donuts, coffee, and eggs-any-way-you-like-em to her regulars, and she takes great pleasure in knowing exactly what’s “the usual.” But her life is soon shaken when she discovers she and her free-spirited, younger sister Kit stand to inherit the home and land of the town’s beloved cake lady, Peggy Johnson.

Kit, an aspiring–and broke–filmmaker thinks her problems are solved when she and Nora find out Peggy was in the process of selling the land to a big-box developer before her death. The people of Guthrie are divided–some want the opportunities the development will bring, while others are staunchly against any change–and they aren’t afraid to leave their opinions with their tips.

Time is running out, and the sisters need to make a decision soon. But Nora isn’t quite ready to let go of the land, complete with a charming farmhouse, an ancient apple orchard and the clues to a secret life that no one knew Peggy had. Troubled by the conflicting needs of the town, and confused by her growing feelings towards Elliot, the big-box developer’s rep, Nora throws herself into solving the one problem that everyone in town can agree on–finding Peggy’s missing dog, Freckles.

When a disaster strikes the diner, the community of Guthrie bands together to help her, and Nora discovers that doing the right thing doesn’t always mean giving up your dreams.

Purchase your copy here.

 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

For those in need of some good, old-fashioned escapism, there’s Children of Blood and Bone, a fantasy novel set in the fictional, West African nation of Orïsha, where the heroine leads a charge to recover her people’s lost history.

Back Cover Copy of Children of Blood and Bone:  They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.  Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Purchase your copy here.

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