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  • Writer's pictureDominic Schmuck, Ph.D.

The Best Self Help Books for Anxiety

Updated: Apr 23

Have you ever struggled to find a self-help book that actually delivers on its promises? With so many books vying for your attention, claiming they can solve all your problems if only you read them, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. You might pick up a new book hoping to conquer anxiety, only to find it lacking in practical help. Many authors writing self-help books in the mental health field aren't experts; they're just ordinary individuals pretending to have all the answers about anxiety, depression, or a multitude of other mental health topics.


Reading self help book

To guide you towards books authored by actual experts with extensive clinical and research-based experience, I've created a list of the 5 best self-help books for anxiety. Every book on my list is authored by individuals who've undergone rigorous training and education, integrating evidence-based and scientific principles that have significantly benefited numerous people grappling with mental health challenges.


As a psychologist myself, with published and presented scientific articles, and my private clinical practice, I must acknowledge my bias towards the books on my list. They align closely with my therapeutic approach. Some authors featured here have also contributed to books and research articles aimed at clinicians, which I've studied while incorporating therapeutic theories into my practice. Each book I recommend is one I've personally suggested to my clients, friends, or family. Take a look below to see my list, presented in no particular order.


1. Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind


Unwinding Anxiety Book Cover

"Unwinding Anxiety" ought to be on any recommendation list for working through anxiety. The author, Dr. Judson Brewer is the Director of Research and Innovation at the Mindfulness Center at Brown University. His book is based on 20 years of research and hands on experience in working with thousands of patients to provide solutions for anxiety.


Best for: Individuals seeking a solution-focused approach to healing, as well as individuals who appreciate engaging personal stories and practical examples.



2. Hope and Help for Your Nerves: End Anxiety Now


Hope and Help for Your Nerves Book Cover

This book has been around for a while. It was authored by Dr. Claire Weekes who is considered a pioneer in anxiety treatment. "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" is packed with actionable steps you can start applying immediately to help calm your nerves and work through your stress.


Best for: Those appreciating practical ways of working through fear, anxiety, and panic. You will learn how to analyze and understand your own anxiety, to aid you in applying coping strategies that work for you specifically.



3. The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living


The happiness trap book cover

Such a fantastic book! Written by Dr. Russ Harris, one of the leading experts of Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT). "The Happiness Trap" addresses anxiety, stress management, and so much more. You will learn techniques and practical tools to apply in your everyday life.


Best for: Anyone looking for a book comprehensively addressing your anxiety and overall mental well-being. You will learn new ways of thinking and seeing the world, and you will improve your self-compassion and ability to create a meaningful life.



4. The Anxious Perfectionist


The anxious perfectionist book cover

As I'm a psychologist residing in Utah, I'm excited to recommend "The Anxious Perfectionist." Authored by Dr. Clarissa W. Ong and Dr. Michael Twohig. Dr. Ong, trained at Utah State University (USU) and Harvard Medical School, while Dr. Twohig is a faculty member at USU. "The Anxious Perfectionist" offers strategies to distance yourself from self-criticism, negative self-talk, and unhelpful perfectionism.


Best for: Individuals struggling with anxiety due to perfectionism and the pressure of meeting expectations. This book helps you let go of unrealistic standards and realign your life with your values.



5. Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks


Retrain your brain book cover

Authored by Dr. Seth Gillihan, who is a former faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and now runs his own private practice and hosts the "Think Act Be" podcast. "Retrain Your Brain" is a workbook that introduces Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and offers brain-retraining exercises. It is also featured on my list of the best self help books for depression because it is that good!


Best for: Those seeking a practical workbook to address anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression often occur together, which is why this book is essential on this list.



I Need More Than a Self Help Book for Anxiety, What Can I Do?


If you've explored self-help books or other resources for managing anxiety and are seeking more personalized support, consider reaching out to a therapist.


As the owner of TruU Psychology and someone who can work with clients in over 40 PSYPACT participating states, I have extensive experience guiding individuals through challenges such as anxiety, panic attacks, stress, depression, and more. My expertise often involves working with driven professionals, supporting individuals through life transitions, addressing relationship trauma, and assisting with religious trauma and faith crises.


Feel free to explore my website to learn more about me and my therapeutic approach. You can also explore my services.


Contact me by calling/texting (385) 200-0204 or emailing dominic@truupsychology.com. You can also schedule a free 15-minute consult here to see if you would like to work with me. If no timeslot appears through the link, then I likely have a waitlist. Call/text/email instead.



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