Top positive review
16 people found this helpful
Helpful, If Imperfect
on October 30, 2014
This is a very unique and counter intuitive strategy for dealing with anxiety. The basic theory in layman's terms is that your struggles with anxiety - that is, your conscious, deliberate effort to "think away", suppress, or otherwise fight your anxious thoughts and feelings - are making you feel worse, not better. So, you must stop fighting and start yielding, and that act of yielding will ultimately result in decreased anxiety.
By fighting the anxiety, which is what just about all of us do (And why not? It seems natural to "fight" something you want to get rid of, right?), you are actually feeding it. Once the anxiety train gets rolling and continues to pick up steam, the brain chemicals are flooding your body, and the intense, uncomfortable feelings of anxiety take over. At this stage, virtually all efforts to just "talk yourself out of it" are futile.
Again, because we so hate feeling anxious, we immediately start trying to battle it when we begin to feel it, and this battle only adds negative energy and strengthens the anxiety. Which further explains why no matter how hard you fight against the anxiety you just see it getting worse. Now all the pieces seem to fit a bit better, and you come to understand why all your dutiful efforts to "fight" anxiety have not worked.
This technique has indeed been helpful, but it is not easy, or instant. It definitely is a new way of thinking and acting, and thus, takes practice. However, I don't feel there is anything wrong with trying to replace negative thoughts and irrational ideas with positive ones (cognitive therapy) as long as you don't become dependent on that as an avoidance strategy. Nor do I see a major problem with telling yourself there is no reason to be scared when, in fact, there is no actual reason to be scared. The authors would likely be quick to point out that if such approaches really helped, you'd be over your anxiety by now.
I think it is also fair to say though that by changing the way you view your thoughts, and by choosing not to resist them, you are, in fact, employing a form of cognitive therapy, even if you don't label it as such.
There is much to commend this book, but be prepared for something completely different, and maybe even a bit frightening. Time to face what you have been dodging. No more running away. The more you think about it though, and compare it to your own experience, the more sense it makes.