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Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry Paperback – January 2, 2015
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About the Author
Elizabeth M. Karle, MLIS, is collection management supervisor at the Cushwa-Leighton Library at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN. In addition to supplying research for this book, she has personal experience with anxiety disordersproviding a first-hand perspective that focuses the book on what is most useful for the anxiety sufferer. Originally from Illinois, she currently resides in South Bend, IN, and holds degrees or certificates from the University of Notre Dame, Roosevelt University, and Dominican University. She is author of Hosting a Library Mystery.
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Top customer reviews
The book also provides helpful evidence-based guidance on techniques to prevent or reduce the intensity of anxiety and related conditions. The key techniques are:
- Get good sleep, aerobically exercise daily, and eat a healthy diet.
- Breathe from the diaphragm/belly, which apparently activates the parasympathetic nervous system and thus counters activation of the sympathetic nervous system resulting from fear.
- Remind yourself that thoughts and images are not reality and may be mistaken.
- Disrupt problematic thoughts and images via distractions, play, music, and positive thoughts and images.
- Mindfully 'defuse' from problematic thoughts, images, and sensations, and instead just 'be' in the present moment, calmly observing all that is happening without any need to interpret or respond in any way.
- Meditate, including mindful meditation.
- Deliberately and repeatedly expose yourself to the situations which generate unwarranted fear, in order to rewire the amygdala to no longer subconsciously associate those situations with fear. This can be an uncomfortable experience, but accept the discomfort and know that it will pass, and absolutely do not flee from the situations, because doing so will strengthen the fear.
I highly recommend this book to anyone dealing with excessive worry, fear, anxiety, and related conditions.
Numerous types of stress are discussed in this book, including the reasons that these types of stress occur and what parts of the brain are responsible for your response. If you’re anything like me, you are constantly trying to make logical sense out of your worry, but I learned from this book that there may not always be a logical reason behind your anxiety. In fact, you may not ever really know why you certain situations, thoughts, sounds, smells, etc., can trigger an episode of panic. The good news is that you don’t have to know. The authors go into great detail to describe techniques that you can use to essentially “rewire” your brain to avoid having stress responses. The book mainly discusses the two different parts of the brain that deal with fear and stress, the amygdala and the cortex. The amygdala is basically your body’s natural fear response system. Your amygdala often works without your ever knowing it, such as when you are driving and instinctively swerve out of the way to avoid hitting another car. The cortex, on the other hand, deals with worry and obsessive thoughts. For example, your cortex is to blame when you are constantly worrying about a possible outcome that will likely not occur. You may have one or both of these types of stress, and the authors provide useful “exercises” that can be used to deal with both of these types of stress.
If you’re reading this review, I’m guessing that you probably don’t care about all of these details though, right? What you really want to know is if the methods in this book really work. I think they could certainly help many individuals who suffer from stress and anxiety. These authors give insightful strategies to help with different types of stress responses, all of which are based on years of research. Your stress isn’t going to go away overnight having read this book, but it certainly may help you learn to cope with your anxiety when it does occur.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.