Thursday, August 20, 2015

Overcoming Anxiety: Self-Help Anxiety Relief

About the Book:

Title: Overcoming Anxiety
Author: David Berndt, Ph.D.
Publisher: David Berndt, Ph.D.
Pages: 110
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-Help
Format: Kindle
The good news is that anxiety can be overcome without relying on medication. Psychologist David Berndt, Ph.D., in Overcoming Anxiety outlines several self-help methods for management of anxiety and worry. In clear simple language and a conversational style, Dr. Berndt shares with the reader powerful step by step proven techniques for anxiety management. 

You will learn:

·         A Self-hypnosis grounding technique in the Ericksonian tradition.
·         Box Breathing, Seven Eleven and similar breathing techniques for anxiety relief.
·         How to stop or interrupt toxic thoughts that keep you locked in anxiety.
·         How to harness and utilize your worries, so they work for you.
·         Relief from anxiety through desensitization and exposure therapy.
The book was designed to be used alone as self-help or in conjunction with professional treatment Dr. Berndt draws upon his experience as a clinician and academic researcher to give accessible help to the reader who wants to understand and manage their anxiety.

My Impressions:
As a social worker in training, I find it very valuable to know what's resources are available to my clients and how useful other techniques have proven to be. Although I personally do not suffer from anxiety,  I come from a long line of female relatives that do suffer from anxiety related issues. Because of my job and siblings, I like to stay apprised of new information available for treating a variety of issues, including anxiety.

I am also a huge supporter of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). CBT basically states that our thoughts cause our feelings, our feelings lead to our behaviors/actions, not the external things we blame-shift to. So to change a unwanted behavior, such as anxiety, stress or depression, the client learns to think differently, so they can act differently. 

The 54321 relaxation technique has been around for a while and can be very helpful to help re-center yourself and relax.  The basics of the technique goes something like this:
  • Begin by trying to find a comfortable stance. It is recommend that you keep your eyes open for this specific technique, but not an absolute.
  • Then name aloud or silent if you prefer (although I have heard clients say that repeating them aloud  has been more helpful) 5 sights, sounds, and physical sensations you are aware of. 
  • After you have named 5, then move onto  4 sights, sounds, and physical sensations. If you lose count, simply begin again where you think you were... then 3 things, then 2 things... continue counting down and naming until you reach 1 of each category.
  •  When you finally get to 1, you can repeat the exercise again if your anxiety is still present, or you can finish by taking 5 deep, relaxing breathes.
 I appreciated how simplified and easy this book was to understand. It was organized in an easy to follow format. The author discusses several notable individuals: Albert Ellis, Dr. Aaron Beck, Walter Cannon, David Burns, and Martin Seligman and their theories and techniques. 
This is a great resource  for those seeking a self-help book that goes into great detail breaking things down for you in an easy to understand format.

For More Information

  • Overcoming Anxiety is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Book Excerpt:
In its simplest form this 54321 skill can be quite helpful, but by changing the technique and making it yours, you will more confidently rely on it for managing severe anxiety and for relief during other peak moments of stress. Combined with other tools in the later chapters, you will get more apt at developing an emotionally intelligent skill set, from which you can pick and choose your best option for handling an emotional problem.  
How and When the 54321 Technique Works

Before we start, I want to explain a bit about how the method works.  This technique is a good way to learn to harness most emotions, like anxiety, anger, panic or fear, when they become unmanageable.  Once mastered, the skill has the potential to work well and simply when these emotions are creating havoc in your life. 

This method will not completely rid you of your anxiety or fear, and it does not – and should not- entirely stop all worrying and fretting. It cannot solve all of your emotional problems.  What it can do is shrink your troubling and often overwhelming feelings, so they can become smaller, more manageable, and less compelling.






About the Author
David J. Berndt, Ph.D. was an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago where he published or presented over 80 papers and articles before establishing a private practice. Dr. Berndt currently lives in Charleston, S.C. where he also teaches in an adjunct capacity at the College of Charleston. He is best known for his psychological tests The Multiscore Depression Inventory, and the Multiscore Depression Inventory for Children, both from Western Psychological Services.His latest book is the nonfiction self-help, Overcoming Anxiety.

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