How One Book Changed My Mind About Anxiety
Something to think about isn’t it?
For me, to say something has changed my life is pretty out there as I have a habit of being pessimistic about stuff which I really am trying to change!
I read this book when I needed it most, when I was at my absolute worst with constant anxiety and when I say this book changed my life I really do mean it. 100%
I’m talking about ‘The Anxiety Solution’ by Bella Dodds - A revolutionary guide to calm, clarity and confidence.
Let me just say that this is not your typical ‘self-help book’ or a what you might expect from a book about stress and anxiety.
There are tons out there and I’ll be honest, with a simplistic title such as ‘The Anxiety Solution’ straight away I wasn’t expecting too much from it but oh how wrong was I.
It’s not a cure by any means and I don’t think there is such a thing, but it has been an extremely vital source of guidance on my journey to reducing the effects my anxiety has over my life and most importantly understanding the root cause of it all - if I could hug the author, I would!
You quite literally shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover (or screen in this case because it’s on my Kindle) and regardless of the title, this book couldn’t be any simpler in being a solution to anxiety. For me, it has done exactly what it says on the cover and it’s been a real positive step for me.
I wanted to understand my anxiety
Turns out, I suffered from increasing anxiety in the later part of my twenties, spilling right over into my thirties and causing a big ol’ messy puddle.
Only, I didn’t know that’s what it actually was.
Not until on the morning before heading off to The Maldives when I found myself caught up in an uncontrollable state of panic and I realised I had a pretty serious problem.
Everyone else seems to do these things with no worries, or at least it looks that way.
But the minute I try? Oh, that’s when I discover some pretty intense underlying levels of severe travel anxiety bubbling away under the surface, like a volcano ready to erupt and paralyse any future plans to travel to any destinations like that again.
Okay, so you could say I’m one of the lucky ones, in that The Maldives revealed an underlaying problem whereas it could have happened in the middle of Tesco, I get it.
My complete, unexpected meltdown on the morning before we had to leave for the airport came on so quickly and powerfully I honestly don’t know how I even went through with it.
Any holiday that required a long flight incurred months of suffering. It kept getting worse and worse until one day - BANG - I’d really had enough.
To the anxiety library, please
This book is written clearly and quite beautifully, reflecting back to you throughout with a true appreciation of life itself and how incredible we really are and why for that reason alone we needn’t suffer!
It helps understand that mind and body is a team already equipped to deal with stress, anxiety, we just need to make some adjustments and upgrade our mindset so they don’t feel the need to respond as often, triggering the anxiety symptoms I’m all too familiar with.
I’ve attempted to read anxiety books before and many seem to take on a bossy approach, like ‘f*** your anxiety’ and for me it just does not work.
Don’t get me wrong, the idea of getting you to almost bully your anxiety as much as it bullies you is something I get, because anxiety kind of is like a bully who won’t leave you alone and it needs to come to an end.
However, we are all different and our stressors originate from all kinds of different sources and for me because I was feeling so vulnerable I needed a deeper understanding of why it’s all happening in the first place.
Our coping mechanisms will vary depending on who we are as a person and I think it’s important to look at how the anxiety affects you, then understand why the anxiety is there and start figuring out how you can change it to improve your general health and wellbeing and that’s exactly what Bella Dodds aims to do.
It’s not at all trying to tell you what you’ve been doing ‘wrong’ and what you need to do instead.
This books opens up your mind to your own potential where you can think of yourself in a completely new and empowered perspective, that there isn’t anything wrong with you and your anxiety actually serves a wonderful purpose in giving you signals that something is up (which, if you suffer with stress then you’ll recognise those signals as ‘panic’ symptoms).
Improving your quality of life
It’s time to understand why you feel this way and what you can do to adjust the impact it has on your quality of life and reduce your suffering - that’s exactly what this book is about.
My natural curiosity probably steered me more towards this book than any others because it takes its time in explaining the workings of your mind and body to you and explores subjects in fascinating depth (but not too much depth that the words become a blur and you can’t see the point; I’ve read some of those before too!).
It’s been vital for me to learn about the links between psychological and physiological aspects of my mind and body and therefore anxiety and becoming familiar with what I need to do going forward and I just found it generally very interesting.
It also has some really useful questions / exercise sections towards the end of the book that, if taken the time to do properly, will play an essential part in helping resolve the stresses from your past and reduce the effects they still have on you to this day.
You are more powerful than you think
Anxiety gives you a feeling of low self worth and reading this has helped me realise my inner strength that I didn’t know was there and when you read the author’s introduction you’ll see that’s exactly what she aims to do.
The biggest thing that I’ve taken from this book is the possibility that anxiety is there for a reason.
If it is the result of trapped stress which over time has worsened because it was never truly dealt with, then my body is incredible for letting me know.
This has stuck with me ever since I saw those words and it’s been a huge kick to my system. Like a lightbulb moment, I discovered my anxiety is largely triggered by past negative experiences with travelling and moving from place to place during my childhood.
Because I hadn’t dealt with those trapped feelings of fear and uncertainty and upgraded my perspective on them, they flared up time and time again in anxiety attacks bringing me right back to those feelings from my childhood. You’d be surprised how much our childhoods still play a part on how we are today.
The idea that you can throw out those old, irrelevant perspectives and override them with a fresh, new outlook that relates to the present is life changing and I something I had never considered a possibility in resolving my problems. See how amazing this book is?
Knowledge is power!
Science never was my strong point, or maybe it’s because what they taught at school is a snooze-fest, but there are some sections in this book which I found really fascinating which cover scientific and biological aspects, like research and facts about the negative effects of stress on the human body and mind.
I found these parts so enlightening, even if I did have to read back a few times before I got it, but I persevered because it was eye-opening.
The various chapters of this book which explore so many different mental health and bodily process have helped me become more familiar with myself which is so useful when you suffer with anxiety attacks, they are scary as hell but when you understand what is happening and the reasons why, it stops being so scary and you can work on reducing the distress these attacks cause you in the future!
Anxiety is one of the most draining and exhausting things I’ve ever had to deal with and it has corroded so many other different areas of my life and The Anxiety Solution has opened up my mind to the idea that I can use my anxiety to my advantage in an empowering and life-changing way.
Years of trying to manage anxiety and suffering the effects of it doesn’t necessarily mean it will take you just as many years to conquer it because once you start understanding, everything becomes so much clearer and you feel very free.
I’ll end my ramble on this note: any changes you decide to make must to come from you and if you believe you can do it then you will.
I love this book
I would highly recommend it to absolutely anyone who has reached that point of not knowing where to turn. If you do give it a go, make some time for yourself where you can really get into it (preferably somewhere quiet, if you can find it!) and I hope you find it as life-changing as I have.