Book Review: Coping With Anxiety

Coping With Anxiety:  10 Simple Ways To Relieve Anxiety, Fear, & Worry, by Edmund Mourne & Lorna Garano

This little book, at 150 small pages in roughly quarto size, lives up to its name, when you take it at its word.  This is not a book about dealing with the root causes of anxiety, nor is this a book about placing the blame for anxiety on anyone or anything, nor is this even a book about those who deal with serious and crippling anxiety, for which the authors recommend professional help.  No, this is a book about coping with anxiety, dealing with the symptoms and making the best of it.  While the book does have some notable stumbles in that it adopts a very Eastern religious view involving transcendental meditation, yoga, and jokes about reincarnation and faddish advice about choosing a vegetarian diet, there are useful techniques in this book, and one should view this book not as a manifesto on how one lives one’s life, but rather as a source of techniques for how to cope with anxiety in day-to-day life, which can be taken or left depending on the interests of the reader.  There is plenty to take and plenty to leave here, to be sure.

The contents of the book are well organized.  The chapters of the book are as follows:  relax your body, relax your mind, think realistically, face your fears, get regular exercise, eat right to be calm, nourish yourself, simplify your life, turn off worry, and cope on the spot.  The advice the book gives fits into these various unequally sized chapters.  If one could do those ten things, to be sure, a great deal of anxiety would be removed.  The active and passive muscle relaxation techniques are sound, the substitution of anger for anxiety makes for a dangerous but perhaps expedient solution, and the advice of the author to take certain herbs for relaxation as well as the transcendental meditation that the author recommends are potentially deeply dangerous.  That is the general range of advice that the book provides, ranging from some things that are harmful, to a great many more that could be useful on a tactical level but need to be considered from a larger and strategic and long-term perspective, which this book would implicitly disregard since its focus is on tactical coping rather than strategic managing, and contains some advice about limiting or avoiding caffeine and seeking a regular sleep schedule that appear as no brainers.

Given the large burden of people suffering from anxiety in this particular culture, this book has a large potential audience.  As is the case with many books of its kind [1], it is a sort of opening wedge to adopt various heathen ways of relaxation based on the Buddhist religion that have been adopted into Western culture via New Age practices.  Whatever lip service the book gives to higher power, it does not have a biblical mindset in mind, and therefore is at best of limited profit, to be used in a limited fashion and with caution and careful consideration rather than wholehearted adoption.  Even so, despite its limitations, it is a book that means well and is sincere in its approach and one that offers sound advice at least in part, and one that is of at least some use for those who wish to live less stressful lives by managing their lives more effectively in the face of contemporary pressures.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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