Coping strategies

How self-help books have helped me… and our top recommendations

Self-help books for social anxiety
Hannah-Mae Dixon
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Hannah-Mae Dixon

Hannah has battled with anxiety from a young age but never spoke about it due to stigma and fear of being judged. Since seeking help through therapy, Hannah is open about her experiences and passionate about helping others who are struggling. Hannah is a huge advocate for self help books and self care rituals. Waiting times on the NHS can be lengthyfor Therapy/counselling as they are not always seen as urgent or necessary by some GPs, self help can be a great way of learning to understand and deal with your struggles.
Hannah-Mae Dixon
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An unexpected prescription for social anxiety

When I went to see my GP, it wasn’t solely focused on social anxiety, but the feeling of anxiety overall. It was only upon describing my symptoms and experiences that we found ourselves discussing social anxiety specifically. As I’m sure we’re all aware, there’s no direct ‘cure’ for social anxiety, as such. It’s more about trying new strategies and adopting methods that work for you individually, as we’re all so different.

My GP recommended ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… And it’s all Small Stuff’, a pocket-sized self-help book. On first thought, I felt this was somewhat insensitive. I felt as though the title belittled the challenges I felt so consumed and overwhelmed by. Like they were small and not things to work myself up over.

Nevertheless, when you’re desperate, you’ll take whatever advice you can get, and he was a healthcare professional after all, so what did I have to lose? I took the recommendation, and I’m so glad I did! I recommend it to anyone who has ever felt unworthy or incapable. It acts as a reminder that you can overcome anything, and it’s so convenient to pick up and read a few pages here and there, whenever you may feel a dark thought clouding your mind.

The message here is: talk to people in confidence, as you never know where it could lead you. If you’ve spoken to a doctor previously and it hasn’t had the greatest outcome, don’t give up. Doctors are only humans and the advice they give can differ greatly regarding topics that don’t have a set-in-stone remedy. I had no idea I’d essentially be ‘prescribed’ a book, but it worked wonders! Since then, my interest in self-help books has increased greatly and I seek out a new one each month! I truly believe that one of the best remedies is finding something that comforts you whilst expanding your knowledge and understanding of anxiety.

Social anxiety can feel like a truly lonely battle. Immediate family and friends don’t always understand it or have experiences with it themselves, but this doesn’t mean that the billions of other people on this planet are equally as unaware. Some of the books I’ve read have felt like I’ve written them myself, the experiences directly mimicking my own, helping the worrying to subside and leaving me feeling totally comforted.

When immersed in a self-help book, I feel as though nothing else matters. I realise I have the ability to do things that I previously believed anxiety would hold me back from. They provide the encouragement that I need and lack from other aspects of my life. Finding this support is the most comforting thing, as I always know where to look for help. I no longer feel lost and alone, and if ever such feelings arise, I know exactly what to do. It’s empowering to see my exact thoughts and feelings printed on a page that millions have read- eye opening and comforting.

My favourite self-help books…

‘You can heal your life’ by Louise Hay

‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ by Susan Jeffers

‘The Power of now’ by Eckhart Tolle

…and more book recommendations from the team

‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ by Susan Cain

‘Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges’ by Amy Cuddy

I think it’s important to note that these are merely personal suggestions from my own experience. Different things work for different people. They may or may not help you in the same way they help me, but it doesn’t hurt to try! Its been six years since I first went to my GP and discovered the world of self-help. Still to this day I enjoy new self-help discoveries. I highly doubt I’ll ever stop recommending them as they really have changed my life for the better.

Which books have helped you the most? Please share your recommendations with our Quiet Community by commenting below.

What will you read next?

One thought on “How self-help books have helped me… and our top recommendations

  1. A Woman In Your Own Right by Anne Dickson was an enlightening and liberating read for me over 20years ago…and is still relevant in the work I do with vulnerable women

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