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Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind

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A step-by-step plan clinically proven to break the cycle of worry and fear that drives anxiety and addictive habits We are living through one of the most anxious periods any of us can remember. Whether facing issues as public as a pandemic or as personal as having kids at home and fighting the urge to reach for the wine bottle every night, we are feeling overwhelmed and out A step-by-step plan clinically proven to break the cycle of worry and fear that drives anxiety and addictive habits We are living through one of the most anxious periods any of us can remember. Whether facing issues as public as a pandemic or as personal as having kids at home and fighting the urge to reach for the wine bottle every night, we are feeling overwhelmed and out of control. But in this timely book, Judson Brewer explains how to uproot anxiety at its source using brain-based techniques and small hacks accessible to anyone. We think of anxiety as everything from mild unease to full-blown panic. But it's also what drives the addictive behaviors and bad habits we use to cope (e.g. stress eating, procrastination, doom scrolling and social media). Plus, anxiety lives in a part of the brain that resists rational thought. So we get stuck in anxiety habit loops that we can't think our way out of or use willpower to overcome. Dr. Brewer teaches us map our brains to discover our triggers, defuse them with the simple but powerful practice of curiosity, and to train our brains using mindfulness and other practices that his lab has proven can work. Distilling more than 20 years of research and hands-on work with thousands of patients, including Olympic athletes and coaches, and leaders in government and business, Dr. Brewer has created a clear, solution-oriented program that anyone can use to feel better - no matter how anxious they feel.


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A step-by-step plan clinically proven to break the cycle of worry and fear that drives anxiety and addictive habits We are living through one of the most anxious periods any of us can remember. Whether facing issues as public as a pandemic or as personal as having kids at home and fighting the urge to reach for the wine bottle every night, we are feeling overwhelmed and out A step-by-step plan clinically proven to break the cycle of worry and fear that drives anxiety and addictive habits We are living through one of the most anxious periods any of us can remember. Whether facing issues as public as a pandemic or as personal as having kids at home and fighting the urge to reach for the wine bottle every night, we are feeling overwhelmed and out of control. But in this timely book, Judson Brewer explains how to uproot anxiety at its source using brain-based techniques and small hacks accessible to anyone. We think of anxiety as everything from mild unease to full-blown panic. But it's also what drives the addictive behaviors and bad habits we use to cope (e.g. stress eating, procrastination, doom scrolling and social media). Plus, anxiety lives in a part of the brain that resists rational thought. So we get stuck in anxiety habit loops that we can't think our way out of or use willpower to overcome. Dr. Brewer teaches us map our brains to discover our triggers, defuse them with the simple but powerful practice of curiosity, and to train our brains using mindfulness and other practices that his lab has proven can work. Distilling more than 20 years of research and hands-on work with thousands of patients, including Olympic athletes and coaches, and leaders in government and business, Dr. Brewer has created a clear, solution-oriented program that anyone can use to feel better - no matter how anxious they feel.

30 review for Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gary Anderson

    Psychiatrist Judson Brewer says anxiety is a habit, and habits can be broken and replaced by other habits. Brewer explains how to practice habits of mindfulness, curiosity, and kindness to “unwind” anxiety.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Deeply disappointed by the final chapter. While I am sure it was personally enjoyable to the author to inject his political affiliation into the book and implicitly claim moral high ground for his "side" (because all kindness obviously resides on that side) and I am equally sure he gained feel-good pack bonding from doing so, he has damaged his opportunity to bridge the divide with information which should be free of such self gratification and implied superiority in order to reach the widest po Deeply disappointed by the final chapter. While I am sure it was personally enjoyable to the author to inject his political affiliation into the book and implicitly claim moral high ground for his "side" (because all kindness obviously resides on that side) and I am equally sure he gained feel-good pack bonding from doing so, he has damaged his opportunity to bridge the divide with information which should be free of such self gratification and implied superiority in order to reach the widest possible audience. I went from intrigued with the intent of going back through the book to mine out steps and processes that I did not retain on the first pass to feeling icked all over from being dragged back into the politicized quagmire of judgmental tribalism we are subjected to 24 hours a day 365 days a year. The final chapter is self-serving virtue signaling that is not compatible with the kindness that the author is promoting. It is not compatible with shedding tribalism which the author decries. It is not compatible with seeing people as people rather than as the "other," as "extremists." There is actually such a thing as an extremist out there and we are far too absorbed in hating people who like red-blue purple because we like blue-red purple to be able to identify the real extremists. I strongly suggest not reading past the header "Taking Extremism to the Extreme" in chapter 23. We don't need another burden of duty to be "kindness extremists" with people we don't agree with; we need to do the internal work of being okay with the fact that others don't agree with us. To use the parlance of the book, we need to stop rewarding the habit of tribalism evidenced in this very book. What do we get from tribalism? How about we get curious about what the other side thinks? How about we get curious about the real effects of virtue signaling? When we have done this work and learn that it is okay for people to hold opinions that we don't hold, that we do not need to jump up and down shouting our values so that we are not *gasp* possibly confused with the other side (which would obviously ruin our lives), and that kindness can look like many different things, then we will be able to identify the real extremists among us. They will be far fewer than we think right now and instead of a burden, a duty of kindness, kindness will already have bloomed, because after all, as the author notes, it's much more rewarding than meanness. I can recommend the other 22.5 chapters of the book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Boissonneault

    Anxiety disorders represent the most common group of mental disorders in the US, affecting tens of millions of individuals each year. Since anxiety is so common, and since most of us struggle with it at least in some capacity, virtually everyone can benefit from learning what the latest research tells us about its effective management. In Unwinding Anxiety, Dr. Brewer distills 20 years of research and practice in treating anxiety and addiction into a single volume, providing a simple (but not ne Anxiety disorders represent the most common group of mental disorders in the US, affecting tens of millions of individuals each year. Since anxiety is so common, and since most of us struggle with it at least in some capacity, virtually everyone can benefit from learning what the latest research tells us about its effective management. In Unwinding Anxiety, Dr. Brewer distills 20 years of research and practice in treating anxiety and addiction into a single volume, providing a simple (but not necessarily easy) three-step process for managing anxiety by leveraging the natural learning mechanisms of the brain. The key insight here is the connection between anxiety and habits, and the fact that many of us self-treat our own anxiety by creating habitual behaviors, most of which are detrimental to our health (smoking, drinking, overeating, etc.). The treatment regimen Dr. Brewer recommends for his patients—and that is presented in this book—helps to identify these habit loops and replace them with healthier ones. As the reader will discover, the practice of mindfulness (of which meditation is only one component)—and the ability to face the situations that cause our anxiety with openness and curiosity—is key to anxiety’s effective management. More than just a manual for treating anxiety, this book presents a clear summary of the science behind anxiety and a roadmap to use your brain’s natural reward-based learning mechanisms to break any undesirable habits. Check out my article How to Manage Anxiety by Leveraging the Brain’s Natural Learning Process for an in-depth summary of the key lessons of the book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Robert Buckmaster

    Life changing This book has changed my life. Before I struggled to practise mindfulness throughout the day and had trouble focusing. I fell victim to brain fog. This book has shown me the way to manage, even soothe anxiety. It's not as hard as I thought. I have so much more energy, more joy and more lucid thinking. His explanation is simple. The premise is that anxiety is reinforced in habits and behaviours. His solution is roughly as follows: 1. Map your anxiety - that is, figure out what the tri Life changing This book has changed my life. Before I struggled to practise mindfulness throughout the day and had trouble focusing. I fell victim to brain fog. This book has shown me the way to manage, even soothe anxiety. It's not as hard as I thought. I have so much more energy, more joy and more lucid thinking. His explanation is simple. The premise is that anxiety is reinforced in habits and behaviours. His solution is roughly as follows: 1. Map your anxiety - that is, figure out what the trigger is, how you react and what the result is. 2. Shift through three gears so as to detach from the anxiety and not fall into the habitual behaviours. Gear one is awareness of the habit loop; gears two is noticing how it feels in your body; and gear three is curiosity. In other words, he recommends ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy). This works through reward-based learning. Once you become aware of your anxious behaviours, notice how they feel in the moment and become curious, your brain gradually updates how to respond to certain situations, with the result you become less anxious. It is a one-step-at-a-time and be-in-the-moment approach. Anyway, it's worth a look. The worst that can happen is you read 260 pages and decide you would rather try something else. This approach is, however, backed up by science, as the author, a psychiatrist, is at pains to point out during the book. For full disclosure, I also practise a healthy diet, try to get good sleep, do meditation, manage stress and exercise. The knowledge from this book is nonetheless invaluable, especially for the anxiety-prone such as me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris Boutté

    When I got sober in 2012, I still had massive amounts of anxiety and depression. Once I discovered mindfulness, it changed my life, but I wanted to learn more about the science. Years ago, I came across Dr. Judson Brewer's work, and not only is he a neuroscientist who studies how mindfulness affects the brain, but he's also experienced in addiction treatment. Through evidence-based methods, Jud's work has helped me tremendously, and that's why I started using his Unwinding Anxiety app when it wa When I got sober in 2012, I still had massive amounts of anxiety and depression. Once I discovered mindfulness, it changed my life, but I wanted to learn more about the science. Years ago, I came across Dr. Judson Brewer's work, and not only is he a neuroscientist who studies how mindfulness affects the brain, but he's also experienced in addiction treatment. Through evidence-based methods, Jud's work has helped me tremendously, and that's why I started using his Unwinding Anxiety app when it was still in the beta. I've been waiting for months for this book, and it didn't disappoint. Jud breaks down how anxiety works and how we get into terrible habits that perpetuate anxiety. Without even realizing it, we're making our anxiety worse, but there are simple ways to become more mindfully aware and begin managing it in a much better way. Jud's mindfulness methods have taught me to work with my anxiety and not run from it through practices like R.A.I.N., and it's a life saver. While there is some repeat information from his first book The Craving Mind, it was great to have a refresher to better understand the teachings of this book. I may be a little bias because I've had the honor and the pleasure of speaking with Jud on many occasions and even interviewing him for my YouTube channel. But to date, he's one of the kindest guys I've ever met who is passionate about helping others. So, if you're struggling with anxiety, do yourself a favor and get this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emilie22

    I found many parts of this book insightful and helpful (and dare I even say enjoyable, thanks to Brewer’s self deprecating humor?). He frames the book by starting off with different examples and levels of anxiety, illustrating what a common and widespread issue this is. The rest of the book is divided into 3 sections: how does your brain work/why fear on some level is “good,” how your brain makes decisions and then lastly, how to update your reward system with a bigger, better offer. Here are som I found many parts of this book insightful and helpful (and dare I even say enjoyable, thanks to Brewer’s self deprecating humor?). He frames the book by starting off with different examples and levels of anxiety, illustrating what a common and widespread issue this is. The rest of the book is divided into 3 sections: how does your brain work/why fear on some level is “good,” how your brain makes decisions and then lastly, how to update your reward system with a bigger, better offer. Here are some of the one liners that I found interesting: -Mindfulness is not about stopping, emptying, or ridding ourselves of anything...mindfulness is about changing our relationship to those thoughts and emotions. -Attitude is everything. Trigger: start to struggle, Behavior: think it will suck (e.g. fixed mindset), Result: increased likelihood of it sucking. -It doesn’t alter what triggers worry or anxiety, but it does matter how you react to it...”why” doesn’t matter. Lastly, I really appreciated his explanation of the book dedication. As for the criticism, it’s pretty universal with “these types” of books. Depending on how many books you read on the topic, this could come across as too “basic” or over simplified.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I think this may be the only self help book you ever read need to read. This book provides helpful information on why our brains create anxiety and practical guidance for how we can manage and reduce that. If you’ve also got a negative habit, such a smoking, comfort eating or procrastinating (my big one) then it can also help you to kick those habits and lead a happier life. You won’t read the 268 pages and be instantly cured of anxiety or a bad habit but you will be better equipped to start the p I think this may be the only self help book you ever read need to read. This book provides helpful information on why our brains create anxiety and practical guidance for how we can manage and reduce that. If you’ve also got a negative habit, such a smoking, comfort eating or procrastinating (my big one) then it can also help you to kick those habits and lead a happier life. You won’t read the 268 pages and be instantly cured of anxiety or a bad habit but you will be better equipped to start the process of reducing them. As the author is a scientist he has tried and tested the techniques in studies before writing the book. I’ve been practising some of the techniques whilst reading the book and it has certainly helped me to step out of my thoughts more quickly and to think about what triggers my negative behaviours and how if I want to get better results I need to change my reactions. I’d highly recommend reading this book and trying out some of the techniques. My husband, who only reads a couple of books per year, has now started to read it. A big thank you to @bookpublicist for gifting me this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I sure have noticed that the very air seems to crackle with anxiety. It seems to be the result of certain human characteristics coming to the fore. Like self-centeredness, like in-groups vs. out-groups, like judging, like fear of other. This book comes during this time as an antidote...first helping to see the thoughts that I think that contribute to anxiety, and also seeing why I continue to choose those thoughts. Then, I am taught to "map" those times, so I can determine the "reward" that come I sure have noticed that the very air seems to crackle with anxiety. It seems to be the result of certain human characteristics coming to the fore. Like self-centeredness, like in-groups vs. out-groups, like judging, like fear of other. This book comes during this time as an antidote...first helping to see the thoughts that I think that contribute to anxiety, and also seeing why I continue to choose those thoughts. Then, I am taught to "map" those times, so I can determine the "reward" that comes (or doesn't) from the behavior I do when a trigger happens. Next, I'm taught to do something different when a trigger happens, and see what kind of reward that something different offers. If I experiment and am honest, then I might find a "BBO" or Bigger Better Offer, than the measly reward my unskillful behavior gave me in the past. It's like Einstein said: I can't change anything when I respond in the same way to the stimulus. That is insanity, and also the way we humans most commonly react.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Denver Public Library

    I have people in my life who are anxious—about school, work, business, you name it! Being the non-anxious type, I picked this up to help me understand what anxiety-ridden friends and family are going through, what triggers it, what they can do for themselves, and how I can help. The author, Judson Brewer, is an addiction psychiatrist and neuroscientist with a 2016 TED Talk, “A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit,” with 16 millions views to his credit. Brewer presents a four-part approach, beginning I have people in my life who are anxious—about school, work, business, you name it! Being the non-anxious type, I picked this up to help me understand what anxiety-ridden friends and family are going through, what triggers it, what they can do for themselves, and how I can help. The author, Judson Brewer, is an addiction psychiatrist and neuroscientist with a 2016 TED Talk, “A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit,” with 16 millions views to his credit. Brewer presents a four-part approach, beginning with understanding your mind, then moving through 1st-3rd “gear” approach. One bit of advice from 2nd gear that I found especially pointed, and useful—“Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become actions. Watch your actions. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Watch your character. It becomes your destiny.” Brewer also intertwines the story of Dave, as he works through the gears to find ways to control his anxiety, which helps readers identify with the struggle, and eventual success. Includes notes and index.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    If you’ve read The Craving Mind or used any of Brewer’s apps, you will find this book to be a meandering, rambling regurgitation of those resources. It feels like he copied and pasted the transcripts from the videos in his apps and expanded them into chapters. Also, if you’ve ever spent any time in meditation or other mindfulness practices, you will find the contents of this book incredibly dull, elementary, and redundant. It also reads like an autobiographical commercial. Worst of all, Brewer d If you’ve read The Craving Mind or used any of Brewer’s apps, you will find this book to be a meandering, rambling regurgitation of those resources. It feels like he copied and pasted the transcripts from the videos in his apps and expanded them into chapters. Also, if you’ve ever spent any time in meditation or other mindfulness practices, you will find the contents of this book incredibly dull, elementary, and redundant. It also reads like an autobiographical commercial. Worst of all, Brewer doesn’t explain how to “unwind anxiety.” The book talks more about breaking habit loops, and gives a minor nod to anxiety as a type of habit loop. Another nuisance of this book is the use of profanity—that really knocked Brewer’s credibility down a few notches for me. It’s a shame this book was so disappointing and poorly written because the ideas have so much potential and science to back them up.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Janna

    Just say no to #AnalysisParalysis At the end of Unwinding Anxiety, addiction psychiatrist and neuroscientist Judson Brewer reveals he was inspired to dedicate this book to an Amazon reviewer who accused him of intentionally withholding information in Judson’s first book, The Craving Mind. Apparently it didn’t live up to its subtitle of explaining HOW we can break bad habits. I haven’t read that book, but I appreciate Brewer’s motivation to make things right by explaining the HOW in Unwinding Anxi Just say no to #AnalysisParalysis At the end of Unwinding Anxiety, addiction psychiatrist and neuroscientist Judson Brewer reveals he was inspired to dedicate this book to an Amazon reviewer who accused him of intentionally withholding information in Judson’s first book, The Craving Mind. Apparently it didn’t live up to its subtitle of explaining HOW we can break bad habits. I haven’t read that book, but I appreciate Brewer’s motivation to make things right by explaining the HOW in Unwinding Anxiety. After listening to Unwinding Anxiety, I have a much more concrete understanding of how habits form in my life, but more importantly, how I can break those habits for good by applying my curiosity and kindness in very practical ways. Listen to my audiobook review on the Audiobook Reviews in Five Minutes podcast: https://podcast.jannastam.com/episode...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vince

    I rarely read self-help books since, for the most part, they are not all that helpful. Unwinding Anxiety is one of the rare exceptions. Dr. Jud Brewer does a terrific job of explaining the science behind anxiety and addiction as well as providing simple prescriptive measures to help break those pesky habit loops. The science is written in a manner and style that allow a reader with no science background to readily grasp the psychological and physiological concepts he's imparting. His approach to I rarely read self-help books since, for the most part, they are not all that helpful. Unwinding Anxiety is one of the rare exceptions. Dr. Jud Brewer does a terrific job of explaining the science behind anxiety and addiction as well as providing simple prescriptive measures to help break those pesky habit loops. The science is written in a manner and style that allow a reader with no science background to readily grasp the psychological and physiological concepts he's imparting. His approach to both problem and solution logically flows. I really appreciate that the mindfulness techniques Dr. Jud outlines are very basic and can be easily done by anyone anywhere. Practice thus requires less effort and less time. Unwinding Anxiety no doubt deserves another star but we'll revisit that when I've had more time to invest in the work of rewiring my own habit loops.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    I found a lot of helpful tools with this work. I listened to the audiobook but I plN to checkout a physical copy so that I can take notes and work through the activities. For anyone that's looking to understand themselves more, not just temporary hacks but working on long term solutions to resolve and understand how/why we may do the things we do knowing the adverse effects, this book is for you. So many of us work with our anxiety that we've learned to call it something else. That we might not I found a lot of helpful tools with this work. I listened to the audiobook but I plN to checkout a physical copy so that I can take notes and work through the activities. For anyone that's looking to understand themselves more, not just temporary hacks but working on long term solutions to resolve and understand how/why we may do the things we do knowing the adverse effects, this book is for you. So many of us work with our anxiety that we've learned to call it something else. That we might not even pay attention to us as long as it serving us. It's only when it begins becoming problematic that it may register on our radar. I think many people who read this will walk away with some homework. And if all you do is become just a tiny bit more mindful after reading, that's progress.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bret

    This one has me torn. While I only rate it a 2/5, it has a ton of useful and interesting information. I'd probably recommend it to others as a result of all that info. I think I rated it 2/5 based on his writing style, which I found to be a bit distracting. I feel his editors did him a disservice. Example: he should use his own advice to break his addiction to parenthesis usage (which, more often than not, are not useful and tend to distract the reader). His writing is more blog-ish than book-ish This one has me torn. While I only rate it a 2/5, it has a ton of useful and interesting information. I'd probably recommend it to others as a result of all that info. I think I rated it 2/5 based on his writing style, which I found to be a bit distracting. I feel his editors did him a disservice. Example: he should use his own advice to break his addiction to parenthesis usage (which, more often than not, are not useful and tend to distract the reader). His writing is more blog-ish than book-ish, if that makes sense to anyone other than myself. The author seems like he would be a cool therapist to have, though. He seems to have effective ways to manage anxiety, all of which he has tried on himself. I can respect that.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Self-help books tend to fall into the "braggy" category for me sometimes and this one is no different. The author had to mention that his writings were submitted with "very little edits" just so we know how brilliant he is without needing to be edited. Regardless, the teachings and methods depicted in this book appear to have merit and I plan to try to implement them in my life. I listened to this as an audiobook, but while listening I ordered myself a physical copy so that I can refer back to th Self-help books tend to fall into the "braggy" category for me sometimes and this one is no different. The author had to mention that his writings were submitted with "very little edits" just so we know how brilliant he is without needing to be edited. Regardless, the teachings and methods depicted in this book appear to have merit and I plan to try to implement them in my life. I listened to this as an audiobook, but while listening I ordered myself a physical copy so that I can refer back to the methods when I need a refresher. A lot of the trainings will take a lot of practice and hard work, but the author repeatedly states that working at it and practicing it will make it easier and easier. I look forward to implementing some of the tactics and hopefully getting a handle on my anxiety!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Z

    This was actually a lot more about addiction than anxiety, so not what I was looking for. The author might argue that anxiety is addiction, but eh. I also was not taken with the technique of curiously examining your feelings when you're feeling anxious...I can pretty well describe what I'm feeling, particularly physically, but that doesn't help me. The author would likely argue that I'm not going far enough, but again, eh. I can see this working for some people, but I didn't find it useful. Also This was actually a lot more about addiction than anxiety, so not what I was looking for. The author might argue that anxiety is addiction, but eh. I also was not taken with the technique of curiously examining your feelings when you're feeling anxious...I can pretty well describe what I'm feeling, particularly physically, but that doesn't help me. The author would likely argue that I'm not going far enough, but again, eh. I can see this working for some people, but I didn't find it useful. Also, be prepared to learn more about smoking/alcoholism/binge eating and maybe procrastination than anxiety.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Donovan Crew

    For me this book could just as accurately be called Unwinding Boredom, since it's about becoming aware of any unrewarding habit, discarding it and finding a better way to live. In particular, this author has finally explained what mindfulness is good for in a language I could understand. Perhaps I just wasn't paying attention - but the author put together ideas that I hadn't considered before - such as how thinking about being curious and kind is no substitute for feeling curious and kind - and For me this book could just as accurately be called Unwinding Boredom, since it's about becoming aware of any unrewarding habit, discarding it and finding a better way to live. In particular, this author has finally explained what mindfulness is good for in a language I could understand. Perhaps I just wasn't paying attention - but the author put together ideas that I hadn't considered before - such as how thinking about being curious and kind is no substitute for feeling curious and kind - and how experiencing of those feelings can reset our notion of what is rewarding and what isn't. I can't recommend this book strongly enough - it was a brain-opener!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Todd Aldrich

    Key insights for me were: 1) everyone suffers from anxiety because we all have unhealthy habits which arise as a stress response to anxiety, which is basically fear of an uncertain future; 2) we have habitual “loops” - trigger, response, and result (reward); 3) mapping our habit loops helps make us mindful of them; 4) if we update our reward values using mindfulness and curiosity, we can replace old with new healthier habits; 5) Will Power Isn’t enough or reliable; 6) use meditation as mindfulne Key insights for me were: 1) everyone suffers from anxiety because we all have unhealthy habits which arise as a stress response to anxiety, which is basically fear of an uncertain future; 2) we have habitual “loops” - trigger, response, and result (reward); 3) mapping our habit loops helps make us mindful of them; 4) if we update our reward values using mindfulness and curiosity, we can replace old with new healthier habits; 5) Will Power Isn’t enough or reliable; 6) use meditation as mindfulness training for the mind; 7) think of the habit change as a BBO - Bigger, Better, Offer.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    If you have the faintest struggle with anxiety, worry, or addiction, now is the time to read this book. I’m in awe of the incredibly intelligible and clear way the author explains complex science and makes breaking habits so very accessible to anyone who wants to take a leap of evidence-based faith (read it an you’ll get it). This book was honestly a great blessing I stumbled upon and which empowered and encouraged me to make some very much needed changes. The mind is a powerful tool and yours w If you have the faintest struggle with anxiety, worry, or addiction, now is the time to read this book. I’m in awe of the incredibly intelligible and clear way the author explains complex science and makes breaking habits so very accessible to anyone who wants to take a leap of evidence-based faith (read it an you’ll get it). This book was honestly a great blessing I stumbled upon and which empowered and encouraged me to make some very much needed changes. The mind is a powerful tool and yours will be even sharper once you work through this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Helpful concepts: Three gears for breaking bad habits: First gear: Recognize your pattern of trigger, response, reward Second gear: Recognize how you feel in your body after the "reward", e.g. while smoking, overeating, worrying. Maybe it's not as pleasurable as you think. Third gear: replace the response with something healthier. Mindfulness, curiosity, etc And for mindfulness, RAIN when you have a negative thought pattern or craving: R Recognize the feeling A Awareness of acceptance of the thought/f Helpful concepts: Three gears for breaking bad habits: First gear: Recognize your pattern of trigger, response, reward Second gear: Recognize how you feel in your body after the "reward", e.g. while smoking, overeating, worrying. Maybe it's not as pleasurable as you think. Third gear: replace the response with something healthier. Mindfulness, curiosity, etc And for mindfulness, RAIN when you have a negative thought pattern or craving: R Recognize the feeling A Awareness of acceptance of the thought/feeling I Investigate how you are feeling N Note the feelings

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Malinova

    I think that the author really put a lot of effort into providing guidance in applying his principles for managing anxiety. I've never thought about anxiety as a habit, but after reading the book it made perfect sense. Identify the trigger, observe the behaviour and note the result. To break a certain habit, you need to approach each experience with curiosity. A lot of the techniques he explains are not new to people who are experienced in meditation and mindfulness, but nevertheless, I found th I think that the author really put a lot of effort into providing guidance in applying his principles for managing anxiety. I've never thought about anxiety as a habit, but after reading the book it made perfect sense. Identify the trigger, observe the behaviour and note the result. To break a certain habit, you need to approach each experience with curiosity. A lot of the techniques he explains are not new to people who are experienced in meditation and mindfulness, but nevertheless, I found the book to be very informative and the concepts were easy to grasp.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Magda Krakowiak

    A very well written book about tremendously important topic of anxiety. I would not call it a step-by-step guide, but I found many interesting insights there. The author does great job in explaining how mindfulness and essentially an awareness can help us manage our anxiety. He also greatly emphasizes that it takes time and practice to rewire our brains and create new habit loops, as often worrying is a habit itself. A highly recommended read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Nagle

    3.5 -not usually one for self-help books but this caught my eye when I saw it was available as an audiobook from my library -I found the science-based portions very accessible and easy to understand, while at the same time very interesting -some of his suggestions and ideas about types of anxieties and anxiety as a habit really resonated with me, and I think they will be helpful in the future!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Parker

    I'd give it two and a half stars if that was an option. Some interesting stuff but watered very thin. A bit more meat on the bones would have gone a long way to making it more compelling, but there's a sense that the author is keeping everything as broad as he can in order to cater to the widest possible audience. Veers into the hippy-drippy on occasion - if that sort of thing bothers you it might be best avoided. I'd give it two and a half stars if that was an option. Some interesting stuff but watered very thin. A bit more meat on the bones would have gone a long way to making it more compelling, but there's a sense that the author is keeping everything as broad as he can in order to cater to the widest possible audience. Veers into the hippy-drippy on occasion - if that sort of thing bothers you it might be best avoided.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Judy G

    Dr Brewer is MD and PhD. His specialties re neuroscience and Psychiatry. as a Psychiatrist he works w anxiety and addictions. i think he is at Brown Univ. he has a special research lab and he works w Mindfulness on his own for himself and w patients. this book is about his work and i think he is very successful and genuinely cares about helping his patients i was most interested in his work w anxiety and less interested in the addictions. judy g i

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    Did not finish - 40% - 2.5. Clickbait title. While Dr. Brewer’s research may be new, the science surely isn’t. Also, the author’s conversational tone was somewhat off-putting to this reader. There were frequent flips from trigger-behavior-result to trigger-behavior-reward which, coming from a behavioral background, was needlessly convoluted. I enjoyed some insights on habits and habit loops but agree with other reviewers that anxiety, the premise for the book, finds itself in a reduced role.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Some very useful insights and tips, especially if you haven't done too much reading on this subject yet. Brewer covers a lot of mindfulness techniques without the usual "woo" language that tends to accompany that sort of stuff. That said, the tone of the book put me off a bit - a little bit too blog-ish. If you also hate the word "hack", avoid this one. This book felt a bit like a long advertisement for his (rather expensive) app/subscription service anxiety program. Some very useful insights and tips, especially if you haven't done too much reading on this subject yet. Brewer covers a lot of mindfulness techniques without the usual "woo" language that tends to accompany that sort of stuff. That said, the tone of the book put me off a bit - a little bit too blog-ish. If you also hate the word "hack", avoid this one. This book felt a bit like a long advertisement for his (rather expensive) app/subscription service anxiety program.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karen E Carter

    For a book about anxiety, there’s not much that’s actually tailored to anxiety. There’s more about quitting smoking or overeating than anxiety. That being said, I think there’s a lot of useful information here and some practices that could work for a lot of different “problem areas” in my thinking. I’m excited to try things out.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nettie

    The title of this book is very misleading. While it does talk about anxiety, it really is about unwinding habits that don’t serve a positive purpose. I listened to this whole I walked but will now buy a copy to have on hand and will listen to it a second time because there was so much to unpack. The biggest lesson was how important mindfulness is to living a purposeful life.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megan Moir

    Excellent book that came into my life at just the right time. I love how the author “sciences the shit” out of anxiety and this removes its sense of power and bestows that power into your hands. If you struggle with anxiety (who doesn’t?!) then read this book and see yourself in its pages. Highly recommend this self help gem!

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