6 Books Anyone with Anxiety Should Read

If you’ve ever had any kind of anxiety, you’ve probably tried everything in your power to make it stop (or, at least, make it feel a little less overwhelming). One route you might not have considered? Reading—specifically, reading books that deal directly with what causes anxiety and how to manage it. Here are six of our go-to titles.  

This Weird Trick for Calming Anxiety Is Effective and Psychologist-Approved

jenny lawson you are here
cover: Flatiron Books; background: Liyao Xie/getty images

you Are Here: An Owner’s Manual For Dangerous Minds By Jenny Lawson

Part therapy, part humor and part coloring book, Lawson (who wrote the equally hilarious book Furiously Happy) draws on the tenets of art therapy to help readers cope with anxiety and general negative feelings. As in her previous books, Lawson is candid about her personal struggles, and in doing so makes the reader feel comfortable airing her own grievances (here, in the form of fill-in-the-blank lists and sometimes-irreverent drawings).

my age of anxiety scott stossel
cover: Vintage; background: Liyao Xie/getty images

my Age Of Anxiety: Fear, Hope Dread And The Search For Peace Of Mind By Scott Stossel

Drawing on his own long-standing battle with anxiety, Stossel’s book is an intimate history of efforts by scientists, philosophers and writers to understand anxiety. He also describes the countless psychotherapies, medications and sometimes kooky treatments that have been developed to relieve it, combining science and personal experience in a way that’s easy to read and hugely relatable.

the lifechanging magic of not giving a fck sarah knight
cover: Little, Brown and Company; background: Liyao Xie/getty images

the Life-changing Magic Of Not Giving A F*ck By Sarah Knight

Riffing on the title of Marie Kondo’s smash-hit The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Knight’s book is all about the art of caring less and getting more. She hilariously lays out rules for ridding yourself of unwanted obligations without feeling guilty, steps for decluttering your mind and tips for channeling your energy toward things that actually matter. The New York Times Book Review called it “the self-help equivalent of a Weird Al parody song,” and we couldn’t agree more.

declutter your mind sj scott barrie davenport
cover: CreateSpace; background: Liyao Xie/getty images

declutter Your Mind By S.j. Scott And Barrie Davenport

This one is more of a traditional self-help book, and sometimes that’s what you need. Declutter Your Mind aims to “teach you the habits, actions, and mindsets to clean up the mental clutter that's holding you back from living a meaningful life.” How? By explaining what causes mental clutter, providing strategies to reframe negative thoughts and guides to meditation and deep breathing.

year of yes shonda rhimes
cover: Simon & Schuster; background: Liyao Xie/getty images

year Of Yes By Shonda Rhimes

It’s an undisputable fact that Shonda Rhimes is an absolute badass. In addition to creating, writing and producing Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and producing How to Get Away with Murder, Rhimes is the best-selling author of an incredible memoir jam-packed with life advice. While poignantly and humorously chronicling her childhood and rise to success, Rhimes dishes out tips for achieving your goals (especially if you, like her, are an introvert). Let’s face it: It’s Shondaland, and we’re just living in it—happily.

the highly sensitive person elaine aron
cover: Broadway Books; background: Liyao Xie/getty images

the Highly Sensitive Person By Elaine N. Aron, Phd

According to a study published in the journal Brain and Behavior, 20 percent of the population is considered highly sensitive, or biologically wired to be more sensitive and responsive to the world around them. Highly sensitive people (HSPs) are often more prone to anxiety. In this book, Dr. Aron, a psychotherapist and highly sensitive person herself, shows you how to identify this trait in yourself and make the most of it in everyday situations.  

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...