Paula’s phone vibrates. She checks her text messages to find an invitation to a colleagues party. Sickness hits her stomach. The thought of it fills her with horror. As she imagines trying to make conversation with strangers, without stumbling or saying the wrong thing, her chest pounds and her legs feel weak. She flashes back to the last party she went to. It makes her sweat to think of it. All those people and her lost in a corner, feeling inadequate, flushing beetroot red whenever someone spoke to her. She can’t go through that again. She needs to find a way to get out of it. She puts shaking fingers to the screen. Composes a message saying how sorry she is but she can’t make it – she has another engagement. She puts her phone down. Her heart quiets, the trembling stops, the panic eases. She’s dodged another bullet.
It’s hard to imagine the anguish which someone goes through when they are painfully shy, or struggling with anxiety around social situations, unless you have been through it. It’s debilitating and can seriously affect your quality of life. Avoidance often seems the only way to cope with the horrendous feelings anxiety brings you. So Paula copes by avoiding the situations which make her anxious. But before she knows it, she starts struggling to attend smaller gatherings. Even struggling to go out for meals with her family. She didn’t realise that her anxiety, if left unchallenged, and unchecked, would grow even bigger and affect more of her life.
Anxiety is one of the most pressing issues of our time, causing untold suffering. If you’ve experienced something like Paula’s situation, or anxiety of any kind around different issues, then Overcoming Social Anxiety & Shyness will be a great help to you.
Following on from his previous book, Overcome Anxiety, Dr Matt Lewis, a former lecturer in the areas of psychology and mental health, offers us a comprehensive toolkit for tackling social anxiety. He offers us a four pronged approach. He looks at how anxiety develops, how to build towards change, how to manage the feelings which come with anxiety, and how to become confident in social situations. This is not a passive, quick fix book. You will need to take on some tasks to help yourself. At times, it will be uncomfortable tackling your anxiety. Dr Lewis knows all about this from personal experience. And because of his own experiences you couldn’t be in better hands. Warmth and understanding appear on every page. You will no longer feel you struggle alone. You will also have explanations for how you are feeling – he offers a fascinating glimpse into the science behind how anxiety develops and what is happening in the brain. The heart of the book is the range of specific strategies, using mindfulness and other techniques, to help you bring your anxiety under control.
Although the focus is on shyness and social anxiety, this book will be useful for anyone suffering from any kind of anxiety. Anxiety can suck the joy from your life and also heavily affect those around you. Friends and family looking on can feel helpless to do anything for you, their words useless. Overcoming Social Anxiety & Shyness is a powerful, compelling read for those struggling with anxiety who want to change their lives for the better.
If you’d like to know more about the work Dr Matt Lewis is doing around anxiety and managing your mind, including the short online course he offers to help individuals tackle their anxiety, you can find details at his website – here.
According to world expert Nathaniel Brandon, self-esteem is:
It’s so vital because how we value and view ourselves – our self-esteem – is fundamental to how we live our lives. The level of our self-esteem directly impacts on our happiness and the joy and success we achieve (or don’t achieve) in our lives. And our self-esteem affects not just our own happiness but the happiness of all those around us.
There are many excellent books out there on self-esteem – a particular favourite of mine is Melanie Fennel’s Overcoming Low Self Esteem – but Branden’s Six Pillars is a deep and definitive work on this subject.
The first few pages offer immediate support and understanding for the effects of low self-esteem. Branden explains, with excellent stories, how our self-esteem manifests within our lives: at home, at work, in relationships – in every part of our world. This book – first published in the 1990s – is still one of the most important explanations of self-esteem and the most comprehensive attempt to explain how we can make personal changes and influence our own self-esteem.
Do you struggle with how you see youself, sabotage your life, and feel unworthy of success, love, or other good things? Do you find it hard to value what you have to offer to those close to you? Do you often feel insignificant, plagued by doubt and have bad feelings about yourself? If any of these things touch a chord, then I believe this book will be a great resource for you.
If you could offer someone just one piece of advice, which you’ve learned over your lifetime, what would it be? This book is full of interesting anecdotes and insights into what some very high profile people have learned and the wisdom they have to offer. From Presidents to sports stars, from Hollywood greats to political activists, Richard Reid has collected together their most valuable advice.
Following on from her hugely successful and excellent Sane New World: Taming The Mind, Ruby Wax’s new book is essentially championing Mindfulness practice. And she does this brilliantly. She brings us a 6 week course in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MCBT) – which has been researched and proven to be effective for many mental health problems – to help us develop a mindfulness practice which could benefit us.
We hear so much about Mindfulness, which is essentially the art of paying attention, it can be hard to know which book to choose.
This is thoroughly researched, Ruby herself has a Masters degree in MCBT which stands out among the many mindfulness books which are available.
The Danish know a lot about happiness. They are in the top ten countries on the worldwide happiness list. They study happiness. In the words of the author Meik Wiking,
The word ‘HYGGE’ originates from a Norwegian word meaning ‘wellbeing.’ We struggle to find a direct translation for the word in English but it encompasses so many things which we know to be vital to our wellbeing and happiness. Meik Wiking shares these with us in a beautifully presented book, which is a joy to open and look at. I feel HYGGE just looking at the pages! He reminds us, or helps us see, the things which can make us truly happy. Here are a few of those things:
This is just a quick post to mention the latest research on the value of nature for our physical and mental health. The research shows that getting out into nature can positively affect our immune system – among others things – and protect us from a number of different diseases, such as: depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, ADHD and more. The research reminded me of my own article, Life In The Fast Lane: Do You Take Time To Stand And Stare? Here is a quote from it:
It’s great to see more research – pulling together the academic work already available – which further confirms the value of getting out into nature, and the benefits of doing this for our health.
You’ll find my article – Life In The Fast Lane – on page 41 of your free ebook resource. (If you don’t have a copy of the free ebook yet, please sign-up below.)
Here is a useful summary of Kuo’s research.
And you’ll find a link to Ming Kuo’s original research article here.
That’s it – I did say it would be a short post!
Those who have experienced trauma often need a great deal of help to cope with it. Thankfully, the understanding of trauma, and how we need to deal with it, has expanded greatly over the last few years. We now know that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can follow any trauma that a person experiences – directly or indirectly. It could be an assault, rape, a terrifying house burglary, or it could be watching or dealing with others experiencing trauma. We know that many paramedics, or first responders to scenes of accidents and crimes, often suffer from PTSD. There is a greater understanding now around soldiers who see and experience horrific things and struggle to cope with this. There are the ongoing traumatic effects of living in war ravaged countries and people experience acute stress following natural disasters. These are just a few areas where trauma occurs. The number of people who experience trauma is wide and its effects are life-changing.
Let’s take a brief look at the symptoms of PTSD and how Glenn Schiraldi’s The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook – A Guide to Healing, Recovery, and Growth, can help.
The symptoms experienced because of PTSD are varied and frightening. Nightmares; depression; mood changes; profound sadness; acute anxiety; avoidance of activities, things and places; feelings of dissociation; anger; sexual problems and much more. A person is often overtaken by their PTSD and their life is unrecognisable from before the traumatic event. Life can feel desperately unmanageable.
Those who have experienced trauma, and are trying their best to deal with it, need help, compassion and understanding. People also need access to appropriate therapies which are now known to help their recovery. It’s often hard to get access to these services, or the wait for help can seem endless. This is where Schiraldi’s book can be a valuable asset.
His tone is warm and gentle as he looks at the crucial area of managing the distressing symptoms which occur with PTSD. He explores the various treatments which can help and he offers guidance to embark on some of these things ourselves. He looks unflinchingly at the grief and loss which occurs and the effect trauma has on a person’s self-esteem, how soul-shattering it all can be. But he also looks at how to rebuild such a troubled mind.
It’s an ambitious book – just recently updated in 2016 with all of the latest research. It holds a wealth of knowledge and insight. This is one of the best books I have encountered in its comprehensive look at coping with the aftermath of traumatic events.
In Glenn Schiraldi’s words: “If you are a survivor, the book will involve you in your own healing and help you take control of your recovery process.”
If you are experiencing the effects of trauma and need some extra support, I think this book could be helpful for you. It could also be useful for those family members around you who are struggling to deal with the changes trauma has brought into their lives too.
If you are reading this and are experiencing the aftermath of trauma, I wish you courage and strength for your own recovery.