“Rewire Your Anxious Brain” by Catherine M. Pittman is a self-help book that provides practical strategies for managing anxiety by changing the way we think and react to stressful situations. The book draws on the latest research from neuroscience and cognitive-behavioral therapy to help readers understand the underlying causes of anxiety and provides practical techniques for retraining the brain to respond more calmly and effectively to stress.
Part One: Understanding Anxiety
The first part of the book provides an overview of anxiety and its effects on the brain and body. The author explains that anxiety is a normal response to stress but can become problematic when it interferes with daily functioning. The chapter covers the different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. The author describes the symptoms of each disorder and the factors that contribute to their development. She also discusses the brain mechanisms involved in anxiety, including the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex.
Part Two: Rewiring Your Anxious Brain
The second part of the book offers practical strategies for retraining the brain to respond more calmly to stress. The author explains that the brain can be retrained to develop new, healthier habits through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The chapter covers the principles of CBT and how they can be applied to anxiety management. The author provides exercises and worksheets to help readers identify and challenge negative thought patterns, reframe their perceptions of anxiety, and develop coping strategies.
Chapter 4: Mindfulness
Chapter four explores the role of mindfulness in anxiety management. The author explains that mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. She describes the benefits of mindfulness for reducing anxiety and provides tips for practicing mindfulness in daily life. The chapter includes guided meditations and breathing exercises to help readers develop a mindfulness practice.
Chapter 5: Relaxation Techniques
Chapter five covers relaxation techniques that can help reduce anxiety. The author describes the benefits of deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization, and provides step-by-step instructions for practicing each technique. The chapter also includes audio recordings of guided relaxation exercises.
Chapter 6: Lifestyle Changes
Chapter six examines the impact of lifestyle factors on anxiety, including exercise, diet, and sleep. The author explains that regular exercise can help reduce anxiety by releasing endorphins and improving mood. She also provides tips for eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep to support overall well-being.
Chapter 7: Exposure Therapy
Chapter seven introduces exposure therapy, a CBT technique used to treat anxiety disorders. The author explains that exposure therapy involves gradually exposing oneself to feared situations in a safe and controlled manner. She provides guidelines for implementing exposure therapy and includes worksheets to help readers plan their exposure exercises.
Part Three: Putting It All Together
The final part of the book provides guidance for putting the strategies covered in the book into practice. The author offers tips for maintaining motivation, tracking progress, and building a support system. She also provides guidance for evaluating the effectiveness of the strategies and making adjustments as needed.
Overall, “Rewire Your Anxious Brain” is an informative and practical guide to managing anxiety. The book provides a comprehensive overview of the different types of anxiety disorders and the brain mechanisms involved in anxiety. It also offers a range of evidence-based strategies for retraining the brain to respond more calmly and effectively to stress, including CBT techniques, mindfulness, relaxation, lifestyle changes, and exposure therapy. By drawing on the latest research from neuroscience and CBT, the author offers a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to managing anxiety that can help readers achieve a more balanced and fulfilling life.
About the Author –
Catherine M. Pittman, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and associate professor at Saint Mary’s College. She’s a member of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), and offers seminars and workshops on anxiety and stress.
Elizabeth M. Karle, MLIS, is a librarian and researcher at Saint Mary’s College and the author of Hosting a Library Mystery. She provided research and her personal experience with anxiety for Rewire Your Anxious Brain.