While managing anxiety all on your own can sometimes feel like a hopeless endeavor, anxiety workbooks can be effective resources for helping you get a handle on anxiety and panic.
Trouble is, there is no shortage of anxiety workbooks available, so how do you know which workbook is best for you?
By understanding the important differences between the countless workbooks for anxiety currently on the market, you can feel confident that you’re choosing the best workbook for you.
In this article, we’re going to look at one of the most important differences between workbooks for anxiety: the difference between evidence-based workbooks and workbooks that I sometimes call “wellness woo.”
If you’re looking for a workbook that draws on proven strategies for dealing with anxiety, I’m also going to share my top five recommendations for anxiety workbooks based on evidence-based practices.
(Note that this article contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you click through and make a purchase.)
Let’s dive in.
Can you benefit from using an anxiety workbook?
Just about anyone who experiences anxiety can benefit from using a workbook. In general, most workbooks are written for those who want to learn more about anxiety and develop tools for managing it more effectively.
If you’re already in therapy, an anxiety workbook can help supplement the work you’re currently doing with your therapist. Already completed therapy? A workbook can help you maintain or augment the work you did while in therapy. If your current situation prevents you from accessing therapy, or you simply prefer a self-guided approach, a workbook can also serve as an effective resource for doing meaningful self-work.
Regardless of the situation, of course, nearly all anxiety workbooks require a certain level of motivation to engage in exercises and activities designed to address your anxiety. If you’re someone who’s committed to making positive changes in your life and willing to make time to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, chances are you can benefit from utilizing an anxiety workbook.
What are wellness woo workbooks?
Many anxiety workbooks fall under the category of “wellness woo,” meaning they draw upon ideas and practices not supported by scientific research. Common examples of wellness woo include alternative therapies, such as crystal healing, tuning forks, aromatherapy, or energy healing, as well as various detox diets and cleanses.
While many people find wellness woo practices beneficial, it’s important to approach them with a critical eye—and to understand the differences between these practices and those backed by rigorous scientific research.
Zen as F*ck and Let That Sh*t Go by Monica Sweeny are two examples of workbooks that fall under the category of wellness woo. Both books are geared toward helping you cope with anxiety but offer little in the way of proven techniques to change anxious thought patterns.
Burn After Writing by Sharon Jones is another example of an anxiety workbook that will certainly prompt you to reflect on your anxiety in ways that could prove beneficial but ultimately fails to offer evidence-based practices for anxiety management and alleviation.
Evidence-based vs. wellness woo workbooks
Unlike wellness woo workbooks, evidence-based books incorporate therapeutic approaches for treating anxiety backed by clinical research, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction (MBSR), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), to name only a few.
Whereas wellness woo workbooks are often written by laypeople, evidence-based anxiety workbooks are generally written by qualified mental health professionals who have completed extensive training and research relevant to treating anxiety.
5 evidence-based anxiety workbooks
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook draws on evidence-based techniques from CBT to help you overcome anxiety and phobias. The book takes a holistic approach to anxiety, focusing on daily habits as well as introducing grounding and breathing techniques. The author, Edmund Bourne, has over 30 years of experience and training specializing in treatment of anxiety disorders and other related disorders.
The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety incorporates CBT and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) approaches to working through anxiety. The workbook offers a step-by-step guide to help you identify triggers and develop effective coping skills. The workbook is written by William J. Knaus, a licensed psychologist with more than 40 years of experience in the mental health field. Knaus is also an original director of training in the REBT approach.
The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety focuses on taking your life back instead of having anxiety run the show. The book features an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approach that teaches you self-empowerment through exercises designed to help you find meaning and break free of anxious thoughts. A form of cognitive-behavioral therapy ACT emphasizes acceptance of unpleasant thoughts and feelings while taking committed action towards values-based goals. The authors, John Forsyth and Georg Eifert, both hold doctoral degrees in psychology.
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Anxiety focuses on the use of DBT skills for the management of anxiety and panic attacks. The book is written by Alexander Chapman and Kim Gratz, both Doctors of Philosophy in their field of psychology, focusing on core principles of DBT, including mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, and regulation of anxiety symptoms.
The Anxiety Skills Workbook uses CBT in conjunction with mindfulness to help individuals understand and effectively manage their anxiety and fear. The author, Stefan Hofmann, is a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology. Dr. Hofmann has several hundred published papers and has written 20 books on the topic of anxiety and other emotional disorders.
Anxiety workbooks for adults can be very helpful additions to traditional therapy and medication management. If you’re struggling with anxiety, know that you’re not alone – and there are many proven approaches that can help you overcome your anxiety.