You don't need a book to tell you this much: Sometimes things fall apart, crack open, and miss the mark. You can plan and strategize and keep your eye on the horizon, watching for trouble. And nothing you can do will protect you from the fact that things might, when you least expect it, go terribly, horribly wrong. If you're anxious about this, it's not like you don't have a reason. If you're very anxious about this, you're certainly not alone. In fact, even if your whole life feels like it's about anxiety, your story is a lot more common that you might imagine.
If you could just get your anxiety to go away, you could get on with the business of living your life, right? Well, maybe — or maybe not. Does anxiety need to go away in order for you to live your life fully, vitally, with richness and purpose?
This book approaches the problem of anxiety a little differently than most. Instead of trying to help you overcome or reduce feelings of anxiety, Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong will help you climb inside these feelings, sit in that place, and see what it would be like to have anxiety and still make room in your life to breathe and rest and live — really and truly live — in a way that matters to you.
Although it's grounded in a research-supported form of psychotherapy called acceptance and commitment therapy, also known as ACT, Things isn't especially technical or stepwise. Rather, the book starts a conversation about why we all sometimes feel anxious and what role that anxiety serves in our lives. It connects the experience of anxiety to the essential experience of human suffering. And then, in sometimes unexpected ways, Things explores some basic ways of being in the world that can change the role anxiety plays in your life.
This book has been awarded The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Seal of Merit — an award bestowed on outstanding self-help books that are consistent with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and that incorporate scientifically tested strategies for overcoming mental health difficulties. Used alone or in conjunction with therapy, our books offer powerful tools readers can use to jump-start changes in their lives.
Rejecting the use of diagnostic labels (agoraphobia, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.) as part of a medical legacy best left behind, psychologist Wilson (Mindfulness for Two) and writer Dufrene (Coping with OCD) approach anxiety as a mild dysfunction treatable with "acceptance and commitment therapy" (ACT), a way of becoming "more psychologically limber" in order to "negotiate crowds, participate in social functions, take risks, and so forth." The collaborators contend that behind much anxiety is an inability to deal with ambiguity; as such, they suggest a series of exercises to stop the cycle of brooding that arises from problems that do not have clear, immediate solutions (and which may be unsolvable). Many of the techniques they propose (visualization, "mindful breathing practice") are familiar exercises in mindfulness, but the most important message of ACT is not to avoid situations that produce anxiety. Instead, this empathetic guide helps readers recognize that brooding over painful or disorienting thoughts is a natural part of everyone's life, necessitating the flexibility to "work around obstacles... inside our own heads."