Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Review: Overcoming Anxiety: Self-Help Anxiety Relief by David Berndt, PhD

Overcoming Anxiety: Self-Help Anxiety Relief
by David Berndt, PhD
Release Date: July 27th 2015
2015 David Berndt PhD
Ebook Edition; 121 Pages
ISBN: 978-1514327241
Genre: Non-fiction / Self-Help
Source: Review copy from Pump Up Your Book

4 / 5 Stars

The good news is that anxiety can be overcome without relying on medication. Psychologist David Berndt, Ph.D., in Overcoming Anxiety outlines several self-help methods for relief of anxiety and worry. In clear simple language and a conversational style. Dr. Berndt shares with the reader powerful step by step proven techniques for anxiety management.
You will learn:
• A Self-hypnosis grounding technique in the Ericksonian tradition.
• Box Breathing, Seven Eleven and similar breathing techniques for anxiety relief.
• How to stop or interrupt toxic thoughts that keep you locked in anxiety.
• How to harness and utilize your worries, so they work for you.
• Relief from anxiety through desensitization and exposure therapy.
Designed to be used alone as self-help or in conjunction with professional treatment Dr. Berndt draws upon his experience as a clinician and academic researcher to give accessible help to the reader who wants to understand and manage their anxiety.

My Thoughts
Overcoming Anxiety is a great book for those who are beginning their search into the anxiety world.  Because there are so many books written on the subject, it can be somewhat overwhelming for people who are just beginning to research anxiety and are looking to ease their way into the subject.  

Overcoming Anxiety is written in quite simple terms and lays it right on the line.  Introducing such concepts as the 5 4 3 2 1 strategy, anyone can use these in their daily lives in order to help them with their anxiety or panic attacks.  I even tried it myself and found it quite relaxing and grounding.  The basic idea behind it is to focus on three senses such as hearing, seeing, and feeling and then use those senses to find five things to see, five things to hear, and five things to touch.  Then you work your work down, using the same categories until you get to one. I found it actually worked quite well and I could even do it while working at my computer desk for long hours when I was feeling overwhelmed and I wasn't accomplishing as much as I hoped.  I even did it while painting, which took longer than I anticipated.   

The book was quite short and the chapters were easy to read; each topic followed a logical pattern and flowed quite well.  The first chapter started with the 5 4 3 2 1 strategy, which had the most impact on me as I had never heard of it before, but the other chapters did talk about deep breathing, thought stopping, physiological responses (which does get more technical), and exposure therapy.  I was also happy to note that the author was quite vocal in emphasizing that these techniques would not work on the more serious issues regarding anxiety, depression, and other clinical issues, and that therapy would be essential for these issues.  

Overcoming Anxiety is a great book for someone looking for a way to deal with anxiety or happens to be an excessive worrier.  Because it is written in easy-to-understand chapters, the reader can get information without slogging through a lot of physiological information first.  However, for someone who has a lot of experience with anxiety, and who has read a lot of material on it, such as I have, and might be looking for something more, while it was an interesting read, and there is definitely some application merit behind it, it won't necessarily give you that deeper insight that a more experienced reader might need from such literature.  The author has alluded to publishing another book that delves more deeply into other topics such as hair-pulling and cutting, so I am looking forward to what he has to say with regards to that when it is released as it has a lot of relevance to my job.  Can't wait!!

About the Author

David J. Berndt, Ph.D. was an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago where he published or presented over 80 papers and articles before establishing a private practice. Dr. Berndt currently lives in Charleston, S.C. where he also teaches in an adjunct capacity at the College of Charleston. He is best known for his psychological tests The Multiscore Depression Inventory, and the Multiscore Depression Inventory for Children, both from Western Psychological Services.
His latest book is the nonfiction self-help, Overcoming Anxiety.

For More Information

For More Information

  • Overcoming Anxiety is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Book Excerpt:
In its simplest form this 54321 skill can be quite helpful, but by changing the technique and making it yours, you will more confidently rely on it for managing severe anxiety and for relief during other peak moments of stress. Combined with other tools in the later chapters, you will get more apt at developing an emotionally intelligent skillset, from which you can pick and choose your best option for handling an emotional problem. 
How and When the 54321 Technique Works

Before we start, I want to explain a bit about how the method works.  This technique is a good way to learn to harness most emotions, like anxiety, anger, panic or fear, when they become unmanageable.  Once mastered, the skill has the potential to work well and simply when these emotions are creating havoc in your life. 

This method will not completely rid you of your anxiety or fear, and it does not – and should not- entirely stop all worrying and fretting. It cannot solve all of your emotional problems.  What it can do is shrink your troubling and often overwhelming feelings, so they can become smaller, more manageable, and less compelling.


  1. This sounds like a great tool for those suffering from anxiety.

    1. I have read a lot of books about anxiety, and actually have another review coming on the topic soon, but I found this little book very helpful and easy to read. A great intro for those easing into the subject.