‘The Anxiety Solution is your roadmap to a calmer, happier and more confident you.’
Chloe Brotheridge experienced severe anxiety and panic attacks during her teenage years and set out to find her path to peace and healing. Now, she feels able to share her experiences and advice with others through her book and also through her work. Brotheridge is a clinical hypnotherapist and nutritionist and is especially keen to help those suffering from anxiety. Her aim is to help others find their inner peace like she has, and to feel in control once again. She is always keen to hear feedback on her book and to hear people’s experiences with anxiety. Brotheridge is very active online, especially in a closed Facebook group that she created for people to share their experiences and to offer advice to others.
I first heard about this book through Penguin Platform which is a part of Penguin Random House publishing group and is very active on social media. I saw a picture of the book on Penguin Platform’s Instagram account and later, saw it being discussed in one of their YouTube videos. There was something about the simple design, pastel colours and non-patronising title that made me think this book would be a good one to try and I am so glad that I did.
The first chapter of the book is called, ‘Let me introduce myself’, and I felt it was a very good idea for Brotheridge to share her story first. This book feels slightly more personal and I loved that. Brotheridge is open about her experiences and does not pretend that she figured her anxiety out easily. I liked that she shared her story and was not simply giving instruction to the reader. There is definitely something friendly about this book and there is plenty of encouragement throughout.
Each chapter begins with a quote, and as someone who is a sucker for a good quote, I liked this very much. The quote relates directly to what the chapter is about, for example, chapter 3, ‘Anxiety: your biggest teacher’, begins with a quote from Oprah Winfrey which reads, ‘Turn your wounds into wisdom’. I personally found the quotes really inspiring and felt they added to the positivity and empowering nature of the book.
At the end of each chapter there is a box containing a summary of the chapter in bullet points. I felt these helped to solidify what you had just read and to help pick out the important lessons that Brotheridge wants you to take away.
Throughout the book, Brotheridge chooses to intersperse some exercises (more mental than physical). Each exercise correlates to what you have just been reading about and allows you to put some techniques into practice. None of the exercises took a long amount of time and I enjoyed having a small break from reading to do something different. I think having some exercises interspersed amongst the text rather than all at the end actually encourages the reader to do them, I certainly did each one as I went along. The exercises also help to see how each technique would be put into practice which allows the reader to see just how simple it is and makes them realise these are things that they could do easily but will be really worth it.
One of my favourite things about this book is chapter 9, ‘The Anxiety Solution Toolkit’. Although I was just saying that I like having the exercises amongst the text, I also like having a designated section that contains more things to try. The toolkit contains so many things from the different types of meditation to a social media cleanse, scheduling in ‘worry time’, practising gratitude and tables to help plan out your week and to visualise situations that make you anxious.
The book ends with a Q&A (question and answer) section which I think is a brilliant idea. Brotheridge answers some of the questions that she gets asked most and I really liked this because a lot of those questions were questions I have had and would want to ask if I could, so I imagine many readers will feel the same way.
In the back of the book there is a resources section which I always think is vital in self-development books. These allow the reader to do more research on their own if they want to, but also offer organisations that can provide help and support and mean that the reader has it all there for them already without having to go looking themselves.
Something that I found really important but also essential in this book is that Brotheridge explains what anxiety actually is. This offers the reader the chance to look at whether they really do have anxiety and also to learn more about what it is. I think understanding anxiety is vital for overcoming it because how can you tackle a problem that you do not understand? Another helpful part of understanding comes from knowing what caused the problem (anxiety) to begin with. Brotheridge offers some suggestions which I found very enlightening.
Obviously, the main topic covered by this book is anxiety, but there are so many other topics in the way that the book covers how factors affect anxiety and which things are good, which are bad, and how to work on them to get the right balance. Some of the topics explored are: exercise, stress, decisions, social media, food, self-esteem, control, letting go, confidence, body-confidence, alcohol and coffee. All of these things could be factors in affecting a person’s stress and anxiety levels and I think it’s important to look at all of them so that the reader can decide which apply to them personally.
I have already mentioned that this book has a personal feel to it, and I think that Brotheridge really maintains this throughout the book, not just in the first chapter. Whenever she talks about a different aspect of anxiety or a factor that affects it, Brotheridge relates this back to her personal experience and what roll whatever it is has played in her life. I think that making this book feel personal to herself means that the reader instantly feels they know at least one other person who has suffered from anxiety and therefore no longer feel alone in their battle. Brotheridge also uses the examples of some of her clients which provides a wider perspective and shows that there are lots of people struggling with anxiety in different forms.
I would like to take some time to explain what it is about this book in particular that I like. I have just explored how this book is personal to Brotheridge, and another aspect of that is that she has really got the experience to talk about anxiety. Firstly, she suffered a lot with it in her teenage years, and then, she not only found ways to overcome it that she can share, she is also a trained clinical hypnotherapist which means that she can offer a professional perspective. Although with this professional insight Brotheridge may understand a lot of the science behind anxiety, her book is not overly scientific and factual which I liked. The book feels a lot more practical which perhaps goes with the ‘solution’ part of the title. It is not about science, it is about how to overcome your anxiety and find your inner calm and control. Naturally, to understand anxiety and why some things happen, science is very useful in this book and Brotheridge does use it where necessary, but she keeps things simple and well explained.
I think that my favourite thing about this book and the reason that I would be most likely to recommend it is that it is not only practical, but also positive. Often, Brotheridge writes little bits of encouragement in the book that make you feel really uplifted and like she is right behind you telling you that you can do it. There is absolutely nothing patronising about this book, only understanding, and I think that is really important. Brotheridge is not looking down on her reader for their struggle, she is helping them to fight and offering her support and encouragement through her words and guidance.
I also want to add that although this book is naturally aimed at anxiety sufferers, I think it is also helpful for people that are occasionally anxious, or suffer with a lot of stress. Sections about confidence, self-esteem and social media are like to be applicable to a lot of people, and exercise and eating properly is something that a lot of people should be thinking about. Finding your inner peace and control is not only useful for anxiety sufferers, but also for people who are constantly on the go, feel far too pressured and are in danger of running themselves into the ground. I think that there are sections of this book that a variety of people would find useful.
I think it is probably clear by this point that I highly recommend this book. Brotheridge has written a positive, empowering and practical book that I am sure I will be turning to again and again.
‘your anxiety is not your destiny. You are way more powerful than you realize and you will get past it.’
The Anxiety Solution – Chloe Brotheridge, first published 2017 by Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House, RRP £12.99, ISBN 978-0-718-18715-6