How to Keep Calm and Carry On by Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman

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How to Keep Calm and Carry On by Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman

Category: Lifestyle
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: An accessible, well written and easy to follow guide presenting simple self-help techniques designed to lower anxiety levels.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: August 2013
Publisher: Pearson
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780273777755

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Heart pounding, rapid breathing, dry mouth and sweaty palms are just some of the unpleasant symptoms associated with anxiety. Anxiety affects us all at one time or another in our lives and occurs in varying degrees of severity. For example, a little nervousness is par for the course when a performer steps on stage in front of a huge crowd, but on the other end of the spectrum, conditions such as OCD and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can leave sufferers paralysed with fear.

In How to Keep Calm and Carry On, Professor Daniel Freeman and self-help writer Jason Freeman begin by explaining that anxiety is a response intended to protect us from danger. The fight or flight reaction prevents us from lingering too long in potentially threatening situations. Unfortunately, in many cases, anxiety can be misplaced, leading to excessive worry and an exaggerated, negative self image. It is this type of anxiety that the authors aim to tackle by presenting a number of tried and tested techniques designed to promote relaxation and positive thoughts.

Most of the advice in the book is basic common sense; things like getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet and taking time out to meditate. There are also some useful exercises designed to promote a healthier self image. For example, one visualisation technique encourages those with social anxiety to picture party guests as birds, movie stars or animals. In that way, the anxious person is looking outward, rather than inward and will start to feel less self conscious. Another technique involves manipulating a distressing mental picture by focusing on the fine detail before altering and editing it in the mind’s eye to transform it into something less intimidating.

I did have a couple of issues with the book, however. It seemed to constantly use phrases like cutting edge, proven, powerful and scientific to describe the techniques therein. Unfortunately, there seems to be very little evidence to give credibility to these bold claims. I was expecting a long list of references at the back of the book, validating the efficacy of the methods described, but was disappointed to find them completely devoid of information. The book also made some rather audacious remarks such as Did you know that the average person experiences more than 4,000 thoughts a day? Really? How on earth would one go about proving that?

In summary, How to Keep Calm and Carry On is an accessible book, written in a friendly manner and containing lots of useful and practical tips for dealing with anxiety. However, I have reservations as to whether there is actually anything new here, or if it is just a case of good advice, recycled.

For further reading into the workings of the human mind, try Sex, Drugs and Chocolate: The Science of Pleasure by Paul Martin.

Buy How to Keep Calm and Carry On by Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Keep Calm and Carry On by Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy How to Keep Calm and Carry On by Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How to Keep Calm and Carry On by Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman at Amazon.com.


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