The best books to help you manage stress, anxiety, and overthinking

Who am I?

When I first started building this site, and the Beautiful Voyager community, I had just turned 40 years old. I’d been fighting migraines all of my life and had tried every medication and natural approach possible. I'd given up hope for improvement when my neurologist surprised me by saying: You have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I searched but found nothing online that spoke to my physical experience of stress, overthinking, and anxiety. I decided that had to change, and that was when Beautiful Voyager was born. I hope you find the answers you’re looking for, or even just feel less alone on the journey. The first Beautiful Voyager book, Get Out of My Head, was released in May 2020.

I wrote...

Get Out of My Head: Inspiration for Overthinkers in an Anxious World

By Meredith Arthur,

Book cover of Get Out of My Head: Inspiration for Overthinkers in an Anxious World

What is my book about?

Are you an overthinker? You’re not alone! This beautifully illustrated guide offers a joyful, manageable way to deal with anxiety while quieting your stressful thoughts through easy exercises, bite-sized takeaways, and calming visuals. What if you learned to ride the wave of anxiety instead of getting lost in it? Get Out of My Head is here to help, providing guidance and inspiration for overthinkers, people-pleasers, and perfectionists. Written by Meredith Arthur, founder of Beautiful Voyager, featuring art by Leah Rosenberg, former Director of the Color Factory in New York, Get Out of My Head offers soothing techniques for understanding anxiety and moving through the traps of overthinking.

The books I picked & why

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Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

By Emily Nagoski, Amelia Nagoski,

Book cover of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

Why this book?

I heard about Burnout by sisters Emily Nagoski, PhD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, on a recent Brené Brown Unlocking Us podcast episode, and it was a happy surprise to learn that we share a literary agent! I listened to the audiobook and found I got something out of every single chapter. The book is aiming high: it wants to end the cycle of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I’ve been asked for book recs to help with shaky feelings from my fellow beautiful voyagers, and I often mention Burnout since it delves into how emotions can affect our bodies without us even knowing it’s happening. The book explores some of the core reasons women may be facing the kinds of symptoms described above, and works to systematically break them down.

The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain

By Annie Murphy Paul,

Book cover of The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain

Why this book?

I can’t stop thinking about this book. The premise: Our brain is a biological, evolved organ that’s very different from a computer. People who can tune into their bodies can more effectively use their brains. Annie cites studies of Wall Street traders who seem to make more money when they’re more “interoceptively” attuned — meaning, when they’re better at reading their own body signals. In other words, when I use my body, my surroundings, and my relationships to “think outside the brain,” I can make better decisions than people who don’t know how to do the same.

The Anxiety Sisters' Survival Guide: How You Can Become More Hopeful, Connected, and Happy

By Abbe Greenberg, Maggie Sarachek,

Book cover of The Anxiety Sisters' Survival Guide: How You Can Become More Hopeful, Connected, and Happy

Why this book?

Could there have been a more natural and intuitive connection than mine with the Anxiety Sisters? I don't think so. Abbe Greenberg and Maggie Sarachek have built an online community of 200K people and host a popular podcast called The Spin Cycle. In their work, they blend their personal experience with their professional training as counselors, mental health advocates, researchers, and educators. Their book, The Anxiety Sisters’ Survival Guide: How You Can Become More Hopeful, Connected, and Happy is terrific. The down-to-earth, actionable advice that Abbe and Maggie share is dead on. Great work, sisters!

Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief: A Revolutionary Approach to Understanding and Healing the Impact of Loss

By Claire Bidwell Smith,

Book cover of Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief: A Revolutionary Approach to Understanding and Healing the Impact of Loss

Why this book?

Claire Bidwell Smith’s Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief was the first book that revealed to me that anxiety lives in the body autonomous from the mind, and can cause panic attacks hours or even a day after the feelings flood the system, causing a lack of connection between cause and effect. It expanded my sense of what anxiety is, and how the physical response appears in unexpected places…like while grieving.

Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind

By Judson Brewer,

Book cover of Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind

Why this book?

The book is great. The app is useful (though a bit clunky and costs a pretty penny). You can get the gist from the book, though, at a lower cost: Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind. In this book, Dr. Brewer explores the ways in which we all create habits around our anxiety — and how to break them down and rebuild them in healthy ways.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in anxiety, change, and health?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about anxiety, change, and health.

Anxiety Explore 122 books about anxiety
Change Explore 26 books about change
Health Explore 61 books about health

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Anxious Truth: A Step-By-Step Guide To Understanding and Overcoming Panic, Anxiety, and Agoraphobia, Hey Awesome: A Book for Kids about Anxiety, Courage, and Being Already Awesome, and What Every Therapist Needs to Know About Anxiety Disorders: Key Concepts, Insights, and Interventions if you like this list.