Licensed therapist and respected mental health writer Dr. Kathleen Smith offers a smart, practical antidote to our anxiety-ridden times. Everything Isn’t Terrible is an informative, and fun guide – featuring a healthy dose of humour – for people who want to become beacons of calmness in our anxious world.
Like Sarah Knight’s No F*cks Given guides and You Are a Badass, Everything Isn’t Terrible will inspire readers to confront their anxious selves, take charge of their anxiety, and increase their own capacity to choose how they respond to it. Comprised of short chapters containing anecdotal examples from Smith’s personal experience as well as those of her clients, in addition to engaging, actionable exercises for readers, Everything Isn’t Terrible will give anyone suffering from anxiety all the tools they need to finally … calm … down. Ultimately, living a calmer, less anxious life – one that, in other words, isn’t terrible – is possible, and with this book Smith will show you how to do it.
Everything Isn’t Terrible by Kathleen Smith is designed to help readers conquer their anxieties and their anxious habits, and discover ways to move forward without as much stress and worry.
Kathleen Smith works as a therapist and in each chapter, she gives an example of a patient she’s met whose anxiety was negatively impacting their life in some way. We meet Monica, whose strained relationship with her mother and brother was causing issues between her and her father. We meet Richard, who was worried about introducing his boyfriend of two years to his family.
The structure of the book allows for an easy and quick read — each chapter is relatively short and focuses on a different example. A different type of anxiety.
“I can’t overstate how important observation is when it comes to lowering anxiety in your family. Often people will try to jump in and change themselves (or others!) without getting a good sense of how their family functions.”
Katherine Smith is interested in a particular type of anxiety, and she follows Bowen Theory to guide her patients to a calmer, healthier life. Bowen Theory believes that our anxieties stem from our relationships, and that if we study the relationships in our lives and work to manage them better, it’ll have a natural flow-on effect towards our anxious minds.
Because we meet different patients and scenarios in each chapter, there’ll be parts of this book that you won’t feel connected to, and parts of the book that you read and think ‘yes, I recognise this in my own life’. I’m guilty of skipping a couple of chapters because I felt no connection or similarity with the anxious issue that was being discussed.
“Dr. Bowen taught that if anxiety is generated in our relationships, then it can also be fixed in our relationships. Therefore, long-term change doesn’t happen in isolation, or even on a therapist’s couch. It happens when we’re willing to work on being our best selves in our most difficult relationships.”
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I read a lot of these kinds of books. I’m an anxious over-thinker who stresses too much. I wouldn’t say books like these are going to ‘fix’ that — at least not instantly — but they’re helpful in making you feel like you’re not alone. Books like Everything Isn’t Terrible pass along useful knowledge, insights and advice for people who spend too much time worrying about things they can’t change, and stressing over things they can change but don’t know how to.
Kathleen’s writing is insightful, instructive and clear. Readers will find her advice realistic and easy to follow, and this book feels like a hands-on approach, and the perfect companion to any bookshelf.
Everything isn’t Terrible teaches us that we can’t always change the situation — or relationship — we’re in, but we can adapt how we react or respond to that relationship. People tend to act a certain way when they’re stressed or anxious, and Kathleen allows us to take a step back and observe the situation from afar with fresh eyes. This may help readers confront a part of their lives that has been bringing them worry.
“When you go into relationships and try to do something different, people usually aren’t going to like it. Your family or office doesn’t want you to upset the balance they’ve cultivated to keep things calm. So when you change, there will be a temporary increase of anxiety in the system.”
This book does deal with a very specific type of issue, and it asks the reader to examine the relationships in their life. I think the title, cover and blurb implies a much broader focus, so some readers may be misguided and not find what they need inside these pages.
Helpful, insightful and a welcome addition to the family bookshelf. Recommended.
Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Everything Isn’t Terrible
Hachette Book Publishers