A warm, supportive book to ease worry and panic
'Simple, lucid advice on how to accept your anxiety' Matt Haig, bestselling author.
A word-of-mouth success, with 150 reviews on Amazon and a 4.7* rating
In 2014 Sarah launched her first non-fiction book, Making Friends with Anxiety. In it she shares her insights into this extremely common and often distressing condition with compassion and humour. She reveals the seven elements that commonly contribute to anxiety, including adrenaline, negative thinking and fear of the future, and explains what causes worry and panic to become such a problem for many of us. Packed with tips, insights and exercises, it shows that an understanding of the way our minds and bodies work together can help restore our sense of confidence and control.
* Draws on the techniques of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy
* Includes beautiful photographs by the author to lift the spirit
* Useful links throughout, plus details of helplines and recommended reads
More Making Friends with Anxiety is also out now
'Most mental health and self-help books are written by doctors or therapists,' says Sarah. 'And, whilst some are very helpful,this can mean they come across as rather clinical. In contrast, I hope my little books feel like you're talking with a friend.' Fans of Sarah's fiction will recognise the tone - she does not shirk the difficulties of managing the disorder, yet her advice is surprisingly upbeat and easy to read.
Still, what qualifies a novelist to write about anxiety? Sarah's answer is simple: 'I've been there. At various times anxiety has stopped me from being able to work, interfered with relationships and zapped my confidence. But then in 2012 I attended a clinic specialising in anxiety management, and there learned to master my panic properly for the very first time.' She explains: 'I expanded my understanding of anxiety when I researched my latest novel, Another Night, Another Day. Then, when I was asked to write about mental health for various publications and blogs in the run up to its launch, I realised I'd accumulated a lot of knowledge. So I decided to put it all together and produce a series of books.'
Designed especially for anxious people
Each book is shorter than a novel. 'When I'm anxious I have the attention span of a goldfish,' Sarah explains. 'So each chapter is broken into bite-sized chunks with exercises and bullet points to make the content easier to remember.'
If you're suffering from panic attacks, a debilating disorder or simply want to reduce the amount of time you spend worrying, Sarah hopes Making Friends with Anxiety and More Making Friends with Anxiety will help readers see anxiety as a friend not foe.
I've also set up a Making Friends with Anxiety group on Facebook, so readers who wish to can continue to support one another once they've read the book. In just a few short weeks we've dozens and dozens of people from all walks of life very engaged in sharing their experiences helping one another, which is wonderful.'
Making Friends with Anxiety: A calming colouring book
Summer 2015 saw the publication of a second Making Friends with Anxiety title: A calming colouring book, which offsets further advice on managing stress and panic from Sarah, with beautiful black and white illustrations by Jules Miller. There are abstract patterns and cheery animals, gorgeous flowers and quirky landscapes, and each picture also incorporates a ‘mantra’ – words to reflect upon and help boost your mood whenever you look at it.
Here's the frontispiece, coloured by Jules:
'Jules and I noticed that whilst there were lots of colouring books out there, there weren't any, to speak of, with words too,' explains Sarah. 'Our book aims to help people learn how to reduce worry and stress whilst they colour the illustrations. It's a 2-in-1 book, and we believe this is what makes it different and special.'
Illustrations coloured by members of the Making Friends with Anxiety Facebook group. Above by Mags Doran, below by Miriam Graham.
Sarah also writes on mental health for Psychology Today. You can read her blogs here.