Mental Health Training

A Book Review – Awakening from Anxiety by Rev. Connie Habash LMFT

Posted by on 24 Jul, 2020 in Mental Health |

A Book Review – Awakening from Anxiety by Rev. Connie Habash LMFT

As owner of a mental health training company, and as a trainer who is always keen to learn more to enhance the quality of my training courses, it couldn’t please me more when an author or publishing house gets in touch and asks me to read a publication. I’m never more pleased than when the book is one that really resonates with me on a personal level…

As someone who has life-long experience and diagnosis of two Anxiety Disorders (hey what can I say, I was at the front of the queue) – Social Anxiety and GAD – it’s like a double gift when I get to read about anxiety and also get to help myself in the process. Nevertheless, I don’t simply presume a book will have any or all of the answers that I or others need.

On starting ‘Awaking from Anxiety’ by Rev. Connie L. Habash, LMFT, I approached with as much of an open mind as possible. I consider myself spiritualist by faith, and given that this book markets itself as a ‘Spiritual Guide’ I thought it may have a little of something else to offer beyond the average book on anxiety. I wasn’t disappointed, the book was packing quite a few punches when it came to tools and resources I could use to reduce my anxiety, so much so that at one point I had anxiety about how I would remember them all! My solution was to ‘dog ear’ the top corner of a lot of pages – if defacing books was a crime, I’d seriously be serving some time! I intend also to re-read this book again and again, and to practice its recommendations so that they become a fundamental part of me, rather than a toolkit I simply carry around with me.

Initially I’ve had to think about honing in on what I can recall most clearly. The most profound tool I found was to ‘Listen to my Anxiety’ and to work less on trying to prevent or resist it “what I resist will persist”. I’ve now taken a direct approach to asking my anxiety what it has to tell me, and I’m already learning that its reason for being very often is to motivate me to prepare for challenge. I’ve taken to welcoming the anxiety into my psyche and into my body – chances are it’s coming in whether I like it or not – so that I can learn from it and accept it like other emotions that play a role in shaping who I am. ‘The Upper Limit Problem’ was another aspect that has really resonated. It wouldn’t be the first time that I have been anxious that all is calm and positive, and a fear of how long this is going to last before my anxiety rears its beautiful persona (recall I’m being welcoming) again. A lot of my fears centre around the unknown rather than the known, fears of success as well as of failure, and a range of other anxieties. On a personal level, it was sobering to learn that I’ve more than one area I need to work on if I am to reduce my anxiety, but the comforting thing is that there is so much out there (and within me) I can make use of, and with it an acceptance that anxiety is likely to be life-long friend (and foe) that is part of what is propelling my soul forward on its spiritual journey. I feel I have made a new friend in Connie, whose work in helping others is transformational, and I’ve already started to change my relationship with my anxiety by reading this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who would like more than a few tips for reducing their anxiety, and particularly those who identify with a spiritual path. You will most definitely need some sticky notes as you read!

Review by Jane McNeice