Langer speaks from hard-won experience in her valuable, heartfelt manual on curbing excessive worrying. After having readers evaluate their own anxiety levels, the author offers four basic steps: getting honest about one’s worry; claiming power over it with the help of God or another “positive power”; consciously reframing worry as opportunity in one’s mind; and using 50 “growth practices,” including meditation, to keep calm. Langer calls the root of many worries “whispered lies”—undermining thoughts like “I’ll never have enough money” or “relationships just don’t work for me.” She challenges readers to replace them with “truth phrases,” by writing down negative thoughts, analyzing them, and reframing the negative self-talk as something positive. Langer advocates forgiveness of others, no matter how hard this may be, as well as taking personal responsibility for one’s own attitude and behaviors. Lest anyone think that the author is preaching from a distance, Langer doesn’t hold back on sharing painful examples from her own life, such as a confrontation with her husband over his alcoholism. Langer’s frank and empathetic tone will comfort readers, as will the practical steps she teaches in this tome.
Langer (Educational Psychology) writes from both experience and expertise when she describes the power within to handle difficult life challenges, create meaningful relationships, and fulfill one’s wildest dreams. Four strategies (“get honest,” “claim power,” “make choices,” “use growth principles”) and 50 tools for defeating negative thinking, plus self-quizzes, action steps, personal anecdotes, and success stories show readers how to create a life-affirming environment and build confidence. VERDICT Langer’s homing in on all the aspects of negative self-talk and worry add breadth to her advice and make it a powerful tool for readers.
“50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection comes from an author who is personally as well as professionally familiar with her topic. Thirty years ago, she used alcohol and professional obligations to escape worries. It took a blend of recovery programs, therapies, and spiritual insights to finally lead her to calm her own fears and those of others; and 50 Ways to Worry Less Now reflects this process, synthesizing it into four life strategies and some fifty tools that squelch negative thinking patterns. “Readers needn’t expect a complicated journey, here. Dr. Langer has already done the legwork in this process, and her book moves easily from managing stress to channeling it into positive avenues, then eventually giving back to others. “What could have been a complicated read with demanding routines is thus condensed into a series of stories and examples that are easily absorbed, in digestible chunks that even the busiest person can readily read. These are paired with ideas for action that range from developing one’s own growth program to identifying ‘whispered lies’ and developing antidotes to negativity through positive reflections. “Plenty of books advocate countering negative thinking; but too few actually provide step-by-step measures on how to do so. Others simply choose a singular path and follow it. The pleasure of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now lies in its examples, specific exercises, and injections of how the author used various routines to find her way out of negativity: “These exercises helped me see my divorces and addictions as merely misguided attempts to find love and security. I let go of my self-condemnation and began to believe I could be happy.” “The result is an important set of guidelines that any reader can easily follow, highly recommended for anyone who worries too much, lives too hard a life, and searches for a better way.”
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