Harper Wave Books: Unexpected Perspectives on Mind, Body, and Soul

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The Anatomy of Anxiety

Understanding and Overcoming the Body's Fear Response

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About the Book

From acclaimed psychiatrist Dr. Ellen Vora comes a groundbreaking approach to understanding how anxiety manifests in the body and mind—and how we can overcome it.

More than 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety in any given year, a number that has only increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Like most mental health issues, conventional medicine tends to view anxiety as a “neck up” problem; that is, a problem of brain chemistry and psychology.

In The Anatomy of Anxiety, Dr. Ellen Vora offers nothing less than a paradigm shift in the way we understand anxiety and mental health, suggesting that the symptoms of anxiety are the result of various physiologic inputs—it is a whole-body condition, not simply a brain condition. In her clinical work, Dr. Vora has found time and again that the discomfort of anxiety can often be traced to seemingly unrelated imbalances, such as low blood sugar, inadequate sleep, overuse of technology, and inflammation. The good news is that this body-based anxiety, or, as Dr. Vora terms it, “false anxiety,” is eminently treatable.

Once the physiologic roots of anxiety are addressed, Dr. Vora reframes the remaining discomfort not as a pathology to label but rather a signal to heed. This “true anxiety” alerts us to the fact that something else is out of balance—in our bodies, our lives, our relationships, in the world. This anxiety, Dr. Vora suggests, is vital to our wellbeing; it keeps us focused on our goals, helping us recalibrate when we’re out of alignment with our life’s work. We can learn simple strategies for tuning into this anxiety and allowing it to protect and guide us.

As informative as it is practical, The Anatomy of Anxiety reframes our understanding of and relationship with anxiety, allowing for healing, growth, and joy.

About the Author

Ellen Vora