A New Journey Through Anxiety
by New York Times bestselling author
May 2018 Indie Next Pick!
“An affecting memoir of coping with anxiety over a busy lifetime. […] Those who endure anxiety will find Wilson’s thoughtful, often funny self-analysis to be just the right companion and affirmation.”
“Uplifting, earnest […] practical, and filled with delightful asides, this book will appeal to anxiety-prone readers, who will find much to calm them in these pages.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Wilson presents a compelling mix of cathartic memoir and advice. […] Raw and honest, Wilson’s “new story” is meant to serve as a companion to help ease the plague of anxiety.”
“Probably the best book on living with anxiety that I’ve ever read, and I have (unfortunately) read many. Sarah is full of expert advice while remaining grounded and incredibly human. Her vulnerability is her strength. And after reading, it will hopefully be yours too.”
— Mark Manson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“A witty, well-researched, and often insightful book about negotiating a new relationship to anxiety.”
— Andrew Solomon, New York Times bestselling author of Far from the Tree
“Sarah’s life mission is to help us all feel less lonely in our pain. These pages are filled with authenticity and clear direction for how to return to our spiritual truth.”
— Gabrielle Bernstein, #1 New York Times bestselling author of May Cause Miracles
Last year, The New York Times declared that “Prozac Nation is Now the United States of Xanax,” and The Wall Street Journal has called this the “anxious generation.” Discussions on anxiety seem to be seeping through our culture, and with good reason—anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults every year. The mental health issue of our age, anxiety is viewed as a burdensome affliction, often leaving those who suffer from it feeling hopeless and alone. But what if we changed the way that we view this widespread condition, in order to see it as a powerful teacher, and even as an asset, instead of as the enemy?
In FIRST, WE MAKE THE BEAST BEAUTIFUL: A New Journey Through Anxiety, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Wilson shifts the cultural narrative surrounding anxiety in a lyrical exploration that reframes anxiety as a spiritual quest, and overturns our accepted notion of this mental health issue.
To conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful.
Wilson first came across this Chinese proverb about twenty years ago, while reading psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison’s groundbreaking account of bipolar disorder, An Unquiet Mind. After years of struggling with her own beasts—chronic anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, insomnia and more—these words would become the key that helped Wilson better understand her condition, ultimately changing her life. FIRST, WE MAKE THE BEAST BEAUTIFUL charts Wilson’s epic journey and creative response to living with anxiety, while examining the hard science and research surrounding it.
In the book, Wilson directs intense focus and fierce investigative skills onto her lifetime companion, looking at the triggers and treatments, the fashions and fads. Reading widely on the subject, she also interviews fellow sufferers, mental health experts, philosophers, and even His Holiness the Dalai Lama, processing all she has learned through the prism of her own experiences. Readers will find comfort, humor, companionship, inspiration, and will also learn about some helpful tips to better manage their anxiety, including:
• Cultivate a gratitude ritual. Science shows our brains can’t be grateful and anxious at the same time.
• Eliminate sugar from your diet. Instead, eat pork, turmeric, and yogurt. Our microbiota and the blood-brain barrier is the new anxious frontier.
• Make your bed. Creating new patterns is the most effect way to override bad emotional habits.
• Walk. Anxious thinkers, inventors, and creatives, from Darwin to Nietzsche to Jobs did.
• Actively practice missing out. Forget FOMO, curl up on the couch, and order takeout.
• Just breathe. Embrace the healing power of meditation.
Pulling at the thread of accepted definitions of anxiety, Wilson unravels the notion that it is a difficult, dangerous disease that must be medicated into submission, and re-frames it as a divine journey—a state of yearning that will lead us closer to what really matters. Practical and poetic, wise and funny, this is a small book with a big heart. FIRST, WE MAKE THE BEAST BEAUTIFUL will encourage the myriad of souls who dance with anxiety to embrace it as part of who they are, and to explore the possibilities it offers for a richer, fuller life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah Wilson is a journalist, entrepreneur, and the New York Times bestselling author of I Quit Sugar. She is the former editor of Australian Cosmopolitan, and she blogs on philosophy, anxiety, minimalism, toxin-free living, and anti-consumerism at sarahwilson.com. Wilson was ranked in Greatist.com’s 100 Most Influential Health Experts in 2015 and as one of the top 200 Most Influential Authors in the world in 2017 and 2018. She lives in Sydney, rides a bike everywhere, is a compulsive hiker, and is eternally curious.