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How Self-Help Books Can Have A Detrimental Effect On Depression And Anxiety Levels

Many people suffering from depression or from certain forms of phobias and anxieties often look to self-help books for a cure. Although, this may seem like the logical thing to do – after all self-help books have brought stability to many people’s lives by offering them a way to organise their thoughts and make impactful changes to their routines – they can also have a detrimental effect on depression and anxiety levels.

The main reason for this is what Mark Manson calls The Feedback Loop From Hell. It implies that the desire for more positive experiences is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience. It is not only Mark Manson who has pointed out the fact that wanting of a positive experience is, in fact, a negative experience in itself. Philosopher Alan Watts referred to it as The Backwards Law. The concept is also a fundamental aspect of Zen Buddhism. I have also referred to similar concepts in several articles, one as recently as last week: Don’t Run Away From Sadness. Let it in.

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Although having a lot of merits, self-help books can bring the reader to a heightened state of awareness about their problems. The search for answers can emphasize everything that is wrong in one’s life and place problems under a microscope. Of course it is good to be aware of your problems and take action to improve your life, the issue lies however in the toll that the constant nitpicking and over-analysing has on your emotional well-being. A lot of therapists – psychotherapists and cognitive behavioural therapists alike – advocate for using self-help books once the patient is in a more stable state. This is especially the case with people in a deep state of depression or with strong levels of anxiety.

For all of you who are delving a little too much into the world of self-help, take this as a simple warning. Don’t forget to accept yourself for who you are. Don’t take every word you read as something set in stone, as proof that you are not living up to the standard that society has placed on you. Instead, remember that you are a good person. Remember that you are perfect the way you are. Remember, that there is no wrong or right way about it and that your way will do just fine.

Philip Andersson

Life Coach

Cross Culture Therapy


Don’t Run Away From Sadness, Let It In.

When sadness is at our doorstep, our natural inclination is to lock the door and barricade the windows. Now imagine if happiness walked by and saw…

Philip Andersson – Life Coach

Philip Andersson is a life-coach who is currently studying to become a psychotherapist. He treats people suffering from depression, phobias and anxiety. Having been raised in Hong Kong and having lived in England and Japan as an adult, Philip also treats people who are overcome with feelings of displacement and rudderlessness associated with a global-nomad lifestyle such as Third Culture Kids, Cross Culture Kids, Migrants and Asylum Seekers.

What We Do!

Cross Culture Therapy offers 1-on-1 online therapy sessions to people suffering from depression, phobia, anxiety as well as to people who suffer from displacement issues associated with a globally nomadic lifestyle (i.e.Third Culture Kids – people who have grown up in a culture different to their parent’s passport culture – and Cross Culture Kids) Our sessions are conducted via Skype for a duration of 50-minutes and can be purchased in packs of 1-session, 3-sessions or 5-sessions. If you are interested in purchasing a session, click on the Book A Session tab on our menu or click here.

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