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on 27 October 2010
Worrying is an underappreciated concern which can severely damage and limit a person's life. This wonderful book is very much a practical text that allows you to focus on, and attempt to control, worry in a structured way. There are some extremely useful exercises such as the: "Three Column Exercise" an example of which is given below.

Worry: I feel stupid so I am stupid.

Thinking habit: Emotional thinking.

Realistic thought: The fact that I am inadequate in this situation does not mean that I am always inadequate.

I would have liked the book to have considered the (clear?) link between worry and lack of confidence. However, there are ample bibliographical references which may lead to academic texts which deal with this issue. Nevertheless, this book is extremely useful and positive. Finally, picking one typical sentence: "Positive emotions broaden our outlook on things and make us more creative when thinking about solutions to our problems.". It is above all a very hopeful work.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 25 April 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The book seeks to deal with recurrent negative thoughts with various exercises to replace the thoughts with something else. Anticipating negative events which MIGHT occur in the future, in an obsessive way, can obviously have very serious and adverse mental and physical side effects. It claims that in 4 weeks it is possible to put a halt to the "going round in circles" which is unproductive, inconclusive, and resolves nothing.

Ad Kerkhof explains that worrying is a form of self-torture, where an individual replays negative memories of things that have happened in the past - and encourages the power of the imagination in a more positive direction. He also suggests relaxation techniques, talking to others, and ways of distracting the mind. He stresses that worries are always fantasies - negative fantasies - with worriers unable to " let go" because they are anxious they will lose control of a situation.

Techniques such as thought catching - every time you have a worry put an "I think" before it; looking at your thoughts and what they say about you and your world; examining the underlying themes and looking at the threatened disaster and what the worrier would like to be different or better. The ideal resolution is to recognise "my future just exists in my own thoughts. Therefore it could be quite different from what I imagine." Facing your fears with the questions "so what" (if X actually did happen) or "oh yes?" could also help.

Some have such intense worries, of such high frequency and duration, and so out of control, that they lead to suicide. In those serious cases professional help is called for - but this book with its pages and columns of exercises to complete, could well suit many people. I am not sure about the ease with which people can be advised to "start worrying now for 5 minutes then stop," or learn to "postpone worry" and do it at set times; but even without those specific tips there are enough others in the book that resonated with me, to make it worth the purchase price.
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VINE VOICEon 20 March 2011
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I have read 1000's of books on the subject of success, law of attraction, motivation and wealth creation. I have been a business consultant, peak performance advisor and motivational coach for a number of years. As such I have read many good and extremely poor books. This book falls into a category I would label, someone may get use out of the techniques, but there are better books on the market so rated poor.

The book is based upon Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Now the fact that CBT is involved may ring alarm bells in some people's heads. In my experience CBT may not be suitable for everyone. You have to accept a number of premises to make CBT work for you. I am not personally a great fan of CBT but I tried to read this book from a neutral point of view. My review is somewhat negative because I think there are better and quicker therapies and so more useful books out there.

The book is a 4 week course. It is split into daily readings and somehwat tedious and repetitive exercises. It outlines a, "wide range of exercises that people can do themselves to reduce worrying". Each day, you are asked to do the daily exercises. You also have a chart to elicit your daily responses to worrying and to plot your progress. I found with some of these charts, the questions posed were quite difficult to understand...and I have a degree and 2 Masters degrees. Sometimes I felt the answers the reader gives are not analysed to their relevance to the condition of worrying. If CBT is not for you the exercises may not help at all.

The book is called STOP WORRYING, yet the first thing Ad Kerkhof gets you to do is to worry even more and suggests you can do these exercises on your own at home. OK its a controlled worry for 10 minutes twice a day. There are throughout the introduction, warnings that this type of therapy could make you initially worry even more. For me and in my experience, if a person gets more of what they don't want, without a person guiding them with love and help, they can give up on the process. So a worrier may become initially worse and so may give up on the rest of the book and for me that's why I could not rate this book higher than 2 stars. The theory behind the premise of the book, may be good, but in practical application it may be very difficult to maintain the discipline to stop worrying. Kerkhof also tells the reader that, "If one tackles this seriously, there is a good chance that worrying will be considerably be reduced". So if you are a worrier, things may get initially worse and even if you have the discipline to do the 4 weeks of daily exercises, your worrying may not be completely solved. MMMMMMMMMMMMM??? You must ask yourself the question, is this the type of book I want to use over a 4 week period? If it is buy it, if it isn't then buy something else. To me, this is a book that is written by a theoretician rather than someone with practical hands on experience.

I would recommend some other books that may help a bit more, or are more gentle in their approach. The books I would try before buying this book are Psycho Cybernetics 2000 by Bobbie Summer or read the original version, Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. Richard Bandlers book Guide to Trance-formation: Make Your Life Great. These titles should help more than this book, if you are an habitual worrier. I would also suggest a good goal setting book or time management book, which could be very useful to a worrier, if their issues involve where is my life going, or feeling swamped by too many things going on a once. If you are one of these type of people, please feel free to email me and I will happily suggest some more good books that may help.

Buy this book if you need daily exercises and are happy using CBT. If you want a faster read, buy the books listed as I feel they will help you feel better quicker.
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on 21 October 2010
'Stop Worrying', by Dr. Ad Kerkhof, provides a set of practical exercises designed to make you aware of your worries so that you can begin to tackle them and replace them with something more fulfilling. The author understands the mind of the worrier, and guides him/her though the exercises with patience and persistence. In the introductory section, Kerkhof considers the meaning of the word 'worry' and chooses the French torturer l'esprit 'torturing of the mind' as best typifying the state of mind of the worrier. Whereas thinking leads to action, worrying is a form of 'self-torture' which leads nowhere. But Kerkhof assures us that we can use our own strength and imagination to break the habit of worrying and begin working toward living a more purposeful life. Most importantly, he reminds us that we are not alone and encourages us to confide in others: 'Don't forget to tell those close to you about your efforts to worry less. They will be happy to support you.'

For those readers who avoid seeking help, I would add that 'Stop Worrying' was the first self-help book that I have ever worked through seriously. I have avoided such books. I never needed them. But that changed. A series of personal losses, most especially the death of my spouse, gave rise to some new and intense anxieties in the years that followed. In addition to loneliness and grief, I worried excessively about my ability to work competently again. I worried about not being good enough. I worried about a past I could not change and a future that I feared. I worried about worrying and about everyone knowing that I was worrying.

Thankfully, 'Stop Worrying' does not preach optimism or offer a quick fix. The goals are realistic, and they are presented with the wisdom of an experienced therapist: 'If through using this book you aim to halve the time spent worrying then this is a realistic objective. Who knows, you may reduce it by more than half which would then be a bonus.' You do not have to stop worrying entirely to reap benefits; the time invested in making even small changes is time well spent. The author helps you to identify anxieties, question them and find alternative ways of thinking. Gradually, you can begin to imagine 'not just what could go wrong but what could also go right.'

'Stop Worrying' is concise and clearly organized. It has the structure of a small workbook set out in 4-week chapters, each with daily charts for mapping worries and practical exercises for managing them. The exercises are direct, simple and can be completed even in the worry-filled day of the worrier. Taking time to do the exercises (15 minutes twice a day), practice and perseverance are required, but the step-by-step, day-by-day guide lightens the task. Many exercises focus on identifying the nature and intensity of your worries. A few key questions are repeated each day, i.e. what made you worry (work/ study, finances, family). You simply check off an answer, and the multiple choice format focuses the mind. A space is set aside for jotting down key worries. Within days patterns begin to emerge, and your worries become glaringly clear. You can then question their logic and learn how to replace them with something else. That is the approach and goal of the book.

So what do you replace your worries with? In each section simple exercises are introduced. You are encouraged to learn them all, but also to discover those exercises that work best for you. One early and effective exercise is to seek a 'distraction', i.e. to go cycling or walking. Many such exercises also aim at breaking the isolation of the worrier; you are encouraged to seek contact with others. There are techniques for turning self-imposed obligations (i.e. 'I have to') into positive desires and goals. A number of writing exercises focus attention on excessive worries about the future. These help you to face your fears, but they also awaken the imagination so that you can envision a possible future. Some exercises require a bit of humour, and Dr. Kerkhof encourages you to let the mind play as it tackles its worries.

In the final section of the book (for `Advanced Worriers'), Dr. Kerkhof speaks more directly to the persistent worrier. He challenges the logic of common worries and proposes alternative ways of thinking. There is a forthright discussion of the serious consequences of excessive anxiety, including depression and suicidal thoughts. Those who are unable to reduce worrying, or who are coping with multiple difficulties, are advised to seek the help of a psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist.

I still worry, but I have learned to worry less. The exercises 'Stop Worrying', along with the support of a trusted therapist in whom I could confide, have helped me to discover my own ability to manage my worries and work toward a more purposeful and joyful life.
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on 19 January 2011
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The principles, philosophy and techniques behind this book are sound but there are issues with this approach which will seriously impact upon its effectiveness. Unfortunately unless you are incredibly self motivated, not likely to be disheartened, have the time and energy levels you are very unlikely to complete the program and this will soon be gathering cobwebs on your book shelf, counterproductively acting as a reminder of another failed attempt at managing your problems.
Some people experiencing anxiety will feel overwhelmed by working their way thru an entire book spread over four weeks especially as the layout of this book can seem quite confusing. There is no real contingency offered for hurdles or setbacks other then to just keep going which will simply not work for many. Some people will also become quite alienated by some of the recommendations such as clapping loudly and saying 'Not now' if they begin to worry outside of the prescribed worry time. Although the theory of this is ok it is the type of exercise I feel only becomes fully understandable as to its uses and benefits if it is discussed with a therapist rather then read coldly off a page without much background or explanation provided.
I found it quite uninspiring unfortunately. I would recommend trying to access it from a library first.
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on 10 November 2010
I was a bit sceptical when I picked up this book since I have read many similar books and already have a good knowledge of CBT, however I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book still has a lot to teach me.

The first thing I would praise is the great layout. All the material is presented in short, easy to digest chapters and there is a structured programme to follow for 4 weeks which includes various exercises and ideas on how one can cope with worry. There is space for user notes and a large number of tests. I found that this makes the information easier to understand and certainly makes the book much more fun compared to reading pages and pages of text. There is also a section called worry for advanced students where the reader can examine the most common worries such as "Nobody likes me" and " I am stupid". I have come across similar information before but I particularly liked the approach in this book of how to deal with these common worries. I could really relate to the explanations and the examples in this book.

I would definately recommend this book even to an experienced CBT student interested in the idea of coping with worry.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 17 March 2011
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OK so to begin with a caveat. I'm not a great believer in the CBT movement. I say this with limited knowledge, but I can only tell you what I think. I've done lots of therapy over the years and I've tried CBT too. I believe it has its place in the therapy world. CBT can provide you with a bag of tricks that will help you to deal with emotions / mental states that cause you varying degrees of disturbance. You need to be willing to turn your intellect off to some extent for CBT to work for you. It can often seem simplistic and patronising. But if you're in dire circumstances and finding that you are struggling with paralysing panic attacks, or insecurity or similar, then CBT can help you to talk yourself round and at the very least, allow for a different possibility. That said, I also think that CBT is overused in the UK, largely because it's cheap and fast as a 'solution' to a range of mental health issues. I also find CBT to be a blunt tool. You are required to accept that your thinking is 'wrong'. This can be helpful, but it can also be undermining - not necessarily very helpful. So - that's my view in brief.

As to the book. Let's be aware right from the off that this book is subtitled 'Stop Worrying'. It has a rather limited scope, shall we say. Having read but not worked through the book, I can say that it's very proscriptive - it has exercises to do each day (thought or relaxation) and it may be of use to anyone who can accept CBT (particularly taught in such a simplistic manner) as a valid tool. It explains about alternative thinking styles and avoids Americanisms (sorry Americans but this can be annoying for Brits and I'm sure the reverse is true) and if followed, it will force you to confront the way you think and at the very least spend some time thinking about you - never a bad thing.

Unfortunately, I found it patronising, frustrating, annoying and sometimes pant-wettingly funny / ridiculous. I don't find it helpful to pretend I'm a cat and that my thoughts are little mice I need to catch and put in a box. I'm not interested in whirling thoughts around on clouds. I'll say no more because for some this may be a useful book. To be fair it would indeed stop me worrying because I'd be lying on the floor alternating between paroxysms of rage and laughing so much I peed. There are better CBT books out there.
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VINE VOICEon 16 February 2011
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I'd been a bit worried myself recently. World economic slump; tornados and firestorms across the world; I can't get my trousers to fit me. All sorts of things , so I decided to give this a go. I have a degree in Human Psychology, but really, this is written for everyone, in a clear, concise and easy to understand way.
The book's wisdom is drawn from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (the CBT of the sub-title), which is a fancy way of saying that we programme ourselves to think in certain ways, including with negative and destructive obsessions. We get emotional reward from these behaviours and so return to them time and time again. Even if they do no practical good, we are reassured by them. They are nevertheless ultimately destructive.
The book sets a number of practical, easy exercises to help reduce worrying. Setting 15 minutes aside, twice a day undertaking these exercises should reduce time wasted on worrying, and the associated angst that it causes.
These exercises are not always practical to do - especially in public or at work, but doubtless some people will find them reassuring, as well as the logic and the intentions of this generally good self-help guide.
One of the central principles is to set aside limited daily 'worry-time' to worry as much as you like about anything and everything, and then leave it alone and get on with your life. I was not sure how easy this is in practice. Some situations might make this impossible, for example if you are trapped in an abusive relationship or living on the breadline.
Nevertheless, the most powerful magic in this book for me, was not the exercises, but to see written down a basic truth; worry is a time-wasting obsession that leads you round in circles and ultimately nowhere (usually at 03.30 in the morning for several hours, in my case). `Thinking', on the other hand can lead to positive change. The other simple truth was evident throughout - you are not alone, but one of millions, or billions of worriers.It's not you, it's all of us (to some extent).
If you spend too much time worrying, buying this book from an author who has taught self-help to many and built it on academic research and practice, will do you no harm at all.You can come out of the wasteland and get your foundations back.
And that's a relief.
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VINE VOICEon 20 January 2011
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Well. I'm not a stranger to mental health issues, and I'm not unfamiliar with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). However, I am slightly sceptical of a book that claims to get your life back on track. After all, if it were that simple, then a hell of a lot of therapists would be asking you if you wanted fries with that. But I was willing to give it a shot, with as open a mind as I could manage.

The book blurb says it "can help you to put your fears into perspective and teach you to cope with stressful situations". And to a degree it can. But only at the lowest level. This is neither a definitive guide nor a full-on DIY kit. It falls somewhere inbetween, but does have enough basic information to point some people in the right direction. It would have been nice to have a bit more information on why you were doing this particular exercise, but the exercises themselves were well laid out and easy to follow.

It's a 28 day programme, which may seem quite daunting, but CBT isn't really the sort of thing you can go into in a wishy-washy manner. You probably need to set aside half an hour or so every day to reap noticeable benefit from it. However, if your worrying has reached the point where it is causing your life to suffer, then no book is going to 'cure' it. It may be better to treat this as a supplementary guide to one-on-one counselling, or as a tutorial.

Although the exercises themselves are good, I did find that some of the advice makes generalisations and assumptions about the lives of the readership that could actually cause more harm than good to someone already struggling. Approach with caution.
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VINE VOICEon 16 February 2011
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Hmmm...Methinks there's something I'm just not getting about "Stop Worrying - Get your life back on track with CBT".

I certainly qualify as the target market, for as long as I can remember I've been a class A worrier, not just about my life but other people's too, and recently as my stress levels have amped up due to 'a series of unfortunate events' I've found that my worry levels have also increased. So, I thought this book might be worth a go, even if I don't traditionally believe in self-help books.

First thing is, its written by a Dutch Psychologist and his team and I think some stuff has gotten lost in translation. In my experience the Dutch have a way of being very direct, blunt and to the point and in print it sometimes doesn't carry over what is actually meant. So just bear that in mind if you read it and find yourself thinking 'What?'.

The main meat of the book is a 4 week course of twice daily exercises designed to help you worry less - but here's the kicker - it seems to be based on you being able to turn your worrying on and off like a light switch e.g. "Let yourself worry intensely for 5 minutes, and then say to yourself 'not now, later!'"....I don't know about other people but it seems to be that worrying isn't a conscious decision, and if it were as easy as turning it on and off, we wouldn't need a book that is supposed to help us stop it altogether! The exercises are repeated a lot over the 4 weeks, which is fine, but they are based on a mixture of meditative techniques, breathing techniques, positive fantasising etc all of which you could find in any 'Reduce Stress' booklet or webpage.

So after using the book I don't feel any less worried about the things I was worried about before, and I won't be continuing the exercises, but it may prove useful for some who are perhaps more able to put their finger on a specific thing that is causing them to worry rather than my myriad of reasons!
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