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The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You Into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,398 ratings  ·  150 reviews
Are you truly in danger or has your brain simply "tricked" you into thinking you are? In The Worry Trick, psychologist and anxiety expert David Carbonell shows how anxiety hijacks the brain and offers effective techniques to help you break the cycle of worry, once and for all.

Anxiety is a powerful force. It makes us question ourselves and our decisions, causes us to worry
Paperback, 232 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by New Harbinger Publications
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  1,398 ratings  ·  150 reviews

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Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book because it really takes apart what worry IS and teaches you counterintuitive methods to address it. Instead of telling you to ignore the worries it shows you how to notice when the moment they enter your mind and teaches you to confront them rather than resist them.

I don't suffer from anxiety attacks, but as a Black woman in America I find myself worrying about myself, husband, and children, especially with the current state of race relations in this country. But this book sho
Lynette Caulkins
I read this because three people in my life deal with obsessive worry and/or panic attacks, so this review is by a person coming from a somewhat removed position. The 3 stars I might otherwise rate it with are upward-qualified for greater value contained within. And later bumped up, again, as the people I shared it with report its helpfulness.

Carbonell presents what are probably several really effective strategies of dealing with worrying. He gives a straightforward reasoning about what feeds wo
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
I have to admit that I struggled with this book.
I am very curious about anxiety and how the brain keeps us "en garde" but I found it a bit heavy to digest. It's well written and very informative yet to me it doesn't get to the point.
Ok, my brain's a bitch that likes to trick what??

Read more on The Serial Reader Blog
K.M. Weiland
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I put this in my TBR pile when I was going through a period of extreme stress. Since then, I’ve done a lot of personal techniques to overcome anxiety, some of which are reflected in this book. Probably as much due to where I’m at right now as anything, this book didn’t blow my mind, but it did have a lot of good tips and advice and encouragement.
Wafa Foufa
Chronic worry redirects much of your time, attention, and energy to worry rather than life. It leads you to spend more and more time “in your head,” in your internal world, trying to get your thoughts arranged the way you think they should be, always struggling and fussing with worry rather than getting out into your external world and living, doing whatever it takes to be the good parent, good friend, good employee, good neighbor, or good whoever you always wanted to be. It leads you to inve ...more
J & J
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm still waiting for a researcher to write about the connection between anxiety and/or depression as a symptom and not as an isolated "illness." These disorders stem from pathogens such as parasites (biggest culprit), bacterial infections affecting the brain (such as Bartonella), viruses as well as fungal infections (such as Candida). The idea that the majority of disorders such as anxiety or depression just appear in one's life with no change to the biochemistry of a person's body is ridiculou ...more
Billie Cotterman
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Not very useful. A large portion of the book discusses worry in metaphors, and there is very little practical advice. The advice that was useful is information that I have read elsewhere in larger detail (breathing exercises, meditation, etc). This book seems to be for people who are otherwise mentally healthy but have chronic worry rather than someone who suffers from depression or bipolar disorder who also has chronic worry. His advice for those people is to see a trained therapist. Yeah, than ...more
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Too repetitive. Has some interesting concepts but takes much too long to get to the "reveal" ...more
Nema Al-Araby
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this book when I finally decided it’s time I faced my fears head on. And I think I picked just about the right book to kick off my journey.
The book is brilliant and hugely quotable, not because the quotes are cool but because they are so very relatable.
It made me understand why CBT hasn’t worked for me, and it gave me ideas for other schools of therapy that could work better for my kind of thoughts and anxious mind.
The author is very humorous and he even addresses humor as a
Jolene Haack
I struggle with anxiety. Some days it's well under control (with a daily dose of meds and some good ol' fashioned support system and positive self talk). Other days, I am so buried under worry I feel like I can't possibly get up.

It was on one of those days that I decided to pick this up off the shelf at the library. I'm not really one for self-help but it looked practical and vaguely funny.

It was exactly what I needed.

While it focuses on chronic worry, which anxiety and panic disorder don't pe
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book, full of truly helpful recommendations for dealing with chronic anxiety in a counter-intuitive way (that actually works). If you struggle with anxiety much of the time, or just go through periods where it seems to hijack your thinking, as I do, this book will be helpful. Some readers have commented that Carbonell is too long-winded and/or boring, but I really enjoyed this and will refer to it again later, I'm sure. Within days of trying some of his exercises, my most recent bou ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is sooo basic, I couldn't take anything new from this that isn't common sense. It lacks intelligence towards the listener/reader. ...more
Christa Schönmann Abbühl
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-audio
I found this funny and helpful. It was an easy read and I plan to follow some of the advice.
Emil Nuñez
The book spent WAY too much time giving examples of HOW people worry. My wife didn't even make it to the solutions part of the book (the final third) without getting anxiety.

Finally, the author gave concrete advice: basically don't keep your worry in. Let it out. Over-exaggerate what you're worried about. Sing a worry song. Repeat your worry 40 times to yourself in the mirror. Face your fear. Eventually, you get used to it. Your amygdala only responds to experiences, not what you tell it. Tellin
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Incredible book. PLEASE READ! Honestly some of the tips changed my life.
Jan 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
I am a worrier, and I have been for most of my life. As a teenager, my mom always used to tell me 'not to make mountains out of mole hills' because my worries were often over insignificant things.

Now, as a woman in my early 30's, I still find I worry about insignificant things. But I also have a lot of fear and anxiety about things that likely will never actually happen.

2020 really didn't help me deal well with my worry, so I kicked off 2021 with this personal development book, and I learned a
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
You can find this book review and others at my blog

"If you avoid the object of your worries, you will become more afraid of them."

If you're like me, you've had periods in your life where your anxiety is through. the. roof. You will look for anything, even a book, that will acknowledge and validate what you're feeling, even if you're embarrassed to admit the chronic worries you've had.

This book started out slow. I saw myself in many of the examples the author
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I found this book to be extremely helpful. The beginning explains worry in a way that I feel anyone could understand. For those of us who experience actual panic, I'd like to warn you that the beginning of this book IS hard to read. It will make you face a lot of stuff you don't really want to think about. It made me antsy but he also points that out and says HE KNOWS it's probably causing some anxiety. You have to face it. You can't keep running and that really helped me. I read this at about 2 ...more
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Now I need to add the amber snail to my list of worries and then see if Costco sells Tic Tacs in bulk. Good book, different perspectives on facing your worries head on instead of avoiding them.
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
I have really struggled writing a review for this book. It just did not resonate with me. David A Carbonell personifies worry, in doing so, he allows the reader to take a different perspective on worrying. The remedies seem to be somewhat counter intuitive: instead of fighting and resisting your worries, acknowledge them. The book feels quite drawn out at times and anyone expecting earth shattering new approaches will be disappointed. I found the writing to be somewhat repetitive and slow to get ...more
Very good. I definitely didn't give it the undivided attention it deserved and want to revisit the book again to really soak in all the information. Below are my notes of things that popped out at me.


Treat the doubt as a sign of danger instead of the usual discomfort we feel about uncertainty.

You can't prove something won't happen - everything about the future is unknown. It's not the unknown part that people find scary. It's when they consider the future and think they do know what's going t
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Plain and simple. It may not work for everyone, but this book shone a flashlight right on my worry and the ways that I deal with it. I've worried since I was a kid and I think I have a lot of OCD tendencies. Because of that, sometimes everything in my head can feel overwhelming. So I picked this book up because I was about to move states alone and just feeling all the anxiety in the world. And this book pointed out what I was doing to try and deal with those worries, and how a ...more
P Michael N
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I never considered myself much of a worrier, I picked this book out of curiosity. After reading it, I've come to realise that I have an unhealthy relationship with worry. Worry is something that I never really thought about, it's something I just experienced. I think most people are like that. This book rips the doors open and confronts worry head on. The most surprising things in reading this are the counter-intuitive solutions to worry that David A. Carbonell has come up with. I've tried all t ...more
Mehran Janfeshan
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as I wanted to help a friend. It‘s an amazing book with a lot of practical solutions. It helps you to have a better understanding of your worry situation and also tells you why all the usual methods to calm down worry don’t work on chronic worry, I highly recommend this book.
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciated the explanation of what is going on in my brain when I worry and how natural opposition gives better results than avoidance.

I definitely will start using and trying these methods. Just reading this book reassured me of what is going on with my mind and helped me focus truth not what my brain makes up.
The Worry Trick; How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It by David A Carbonel 2.5 stars out of 5

This is a non-fiction book self-help book. The books goal is to show you how your brain tricks you into worrying and how to stop this vicious cycle.

I gravitated towards this book because I am a notorious worrier, I worry about crazy things that I know are very unlikely to happen, so I thought this book could help me stop this.

David A Carbonel has set the book o
Lisa Smith
Sep 22, 2017 rated it liked it
"Chronic worry doesn't alert you to problems that need solving. It interferes with problem solving. If you experience chronic worry, your attention is focused on unlikely hypothetical future disasters, rather than current situations that require a solution. Chronic worries don't get solved because there really isn't anything to solve. The worry just gets repeated until it's replaced by something else."

--Pretty easy read, and has some new ideas for this chronic worrier to try :)
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little long in the beginning, working up to methods to diminish worry. But, the rule of opposites has already been helping me. I took notes, but wish I had taken more at the start. Will continue to review them so I don’t lose the strategies.
Apr 09, 2019 added it
Shelves: gave-up
Library loan I ran out of time to finish.
Seemed okay, but gave me the cant-be-botherds. Eat a tic tac every time I think “what if”. Awesome - now I can worry about more weight gain too. Or throw them, even better, that wouldn’t make me look insane in public....
Carolyn Pina
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is THE book for worriers! It puts worrying into perspective.
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David Carbonell, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in treating anxiety. He is the author of four self-help books: Panic Attacks Workbook, The Worry Trick, Fear of Flying Workbook, and Outsmart Your Anxious Brain. He is also the “coach” of the popular self-help site, anxietycoach, and his books are all available for purchase there. In his spare time, he is the founding member of The ...more

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