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Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong: A Guide to Life Liberated from Anxiety
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Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong: A Guide to Life Liberated from Anxiety

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  567 ratings  ·  43 reviews
You don't need a book to tell you this much: Sometimes things fall apart, crack open, and miss the mark. You can plan and strategize and keep your eye on the horizon, watching for trouble. And nothing you can do will protect you from the fact that things might, when you least expect it, go terribly, horribly wrong. If you're anxious about this, it's not like you don't have ...more
Paperback, 165 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by New Harbinger Publications (first published January 6th 2010)
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Start your review of Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong: A Guide to Life Liberated from Anxiety
I greatly respect Kelly Wilson and I LOVED his book for therapists, Mindfulness for Two, It is totally possible that I should not have read these back to back. 1) The content of Things is terribly watered down compared to MF2 so it is difficult to give it a "clean" review, and 2) What little information that I would find useful for clients is reprinted (word for word) from MF2. Which makes me wonder if a client NEW to this material might find the book helpful? Was it too hard for me, having stud ...more
Aug 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
It took me a good long time to be able to admit that I suffer from anxiety and probably have generalized anxiety disorder. It's funny, how you grow up thinking one way, and you think everyone around you is the same. I had absolutely no idea that other people don't worry about things to the extent that I do. Put simply, there is never a moment when I'm not worrying or anxious about something. I've had stupid panic attacks, I've gotten the chills, I stress out a lot. I worry worry worry, constantl ...more
Morgan Blackledge
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Why doesn't everyone known and love Kelly Wilson? For the life of me, I cant figure that out. Knowing about Kelly Wilson and his bro Steven C. Hayes is like discovering two wise and magical talking trees in the forest that nearly no one else can see or hear except you. ACT is truly innovative and brilliant shit. I'm baffled by the fact that everyone isn't drinking this stuff up like ice water in September. Laying aside the mystery for a moment, I should take the opportunity to simply report that ...more
Adam Floridia
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of the better self-help type books I've read, and I think it has a lot to do with the tone. I like the way these dudes write. It's very colloquial. They've also chosen some brilliant literary quotes as epigraphs to chapters. Most of the exercises are actually halfway decent, and some are really good--all are easy to try. There's a lot of good advice, but as always so much of it relies on the ability to do not just to know. Plus, I'll likely forget most of the helpful tidbits anyway. Oh well, ...more
Liesl Gibson
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended by my therapist when I was really struggling to understand where we were going and I didn't feel like I was making any progress. It's definitely helped, and this week in therapy everything finally came together for me as a result. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) makes use of mindfulness and accepting your feelings rather than trying to avoid them. This book really helped me to understand the concept better. What a relief! ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
**Anxiety need not call the shots**

What would your life be like if anxiety wasn’t calling the shots?

What if you could be fully engaged in the present moment and not be stuck in the regrets of the past or swept away with the endless what-if’s of the future? Imagine being able to accept the what-is’s of the here-and-now, and finally have a life where you’re free to do the things that bring you value, purpose, and meaning. What if you allowed yourself to sometimes fail, realizing that your sense o
Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
I think that this had some solid advice in it, but my mind wasn't blown away by any life-changing information. This past January I swore that I would get help with my anxiety. It's something that I've fought against for forever, so I'm trying to learn to accept it rather than fight it anymore. So begins my journey into finding good books on mindfulness. ...more
This book is my first in-depth look at the concepts in ACT. My main takeaway is that better than asking “Is this right (or good, etc)?” is to ask “Is this effective (in working towards one goals)?”

Looking at the nitty-gritty:
--The exercises are doable and written to be relatable, even including keys to accessing what is asked of the reader. Amazingly, I wanted to do the exercises for the most part, rather than roll my eyes at them or assuming I knew what would happen without doing them. Not all
Heiki Eesmaa
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It's a fun intro to ACT written in KGW's distinctive voice. ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If I could only recommend one self-help book, regardless of what specific issue you're struggling with, it would be this one. ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: act, for-clients, work

Big Ideas:

+ Creative hopelessness
- Humans don’t like ambiguity. We sometimes choose a painful but certain action over the uncertainty of not knowing what will happen in the future
- We spend a lot of time in problem-solving mode, which means that a lot of the world starts to get treated like it’s a problem, including our inner world of emotions
- Psychological problems are very different from the problems we evolved to solve (i.e. escaping from a lion by running away). Therefore, our usual problem
Rachel Dalton
Aug 07, 2016 rated it liked it
I don't really read self help (unless it's re-reading Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things for the millionth time), but my mom wanted me to read an exercise about breathing to relieve anxiety, but if you hand me a book, I'm pretty much always going to read the whole thing.

I sucked at actually doing the exercises - didn't feel like giving the time to them, which maybe defeats the purpose? But a few of them did stick out: The breathing one my mom mentioned, and visualizing and caring for your an
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Kelly Wilson, Steven Hayes, Russ Harris and John Forsyth unpack the "human condition" in a compassionate way. Amongst their published contributions is this gem from Kelly Wilson! Well researched, scientifically of substance and, insights presented with the simplicity attainable only by those who have brilliant understanding of their subject matter - this is a book that should be read by all who call themselves human. I came to realize that reality presents itself paradoxically and this book shar ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
This book uses the perspective of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I keep trying to give ACT a chance but every ACT book and video I read or see fails to appeal to me. I appreciate the underlying concepts but the execution takes too many detours and gets overly complicated.

This book has those same problems. There are a few pages that are clear and straightforward but the rest of it involves all kinds of games and exercises that keep taking the reader away from the point which is confusi
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
The ideas in this book are pragmatically spelled out with very functional ideas that can be applied to everyday life.

This book's prose and impact on me were no where near other books like Radical Acceptance. However, it is a book still worth checking out.

I would probably give this book a 3.5 if I could.
I found this book on ACT psychology as applied to anxiety less helpful than some of the other Acceptance and Committment Therapy books I've read. I would recommend "Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life" by Stephen C. Hayes as more effective. ...more
Courtney Graham
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I got diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and was giving this book to read and study. I normally hate books like this but I gave it a shot. It has great tips and information on how to control and accept your anxiety. Great book.
Nathan Albright
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge-2019
There is something deeply funny about this book.  I do not mean funny in these of comical, but rather funny in the sense of deliberately and provocatively strange.  In particular, the book is full of various "games" that seek to expose the reader to one's own thinking processes and to what can be done about them.  The authors correctly assume that most readers of this book will be somewhat anxious people in one way or another, and they wish to subtly help the reader overcome anxiety through self ...more
bondarul albastru
May 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
I somewhat appreciated the method and the arguments, but I did not enjoy the writing style, I could not follow the chatty style very well. The main take away from reading a first book employing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is that some of us fall into repetitive patterns of responding that overtime make us progressively less sensitive to context. Their example - if fear and anxiety overwhelm us in social situations, after years we will dump all social situations as ‘bad’, regardless of thei ...more
Amelia Turvey
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Wilson, K. G. (2010). Things might go terribly, horribly wrong: A guide to life liberated from anxiety. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

This book is supposed to act as guide to help children with anxiety. It gives children steps to climb out of the hole that is anxiety.
I think this book should be included when the lesson of feelings is taught. There is a large sum of books that have to do with anxiety when I was searching for books on feelings. I think after introducing anxiety to a cl
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Decent, slim, readable text for the layperson based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) principles. I personally think that The Happiness Trap is a better overview of ACT; this text did not necessarily add anything new in terms of actual content. It would be a good starting point, though, for someone who hasn't previously read much about ACT. The best feature is that it has little "games" sprinkled throughout that are really easy and doable while you're reading. I usually skip exercises a ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
There are some good insights buried in this book, but I found it annoying to read. The authors try very hard to write in a conversational/accessible style, but they're so needlessly meta that it distracted me from the information. Dudes, quit bringing up the fact that you exist and that you're writing a book and that I'm reading it and that I'm "probably thinking" x or y about what you just said – just get to the point! If I decide to learn more about ACT, I'll read something more impersonal and ...more
Rita	 Marie
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
This book caught my eye on the library shelf, and I've had enough things go horribly wrong over the years that it seemed worth reading. And it was. I was especially intrigued by how much is drawn from Buddhist thought, particularly the practice of meditation and the concepts of acceptance and compassion. ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
My doctor has been recommending this book for years. I did not find it to be the salve for my anxieties as prescribed, but I am still glad that I gave it a chance. It helps to put a positive spin on worrying.
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just when you think that there is no hope for your mind. No hope to figure out a plan to put one thought in front of the other to let them exist side by side and no longer threaten to destroy you. There is hope. This book gives that hope and that plan and the rest is up to you.
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was ok
This has some great insights into acceptance and commitment therapy, I just found the writing to be a little difficult to get through.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't read it cover to cover, but I read a lot of it, and I found it very useful. The style of the writing wasn't totally my thing, but I found the overall concepts and strategies wise and helpful. ...more
Teo 2050


Wilson KG & Dufrene T (2010) (04:26) Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong - A Guide to Life Liberated from Anxiety

Things We Want to Say

1. Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong
• Find the Way Out by Finding the Way In
• Keeping an Eye on the Prize
• Who We Are
• Who You Are
• How to Use This Book

2. Anxiety: Form, Function, and the Unity of Suffering
• Labeling Anxiety Behavior
• Finding Function in Anxiety
• Eluding Ambiguity
• The Bear and the Blueberries
• An Alternati
Ampersand Inc.
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: debbie-s-reads
New Harbinger’s authors are phenomenally skilled at exploring anxiety in a comprehensible way. This book is no exception. The writing is clear and concise and helps you apply concepts to your life. The text is broken down into sections for easy reading and chapters are a good length. The progression of the book provides optimal understanding of anxiety and how to manage this condition.
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