If you keep trying to untie a knot in your shoelace the same way every time, you’re going to get the same result – a stubborn knot that won’t budge. But if you take a different approach, like pulling the laces from a different angle or using a tool to help untangle the knot, you’ll be able to loosen it up and eventually undo it. The same applies to managing your anxious thoughts and feelings – by trying new approaches, you can loosen the knot of anxiety and get the relief you want. 

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In a nutshell


Dr Kirren Schnack is a Clinical Psychologist with over two decades of experience working in mental health services in both adults and children. In Ten Times Calmer she brings her wealth of knowledge and expertise to the masses in an accessible and actionable way. The focus of Ten Times Calmer is Anxiety and she sets out a comprehensive program of well-researched and clinically proven techniques to help you overcome anxiety and go from a state of suffering to one of calm. You’ll learn everything from managing anxious thoughts, embracing uncertainty to building resilience to face your fears.  

Book Club Notes


I was listening to a podcast where the host and guest were speaking about society’s need to diagnose everything. We can no longer be worried, we must be suffering from anxiety, things can’t be hard, we must be going through a traumatic life event, we can’t be sad, we must be depressed. I bring this up, because Ten Times Calmer is a good book and brilliant resource – if you genuinely suffer from anxiety. Not if you’re feeling anxious. It’s an important distinction and one I thought about a lot while reading the book. No one goes through life without at some point feeling worried or anxious – but that doesn’t mean one has anxiety. As someone who’s uttered the sentences “I’m feeling anxious” and “this gives me anxiety” more than once, reading Ten Times Calmer made it crystal clear to me that I can feel anxious – worry, but I don’t suffer from anxiety – that worry doesn’t take over me to the extent that I cannot act. In a nutshell, if you suffer from anxiety this book can give you the tools and understanding you need to beat anxiety and change your life. 

9 Takeaways for Calming Your Nervous System

These takeaways are a taste of the many tips shared throughout the book. I’m choosing to share these as I believe they’re not only helpful to those with anxiety but to anyone who knows what feeling anxious is like.


Your body has a natural alarm system that triggers psychological responses when you’re anxious. This mechanism releases hormones – adrenaline and cortisol – in your body. 


Adrenaline plays a key role in how your body responds to threatening situations. It serves to enhance your body’s resources, enabling you to perform and manage situations more effectively.


Cortisol plays an important role in your body. However, extended periods of anxiety can lead to sustained high levels of cortisol, creating unwanted symptoms. To address this, it’s important to consistently practise effective relaxation techniques.


Elevated adrenaline and cortisol levels can lead to uncomfortable physical sensations which contribute to an increased sense of anxiety. This sets off a cycle where increasing anxiety intensifies the physical sensations and vice versa. Practising relaxation skills to trigger the relaxation response can break this cycle and prevent the reinforcement between anxiety and physical sensations.


Exposure to prolonged stress can lead to heightened sensitivity in the nervous system, causing even minor triggers to elicit intense anxious responses. This heightened sensitivity further amplifies the experience of anxiety. Regular practice of relaxation skills can calm this sensitivity.


Reducing nervous system stress takes time, patience, and a consistent commitment to practising relaxation exercises.


Incorporate simple breathing exercises into your daily routine to help regulate your body’s stress reactions.


Use progressive muscle relaxation to reduce physiological stress and alleviate physical tension. By systematically tensing and relaxing various muscle groups, you can promote deep relaxation and a sense of calm.


Use physical movement, like taking a walk or doing an everyday chore, to respond to heightened anxiety. This can be a useful complement to your regular exercise routine, which is also vital in maintaining a calm nervous system.

Read If


You suffer from anxiety and find that anxious thoughts control your mind and actions.

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Readability – 8/10
Writing – 8/10
Applicability – 9/10
Timelessness – 8/10
Shareability – 8/10
8.0Overall Score

The Nitty Gritty


Published by: Pan Macmillan

Genre: Non-Fiction, Psychology, Behavioural Science

ISBN: 978-1-0350-1360-9

Pages: 383

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A note on our book ratings

Readability: How easy is it to read and understand what the author is saying? Do you need a dictionary or PhD to understand it?

Writing: How well written is the book? Do you find yourself wowed by the writing or unimpressed?

Applicability: How applicable is this book to daily life? Is there enough advice and actions that are easy to start applying?

Timelessness: Is the content of the book timeless or is it something that in a few years won’t have relevance?

Shareability: How likely are you to share the book?

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