First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety

by Sarah Wilson


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New York Times Bestseller

"Probably the best book on living with anxiety that I’ve ever read.” – Mark Manson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Chinese believe that before you can conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful.

Sarah Wilson first came across this Chinese proverb in psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison's memoir An Unquiet Mind, and it became the key to understanding her own lifelong struggle with anxiety. Wilson, bestselling author, journalist, and entrepreneur has helped over 1.5 million people worldwide to live better, healthier lives through her I Quit Sugar books and program. And all along, she has been managing chronic anxiety.

In First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, Wilson directs her intense focus and fierce investigating skills onto her lifetime companion, looking at the triggers and treatments, the fashions and fads. She reads widely and interviews fellow sufferers, mental health experts, philosophers, and even the Dalai Lama, processing all she learns through the prism of her own experiences.

Wilson offers readers comfort, humor, companionship, and practical tips for living with the Beast:

  • Cultivate a "gratitude ritual." You can't be grateful and anxious at the same time.
  • Eat to curb anxiety. Real food is your best friend.
  • Just breathe. Embrace the healing power of meditation.
  • Make your bed. Every day. Simple outer order creates inner calm.
  • Study fellow fretters to know thyself. Emily Dickinson, Charles Darwin, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. all struggled with anxiety.
  • Actively practice missing out. Forget FOMO, curl up on the couch, and order takeout.

Practical and poetic, wise and funny, First, We Make the Beast Beautiful is a small book with a big heart. It will encourage the myriad souls who dance with this condition to embrace it as a part of who they are, and to explore the possibilities it offers for a richer, fuller life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062836786
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/24/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 43,125
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Sarah Wilson is author of the New York Times bestsellers First, We Make the Beast Beautiful and I Quit Sugar. She is the founder of, an 8-week program that has been completed by 1.5 million people in 133 countries. A former news journalist and editor for Australian Cosmopolitan, she blogs on philosophy, anxiety, minimalism, toxin-free living, and anti-consumerism at She lives in Sydney, Australia, rides a bike everywhere, is a compulsive hiker, and is eternally curious.  

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First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
WitchyWriter 8 days ago
Society likes to imply that I'm broken for having depression or anxiety or complex-PTSD. This book made me feel like I’M NOT BROKEN. It made me feel like I am a normal variation in a beautifully diverse species, and that my variations are, dare I say it, essential to humanity’s continued existence. This book doesn't set out to romanticize mental health issues. It portrays them in what reads as a very honest light. The author shares so much of herself and her personal experiences, warts and all. And through her experiences, she learned that first, we need to make the beast beautiful. In the months since reading this book, I've been kinder to myself. Falling back on self-compassion more often than criticism. And I've been open to new knowledge that takes the next steps, beyond making the beast beautiful. I've learned more about society and the environmental stressors that contribute to my mental state. It felt like this book prepared me for those steps. First, I needed to stop being scared of my mental health issues. Then, I can seek to understand them, and to treat them, and live with them. I recommend this book to so many friends. Those of us on these journeys of self-awareness and self-love, I feel like we’re drawn to each other like magnets. So there are a lot of people in my life this book would likely resonate with. If you have mental health issues, if you're interested in a memoir-style self-help book that doesn't force information down your throat but does open up a new way to view your heart and mind, give this book a try. I think you’ll be surprised at how it shifts your view of yourself, your mental health, and society.
Anonymous 6 months ago
The thought exercises and the author's understanding of her own anxiety made a difference for me overnight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the f word