FREEING YOURSELF FROM ANXIETY: 4 Simple Steps to Overcome Worry and Create the Life You Want, by Tamar E. Chansky, PhD., Da Capo/Lifelong, 306 pp., $16.

If you're running from a woolly mammoth, the adrenaline pump of anxiety might save your life. But if your boss' critical "FYI . . . " evokes a similar flight/fight response, you need to tamp it down, writes psychologist Chansky, founder of a Philadelphia anxiety center.

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We often believe our own thoughts, but they often lie -- especially when they focus on worst-case scenarios. "Your bad thoughts are negative exaggerations of the story of your life," she writes.

So she'll show you how to change them.

THE SCOOP You'll learn to practice Chansky's four steps: pause and relabel ("don't believe everything you think"); get specific ("everything" isn't wrong); optimize ("expand the possibilities") and mobilize ("get unstuck").

THE BOTTOM LINE Think of your brain's amygdala like a dog that barks indiscriminately at everything. "Tell it respectfully but firmly," she writes, "to sit and stay."