The Feeling Good Handbook Book Summary - The Feeling Good Handbook Book explained in key points

The Feeling Good Handbook summary

David D. Burns

Brief summary

The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns is a self-help book that provides practical techniques and exercises to overcome depression, anxiety, and negative thinking. It offers a step-by-step guide to improve mental well-being and emotional resilience.

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Table of Contents

    The Feeling Good Handbook
    Summary of key ideas

    Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions

    In The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns, we are introduced to the concept of cognitive therapy, which is based on the idea that our thoughts, rather than external events, cause our feelings. Burns explains that our negative emotions are often the result of distorted thinking patterns, and he provides a list of common cognitive distortions such as all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, and mental filtering.

    He then guides us through a series of exercises designed to help us identify and challenge these distorted thoughts. By doing so, we can begin to change our emotional responses and improve our mental well-being. Burns also introduces the concept of the 'Daily Mood Log', a tool to track our moods and the thoughts that accompany them, which helps us to identify patterns and triggers for our negative emotions.

    Overcoming Depression and Anxiety

    Next, The Feeling Good Handbook delves into the specific application of cognitive therapy to depression. Burns explains that depression is often characterized by a negative view of oneself, the world, and the future. He provides a series of exercises to help us challenge these negative beliefs and replace them with more realistic and positive ones.

    Similarly, Burns addresses anxiety disorders, explaining that they are often fueled by irrational fears and catastrophic thinking. He introduces the concept of exposure therapy, where we gradually confront our fears in a controlled manner, as a way to overcome anxiety. He also provides a detailed guide on how to use relaxation techniques to manage anxiety symptoms.

    Improving Relationships and Communication

    Shifting focus, The Feeling Good Handbook explores the impact of our thoughts on our relationships. Burns explains that our negative thoughts can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts with others. He introduces the concept of assertiveness, teaching us how to express our needs and feelings in a direct and respectful manner.

    Burns also discusses the importance of effective communication in relationships. He provides a list of common communication pitfalls and offers strategies to improve our listening skills and express our thoughts and feelings more clearly. By doing so, we can reduce misunderstandings and conflicts in our relationships.

    Overcoming Procrastination and Boosting Self-Esteem

    In the latter part of the book, The Feeling Good Handbook addresses common issues such as procrastination and low self-esteem. Burns explains that procrastination often stems from fear of failure or perfectionism. He provides practical strategies to overcome procrastination, such as breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable steps.

    Regarding self-esteem, Burns emphasizes the role of our thoughts in shaping our self-image. He provides exercises to help us challenge negative self-beliefs and develop a more positive and realistic view of ourselves. He also encourages us to engage in activities that give us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which can help boost our self-esteem.


    In conclusion, The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns is a comprehensive guide to understanding and managing our emotions through cognitive therapy. By identifying and challenging our negative thoughts, we can overcome depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues. The book offers practical exercises and tools that can help us improve our mental well-being, enhance our relationships, and lead a more fulfilling life.

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    What is The Feeling Good Handbook about?

    The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns is a comprehensive guide to overcoming depression and anxiety. Drawing on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, the book provides practical exercises and strategies to help readers challenge negative thoughts, improve their mood, and take control of their mental health.

    The Feeling Good Handbook Review

    The Feeling Good Handbook (1999) is a comprehensive guide to overcoming depression and improving mental health. Here's why this book is a valuable read:

    • Practical exercises and techniques enable readers to actively work on their mental well-being, providing them with a practical roadmap for positive change.
    • Combining insightful explanations, relatable anecdotes, and helpful diagrams, the book offers a clear and accessible approach to understanding and managing emotions.
    • With its emphasis on self-empowerment, the book encourages readers to take control of their mental health, making it an engaging, empowering, and far from boring resource.

    Who should read The Feeling Good Handbook?

    • Those struggling with anxiety, depression, or negative thought patterns
    • Individuals interested in cognitive behavioral therapy and self-help techniques
    • People looking to improve their mental well-being and overall quality of life

    About the Author

    David D. Burns is a renowned psychiatrist and author who has made significant contributions to the field of mental health. He is best known for his book "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy," which has sold over 5 million copies and has been translated into more than 30 languages. Burns' work focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy and provides practical techniques for overcoming depression and anxiety. With his extensive experience and expertise, he has helped countless individuals improve their mental well-being.

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    The Feeling Good Handbook FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Feeling Good Handbook?

    The main message of The Feeling Good Handbook is that individuals have the power to improve their own mental well-being and overcome negative emotions.

    How long does it take to read The Feeling Good Handbook?

    The reading time for The Feeling Good Handbook varies for each person. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Feeling Good Handbook a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Feeling Good Handbook is worth reading as it provides practical techniques and strategies for managing negative emotions and improving mental health.

    Who is the author of The Feeling Good Handbook?

    The author of The Feeling Good Handbook is David D. Burns.

    What to read after The Feeling Good Handbook?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Feeling Good Handbook, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price
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    • Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink
    • The Twenty-four Hour Mind by Rosalind D. Cartwright