Charlie Hoehn was a full-time employee of mine during the making and launch of The 4-Hour Body. It was an intense period.
In this post, Charlie will share his M.E.D. (Minimum Effective Dose) for overcoming anxiety and managing workaholism. There are six techniques in total.
If you haven’t already, be sure to read his previous post on preventing burnout.
Do you feel a constant sense of dread? Do you have trouble breathing, relaxing, and sleeping? Do you worry that you’re losing control, or that you’re going to die?
In other words: are you trapped in your own personal hell?
I’ve been there (here’s the backstory), and I know what it’s like. Shallow breathing, tension in the gut, chest pains, rapid heartbeat… Every moment is exhausting, crushing, and painful. Anxiety destroys your confidence, your productivity, your relationships, and your ability to enjoy life.
For a long time, I thought I was going crazy. I was convinced that something horribly wrong was about to happen. I tired and afraid all the time, and I didn’t know how to shake it. One half of me pretended to be normal while the other half tried to keep it together.
I tried everything: meditation, yoga, high-intensity workouts, long runs, therapy, therapy books, keeping a journal, super clean diets, extended fasting, drugs, deep breathing exercises, prayer, etc. I even took a six-week course, made specifically for men who wanted to overcome anxiety.
What I discovered is that the most effective “cures” for anxiety are often free, painless, and fun. When I was doing the six techniques I cover in this post on a daily basis, I was able to get back to my normal self in less than one month.
It’s my sincerest hope that this post helps you eliminate your anxiety, once and for all. Surprisingly, it’s not as hard as you think…
1. Enjoy Guilt-Free Play with Friends
“A lack of play should be treated like malnutrition: it’s a health risk to your body and mind.”
— Stuart Brown
When I asked Tim for his advice on overcoming anxiety, he said, “Remember to EXERCISE daily. That is 80% of the battle.”
I completely agree. Exercise is scientifically proven to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. But what’s the best type of exercise? Running on the treadmill for an hour? Doing hundreds of sit-ups? Self-inflicted torture via P90X?
How about ‘None of the Above.’ All of those activities are miserable. People only do them because they think getting in shape has to be a punishment.
Exercise does not have to feel like work; it can be play. In other words, physical movement that gets your heart racing, causes you to sweat, and is legitimately FUN for you and your friends. You don’t have to track your time, measure your heart rate, or count your calories. Forget all that noise. Just focus on having fun while moving around with your friends.
In my experience, the best forms of anxiety-reducing play are outdoor sports. They are social (more than one person is required), mildly competitive, and cause everyone to break a sweat in the fresh air and sunshine. However, any fun play activity that you can do on a regular basis with your friends should work.
Almost every weekend, my friends and I play home run derby or go to the driving range. For me, taking batting practice or hitting golf balls is the most rewarding form of play. Plus it gives me an excuse to move around outside for an hour or two.
I also take frequent trips to the park with an Aerobie Flying Ring (a flat rubber Frisbee that flies really fast). The Aerobie is perfect for playing because I have to call up a friend to join me, and we both end up running around chasing it.
Incorporating play into my weekly routine helped my anxiety and workaholism more than anything else. It was such a massive relief to hang out with my friends and have guilt-free fun again. Playing helped me decompress and unplug from work, which actually made me more productive.
After each round of catch or home run derby, I would return to my laptop feeling light and happy. And to my surprise, I was able to produce better work at a faster pace. My brain was operating at a higher level because it was happy, playful, and recharged. And I wasn’t the only one who attested to a boost in productivity and creativity because of play.
[Note from Tim: Exercise also elicits measurable biochemical effects (like increased BDNF production) that improve cognitive performance.]
My friend Ann (a book editor) texted me one afternoon to say that she was trying to work, but was so bored that she’d spent the last hour staring at a turtle swimming in a pond. I told her to come pick me up so we could play catch. We drove over to a park and played with the Aerobie for two hours in the sun. The next day, she sent me this message:
All work and no play makes Jack an anxious boy — literally. Isolating yourself erodes your health, and sitting in a chair all day is a recipe for neuroses. Get off the Internet, turn off your screens, and go have guilt-free fun playing with your friends! You’ll be less anxious, less lonely, more relaxed, and a whole lot happier.
DO IT NOW
Schedule a daily reminder to Play. Ask a friend, co-worker, or neighbor to play catch. Search Yelp.com for “co-ed sports” or “improv comedy,” then sign up. For a negligible fee, you get to be surrounded by fun people who like to play. Totally worth it.
You can take baby steps toward playing more, of course. You could invite a friend on a long walk, or play catch instead of drinking coffee, or take a date to the driving range. The important thing is to schedule guilt-free fun with good people.
Aim for 30 minutes per day (or more, if possible). Reducing your anxiety through play only takes 2% of your total time each week, but it’s up to you to decide that your happiness is worth the effort.
[Note from Tim: Schedule this recreation in advance or it won’t happen. If you’re a type-A personality, work will swell to fill your unfilled calendar.]
Free, or very cheap. Try not to think of play in terms of costs. This is an investment in your health and happiness, with a guaranteed return.
Aerobie Flying Ring. This is the best toy for playing catch. It’s light, durable, portable, and extremely fun.
Charlie’s Play Picks. Check out my list of fun activities and toys.
Play by Dr. Stuart Brown. If you want to read more about the science behind play and its essential role in fueling happiness, pick up a copy of this book. It’s fantastic. Also worth reading: The Play Deficit (article) by Peter Gray.
2. Unplug from All Sources of News
“Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.”
— Robert J. Sawyer
It took me a long time to see it, but the news was my single biggest source of anxiety.
The websites I was reading each day talked non-stop about crime, corruption, economic breakdown, and the end of the world. As a result, my fear of being attacked spun out of control. I became obsessed with protecting myself from every possible threat. I researched what to do if I was arrested and thrown in jail. I spent hundreds of dollars on food and equipment that I hoped would save me in the event of a disaster.
There was nothing inherently wrong with preparing for an emergency, but obsessing over apocalyptic scenarios, every day, for months on end?
One day, it finally dawned on me: my fear of an imaginary future was destroying my ability to enjoy the present.
And what planted those seeds of fear? The news.
When I made the commitment to cut the news out of my life completely — no TV, no conspiracy sites or “truth deliverer” blogs, ignoring / blocking every sensationalist link I came across on social media, etc. — my anxiety plummeted in less than two weeks. The negative information I removed from my conscious awareness freed me from the confines of other people’s frightening narratives.
I replaced the scary news with positive, joyful, and fun information. For instance, I listened to uplifting songs and standup comedy. I watched improv, and classic funny & happy movies. I read fun books that sparked my imagination and touched my soul. It really helped.
Of course, I didn’t bury my head in the sand. I still talked with my friends, who would inevitably bring up the noteworthy events that took place that week. And I was always surprised to discover that… I didn’t really miss anything. I was alive, and the world kept turning. That was about it.
The information you allow into your conscious awareness determines the quality of your life. In other words, you are what you think. If you are subsisting on content that’s unsettling, anxious, and soulless (see: the news, reality shows, horror movies, books written by hateful authors, porn), your mind will become stressed, scared, and cynical.
But if you are consuming content that’s joyous and playful, your mind will become happy and loving. Simple as that.
DO IT NOW
Cut anxiety-inducing information – especially the news – out of your daily routine completely! If your friends are watching the news in the same room, either change the channel or go do something else. If a scary headline appears in your Facebook feed, don’t click it – block it.
There’s no need to subject yourself to unhealthy unrealities. Replace those unsettling thoughts with positive content that will uplift you.
The “Anti-News” List. My favorite anxiety-fighting content. Just remember: Sad people tend to focus on the lyrics, while happy people just listen to the music. Don’t over-analyze the deeper implications of the art; just enjoy how it makes you feel.
BONUS POINTS: Flip the Shut-Off Switch
Whenever I’m feeling burned out, I have to force myself to unplug.
I relocate to a scenic environment where the skyline isn’t cluttered with buildings or human activity, then I disconnect from every device with a screen for a minimum of 24 hours. That means no texting, no calling, no email, no Facebook, no Instagram, and no Seinfeld. Only nature, face-to-face interactions, and books are allowed.
Unplugged nature vacations are incredibly refreshing. My mind always feels like a stuffy room that gets a sudden rush of fresh air. Instead of feeling tired all day long from a steady diet of internet content, I’m rejuvenated by real life again.
Give yourself permission to stop working and unplug. Don’t feel guilty for taking time off. This isn’t an escape from the real world – it’s a chance to reconnect with it.
3. Consistent Bedtime & Afternoon Naps
“My girlfriend asked me, ‘Did you sleep good?’ I said ‘No, I made a few mistakes.’”
— Steven Wright
I really can’t overemphasize the importance of consistent quality sleep. Every anxious person I’ve met has either been in denial about how little sleep they get, or they’re overlooking the fact that they’re going to bed at random hours every night.
One of my readers wrote this message to me after reading an early draft of my book:
“When I began forcing myself to sleep eight hours a night, my physical health problems cleared up, my emotions balanced out, and my anxiety disappeared. My mind could function and that tight feeling around my eyes vanished. Eight hours of sleep is a miracle pill.”
I was chronically in a severe sleep deficit, which took a major toll on my mental health.
The endless stream of digital information I was taking in every waking hour only compounded the problem. And because I kept going to bed at random hours, my mind never had enough time to shut down, relax, and digest everything that poured in during the day.
During the month I cured my anxiety, I made consistent sleep one of my highest priorities. The first thing I did was optimize my bedroom for ideal sleeping conditions. Here are the steps I took:
- Plugged my iPhone charger in an outlet far away from my bed so I couldn’t grab my phone while I was laying down. This little obstacle prevented me from checking Facebook or watching Youtube before trying to fall asleep. [Note from Tim: I always put my iPhone on Airplane Mode or turn it off while sleeping. Even on silent, the illumination of arriving text messages is enough to wake or aggravate me.]
- Cranked up the air conditioning so the temperature in my bedroom was around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Kept the curtains drawn and wore a sleep mask so that my room was as dark as I could possibly make it.
Once my room was optimized, I committed to a consistent bedtime. I set a daily reminder on my iPhone called “Get Ready for Bed,” which went off at 10:00PM every night (i.e. nine hours before I wanted to wake up). As soon as it went off, I’d stop whatever I was doing, hit the bathroom, brush my teeth, and change out of my day clothes. I was dead serious about obeying my phone’s command. Even if I was in the middle of a conversation, I’d abruptly end it so I could get ready for bed.
After I finished getting ready, I’d switch my phone to silent mode, plug it into the charger that was far away from my bed, and lay down to read fiction for 15 minutes (No business or “thinking” books allowed). Then I’d turn off the lights and focus on the rhythm of my breathing until I fell asleep.
It took several nights to adjust to this change, but within a week, I was sleeping like a champion. The key was getting ready at the same time every night. It set me in motion toward getting in bed, and ultimately re-trained my body to crave sleep at a reasonable hour.
There was another aspect of my sleep routine that was critical for healing my anxiety: I took a 20-minute nap every afternoon.
Each day, immediately after I finished lunch, I would find a spot to nap – a couch, a bench, a reclined car seat, a carpeted floor, a friend’s wedding…
I’d set an alarm on my phone for 20 minutes, lie on my back, and close my eyes. I never tried to fall asleep; I just relaxed and focused on breathing in and out. Even if I didn’t fall asleep (10-20% of the time), I always felt refreshed and calm when my alarm went off.
Naps are awesome. I wish I could be a salesman for naps. We all took them every day when we were kids, so… why should we stop taking them just because we’re older? Take a quick nap in the afternoon, even if you have to cut your lunch break short. Then force yourself to get ready for bed at the same time every night. You’ll be more relaxed, more productive, and far less anxious.
DO IT NOW
Set a daily reminder on your phone to “Get Ready for Bed,” nine hours prior to your target wake time. Set another reminder to take a nap after lunch. Plug your cell phone charger in an outlet that’s far away from your bed. Cover your windows so your bedroom is as dark as possible. Drop the temperature in your bedroom to 68 degrees.
Aim for 8 hours of consistent quality sleep each night, and one 20-minute nap every afternoon.
Relax like a Pro and 11 Tricks for Perfect Sleep. Check out Tim’s articles for more tips on taking your sleep to the next level.
Sweet Dreams Sleep Mask. The light! It buuurns! Use this mask to block it out.
Flux. The bright white light that you refer to as your “computer” might be disrupting your internal rhythm. Download the free Flux application to have your screen’s lighting automatically switch to a sunset hue in the evening.
Philips Wake-up Light. If you despise alarms as much as I do, then check out the Wake-up Light. It makes waking up gradual and pleasant.
4. Eliminate Stimulants
The physical sensations that preceded my panic attacks were the jitters (shaking hands, quivering voice) and a rapid resting heart rate. Guess what gave me both of those sensations? Coffee. And wouldn’t you know it, I was drinking 3-4 cups each day, running around like Tweek on South Park.
I decided to cut coffee out of my diet for a week. Shortly after I removed the caffeine from my bloodstream, I stopped having the jitters. My resting heart rate remained steady. The physical sensations that came with having a panic attack were no longer there, and I started calming down. [After some experimentation, I found that I could only have a half serving of coffee before I started feeling jittery. I also found that I couldn’t have caffeine past 5:00PM without disrupting my sleep routine.]
A friend of mine experienced similar results after removing aspartame. She had horrible anxiety for months but couldn’t figure out what was causing it. One day at work, she noticed that she’d finished three diet sodas in just a few hours. Her body was overloaded with caffeine and aspartame (a toxic sugar subsitute in diet drinks). As soon as she stopped drinking diet soda, her anxiety disappeared.
Sometimes, we tend to overlook the simple answers that are right in front of us. Let’s fix that.
DO IT NOW
Cut out any substance you regularly consume that’s correlated with increased feelings of anxiety. Common culprits include: caffeine, aspartame, gluten, refined sugar, alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana. Keep it out of your body for one week.
If you have that substance in your house, throw it away. If the people you spend the most time with are encouraging you to consume it, politely turn them down and do something else. If you have strong cravings for that substance, find a healthy substitute you can consume instead (e.g. water, tea, sugar-free gum).
After the substance has been out of your system for seven days, you can reassess its toxicity by consuming a typical dose you’re used to taking. If your anxiety symptoms return within one hour of ingestion, you’ve found the culprit. Try to eliminate that substance for good.
5. Trauma Releasing Exercises
[Note from Charlie: This technique is going to sound bizarre. I don’t blame you if you’re skeptical, but it worked really well for me and there’s a good amount of research to back up the benefits of T.R.E.]
One of the weirdest effects of anxiety is how much tension builds up in your body. I couldn’t even take a deep breath because my stomach always trembled, like it was being stretched to its limits. Relaxing felt physically impossible.
My body was so tense because I was constantly in fight-or-flight mode. Every day, I was producing the energy needed to survive a life-threatening event. The problem was that this event was in my mind; it was imaginary and it never took place. I had all this excess energy that wasn’t being released, so I became extremely high-strung.
A friend recommended that I check out T.R.E. — Trauma Releasing Exercises, which helped him conquer his anxiety. I watched a few videos of T.R.E. on YouTube and immediately thought it was fake. The clips showed people lying on the ground as their bodies went into spastic tremors. Their movements looked comical and freaky, like they were in the middle of an exorcism.
T.R.E. was originally designed as a safe and easy way to induce tremors. Anyone who has gone through extreme trauma, from the emotionally abused to war veterans, can use these exercises to their benefit. The exercises take about 20 minutes to complete, and they’re intended to induce tremors by exhausting your leg muscles.
I learned that tremors are a natural means for mammals to discharge excess energy after a traumatic event. The tremors release our body’s surplus of adrenaline after it’s no longer needed for survival. I watched footage of antelopes, bears, and other animals that had narrowly escaped an attack. Their bodies instinctively trembled for a few minutes, and then they’d act calm and normal again. It was fascinating.
Unlike most species, adult humans typically prevent themselves from having tremors. Why? Because we avoid behavior that makes us look weak or vulnerable. In other words, we are so self-conscious that we unknowingly block our body’s natural (yet embarrassing) function during times of great stress. As a result, we make it very difficult to overcome trauma because we’re constantly holding in so much excess energy. Thankfully, T.R.E. can help.
I bought the T.R.E. book on my Kindle and went through all the exercises. After I completed the full circuit, I lied on the ground and was STUNNED as my back, hips, and legs shook rapidly in sporadic bursts for 20 minutes. The tremors weren’t painful at all; the sensation actually felt relaxing and natural. I was just astounded by how vigorously my body shook. I looked like a vibrating cell phone. After my body’s tremors finally subsided, I went to lie down on my bed and immediately fell into a deep sleep.
I performed these exercises three nights per week, for three weeks. They were hugely effective for releasing the physical tension my body was holding in. I can’t show or describe all of the exercises here, as I don’t want to take credit for a routine I didn’t create. But if you’re interested in giving T.R.E. a shot, you can check out the book (or win a free copy by leaving a comment below — see instructions at the bottom of this post).
I know T.R.E. might sound kooky, or even a little scary. But it’s really not bad at all. It’s basically just a series of stretches that help your body thaw itself out by alleviating your chronic tension. Your tremors will definitely make your body move in strange ways though, so be sure to do these exercises in a relaxed environment where you won’t feel self-conscious.
DO IT NOW
Watch the 8-minute Tremors video on T.R.E.’s official website to see how it works.
Do the exercises every other day for three weeks. Then as needed.
$10 for the book.
Trauma Releasing Exercises. This short book explains the trauma recovery process in uncomplicated language. The last chapter includes photos and descriptions of the exercises, which elicit tremors that release deep chronic tension in the body.
6. Fix Micronutrient Deficiencies
Everyone should get tested for micronutrient deficiencies at some point. There are plenty of reasons why this is a smart move, but the most obvious is because of our changing soil.
The vegetables we eat absorb their nutrients from the soil they grow in, and the purity (and depth) of our topsoil has been severely compromised through hyper-aggressive/monoculture agriculture and mining. So even if you are eating a seemingly natural and well-balanced diet, you could still be deficient in key nutrients your brain and body need in order to function properly. Broccoli in one place doesn’t necessarily equal broccoli in another, for instance. Where you get your produce matters; they could be chock-full or devoid of the vitamins, etc. depending on where you source.
Below are two of the most common nutrient deficiencies that tend to amplify anxiety:
- The Vitamin B club. A lot of people are deficient in B-12 (methylcobalamin — found in meat), but others might be deficient in B-2 (riboflavin — found in yogurt, spinach, almonds, and eggs), or B-5 (pantothenic acid — found in avocados, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes), or B-6 (pyridoxal phosphate — found in tuna, chicken, turkey, and cod). Fortunately, it’s possible to get the recommended dose of all the B vitamins by taking a B-complex pill once per day.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. You can find omega-3 in salmon, fish oil, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. I take 2-4 servings of Nordic Natural’s cod liver oil pills each day, which contains a solid dose of the three fatty acids: EPA, DHA, and ALA.
For a few months, I was feeling unusually fatigued. I had no idea what was causing it. I was getting good sleep, I was eating healthy, and I was exercising regularly. I did some research, and found that I had a ton of symptoms for Vitamin B-12 deficiency: I felt mildly depressed, I had very little motivation, I was short of breath, my brain was foggy, and my fingers occasionally went numb.
Vitamin B-12 is in meat, fish, and certain dairy products (if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’re likely deficient in B-12). The normal range for B-12 is between 500 and 1,000 pg/ml (picograms per milliliter), and if your levels fall below 500 pg/ml, your brain ages twice as fast. In other words, if your body isn’t absorbing enough B-12, your mind rapidly deteriorates and stops functioning properly. Holy Guacamole!
When I got tested for B-12 deficiency, the results showed that my levels were 200 pg/ml — less than half of the minimum amount my body required. Even though I was eating meat almost every single day, I was still massively deficient.
I immediately began supplementing with Vitamin B-12 pills — 1,000 mcg every day, sublingually (under the tongue). Within one week, I could already feel a difference. I was less foggy and more energetic. When I got tested again for B-12 a month later, my levels had shot up to 529 pg/ml. I was back in the normal range.
A few of my friends took micronutrient deficiency tests, as well. None of them had B-12 levels as low as mine, but they were all deficient in something. One found he was deficient in magnesium. Another was deficient in selenium, while another was deficient in potassium. All of them took measures to correct their deficiencies, brought their levels back up to the normal ranges, and felt like new people. Their minds were clear and sharp, and their energy went through the roof.
One final note on deficiencies: It’s possible that your gut isn’t absorbing nutrients properly. If you suspect that’s the case, you might consider taking a probiotic supplement to introduce more healthy bacteria into your GI tract. You can also get more healthy bacteria by eating fermented foods, like sauerkraut and kimchi.
DO IT NOW
Research the nutrients mentioned above to see if you might be deficient.
Once you’ve been tested for deficiencies, ingest an ample amount of the desired nutrients (via food or supplements) for 30 days. Get tested again and re-assess.
Varies, depending on whether you’re ingesting food or supplements (pills average less than $1.50 per day). $80 for the B-12 deficiency test at Any Lab Test Now. $400 for the micronutrient test. I know, I know – it’s expensive.
[None of these resources are affiliate links. Neither Tim nor I will earn money if you decide to make a purchase through them.]
Any Lab Test Now. You can get tested for deficiencies in just a few minutes at Any Lab Test Now and have the results emailed to you within 48 hours. You can also get micronutrient tests at your doctor’s office, but (depending on which state you’re in) they will probably make you jump through a few hoops first.
Spectracell. This is the micronutrient testing lab Tim used to uncover his selenium deficiency (he used Brazil nuts to correct it).
Vitamin B-Complex Caps. This covers all of your bases for the B vitamins. These pills are free from common allergens, like soy, yeast, barley, wheat, and lactose.
Cod Liver Oil. I take 2-4 servings per day to get omega-3 fatty acids. If you don’t like taking so many pills, try squeeze packets.
Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question, “Is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and they say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.”
I couldn’t see it for a long time, but I was the creator of my own anxious reality.
I didn’t allow myself to have fun. I never slept. I drank coffee all day while staring at screens. I consumed fear-mongering news that convinced me the end was near. People absorbed and reflected my nervousness back at me, and my anxiety perpetuated itself.
I’m not crippled with anxiety anymore, and I’m not burned out. Now, my state of mind is different.
I allow myself to have guilt-free fun in everything I do. The world is a playground, my work is a game, and life is a ride. And you know what? I feel 100 times better than I ever thought I would. I’m back to my normal self.
And I have no fear that those awful feelings will ever return, because I know the antidote — play.
# # #
Want a free copy of Charlie’s book, Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety?
Leave a comment below with your favorite technique for managing or overcoming anxiety.
The top 20 comments, as selected by Charlie, will receive:
- (1) free digital copy of Play It Away — Kindle .mobi or PDF ($10 value)
- (1) free digital copy of the Trauma Releasing Exercises workbook ($10 value)
- Bonus: Charlie’s weekly routine during the month he healed his anxiety
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517 Replies to “How to Cure Anxiety — One Workaholic's Story, Six Techniques That Work”
Either a silent scream or even better go to the woods/nature and scream it out to G-D , aim it high as you can go and let it out! Advice from the great sage Rebbe NAchman of BReslov……you will be amazed how effective this is! Last time I did this for 3 days I felt I was going to explode….. I read this advice and screamed for an hour in a special place….. About an hour later I suddenly felt a great joy and sense of well being !
I got up at 3 am this morning…riddled with anxiety. “I didn’t do enough; I should have done more.” Why am I putting all this pressure on myself? I popped open my computer and saw this Post of Charlie’s. Thanks Tim for sending it. These are very cool tips.
Wow! This is exactly what I needed to read! Play is number 1. I definitely have forgotten to play. It is quite sad to realize how much you miss out on of fun and relaxation when you go, go, go, and don’t play. Overall, a super useful, great article that has something for everyone to apply! Thanks!
“I couldn’t see it for a long time, but I was the creator of my own anxious reality.” So very true! Thank you for this amazing post! I’ve been reading “Quiet” by Susan Cain, and am reminded that sometimes the anxiety I feel is because I haven’t been taking good care of my introvert/extrovert needs. Being overloaded with too much stimuli causes everything else to go haywire. You points on eating, play (although I’d vote for non-group activity) and naps fit right into this.
Following my morning workout, I do a guided meditation for 20 minutes. It melts away my anxiety and dramatically impacts the rest of my day. Because of it, my day is significantly more fun and joyful.
Thanks Charlie and Tim for the post. I had heard your interview with James Altucher Charlie and I definitely could identify with what you went through. As a game developer with OCD I was chronically anxious and overworked until I burnt out and lost my job. But then I was able to focus on methods to manage my anxieties and now I live a mostly anxiety-free life.
If I had to choose ONE technique, I would say to practice mindfulness in your daily life. By that I mean being in the present moment. Before I would have endless streams of automatic thoughts that would loop all day and cause me to always be anxious about something that had already happened or something that might happen. Now I try to keep a present centered awareness and deal with things as they come.
My therapist runs a TRE group, and it’s AMAZING. It’s initially really weird — like “what’s going on here?” — but when I let my body tremor the way IT wants to, it releases SO much tension. I love it, love it, love it!!!
This makes a lot of sense. I’m gonna develop a plan using these tips and get on it! I did notice this past Easter playing soccer, softball and some football was great for my foggy head head feeling the next day, I’ll post after trying these out! Thanks for the post
Very cool! I’m going to give a speech on these 6 techniques to my toastmasters club so they can benefit as well 😊
Often, going for a long run relieves most of my stress. And, getting regular sleep helps. Sex is good. I cry when I need to.
Thank you for sharing your story,solid information I hope can relieve some
anxiety in my kids. Exercise has been their outlet but not solution. Like us,
they are too scheduled and pressured with expectations to succeed and do
more but where is the fun and the release of stress. Looking forward to embracing a new outlook and trying some new techniques.
Oh my god….the only method I havent tried is TRE. This looks amazing and makes complete sense. Whilst the others work, Id love to continue to find out more about this as I think it will help my patients as well as myself. Thank you for making me aware of this technique!!
Thank you Tim for this article. I am doing yoga too, helps a lot. Also we should really stay away from technology unless absolutely necessary and live naturally, maybe almost like an ascetic 🙂
The key for me is to play. I have to play. This is definitely lacking in my life. Now, what do I like to do?
Thanks for all the tips in this article, mainly the trauma reducing exercise.
I would like to share an experience I had once, when I had to attend a meeting with another 5-6 people that was about one of them being fired and the lawyers had to modify the agreement. I had no part to play in the whole meeting and the atmosphere was full of tension. So while waiting for the office clerk to bring the new printed copies of the modified document, I took some paper and started folding little frogs that you can make hop around. One of the lawyers even enjoyed it and wanted himself a frog to make it hop. At that time I did not yet know about the concept of play reducing anxiety, I just felt the need for it.
Wow! ! Thanks
Where hell have you been, Tim??….I needed to read this 4 years ago. My anxiety, my depression are (were) so severe at times that I have to lay in bed the entire day. That feeling that something ominous is right around the corner stayed with me for YEARS!…I’ve never heard of TRE until I read your piece and I have to say that, THAT is one weird way to release pent up tension–and it works. Thank you. Now, I’m going to play.
Hmmm, I’ve never heard of the T.R.E. System but it sort of makes sense to me. I often have what appears to be built up anxious energy in me. It’s not so much energy to go accomplish things, just a whole lot of agitation. Even touch/massage helps get rid if this but that that’s not a practical daily solution, nor is 2x/day in the gym most of the time. I’m curious as to whether tremors could be good for me and I’d happily take a free book.
Something that is worth doing is considering the relationship of your anxiety to other mental/neurological issues. It’s common for people with ADHD to experience anxiety (if you can never tell whether or not you’ll be in awesome-super-hyperfocus-mode or distracted-hazy-LOOK A SQUIRREL-mode, it’s pretty easy to be anxious about realizing your goals). Depression makes everything worse too, sapping energy, motivation, and isolating you from the good interactions that would help both your depression and your anxiety.
The particular combination may affect the best way of treating them: talk therapy and med-wise, as well as general lifestyle changes like the above. Just to pick a way this might matter from the list above. It’s common advice to cut out stimulants if you’re suffering from anxiety. However, for people with ADHD and anxiety, this may not be the best choice. It’s common for people with undiagnosed ADHD to use caffeine to “treat” their hyperactivity. It actually allows them to calm down and focus. Even if cutting out the stimulants has some helpful effect on their anxiety, it might make coping with their ADHD worse, which in turn might negate the helpful effect on their anxiety, or even make it worse, depending on the relationship between their ADHD and anxiety.
1. checking inside to see what is bothering me at the moment. If i can’t find the thought, I go to the body and feel where I am tense or anxious.
2. Allowing that feeling instead of pushing it away. Even ramping up the feeling so to let go of all resistance to having it.
3. After it is ramped up to the maximum, letting it drop, and relax.
4. Defuse from the energy, feeling, thought, emotion by asking, who or what is it that is aware of the feeling?
5. Dropping into the field of awareness itself,
6. From that space re-visiting the energy that was distressing to see what is really true. (I’m here, now, fed, sheltered, and safe).
Anxiety is about the future, which isn’t here in the moment, and with all our worrying about it, usually doesn’t turn out the way we imagined anyway.
You are truly a breath of fresh air! I have only read a few articles, but I am hooked. I suffer from anxiety and OCD. I can’t wait to try the 6 techniques!
Currently I am in talk therapy, trying yoga, and have started Vit D, Calcium and Fish Oil supplements.
Thank you for sharing your story!
Excellent article, thanks so much. Sounds like really good and practical advice!
Thanks for the tips on reducing stress and anxiety Tim – I shall put this advice to use ASAP
I have had panic attacks in the past along with thoughts of fear & anxiety and I’ve tried pretty much everything you’ve tried Tim – including Valium, Chakra training, special breathing techniques, etc. And my best tip for managing anxiety is to go to a private place and sit down, close my eyes, breathe and think of all the things I’m thankful for.
I liked what you wrote. I have severe anxiety and have never heard of the things you talked about. The trauma exercise I really want to try. And exercise and play , well that too . I used to do self hypnosis and it worked for awhile. I have ptsd too. Very good tips , thanks.
excellent post, good info. ive always had such good results from any posts ive read on here.
Fantastic stuff, Charlie (he says, guzzling coffee to keep awake; writer’s hours, ya know)! Anxiety is a killer. I love the advice about play. It’s SO important, but even with a large brood – 5 kids – I often fail to take the time. Doing my best to put your sage advice into practice.
This post is a great help. I agree with tuning out the news. All of it, whether it’s about the government or not would trigger anxious thoughts in me. I even stopped watching TV. I only get tidbits of information from people and sometimes the internet. I would like to tryout the sleeping and napping tips but as of now, I don’t have the time. I will try everything here eventually.
Also, for me, it really helps when you have people close to you who understands you when you get anxiety attacks. Whenever I get them, my boyfriend is always there to calm me down and talk me for a walk or stroll. Support group is really important.
(I loved your suggestions above!)
My favorite techniques for anxiety are two:
1. I use a hand technique (mudra) to lower my heart rate whenever needed. On each hand, I fold my forefinger inward to rest on the inside of my thumb where it meets the palm. Then I curve the tips of my 3rd and 4th finger to touch my thumb.
2. I get acupuncture when I have the chance and when I can get on a weekly schedule. My body and mind tend to run better when I get regularly balanced. The best deals for acupuncture are at the local acupuncture colleges, if you live near one. Usually anywhere from $10-35 dollars…and the interns (who are supervised by licensed acupuncturists/faculty) actually have more acupuncture training than an MD, DC or PT.
(Thanks for the info and help in reducing anxiety…I especially liked the suggestion to avoid the news…hard to do but it makes a real difference!)
The minute I read “enjoy guilt-free play with friends” my anxiety skyrocketed. One of the things that causes me anxiety is I’m such a loner don’t really have friends and have trouble making them
Silent walks in nature. Best alone, but you can also do a silent walk with a friend. Most often when with a friend we agree to walk the first half in silence. The conversation during the second half of the walk is much less edgy after being in silence for some time.
This is a topic Ive been thoroughly exploring for a couple of years now:
One day I was especially anxious and grumpy about it too. I noticed my kids always giggled while jumping on the big outdoor trampoline. After a few minutes of bouncing I could no longer hold the grumpiness in and began to relax & breathe. Carefree & light hearted I realized how much effort it takes to hold the breathe & grumpy anxiety in while giggle bouncing.. Now I schedule tramp time regularly.
I buy Oatstraw & Kava in bulk and drink a strong brew nightly. They both promote relaxation and are tonics for the nervous system.
Getting an essential amino acid test revealed significant deficiencies- a custom amino acid blend has made a huge difference.
I also receive both CranioSacral Therapy & Massage bi monthly.. Bring on the endorphins & oxytocin!
Am super looking forward to trying TRE!
While I agree with the strategies Charlie has shared in this article and he has given some very sound advice in dealing with anxiety, I am not sure the title is entirely accurate. From someone who knows all too well the effects of anxiety and other social phobias, feelings of self-doubt, etc. Are we truly ever “cured” of these issues and rid ourselves of the internal struggles. I personally believe that we learn to identify and manage our inner turmoil but never fully shed those feelings. Diet, exercise and routines such as Charlie has suggested certainly go a long way in minimizing the severity or effects of anxiety, I am skeptical that they will provide a Cure. Maybe I am being too analytical or focused on a word, but I believe it’s an important distinction.
Thank you for this important information. Trauma is present in so many and I am grateful to learn important solutions and the fact it’s natural is fantastic.
I walk my pet twice a day, in the morning before I leave and in the evening when I get back from work. I try to sit down for half hour, once a week, and play my guitar. I also save sometime to play football games on my portible videogame.
Since I use public transportation to go around during the week, I always hold a new book, it’s a great way to take advantage of long bus rides.
Love this post. In particular point 5 about the tremors was of interest. I’m def going to check that out!
I manage anxiety by breathing and meditating (TM). I also have to constantly remind myself that my fears aren’t real. I’m also in analysis, which is helping to find the root of my fears. It also helps to remind myself how much love I have in my life. But, I really need more play time. Thanks for your suggestions.
Some of the language here sounds suspiciously similar to that used in the book, The Now Habit, by author Neil Fiore. I’m not suggesting he *invented* these concepts, however, the term “guilt-free play” and the idea of “focusing on just 30-minutes of quality work” appear borrowed directly from his book. That’s all well-and-good, but please do credit Fiore as you have your other sources. While many of Fiore’s concepts may seem common-sense to folks now, that’s only because others now borrow so liberally from his wisdom. As a medical doctor practicing psychotherapy exclusively, I feel qualified in saying that Fiore truly was the first to correctly identify the psychological roots of procrastination as an expression of anxiety. His book remains, in my opinion, the landmark work on procrastination and one of the single best reads on anxiety – I recommend it to all my patients, most of whom are university students, and can honestly say that I wouldn’t have gotten into (or through) medical school without it.
A small aquarium with 8 to 10 fish swimming around live plants has been very therapeutic an relaxing for me. It produces a tremendously calming effect to watch the fish effortlessly glide through the water. Awesome.
I enjoyed reading this message. My oldest daughter suffers from anxiety and depression. I thought I had given her the best options for treating her symptoms. After reading this, I now have another option to offer. One of your techniques is extremely interesting to me. Trauma releasing exercise.
Thank you for sharing your story. I will keep you posted if and when my daughter takes a liking to your techniques.
Hi tim and the team
Thank you for such a great post. I don’t know whether this is the correct place but ill have a go. My anxiety comes from seeing my beloved parents detoriating, in an interview you mentioned that you have overcome this. Could you if possible share your thoughts or if not tell some of the books which were helpful.
Again apologies if this is too personal,
Wonderful blog Post. Thank you.
I am a psychiatrist. Excellent tool Low-Information Diet. Thank you Mr. Ferris
I try meditation,mindfulness! Jogging on treadmill for thirty more n a day with yoga or the bike! Recently starting taking b12 sublingual, under tongue only 250mg a day and seen an improvement in my anxiety! Really want to be cured! I have a four yr old that needs his mother! I’ve recently had anxiety five mths now! I had to give up my job and move in with my mother,at 36 yes old! Really want to buy your book but can’t afford!! Please desperate for your help!!!
What a terrific article. Thank you for sharing this!
My fiancee has struggled with anxiety and depression for almost a year now, and I felt like we had exhausted every treatment method – and nothing turned it around for her. My hope is that systematically working in these six points will do the trick for a long-term lifestyle overhaul that will help her control these feelings.
I’m a very analytical man by nature, so seeing these in list form has helped me grasp why certain things are happening to her. It has also helped me understand what she’s going through (something I often struggle with as I don’t have a personal frame of reference).
Thank you for helping me to understand. Thank you for giving us a glimmer of hope in a frustrating situation.
I love these tips! And, along with trauma release, other types of body work such a cranial sacral release and chakra energy balancing can be very helpful. Even though Charlie tried journaling and didn’t find it effective, maybe in combination with this list – especially if you are a writer! – you might gain some amazing benefits, both physically and creatively. I’ve been using the journaling process for years.
I have used heart breathing by hearthmath in CA. by focusing on your heart while breathing bring in a heart emotion like gratitude or compassion and in a few minutes whatever upset you were feeling will be replaced with one of these wonderful emotions….check them out and enjoy. Ben
I used to have really bad anxiety but here are a few of my observations that have kind of helped. The majority of my anxiety comes/came from What if-worst case scenarios. I remember a conversation with a friend who lived far away in a city that wanted me to visit him. I was making excuses and I said, I am afraid of driving in a big city or on a long trip, what if my car breaks down? My friend said-so, you will call a tow truck. It was like-Bamm!!!, yeah I’ll just call a tow truck and it eased my mind almost immediately. Basically, I think many of us who are anxious underestimate our coping or problem solving skills. What’s helped me is basically reassuring myself that no matter what happens I’ll handle it to the best of my ability. Easier said then done, I am a work in progress 🙂 One final thing-I used to think that excessively worrying about something would magically make it disappear. Accept what it is that you are worried about and work towards a solution but if it’s something that you can’t really control just try and put it perspective. And I totally agree regarding caffeine, sleep, exercise,etc.
The funny thing about imagination is it seems to hit a certain point–e.g. the car breaking down–and then stops. And replays to that point, over and over.
Imagination forgets that real life… continues. 🙂 Other things happen. Next thing you know, it’s an hour/day/week/month/year later and whatever you were replaying is long past and likely forgotten–if it even occurred at all.
How I cope with anxiety: First: pray to Jehovah God; 2nd: meditate on a brighter future; 3rd: talk with a good friend; 4th: remember that tomorrow will be better; 5th: get a good night’s sleep.
I would really LOVE TO WIN the T.R.E. book for my friend. He recently ran over a pedestrian (who died upon impact) while he was driving a bus; after that trauma, the family sued him; then he was diagnosed with leukemia (plus he is a Vietnam vet). I think this book was help him with his healing. Thank you very much for all your work!!!
I recently heard about a new oral prescription alternative to the injections called Eligen B12. I recently read that it works even if you don’t have intrinsic factor (so even if you don’t have normal gut absorption). Apparently it came out a month or two ago. Has anyone heard of it or tried it??
I have cured or I should say greatly reduced my anxiety/depression by taking a few over the counter supplements. Here they are:
1. Calcium Magnesium Complex
3. B Complex
4. optional-lithium orotate
I like to find a dark room and a comfortable spot to lie down, and then I close my eyes and gently focus on my breathing. When I find my focus slipping I try not to become frustrated, but rather just allow myself to flow back into my breathing. The point is to have compassion for yourself…
Good on you Charlie for having the guts to speak up and make the lifestyle changes required to rediscover the person you really are. Anxiety in modern day society is the elephant in the room for all the reasons you have outlined. High functioning people are often the last to be honest with themselves while having to portray an image of success. Dr Bill WALSH a chemical engineer (google ‘walshinstitute’) who helped me discover the importance of getting the nutritional basics right to correct micro-nutrients . A biochemical anomaly known by several names including ‘Pyrrole Disorder’ is a reality and great example of the need for balance … be – sleep – nutrition – exercise – community
My favorite technique for relieving anxiety is listening to a funny or entertaining podcast while running or commuting. I can’t read, because my mind wanders, and I find combining listening with a slow run gives me the relaxing effects of exercise while also distracting my mind so I can’t obsess over things. Listening while commuting also helps me decompress on the way home from work, and get calm and focused, but not obsessive/manic, on the way to work.
Solid post! – I spent the past two years going through anxiety because of work. I have incorporated a few techniques from the post buy I be sure to add others.. more specifically the TRE exercise, I’ve never heard of this!
At 34 I was diagnosed with chronic hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy (enlarged heart due to the muscle working harder). Every single test I took, of which there were many, showed no damaged or signs o f physical factors that could be increasing the blood pressure. The cause was in my mind.
I had individually found my way to all the above methods and they have had the same effect, I have bought everything back in line and learned to relax. My heart muscle regressed and I was back to normal.
I hadn’t tried the trauma exercises and I will this week. a
Also, a must read on this is the book ‘reasons to stay alive’ by published writer Matt Haig. The link is below and he charts his way through depression and all the steps he used to cure it. The writing is frightening, absorbing and at the same time inspiring. He arrives at similar tips as here. Reccomended.
any kind anywhere
listening to water
feeling water…trickle. .running…slashing.
Thanks for the info. My main technique for calming my anxiety is eating, which you can imagine just creates more anxiety! Looking forward to the free copy of your book.
I improvise music and take entheogens! It helps me to reduce anxiety and eliminate the root causes.
Thank you so much for this article, I cannot wait to try these NEW FRESH steps.
I am so glad you feel better Charlie!
Thank you for the information and actionable items presented here. For me, I have found that meditation can be an amazing antidote to anxiety as well. There are many types of meditation, but for anxiety in particular I choose a modality that I can do sitting or standing, in a meeting or at my desk, eyes open or closed. I scan my body and check in with what is happening with that particular part of my body at that moment in time. Since anxiety is caused by our natural fight or flight instinct, checking in with the physical reality of this moment helps calm those instinctual responses. I’ll remind myself “oh wait, I’m not being chased by a tiger or about to get eaten, I’m just sitting at a desk, everything is actually fine right now”, but then actually feel my body, reconnect with the sensation of being alive and listen to the sound of my breath. That also helps out myself back in charge of my experience when anxiety threatens to take control.
I loved this article. Thank you.
My technique is I try to see my troubles in their proper perspective. 2 months from now I will not be worrying about this troubles, so I try to assume now the same attitude that I will have 2 months from now.
PLAY! PLAY! PLAY!!!! I needed this.. I will look for ways to have more fun.Also the T. R. E exercises seem interesting and promising, I will look into it and try it out. Thanks guys!…also magnesium supplement seems really help me with anxiety.
The concept of TRE has peaked my interest. I have general anxiety and it is untreated with regards to external professionals. I work in a demanding environment with a high level of responsibility. I am a firm believer that the mind body connection is the root of anxiety and coping skills. Along with nutrition and hydration. I’m interested in researching more of the TRE. The idea you explained seems to make simple sense.
Same good experiences here with 2-no news (a house in the country, no TV, no phone, certainly no internet, mobile off: Aaah, silence 🙂 and 4-no coffee.
Also: Do a fasting diet w/ continuous meals of (nothing more than) thinly sliced apples+metamucil (psyllium ) powder over 2 weeks, once a year.
(in German[y] google Rene Graeber Heilfasten).
Also, if wearing glasses: Buy a copy with 1..1,5.. diopters less (keep the full one in the car for driving at dawn/night). Eyes usually adjust under daylight.
Also: Relax by lying down not moving a mm [US:micro-inch ;-)] Some time passed by feet and/or neck will “creak” and relax in a more comfortable “bone setting” – at least with me – but do not move!
All of these are good suggestions. I would add that you should also check with your primary care physician. My anxiety manifested as heart palpitations amount other things but I drove myself crazy thinking something was wrong with my heart. My PCP listened and said for women she liked to prove to them that everything was okay.
She sent me to a heart specialist who did a stress test and echocardiogram. Expensive but everything was fine. When I had the heart palpations again, I could truly ignore them because I KNEW my heart was fine. Sometimes you just need that professional reassurance.
I’d love to get a copy of your book for my wife.
Thanks for this great list. as was feeling really in my head lately.
I would like to recieve the T.R.E book, please
I love EFT for releasing stress. In spite of serious doubts about the theory behind it, the practice of tapping on various points on your body (reminding yourself that feelings are rooted in the body) and giving yourself permission to feel and accept them, helps the mind feel more in control, more relaxed, and more capable of dealing with future challenges.
For me, the thing that works best is Pranayama. 30 minutes and I feel fresh, calm, at peace. Alternatively, focussing on my breath and silently chanting “Om” also helps a lot
I listen to relaxing/meditation mp3s. The ones I’m using now are from Dartmouth College. They are free.
One hour power yoga class every weekday in a hot room with some cool people. There are many benefits, stress and anxiety reduction is right up there.
same case here could some one please help me with this anxiety
I know this is an old article, but I was wondering which of these techniques people found most effective if they tried all 6 of them, or just a few? IF you tried them, did you just use the descriptions here from the article, or did you have to do more research on each to be able to use them to successfully reduce stress/anxiety?
I have incorporated yoga into my workouts. The breathing techniques, which I was skeptical when I first started, have really helped, even outside of the yoga room. I didn’t realize how much the breathing helped with the poses, but also in calming my mind and body
Ive simply set a 15min time period to just sit and stare (if brain is too active, I watched crashing waves or flickering fire – plenty of meditation videos on youtube). Profound effect on my emotional well being but especially effective at clearing my mental hard drive.
Anxiety is a new problem for me, after a couple of major life traumas, culminating in the death of my brother. Been to a couple of doctors and have been force feed everything from Xanax to Lexapro, and have stopped everything with the exception of .5mg of Xanax as needed. For me, fun exercise has been huge, and have now made it a part of my daily routine. Thank you for your post.
This is so right and timely for me- I have been suffering from burnout and work related exhaustion that has affected every part of my life- I keep having what I have called ‘buzzing’- weird internal tremor that I have tried to mitigate with meditation and deep breathing. But this TRE is absolutely what the doctor ordered- I am going to try this today. Also, I am not a ‘play’ type person (hence the anxiety!), but this post reminded me to DANCE- really free, all out there dancing to loud music is the ticket!
Been playing with Wim Hoff method breathing style, and have found that it reduces the amount of physical tension due to stress that I feel. There seems to be some good connection to Systema’s approach to breathing, which I have played with a little bit. These have helped.
I have been asking family and friends to pray.
I have also been working on finding truth to stand on like:
“I walk in the strength of the Lord” Psalms 71:16
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.”
Great article!! I recently graduated with my masters in social work with a focus on trauma-informed care. I have never tried TRE, but am fascinated by it and would enjoy learning more. Maybe I could use it in my practice one day. My colleagues and I work in the psychiatric department of the Emergency Room, so we would most certainly benefit from it too! Thank you for the article. I feel less anxious already!
Great tips! I especially like the first one, having fun with friends. Even though I’m not a patient, it always helps me whenever I am feeling down.
Thanks for this Post. I was happy to learn that I am already doing the Exercise and the sleep bits. (I have an alarm 1hr before I’d like to go to bed). My friends thought this was weird. But Im glad to know that Im not alone. I haven’t been exercising lately and that is leaving me a bit foggy so Im going to get back on that.
As an effect of reading this post, I am going to :
1) Incorporate exercise everyday ((a)try out at home or (b)join a group workout if (a) doesn’t work well)
2) Try out T.R.E exercises in the morning.
3) Take the Micronutrient test.
Hello. Can you make a TLDR of this post and post it at the top of the article. It is very useful, but Id like to see a list of the six points of advice given.
Some of these strategies look as if they could be very helpful. I’m 17 years old and have had anxiety for close to a year and have been going to counseling for 6 months. The counseling has helped greatly I am now at what I would consider a high functioning anxiety level. I still experience anxious feelings sometimes and the light headed feelings that come along with my anxiety are almost constantly there but with the help of counseling I’ve learned to deal with these feelings and to do things I would normally do regardless of how I feel. Lately I’ve had the feelings of dread surface. I never had those sad dreadful feelings with the anxiety before but for some reason they have come in intervals over the past month or two. I’ve recognized what causes those feelings as thoughts of how life was before anxiety came about. Ways I’ve countered that is not by avoiding those thoughts necessarily but instead looking at it as I still go out and do things that I did before anxiety I still enjoy going out to eat spending time with family and doing different things I’ve always done. By looking at it like this I give myself the thought of this isn’t that bad and this doesn’t have 100% control of my life which does seem to always help. But I’ve been searching for ways to not just help me through the tough days but help reduce the overall anxiety level. The That’s where this article intrigues me because some of the things brought up in this article are things my counselor has brought up before like doing fun things with friends. I’m an introverted shy person so this was a bit difficult for me but I’ve tried it and most times the friends I asked were busy so I would go myself or with my mom. As far as the sleeping goes I rarely even on days of anxiety have trouble sleeping but creating a constant time to go to sleep so you always get at least 8 hours of sleep could help for sure. I’ve improved greatly in my anxiety since it all began I used to not be able to stay the whole time at a simple birthday party because the anxiety was too much but now I enjoy daily fun activities even if I’m experiencing anxiety that day I don’t choose to sit around and wait and hope the anxiety magically goes away by doing nothing. As far as the the exercise goes since I live in PA and it’s winter my exercise has been going to the gym my mom and I just recently joined a gym and I’ve noticed when I’m at the gym all the feelings associated with anxiety go away. Basically I’m writing this half to show people that you can enjoy life even with anxiety as long as you allow yourself to and don’t sit around and constantly feel bad for yourself. I have faith that in time the anxiety will go away as long as I continue to go about life like normal. The other reason I’m writing this is because the counseling has helped greatly and my therapist is great but he’s not going to have all the answers and I’m open to here suggestions from other people as to what they think could help me continue along the improvement process. Sorry for the length but I needed to get this off my chest.
I’ve recently started taking meditation more seriously and now meditate everyday. I have a super active mind which would sometimes distract me while I’m painting. Meditation has helped me to be present and focus while I paint. It’s an amazing feeling to let your ego go while you paint and just flow through each movement. [Moderator: link removed]
I sing and I count ….. xx
So my understanding is that supplementing B12 is almost pointless if your gut health is not in order. This is due to b12 being absorbed by a part of the lower intestine that requires healthy bacteria for the process to occur. Hence why your urine is such a bright yellow when you take a multi vitamin. Is this accurate?
This article is terrific – and I’m not just writing a comment to get the free TRE book because I just bought it. I present psycho educational classes on stress management and improving sleep among other topics. You’ve described these principles beautifully and I’ll be sure to share it with my classes. Now excuse me, I’ve got some shaking to do.
GREAT article!!!!!! I have P.T.S.D and I’m going to try these techniques!
To reduce my stress I get up at 4:15am, 5 days a week to do crossfit at our gym. Every Tuesday my horse trainer and I go for a trail ride. My horse is great therapy! Also, I go to different National or State parks to photograph the landscape and wildlife. I take fish oil and supplements, never watch the news, and make myself get adequate sleep.
A friend offered this suggestion and as crazy as it sounds, it worked. I was a true worrier. She made me choose a specific time of day to worry. If I caught myself worrying at any other time during the day, I had to write down what I was worrying about and put it in the worry jar. Then i had to immediately force myself to think of something relaxing. At the appointed time, I got my worry jar and sat there for the required 30 minutes doing nothing but worrying about all the things I had placed in the jar. Of course by that time many of the things I had been worrying about had resolved themselves without any of my energy.
Wow congrats…i hv anxiety due to my own health wich one day i got a panic attack wherby i tot it was a heart attack…ever since my gut been killing me and my hands were twitching trembling then i tot i was having cancer as well as stomach cancer..finally after 4months went for endoscopy found out its hpylori after d triple regime medicstion i was abit ok bt stil had d chest pain burning sensation wich i tot i was having angina or heart attack bt feb 2016 my dr refered me 2 psychiatric clinic and march i was on escitalpram 5mg..it was good for 2 1st 2weeks now in in bad shape thy increased my dose 2 7.5mg well 2day is my 1st day i feel much more worst i hop the side effects goes off as well as i hav to start exercising mayb wil help me…i cant focus my daily routine yes i agree w u news does affect us tq for such informative blog…i hop i wil recover soon
This is going to sound a bit weird – since I have a long commute I practice what Tim suggested one of his friends said,” Right now I am driving, while I am driving this is what I am doing.” and it really helps me from being frustrated in traffic. Another weird one I do is I will do is what I call a “tension scan”. I focus on areas where I feel tension in my body – typically for me this is between the eyes, my hands, and upper back. I then do five long exhales for each tight area and imagine it melting. Really works for me if I visualize the muscles relaxing as the air flows out.
I needed this today, thank you! Happy to see I am on the right path in many areas. You’re awesome guys, thanks again.
Thanks for sharing! Here’s few things that come my mind as we’re discussing how to “cure” anxiety. Anxiety is actually a pretty normative aspect of human experience that stems from our physiological fight-or-flight response, which has been incredibly adaptive from an evolutionary perspective. In many ways, anxiety can be a really valuable source of information that we need to change something, e.g.,the situation we’re in, our appraisals of the situation, or start preparing for something in the future. So to get rid of anxiety completely, as nice as that would feel in the short term, is actually not that adaptive (nor possible) in the long-term. What may be a more realistic goal is to learn how to attend to and manage our worries and stress levels before they start limiting our quality of life and the ability to engage with other people. I think some of the strategies mentioned here may be effective with that.
The one technique for me that has an instant effect is to remember I have a sense of humour. Joking more, making funny gestures, and ‘lightening up’ has amazing physical & mental benefits when it’s needed most.
First off, I want to say thanks for this article. I’ve never had a smidge of anxiety up until about two months ago. When it started, it was the only time i actually thought i was going to die. At the time, I was supposed to pick up my two boys and all I could think about was them waiting for their dad… I spent two straight nights in the ER bc i had no idea what was going on. After figuring out i had anxieties, my battle was half gone. I then began to realize what triggered these attacks. I then learned what helps calm my mind and relaxes me. For me, breathing correctly probably saved my mind and body. I started shutting my phone off and put full concentration on doing whayever my boys had in mind. I started to enjoy my 9holes of golf before i had to pick up my boys instead of running around the course worried about the time. I learned that talking about the problem helps(even though its impossible to explain to others that havent experienced it) Once again,I want to say THANK YOU for sharing your experiences and tips. Obviously im too late for any free books but Im glad I read your article.