Secrets to habit change

What's the First Step Toward Reducing Needless Anxiety?

What is the decision you must make before you can reduce your anxiety? Read More

Think I'll make a list.

I like the idea of identifying some soothing thoughts to replace the worrisome ones with. They should be as soothing as putting a cool sauve on a burn. I think I'll write up a list of those to be used PRN.

Sometimes I feel you just have to jump ship to get away from anxiety. I found I was getting so anxious with the workplace and my work (as a mental health counselor), that I had to resign and thus retire early. I'm 63 and have been retired for three years, and am loving almost all of it. The anxiety is no longer that chronic problem that it was for so long. Thanks for giving me a fresh perspective. Glenn


Hi Glenn! The idea of writing up a list of soothing thoughts to be used as needed is a great technique. I'm going to be writing about that--and other helpful strategies--in my next blog.

I appreciate your remarks that sometimes it's a person's toxic or stressful environment causing the anxiety, not one's brain. Thanks for a useful angle on this problem. Your story can help us avoid blaming the victim. Glad your decision to retire helped you solve what seemed to be a "chronic problem."

Thanks for the great comment!

Mediation and Relaxation

I would include meditation and relaxation techniques as highly useful for reducing anxiety, though as you mentioned in your blog, the first step is to change the direction of your thinking, by calming your brain down and take change, you are basically blocking all channels of negative communication that cause anxiety to you. Thanks for writing, as a student of Addiction Counselling I will be discussing about your article in my Abnormal Psychology class today.

Thanks, Juliana

So glad you see the article as helpful to your class! You are so right that using your "Thinker," (the PreFrontal Cortex-PFC), helps block negativity. Apparently, the left side of the PFC is particularly skilled at adopting an optimistic outlook and a problem-solving attitude.

the Plural Human

It's quite liberating to realize that each of us is more than one "me." One me can be in anxiety mode, but there's another that can soothe it. And the body, of course, has its own intelligence. For fear and anxiety and even physical pain, it's often enough to use the observer me to just watch what's happening, without judgement. Just be mindful and allow the discomfort to dissipate.

Isn't that amazing?

I love the way you said this: "One me can be in anxiety mode, but there's another that can soothe it." I also have experienced the power of simply being "the observer me" and allowing the feelings to roll by. Thanks, Dara!

meditation for anxiety

Hello and thank you for your blog. I suffer from what I call mild anxiety attacks. The thing that helps me the most is calming my mind by meditation. I go to youtube and listen to guided meditation to clear the buzz in my head. It works for me. THANK YOU

Another great idea

Thanks so much for the idea of using youtube videos for guided meditation. If you have favorites, I would love to know about them. Your comment, and those above, are all right on point--I'm going to try to include as many as I can in the next blog. Thanks again!


In YouTube the name of the meditation site is thehonestguys they are very relaxing. Hope this helps someone.

I am sure...

...your suggestion will help someone out there. Thanks for taking the extra time to give it.

I cannot meditate. Breathing

I cannot meditate. Breathing techniques won't help me meditate. But it helps me get focused. And I can't focus on meditating. I prefer dishwashing to meditating.
Dishwashing is my meditating.
And when I think instead of dishwashing, I think about whatever interests me. And when the anxiety is really strong, I write. Writing is still thinking. Sometimes I write streams of consciousness, sometimes I write in order, during which, I really like to prearrange my writing in my head.
And reading helps too, but it must be reading materials of great interest to me, otherwise, I'd just be following the words while replaying mental sceneries, and thinking about them other than book altogether.
When I think, mindfulness helps, instead of delving into the emotional parts, I try to look at thoughts from a third person view. I tend to get more rationalised that way. And eventually, I'll start to crack my brain for the words, and so vocabulary search also takes place. It's basically thinking, thinking over feeling. I indulge in the feeling as much as I could, and then I think about it like I'm an interviewer interviewing and analysing myself about what's making me feeling this way and what can I do about it.
I can call my PFC my Analyst.

Your PFC, the analyst

Love your comment, Kelleyp. You've discovered your own unique ways to cope with anxiety, ways that work for you. Like you, I love dish-washing. And I also find it difficult to meditate. I'm comforted by the Dalai Lama's comment (greatly paraphrased here) that meditation is meant to relieve suffering, but if it just creates more suffering for you, don't feel obligated to do it! Still, I keep trying periodically, because I feel there's some way in which I might someday "get it." I do find that an active meditation, like metta meditation, works for me.

I like the way you use mindfulness to distance yourself from harmful mental scenarios. The PFC is a great analyst--and the cost is so reasonable!

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Meg Selig is the author of Changepower! 37 Secrets to Habit Change Success.


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