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Emotional Intelligence, How to stop feeling anxious about anxiety | episode 05

How to stop feeling anxious about anxiety | episode 05

let's talk about feeling anxious

about anxiety

[Music]

in this video we're going to talk about

how anxiety is different than stress

the neuroscience of anxiety what it

really means

and how understanding the neuroscience

of anxiety

can give you some tools and we're going

to offer a bunch of

highly effective strategies that you

probably haven't seen somewhere else

to help you manage anxiety and use

anxiety as something positive

instead of something negative one of the

most frequent online searches in this

topic

is is my anxiety normal

or might there be something wrong

anxiety is confusing

because it's a word we use for a feeling

and it's also

a word we use for brain illness when

people are struggling with an anxiety

disorder

their chemistry is out of balance

and the strategies that can help all of

us with anxiety

are not going to be enough some people

talk about it like trying to fill a

bucket

with a hole in it if you're struggling

with anxiety

and it's negatively affecting your daily

life

for multiple days in a row please get

help

i heard a child psychiatrist describe it

this way

if you have this many reasons to be

anxious but your anxiety is this big

it may mean you have an anxiety disorder

and if it's persisting over time and

it's causing you

to lose quality of life then it's worth

checking out and talking to a mental

health professional

to find out if you have an anxiety

disorder because you can get help with

that

and even if you have an anxiety disorder

the strategies that i'm going to share

in this video can help you

but they're really designed for all of

us with

normal anxiety it's a feeling that means

that there's a generalized threat

where fear is connected with a very

specific

danger and stress is connected with a

specific

problem anxiety is generalized and it's

a sense

that there's something out there one

thing that's useful to understand about

anxiety

is that humans are social animals and

we're really at the top of our food

chain in most places

and so the stressors in our lives are

not really

are we going to get eaten as social

animals

danger is most frequently connected with

being

outside of the group and so many sources

of anxiety are connected with

social uncertainty not knowing where we

stand

not feeling psychologically safe not

knowing if we have allies

not knowing whether people are going to

like us or not

and that might sound trivial but at a

neurobiological level

we are adapted for survival

this is deep in our architecture and if

we aren't connected with the group

it's dangerous for us and so things like

do i get enough likes on social media is

triggering this foundational visceral

reaction

social media algorithms know this and

developers have actually created

their systems to trigger this anxiety

so that we get more dependent on using

these tools

but of course that fuels social anxiety

it's one of the reasons that loneliness

is such an important

indicator of mental health challenges in

the world

and loneliness is at an all-time high

people don't feel connected and when

they don't feel connected

these social triggers of anxiety have

more intensity

and are harder to deal with cigna one of

the world's largest

insurers did a massive study in 2018

and found that among adults loneliness

is so high that it's reaching epidemic

levels

61 of adults report being lonely

that's almost a 20 increase in one year

and we know that with the pandemic and

other factors such as climate change

people are feeling even more

disconnected now what this

means is three in five people in the u.s

are feeling loneliness and it's even

worse in many other places in the world

all of this is to say that we're in a

condition that causes the social anxiety

reactions

to become more volatile more intense

let's talk a little bit more about the

differences between stress

and anxiety mental health first aid

offers

a useful distinction that stress is

triggered by something outside us

and anxiety is something that's going on

inside us

sometimes people describe stress as a

physiological

or physical condition and anxiety as an

emotional condition

stress tends to be more specific anxiety

tends to be more general

and very importantly when the causes

of the problem are reduced stress

reduces but often anxiety persists

anxiety is frequently a byproduct of

stress

or chronic stress seems to trigger and

reinforce

anxiety what we're looking at

is this feeling of anxiousness

which is a message that there's some

kind of problem out there

and because anxiety is generalized we

don't necessarily know

what the problem is and the helpful

function of anxiety

is to make us more vigilant to help us

look around to tell us

we need to find out what the problem is

and we might need to make some change

and this is the real benefit of anxiety

it's why we have it

anxiety can help us to mobilize us

into action action against climate

change

action to have more social connectedness

action to do things different in our

lives

so there's benefits of anxiety but only

if we can really understand it

and work with it so let's talk about how

it actually works in the brain

in some of our other videos we've talked

about the amygdala

and the trigger of the threat response

the anxiety response is fairly similar

anxiety is connected with the same kind

of neural hormones that we experience in

stress

and it's one of the reasons that stress

and anxiety are often confused

cortisol and epinephrine or adrenaline

are two of the key neural hormones

involved

when we begin to feel anxious what's

happening is our amygdala is being

triggered

to identify a potential threat our

hypothalamus starts producing these

neural hormones and then under the

direction of the thalamus which is like

a master regulatory valve

we begin to arouse the amygdala response

and release these chemicals that are

affecting our brain and our bodies

there's a kind of first reaction which

is this chemical response system we've

talked about in our videos about

why emotions last for about six seconds

and then because often the threats that

cause stress and anxiety

are longer lasting with a secondary

system

using the autonomic nervous system the

autonomic nervous system ans

is what regulates all kinds of

unconscious responses on our body

herbert benson

who started the mind body institute at

harvard medical school back in the 1970s

was one of the first physicians in the

us to start talking about this system

and understanding that there's an

emotional connection with our biological

health

and our heart health dr benson describes

the ans having two components

a kind of accelerator in the car the gas

pedal

and the brakes the sympathetic nervous

system is the gas pedal

when the sympathetic nervous system is

triggered it turns on the gas

otherwise known as the hpa axis the

hypothalamus starts producing

neural hormones that trigger the

pituitary glands and the adrenal system

and we start to produce additional

adrenaline technically called

epinephrine

and cortisol and these two chemicals as

i mentioned are connected with the

threat response

to stress and also to this emotional

reaction

called anxiety cortisol has a number of

beneficial functions

it is a form of energy production and it

helps

get our muscles ready for faster

reactivity

it helps close down the capillaries in

the surface of our skin

so that more blood stays in our trunk

and cortisol

helps us pay attention to threats by

blocking

serotonin uptake serotonin helps us feel

calm and cortisol blocks that

so that we remain vigilant and that's a

good thing when there's danger

and when we're not really sure what that

danger is the case of anxiety

it's important for us to be vigilant and

look around and assess

and be in this state of readiness for

some problem that might come

one of the interesting things about

cortisol is that it's also connected to

learning and memory

it actually takes some stress in order

to activate our learning brain

and one of the really fun tools that we

have in the eq store is called a bio dot

and when the bio dot is green it

indicates you have some stress

but green is correlated with the

readiness for learning

cortisol helps us say hey something's

happening here i need to pay attention

but it blocks some of our more nuanced

memory

and ability to recall details such as

trying to remember somebody's name at a

party what's happening is that our

our brains are shifting into this fight

flight or freeze mode

causing us to pay attention to big

things and lose track of little things

we've shared in other videos about some

of the physiological effects of stress

so i'm not going to get into that now

but cortisol has

some downsides that we really need to

pay attention to and it's one of the

reasons why anxiety is often connected

with issues with your circulatory system

as well as your digestive system

okay so remember the autonomic nervous

system has two parts we've talked about

the gas

but let's talk about the brakes the

parasympathetic nervous system

one of the important discoveries at the

harvard medical school mind body

institute

is that herbert benson found that we

could trigger this relaxation response

we could trigger the parasympathetic

nervous system

by changing our breathing by changing

what we're paying attention to by social

reappraisal and feeling more connected

but i'm going to get into that in a

minute when we go into strategies

for managing anxiety more effectively

so let's talk about strategies for

managing anxiety

first of all remembering that anxiety is

connected

with the social brain functions it makes

sense that

many strategies for mitigating anxiety

are going to be connected

with social activation increasing your

social supports

reaching out to people feeling gratitude

for the people you're connected with

recognizing that you're not alone and if

you are alone

doing the challenging work of building

relationship

is going to be an important part of

reducing anxiety and making it work for

you better

i have five emotional intelligence

strategies for helping you with feeling

anxious about anxiety

the first is to validate your feeling

to recognize that this feeling is there

and that maybe even it's there to help

you

a lot of times when we have difficult

feelings we push them aside

and there's some interesting research

that was done with

women who were pregnant and worried

about zika virus

where they tried a whole bunch of

different strategies and

none of them worked very well but

interestingly when they tried to

suppress their feeling

it made the fear more intense

so there's something about denying this

experience of anxiety

that causes it to rear its head and say

hey

you really need to pay attention to me

dan siegel says name

entertainment if we can understand our

feelings

and acknowledge them and maybe even make

friends with them

we can start to have a better

relationship with all of our feelings

including anxiety if you think about

validating your parking ticket

somebody goes and puts a stamp on it

they're actually putting value

on your ticket so when you're validating

your feeling

it's not just acknowledging it but

actually considering

that it might be there to help you

anxiety tells us that there's some kind

of problem and we need to figure out

what it is and this really brings us to

the second strategy

which is about narrowing focus one of

the challenges with anxiety is that it's

generally not connected

with a specific problem and so we start

to have this

sense that there's a threat all around

us

and that we become increasingly worried

about everything

and often when people are feeling a lot

of anxiety what they'll do is they'll

try to control something

which isn't the thing they're really

anxious about but to have this sense of

control

and that can go awry because you end up

getting into a power struggle or you end

up working on something

that's not really what the problem is so

one of the first questions that i

suggest you ask yourself is

is this even my problem is this

something that i'm responsible for is

this something that matters to me

or am i you know carrying a lot of

shoulds or

guesses or expectations am i making

assumptions about what i'm supposed to

be doing or supposed to be feeling

if this really is my problem then i can

tune in and say

is it within my sphere of control or my

sphere of concern

most of us have a much larger sphere of

concern than sphere of control

and saying if it is my problem is it

something that i'm concerned about

but can't really do anything about or is

there something i can

actually do something about and focusing

on the things that we want to take

responsibility for

that are in our sphere of control or in

our sphere of influence

we're able to do something about it so

narrowing the focus down to say what

part of this is mine

and what part of this can i actually

take action on

that develops a greater sense of agency

which is an important part of

handling anxiety in a positive way

in other videos you've heard me talk

about exercising optimism

and exercising optimism is a very

powerful tool that can help you with

this

the idea of agency i just talked about

is connected with exercising optimism

but so is suspending judgment

oftentimes when people are feeling

anxious what they'll do

is they'll awfulize and they'll do that

as a way to protect themselves and

they'll say

this is going to be so bad and all these

negative things are going to happen

and it's a way of again having a kind of

illusion of control

by saying well if i think how bad it is

i won't be surprised when something

negative happens

of course what that ends up doing is

making you miserable about

everything in your life and that fuels

pessimism

and that increases stress which

increases the anxiety

so rather than just saying okay it's

going to be fine

which you kind of know it's not you also

don't really know how bad it's going to

be

so what i would encourage you to do is

just suspend

judgment to stay in a state of data

gathering

to say i don't really know if this is

going to be good

or if this is going to be bad and

because i don't know

i'm not going to jump to a conclusion

i'm going to be curious

if you can replace anxiety with

curiosity

it will help take that vigilance that

you're feeling and that need to look

around and find what the problem is

and really understand it in a deeper way

in one of our articles about anxiety

we'll put it in the show notes there's a

strategy

about shifting from anxiety to say

what's important here because when we

feel anxious

it means that there's something going on

we're perceiving some kind of a problem

but we don't exactly know what it is and

generally speaking when we feel a lot of

anxiety

it's because we're perceiving a very big

problem

or something's not quite right

because something is important and so

tuning in to what's important is a

strategy for you to stay

out of that conclusion state and in that

curiosity state

because we're trying to see all of our

feelings

as allies and we're trying to make

friends with our emotions

and and not be in reaction to our

feelings

instead of trying to suppress the

feeling or push it away

one of the things you can do is shrink

it and

visualizing the feeling getting lighter

so as you imagine if you kind of sit

back and maybe close your eyes

and you imagine this feeling many people

who are feeling anxious will imagine it

as this

like dark cloud with lightning and

it's very intense and instead of saying

i want that to go away

try just imagining it getting a little

bit lighter

a little bit smaller a little bit

further

away from you you're not trying to get

rid of it

you're trying to step back from it and

take some perspective

you can couple this with breathing going

for a walk

drinking water and you have a number of

strategies that help you

produce more serotonin including

laughing smelling flowers

and just appreciating what's good in the

world even if it's just a tiny thing

the goal isn't to get rid of the anxiety

the goal

is to move away from it a little bit so

that you can understand it better

think about it like this you could have

a song that's playing

and you turn up the volume so high you

can't even figure out what the words are

and and maybe it's a song you even like

but unless you get a little bit of

distance from it

it's hard to make sense of it so if you

think about that anxiety in that same

way that it's maybe not a negative thing

but maybe it's just too much

and can you turn the volume down a

little bit or can you lighten the color

of it

or you can step back a little bit from

it so that you can hear

the message and not just the noise the

last one

is to clean up your clutter and there's

some interesting research that found

that

when somebody is in a cluttered

environment

their bottom-up neural processing which

is basically our

automatic processing that's happening

without conscious control

becomes distracted by the clutter and

this was particularly true for women by

the way

in this more cluttered environment our

brains are having trouble

sorting out what's important and that

increases our sense of anxiety

and in this particular study it also

increased

people's tendency to eat unhealthy foods

we can take this idea of

decreasing the clutter both to the

physical clutter

but also to the mental and emotional

clutter in our lives

most of us have a lot of things that are

not resolved in our lives

most of us have a lot of things that

we're thinking about sometimes just

making a list

organizing our ideas deciding there's

some things to let go of

there's some relationships that we need

to repair or

cleaning up our physical environment or

simplifying our days

there are many kinds of clutter in our

lives and again this clutter becomes

like

noise which makes it harder for us to

figure out

what is really important in this

situation and what we should be paying

attention to

so in addition to the improving social

conditions

the five strategies are to validate your

feeling

to narrow the focus to suspend

conclusion

to shrink it instead of suppress it and

to clean up the clutter

when people are struggling with anxiety

it can be incredibly painful

each quarter we publish an eq cafe and

we have people around the world

who volunteer and hold these events in

hundreds of cities

and a couple of years ago we did an eq

cafe on anxiety

and we asked people to give us metaphors

for what it's like to feel anxious

and for some people it is crippling for

some people it's paralyzing

for some people it's difficult to get up

in the morning

because their anxiety is so overwhelming

want to remind you that you can get help

and you deserve help

and that all of us can benefit from

making friends with our anxiety

and trying out strategies to use it in a

way that's positive

hi i'm josh friedman thanks for watching

if you like this video please

share it like it subscribe comment

that really helps us with our work to

bring emotional intelligence

to everyone in the world these are

skills that are really needed in the

world right now

and we need you to help us help others


How to stop feeling anxious about anxiety | episode 05

let's talk about feeling anxious

about anxiety

[Music]

in this video we're going to talk about

how anxiety is different than stress

the neuroscience of anxiety what it

really means

and how understanding the neuroscience

of anxiety

can give you some tools and we're going

to offer a bunch of

highly effective strategies that you

probably haven't seen somewhere else

to help you manage anxiety and use

anxiety as something positive

instead of something negative one of the

most frequent online searches in this

topic

is is my anxiety normal

or might there be something wrong

anxiety is confusing

because it's a word we use for a feeling

and it's also

a word we use for brain illness when

people are struggling with an anxiety

disorder

their chemistry is out of balance

and the strategies that can help all of

us with anxiety

are not going to be enough some people

talk about it like trying to fill a

bucket

with a hole in it if you're struggling

with anxiety

and it's negatively affecting your daily

life

for multiple days in a row please get

help

i heard a child psychiatrist describe it

this way

if you have this many reasons to be

anxious but your anxiety is this big

it may mean you have an anxiety disorder

and if it's persisting over time and

it's causing you

to lose quality of life then it's worth

checking out and talking to a mental

health professional

to find out if you have an anxiety

disorder because you can get help with

that

and even if you have an anxiety disorder

the strategies that i'm going to share

in this video can help you

but they're really designed for all of

us with

normal anxiety it's a feeling that means

that there's a generalized threat

where fear is connected with a very

specific

danger and stress is connected with a

specific

problem anxiety is generalized and it's

a sense

that there's something out there one

thing that's useful to understand about

anxiety

is that humans are social animals and

we're really at the top of our food

chain in most places

and so the stressors in our lives are

not really

are we going to get eaten as social

animals

danger is most frequently connected with

being

outside of the group and so many sources

of anxiety are connected with

social uncertainty not knowing where we

stand

not feeling psychologically safe not

knowing if we have allies

not knowing whether people are going to

like us or not

and that might sound trivial but at a

neurobiological level

we are adapted for survival

this is deep in our architecture and if

we aren't connected with the group

it's dangerous for us and so things like

do i get enough likes on social media is

triggering this foundational visceral

reaction

social media algorithms know this and

developers have actually created

their systems to trigger this anxiety

so that we get more dependent on using

these tools

but of course that fuels social anxiety

it's one of the reasons that loneliness

is such an important

indicator of mental health challenges in

the world

and loneliness is at an all-time high

people don't feel connected and when

they don't feel connected

these social triggers of anxiety have

more intensity

and are harder to deal with cigna one of

the world's largest

insurers did a massive study in 2018

and found that among adults loneliness

is so high that it's reaching epidemic

levels

61 of adults report being lonely

that's almost a 20 increase in one year

and we know that with the pandemic and

other factors such as climate change

people are feeling even more

disconnected now what this

means is three in five people in the u.s

are feeling loneliness and it's even

worse in many other places in the world

all of this is to say that we're in a

condition that causes the social anxiety

reactions

to become more volatile more intense

let's talk a little bit more about the

differences between stress

and anxiety mental health first aid

offers

a useful distinction that stress is

triggered by something outside us

and anxiety is something that's going on

inside us

sometimes people describe stress as a

physiological

or physical condition and anxiety as an

emotional condition

stress tends to be more specific anxiety

tends to be more general

and very importantly when the causes

of the problem are reduced stress

reduces but often anxiety persists

anxiety is frequently a byproduct of

stress

or chronic stress seems to trigger and

reinforce

anxiety what we're looking at

is this feeling of anxiousness

which is a message that there's some

kind of problem out there

and because anxiety is generalized we

don't necessarily know

what the problem is and the helpful

function of anxiety

is to make us more vigilant to help us

look around to tell us

we need to find out what the problem is

and we might need to make some change

and this is the real benefit of anxiety

it's why we have it

anxiety can help us to mobilize us

into action action against climate

change

action to have more social connectedness

action to do things different in our

lives

so there's benefits of anxiety but only

if we can really understand it

and work with it so let's talk about how

it actually works in the brain

in some of our other videos we've talked

about the amygdala

and the trigger of the threat response

the anxiety response is fairly similar

anxiety is connected with the same kind

of neural hormones that we experience in

stress

and it's one of the reasons that stress

and anxiety are often confused

cortisol and epinephrine or adrenaline

are two of the key neural hormones

involved

when we begin to feel anxious what's

happening is our amygdala is being

triggered

to identify a potential threat our

hypothalamus starts producing these

neural hormones and then under the

direction of the thalamus which is like

a master regulatory valve

we begin to arouse the amygdala response

and release these chemicals that are

affecting our brain and our bodies

there's a kind of first reaction which

is this chemical response system we've

talked about in our videos about

why emotions last for about six seconds

and then because often the threats that

cause stress and anxiety

are longer lasting with a secondary

system

using the autonomic nervous system the

autonomic nervous system ans

is what regulates all kinds of

unconscious responses on our body

herbert benson

who started the mind body institute at

harvard medical school back in the 1970s

was one of the first physicians in the

us to start talking about this system

and understanding that there's an

emotional connection with our biological

health

and our heart health dr benson describes

the ans having two components

a kind of accelerator in the car the gas

pedal

and the brakes the sympathetic nervous

system is the gas pedal

when the sympathetic nervous system is

triggered it turns on the gas

otherwise known as the hpa axis the

hypothalamus starts producing

neural hormones that trigger the

pituitary glands and the adrenal system

and we start to produce additional

adrenaline technically called

epinephrine

and cortisol and these two chemicals as

i mentioned are connected with the

threat response

to stress and also to this emotional

reaction

called anxiety cortisol has a number of

beneficial functions

it is a form of energy production and it

helps

get our muscles ready for faster

reactivity

it helps close down the capillaries in

the surface of our skin

so that more blood stays in our trunk

and cortisol

helps us pay attention to threats by

blocking

serotonin uptake serotonin helps us feel

calm and cortisol blocks that

so that we remain vigilant and that's a

good thing when there's danger

and when we're not really sure what that

danger is the case of anxiety

it's important for us to be vigilant and

look around and assess

and be in this state of readiness for

some problem that might come

one of the interesting things about

cortisol is that it's also connected to

learning and memory

it actually takes some stress in order

to activate our learning brain

and one of the really fun tools that we

have in the eq store is called a bio dot

and when the bio dot is green it

indicates you have some stress

but green is correlated with the

readiness for learning

cortisol helps us say hey something's

happening here i need to pay attention

but it blocks some of our more nuanced

memory

and ability to recall details such as

trying to remember somebody's name at a

party what's happening is that our

our brains are shifting into this fight

flight or freeze mode

causing us to pay attention to big

things and lose track of little things

we've shared in other videos about some

of the physiological effects of stress

so i'm not going to get into that now

but cortisol has

some downsides that we really need to

pay attention to and it's one of the

reasons why anxiety is often connected

with issues with your circulatory system

as well as your digestive system

okay so remember the autonomic nervous

system has two parts we've talked about

the gas

but let's talk about the brakes the

parasympathetic nervous system

one of the important discoveries at the

harvard medical school mind body

institute

is that herbert benson found that we

could trigger this relaxation response

we could trigger the parasympathetic

nervous system

by changing our breathing by changing

what we're paying attention to by social

reappraisal and feeling more connected

but i'm going to get into that in a

minute when we go into strategies

for managing anxiety more effectively

so let's talk about strategies for

managing anxiety

first of all remembering that anxiety is

connected

with the social brain functions it makes

sense that

many strategies for mitigating anxiety

are going to be connected

with social activation increasing your

social supports

reaching out to people feeling gratitude

for the people you're connected with

recognizing that you're not alone and if

you are alone

doing the challenging work of building

relationship

is going to be an important part of

reducing anxiety and making it work for

you better

i have five emotional intelligence

strategies for helping you with feeling

anxious about anxiety

the first is to validate your feeling

to recognize that this feeling is there

and that maybe even it's there to help

you

a lot of times when we have difficult

feelings we push them aside

and there's some interesting research

that was done with

women who were pregnant and worried

about zika virus

where they tried a whole bunch of

different strategies and

none of them worked very well but

interestingly when they tried to

suppress their feeling

it made the fear more intense

so there's something about denying this

experience of anxiety

that causes it to rear its head and say

hey

you really need to pay attention to me

dan siegel says name

entertainment if we can understand our

feelings

and acknowledge them and maybe even make

friends with them

we can start to have a better

relationship with all of our feelings

including anxiety if you think about

validating your parking ticket

somebody goes and puts a stamp on it

they're actually putting value

on your ticket so when you're validating

your feeling

it's not just acknowledging it but

actually considering

that it might be there to help you

anxiety tells us that there's some kind

of problem and we need to figure out

what it is and this really brings us to

the second strategy

which is about narrowing focus one of

the challenges with anxiety is that it's

generally not connected

with a specific problem and so we start

to have this

sense that there's a threat all around

us

and that we become increasingly worried

about everything

and often when people are feeling a lot

of anxiety what they'll do is they'll

try to control something

which isn't the thing they're really

anxious about but to have this sense of

control

and that can go awry because you end up

getting into a power struggle or you end

up working on something

that's not really what the problem is so

one of the first questions that i

suggest you ask yourself is

is this even my problem is this

something that i'm responsible for is

this something that matters to me

or am i you know carrying a lot of

shoulds or

guesses or expectations am i making

assumptions about what i'm supposed to

be doing or supposed to be feeling

if this really is my problem then i can

tune in and say

is it within my sphere of control or my

sphere of concern

most of us have a much larger sphere of

concern than sphere of control

and saying if it is my problem is it

something that i'm concerned about

but can't really do anything about or is

there something i can

actually do something about and focusing

on the things that we want to take

responsibility for

that are in our sphere of control or in

our sphere of influence

we're able to do something about it so

narrowing the focus down to say what

part of this is mine

and what part of this can i actually

take action on

that develops a greater sense of agency

which is an important part of

handling anxiety in a positive way

in other videos you've heard me talk

about exercising optimism

and exercising optimism is a very

powerful tool that can help you with

this

the idea of agency i just talked about

is connected with exercising optimism

but so is suspending judgment

oftentimes when people are feeling

anxious what they'll do

is they'll awfulize and they'll do that

as a way to protect themselves and

they'll say

this is going to be so bad and all these

negative things are going to happen

and it's a way of again having a kind of

illusion of control

by saying well if i think how bad it is

i won't be surprised when something

negative happens

of course what that ends up doing is

making you miserable about

everything in your life and that fuels

pessimism

and that increases stress which

increases the anxiety

so rather than just saying okay it's

going to be fine

which you kind of know it's not you also

don't really know how bad it's going to

be

so what i would encourage you to do is

just suspend

judgment to stay in a state of data

gathering

to say i don't really know if this is

going to be good

or if this is going to be bad and

because i don't know

i'm not going to jump to a conclusion

i'm going to be curious

if you can replace anxiety with

curiosity

it will help take that vigilance that

you're feeling and that need to look

around and find what the problem is

and really understand it in a deeper way

in one of our articles about anxiety

we'll put it in the show notes there's a

strategy

about shifting from anxiety to say

what's important here because when we

feel anxious

it means that there's something going on

we're perceiving some kind of a problem

but we don't exactly know what it is and

generally speaking when we feel a lot of

anxiety

it's because we're perceiving a very big

problem

or something's not quite right

because something is important and so

tuning in to what's important is a

strategy for you to stay

out of that conclusion state and in that

curiosity state

because we're trying to see all of our

feelings

as allies and we're trying to make

friends with our emotions

and and not be in reaction to our

feelings

instead of trying to suppress the

feeling or push it away

one of the things you can do is shrink

it and

visualizing the feeling getting lighter

so as you imagine if you kind of sit

back and maybe close your eyes

and you imagine this feeling many people

who are feeling anxious will imagine it

as this

like dark cloud with lightning and

it's very intense and instead of saying

i want that to go away

try just imagining it getting a little

bit lighter

a little bit smaller a little bit

further

away from you you're not trying to get

rid of it

you're trying to step back from it and

take some perspective

you can couple this with breathing going

for a walk

drinking water and you have a number of

strategies that help you

produce more serotonin including

laughing smelling flowers

and just appreciating what's good in the

world even if it's just a tiny thing

the goal isn't to get rid of the anxiety

the goal

is to move away from it a little bit so

that you can understand it better

think about it like this you could have

a song that's playing

and you turn up the volume so high you

can't even figure out what the words are

and and maybe it's a song you even like

but unless you get a little bit of

distance from it

it's hard to make sense of it so if you

think about that anxiety in that same

way that it's maybe not a negative thing

but maybe it's just too much

and can you turn the volume down a

little bit or can you lighten the color

of it

or you can step back a little bit from

it so that you can hear

the message and not just the noise the

last one

is to clean up your clutter and there's

some interesting research that found

that

when somebody is in a cluttered

environment

their bottom-up neural processing which

is basically our

automatic processing that's happening

without conscious control

becomes distracted by the clutter and

this was particularly true for women by

the way

in this more cluttered environment our

brains are having trouble

sorting out what's important and that

increases our sense of anxiety

and in this particular study it also

increased

people's tendency to eat unhealthy foods

we can take this idea of

decreasing the clutter both to the

physical clutter

but also to the mental and emotional

clutter in our lives

most of us have a lot of things that are

not resolved in our lives

most of us have a lot of things that

we're thinking about sometimes just

making a list

organizing our ideas deciding there's

some things to let go of

there's some relationships that we need

to repair or

cleaning up our physical environment or

simplifying our days

there are many kinds of clutter in our

lives and again this clutter becomes

like

noise which makes it harder for us to

figure out

what is really important in this

situation and what we should be paying

attention to

so in addition to the improving social

conditions

the five strategies are to validate your

feeling

to narrow the focus to suspend

conclusion

to shrink it instead of suppress it and

to clean up the clutter

when people are struggling with anxiety

it can be incredibly painful

each quarter we publish an eq cafe and

we have people around the world

who volunteer and hold these events in

hundreds of cities

and a couple of years ago we did an eq

cafe on anxiety

and we asked people to give us metaphors

for what it's like to feel anxious

and for some people it is crippling for

some people it's paralyzing

for some people it's difficult to get up

in the morning

because their anxiety is so overwhelming

want to remind you that you can get help

and you deserve help

and that all of us can benefit from

making friends with our anxiety

and trying out strategies to use it in a

way that's positive

hi i'm josh friedman thanks for watching

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