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How To Deal With Anxiety:

31 Days to a Less-Anxious and More Focused, Productive You!

Smile, breathe and go slowly. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

by Linda Esposito, LCSW

January 2013 Daily Anxiety Buster Quotes

Sunday Theme: Breathing/ Relaxation 6 Theme: Mindfulness Practice 13 Theme: Change Negative Thoughts 20 Theme: Boundaries 27 Theme: Exercise/ Meditation/ Yoga/Tai Chi Monday 1 Tuesday
Smile, breathe and go slowly.

2 Wednesday 3 Thursday
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.

4 Friday
You are where you need to be. Just take a deep breath.

5 Saturday
When you want wisdom and insight as badly as you want to breathe, it is then you shall have it.

Remember to breathe. It is after all, the secret of life.

The little things? The little moments? They aren't little.

"Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had."

The past and future are just thoughts happening in the present.

10 11 past and future Learn to be still The are just thoughts in the midst of happening in the present. activity. 17
When you think your life is so bad...pick up the newspaper and read the front page.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, and thats why its called the present.

Negative thought healers prevent selfdoubters, toxic influencer's, and night-crawling dream stealer's.



Haters never win because negative energy always costs in the end.

Nobody ever died Over-thinking from their leads to negative feelings. thoughts.

19 Lets not be narrow, nasty and negative. 26 Drama is best left for the stage.

The key to happiness is healthy boundaries.

A narcissist cannot invade your mind unless you open the door.



I dont have time is the cousin of, Youre not important.

People lead very Sometimes fences make the busy lives, so be best neighbors. judicious with their time.

I really regret that workout, are words nobody says.

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's 97 now, and we don't know where the heck she is.

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.

Yoga has a sly, clever way of short-circuiting the patterns that cause anxiety.

Yoga has a sly, clever way of short

*Random quotes--please Google for authors. Boundaries quotes from yours truly :).

January 2013 Weekly Anxiety Buster Guide

Week 1: Breathing/Relaxation Week 2: Mindfulness Practice Week 3: Changing Thoughts/Emotions Week 4: Boundaries Week 5: Exercise/Meditation/Yoga/Tai Chi

This outline serves as a guide to help you manage your anxiety, so it does not manage you. Although I structured the weekly themes sequentially, feel free to jump around and experiment if you have a handle on one or more areas.*Please note that Week 3 is the hardest and will require the most effort.* If youre just starting out on your quest to reduce anxiety, I suggest you follow the weekly themes and focus on adopting each theme as a habit before moving on. Caveat: One week will probably not be enough...which is fine. To paraphrase Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, its wise to 1) focus on one habit at a time, 2) start small, 3) know your triggers (for anxiety), and 4) have a positive reinforcement for doing the habit, and a negative reinforcement for not doing the habit. Also, its helpful to find a buddy, or a group of friends to hold you accountable and keep you motivated. To hear Leo, click the link below. How to Create Healthy Habits: An Interview with Leo Babauta of Zen Habits

Week 1: Breathing/Relaxation

Step 1--Sit down in a chair or on the floor on a folded blanket or cushion. Keep your back straight from the base of your spine to your neck. This creates a straight path for energy to flow up your spine. Step 2--Place your hands on your thighs with your palms face up or down. Rest your feet flat on the floor if you are sitting in a chair. Cross your ankles or legs if you are seated on the floor. Step 3--Close your eyes to prevent your mind from being distracted by outer objects. Step 4--Breathe normally in and out through your nose for about one minute, observing your breath without judgment. Close your mouth and relax your facial muscles. Step 5--Allow your breath to slowly deepen as you inhale and fully inflate your lungs, counting silently to four. Feel your ribcage expand forward and to the sides as you breathe in. Step 6--Exhale to a slow count of four as you pull your navel point toward your spine. Make your in-breath and out-breath the same length. If thoughts or emotions arise, let them go and bring your attention back to your breath. Step 7--Continue deep breathing meditation for three to five minutes or for as long as you can sit comfortably with a calm, steady breath.
**Click here for a 7-minute Breathing/Relaxation mp3 --> wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/TalkTherapyBiz-Passive-Muscle-Relaxation.mp3.mp3

Week 2: Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness is bringing awareness to each moment, interaction, and situation throughout your day. Its about living in the here-and-now, rather than living with anxiety about the future, or living with regret of the past. Mindfulness is essential for bringing focus to your endeavors and goals.

Spend 15-30 minutes each day quietly thinking about what goal you want to achieve. Think career, relationships, personal development, or training for a 5K. Pay attention to this moment, and what youre feeling, and thinking. When you find yourself getting distracted and going away mentally, calmly bring yourself back to NOW. You can also use this time to read resources on mindfulness.( basics/mindfulness )

Make mindfulness a part of your daily routine to develop true psychological insight, including awareness of
your thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

Mindfulness increases your ability to read others and to register how you come across to them.

Mindfulness can lead to true and lasting happiness, as long as youre committed to paying attention to the present on a daily basis.

The hard part is to remember to be mindful, and to resist the urge to become distracted by checking emails,
your phone, and social media sites, etc...*Breathe*

Week 3: Change Negative Thoughts

It has been estimated that we have anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts a day. If your mindset is predominantly negative, you generate thousands upon thousands of negative thoughts daily.

Know that it is possible to control the quality of your thinking. Thinking contributes more to how you feel than any other factor.
Change your negative thoughts--and your emotions, and behaviors will improve.

Keep track of how many negative thoughts you have daily. You can keep a thought journal and at the end of each day jot down as

many instances of negative thinking as you can remember. "I thought I was too fat." "I hate my boss." "I hate traffic jams." Include instances in which you call yourself a name such as "idiot," or think of yourself (or someone else) as worthless. Note any kind of pessimistic thinking, any focusing on problems rather than on solutions. Record thinking in which you feel yourself to be a victim, even if you have been genuinely victimized.

Jot down thoughts of feeling helpless or hopeless. Be especially aware of making sweeping generalizations from one specific bad

event so that your whole future appears to be terrible. "I got fired from this job; I'll never have a good job again." "This relationship broke up; I'll never find a partner." Listen for words that are extremealways, never. Notice black-and-white thinking.

Develop a partnership strategy. Ask a trusted person to point out your instances of negative thinking, and then record them. After you
get a fix on the kind of negative thinking and its frequency, identify the situations that trigger such thinking. The act of writing down instances of negative thinking is an exercise in focusing that helps make you aware of the triggers. In all likelihood, certain types of events are particularly likely to set off a chain of negative thoughts. For some, it's an act of being rejected or ignored or not responded to by another person. For others it might be a negative remark or a setback at work. Tell your trusted person that you're sounding too pessimistic and you want to be more optimistic; ask them to help by alerting you when you are negative and then asking you to convert this to a positive statement.

Change negative to positive thinking by reframing the situation in a more positive and realistic light. "I'm too fat" vs. "I've never
been more fit." "This plan will never work" vs. "I have some suggestions that will help get this plan off the ground." "I'm too old" vs. "I'm getting better with age." Constantly flip the switch from down and dark to up and light. (Adapted from

Week 4: Boundaries

Boundaries are essential to keeping your sanity. Think of boundaries as invisible circles that you draw around your body to delineate whats acceptable (anything outside the circle) and whats not acceptable (anything inside the circle). Boundary categories are numerous: Physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual, moral, financial, etc. Heres an example of assessing Financial Boundaries:

What I can afford after essentials: ~Dining out twice per week ~A new outfit once per mo. ~Small gifts ~Tutoring for my kids ~Etc...

What I cannot afford to spend $ on: ~Meals over $35.00 ~Clothes from Nordstrom ~Large gifts ($50.00+) ~Online tutorial programs ~Etc...

How Ill know when Ive crossed that financial line... ~My monthly expense log will be overdrawn ~Ill have trouble sleeping at night ~Ill feel angry/stressed that I dont have more self-control ~My heart will race when friends call to socialize ~Ill dread the monthly credit card bills ~Ill stress eat ~Etc...

Week 5: Exercise/Meditation/Yoga/Tai Chi

Why Exercise?
Exercise releases feel-good brain chemicals (neurotransmitters and endorphins), reduces immune system chemicals that contribute to anxiety, and increases body temperature, which can have calming effects. Exercise also helps to: Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance. Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxious thoughts and behaviors. Get your social interaction on! Exercise may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood. If youre suffering from social anxiety, remember to take baby steps. Just get out already...Even if that means you just walk past Starbucks for now. Cope in a healthy way. Exercise can distract you from addictive habits like drinking, popping pills, hitting the pipe, shopping, over-eating, raging, etc.

Repeat as Necessary
Anxiety varies from one person to the next, and many factors play a part: Childhood, DNA, life experiences, lifestyle, diet, resilience, ability to selfsoothe, external resources, motivation, attitude, etc. With daily awareness of your anxious ways + daily commitment to doing things differently, you WILL feel more relaxed, calm, confident, focused and productive. Just remember...

You got this!