Anxiety and Panic

How to Stop Coping With Anxiety & Start Living

When you’re riddled with anxiety or worry, it can feel like you’re in the back seat of a careering car. Your anxiety and worry have hijacked the driver’s seat, feet slammed on the gas, while you’re confused and feeling out of control with no access to the brakes. It’s frustrating and demoralizing to feel like you’re being dragged around by angst and unease.

Fortunately, there are many effective techniques to help you return to the driver’s seat.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathryn Tristan, a researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine and author of the forthcoming book Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living (available December 4, 2012).

As her book title reveals, Tristan believes that we can stop coping with anxiety and worry and instead start living fulfilling lives. She discusses this in greater detail below.

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Anxiety and Panic

How Kathryn Tristan Overcame Her Anxiety – And You Can Too!

Research scientist and author Kathryn Tristan was unable to fly or leave her hometown for over 20 years.

But after working from the inside out, as she puts it, Tristan was able to move past her overwhelming anxiety and panic. Through the use of specific techniques, she's been able to quell them and lead a fulfilling life.

Below, Tristan, who’s also author of the forthcoming book Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living (available December 4, 2012), reveals the four strategies that have helped her overcome anxiety and worry.

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Retrain Your Brain to Reduce Worry

Worrying can be helpful. It propels us into action and prevents procrastination. Even more importantly, it protects us from potential perils. But, of course, too much worrying is problematic. Too much worrying boosts stress and leads to anxiety.

But you’re not powerless over your worry-filled mind. There are many ways you can retrain your brain to reduce your worrying ways.

Below, Kathryn Tristan shares several suggestions. Tristan is a researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine and author of the forthcoming book Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living (available December 4, 2012).

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3 Anti-Anxiety Strategies That Actually Don’t Work

Some of the strategies you’re using to reduce your anxiety might actually perpetuate and heighten it instead.

Kathryn Tristan, author of the forthcoming book Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living (available December 4, 2012), reveals three common tactics that can backfire.

Q: What are some anti-anxiety strategies that actually don't work?

A: Often people use three common coping strategies that do more harm than good. In a nutshell, these are pills, booze, or avoidance.

Scientific studies suggest that 1 out of 2 people in the U.S. will suffer at some time in their life from anxiety, depression, or addiction. That means you, me, someone in our family, a friend, etc., is currently or will be dealing with one of more of these life-altering issues.


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How I Create: Q&A with Artist Jolie Guillebeau

{Jolie Guillebeau's paintings}
Jolie Guillebeau isn’t just an artist. She’s also a storyteller. In 2010 she set out to paint 100 paintings in 100 days.

She did it.

Fast forward a few years, and she's still painting daily. In fact, she sends out an email every day with a snapshot of her artwork and an accompanying story.

Guillebeau flexes her creativity muscles on a regular basis. Asking her to chat about her creative process for our monthly series was a no-brainer.

Below, Guillebeau shares what inspires her work, how she overcomes self-doubt, a clever way she keeps her creative juices flowing and much more.

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Rewire Your Brain For Love: An Interview with Marsha Lucas, Ph.D.

Last year, I met a very cool licensed psychologist and neuropsychologist at a book signing for a mutual friend of ours. Marsha Lucas, Ph.D., has been practicing psychotherapy and studying the brain-behavior relationship for over twenty years. Prior to entering private practice, she was a neuropsychologist on the faculty at the Emory University School of Medicine.

In other words, she was probably one of those persons in grade school that was taken aside and given more challenging work, while the rest of us (at least the one writing this blog) struggled through the regular assignments.

Her book, “Rewire Your Brain for Love,” is a fascinating read because she delves into how the human brain works -- or fumbles -- in relationships.

In other words, she explores how we developed our current relationship wiring, and, if part of that is contributing to toxic relationships, how to modify it through mindfulness meditation. Lucas shows how a short meditation practice can result in seven key relationship benefits, including communication with yourself and others, an enhanced ability to handle fear, and being more emotionally authentic and resilient.

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Q&A with David Fitzpatrick, author of “Sharp: A Memoir”

Sharp: A Memoir is the beautifully written, harrowing story of David Fitzpatrick and his 20-year struggle with bipolar disorder and self-mutilation. One of five children, Fitzpatrick endured regular bullying from his older brother and later was tormented daily by his college roommates. He began cutting in his early 20s, steeped in self-loathing and spending years in psychiatric hospitals.

While Sharp is an intense and raw read -- and may be triggering for some -- it's ultimately a hopeful and inspiring story. It’s a story of a man who gets caught up in the mental health system but finally finds himself, as well as a fulfilling life.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Fitzpatrick about his powerful book. Below, Fitzpatrick reveals what inspired him to pen Sharp, what it was like reopening old wounds, what helped him lift the veil of mental illness, how he maintains recovery today and much more.

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Q&A with Taylor Jones, Founder & Author of Dear Photograph

It’s one of the most poignant websites you’ll ever visit. Seriously, check it out and try not to be moved or get teary-eyed. (I have. Every. single. time.) features photo submissions from all over the world. The premise: Individuals visit the original place where a meaningful photo was taken. They hold up the old photo and snap away. Then they add a caption, beginning with “Dear photograph.”

CBS named Dear Photograph the No. 1 website in 2011. TIME Magazine ranked it No. 7 in its list of top 50 websites.

The site also has spawned a breathtaking book, Dear Photograph, which features never-before-seen photos.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Taylor Jones, the founder and curator of Dear Photograph. Below, Jones shares how he started the site, why it’s struck a cord with so many, the submission that’ll always stay with him and much more.

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How I Create: Q&A With Author & Artist Christine Mason Miller

I’ve already had the honor of interviewing Christine Mason Miller, a writer and mixed-media artist, for several pieces for Psych Central. (See here and here.) I love her take on creativity along with how she lets creativity infuse all areas of her life.

Miller is the author of the recently published book Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World. She loves to travel, wander and explore, whether on her own...
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Q&A with Joe Pantoliano, Author of ‘Asylum’

This month I had the pleasure of talking to Joe Pantoliano about his recently published book Asylum: Hollywood Tales from My Great Depression: Brain Dis-Ease, Recovery, and Being My Mother's Son. Below, he discusses everything from stigma toward “brain dis-ease” to his personal struggles with and recovery from the “seven deadlies.”

Pantoliano is also the founder of No Kidding, Me Too! (, a nonprofit organization "whose purpose is to remove the stigma attached to 'brain dis-ease' through education and the breaking down of societal barriers." He produced and directed the documentary No Kidding! Me 2!!, an intimate look at the experiences of Americans living with mental illness.

Pantoliano has more than 100 movie, TV, and stage credits, and won an Emmy Award for his work on “The Sopranos.” His first book, the memoir Who's Sorry Now? The True Story of a Stand-up Guy, was a New York Times bestseller. He was born in Hoboken, N.J., and today lives in Connecticut.

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How I Create: Q&A With Author Marney Makridakis

I discovered Marney K. Makridakis’s work when I came across her newest book Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life. (I loved the book and wrote about it here.) After reading such a unique and creativity-filled book, I just knew that I had to learn more about her process and inspiration.

Thankfully, she was happy to participate in our monthly series -- and the result is a whole lot of inspiration below. Makridakis reveals the importance of ideas, her creativity saboteurs and solutions, the power of the rough draft and much more.

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Reducing the Stigma Associated with Schizophrenia

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Joshua, who participated in the documentary “Living With Schizophrenia: A Call for Hope and Recovery.”

Joshua talked about the stigma associated with living with schizophrenia and shed light on the reality of the illness: Those living with the illness often lead productive lives.

Rebecca S. Roma also is featured in the documentary. She provides viewers with a unique perspective: She works primarily with chronically mentally ill patients who are living in the community after long-term hospitalization. She has dedicated her life to keeping the mentally ill out of hospitals and the legal system.

Click through to read the interview.

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