How to Systematically Cure Your Anxiety

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If there’s one thing I love, it’s “The Emperor Has No Clothes” moments when you realize everyone’s feeling something…but nobody is saying it.

It happened when I finally got behind closed doors with my friends and we started telling the truth.

How many of us sit and stare at screens for over 8 hours/day?

How many of us focus almost exclusively on our careers and — if I asked you what new hobby you want to tackle this year — would have no idea what to do?

How many of us use stimulants to mask our exhaustion?

How many of us feel guilty or anxious when not working?

If you raised your hand to any of these questions, this post is for you.

Today, I’ve invited my friend Charlie Hoehn to share how he systematically cured his anxiety within one month. Charlie knows better than most people what it’s like to lose control of his work-life balance.

charlie

Charlie has done some cool stuff over the years. He helped Tim Ferriss edit and launch The 4-Hour Body, he was a cameraman on Tucker Max’s movie tour, and he developed the Negotiate It iPhone app with me. But Charlie had a tendency to work around the clock. He drank tons of coffee, pulled all-nighters, and never seemed to sleep. I remember seeing him at a marketing conference a few years ago, and he casually mentioned that he’d only slept six hours in three days.

Hmm…

At some point, Charlie burned out and became extremely anxious. None of his friends really knew what he was dealing with because he kept it to himself. It took a while, but he finally figured out how to pull himself out of his funk. And he did it without pharmaceuticals or expensive therapy.

Maintaining a work-life balance has always been a struggle, but now it’s harder than ever. Everyone is online and on their phones at all times. It’s impossible to fully disconnect from work, and we often forget to have fun and enjoy life. Charlie took a unique systematic approach to cure his anxiety AND manage his workaholism, which is why I asked him to share his story.

In fact, he’s going to reveal the exact steps he took. This post will show you how to heal your anxiety, in minimal time, and enjoy your life more… just by making simple changes to your daily routine.

This is important stuff. We talk about living a rich life, but very few people talk about the costs of being ultra-focused on success.

Charlie — take it away.

*  *  *  *  *

What if I told you that your anxiety – panic attacks, paranoia, all that scary stuff – could be cut in half, in less than one month? I know it’s possible, because I’ve done it. All you have to do is systematize a few key areas of your life.

These simple changes to your daily routine can transform your mental health. It won’t happen overnight, and the journey won’t always be easy. But if you stick with these changes for a few weeks, your sanity will be restored.

For many who suffer with anxiety, that means having your life back. It means freedom. For me, it meant being able to breathe, to love, and – most importantly – to laugh again.

Here’s how I did it…

System 1: Replace Bad Content with Happy/Healthy Content

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 to my livelihood. 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.

A small sample of prepper equipment

There was nothing inherently wrong with preparing for an emergency, but obsessing over preposterous apocalyptic scenarios, every single day, for months on end? What an enormous waste of time and energy!

It finally dawned on me that 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, 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 albums. I watched funny and happy movies. I read fiction books that sparked my imagination, rather than workaholic business books that made me feel productive. It really helped. (Check out more of my favorite “anti-news” content)

Your brain is a lot like your digestive system — it requires a healthy diet in order to function properly. That means you need to be selective about what you feed your mind. And the sad truth is that the news is poison.

News outlets don’t really care about relevant information, facts, investigative reporting, biased agendas, or whether they’re poisoning their audience’s psyche. All they care about is numbers: page views, shares, and eyeballs for their advertisements. Even the “truth deliverers” and conspiracy websites play this game.

It’s an impossible undertaking to sort through their incessant distortion of reality, and you can never be sure if what you’re reading is true… But that’s not what this post is about. All I can say is that the news was making me afraid of the world. When I cut it out, I stopped being afraid. You are free to do the same.

How you can use this system: 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 absolutely no reason you need to subject yourself to unhealthy unrealities. Replace those unsettling thoughts with positive content that will lift you up. Otherwise, you will taint your thoughts, instill fear in your mind, and continually spoil the quality of your life.

System 2: Optimize Your Sleeping Conditions

Like I said, your brain is a lot like your digestive system. That means you need to give it adequate time to REST and DIGEST. And the best way to do that is by improving the quality of your sleep.

When I felt my worst, sleep just wasn’t a priority (not a coincidence). I worked around the clock, drank coffee all day, consumed junk food and alcohol late at night, and checked my bright cell phone screen while I was in bed. I pulled a lot of all-nighters and got used to falling asleep at late hours – usually around 3:00AM. Then I’d wake up a few hours later and do it all over again. And what a shock: I felt exhausted all the time. I was chronically in a severe sleep deficit, which took a major toll on my body.

During the month I cured my anxiety, I made getting consistent, quality sleep one of my highest priorities. First, I optimized my environment for ideal sleep. Here are the changes I made:

  • Plug in cell phone charger faaaaar away from bed. It’s extremely tempting to use your cell phone or laptop while you’re lying in bed (the internet is open 24 hours a day!), but this seriously screws up your sleep. The biggest problem with looking at screens late at night is that it’s an unnatural source of bright light. Even if your screen is on the lowest brightness setting, it’s still tricking your mind into staying awake. The best way to prevent yourself from checking screens late at night is by setting up a little barrier. For me, that meant plugging my cell phone charger in an outlet faaaaaar away from my bedroom, so I had to get up and take a long walk in order to check it. That proved to be a big enough hurdle to stop me from checking text messages and email late at night.
  • Cover all sources of light. When I was in high school, I covered my bedroom windows with two layers of aluminum foil and black construction paper. My room was pitch black, and I slept amazing every night. Eliminate or cover up every single source of light in your room — including digital clocks and that little green light on smoke detectors — so you can’t see anything. Then wear a sleep mask.
  • Lower the temperature to 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler your room, the better. Sleep in less clothing to prevent overheating during the night.
  • Install Flux on computer. Is the bright white light of your computer screen keeping you awake night? This free app will automatically change the hue of your computer screen to a sunset-like amber. Highly recommended.

Next, I had to make a few tweaks to my daily routine. It took several nights to adjust, but within a week, I was sleeping like a champion:

  • 5:00 PM — No more caffeine, aspartame, or alcohol. If you’re drinking coffee, energy drinks, or diet sodas after 5pm, then you’re making it much harder for your body to wind down. Those stimulants remain in your blood stream for several hours and keep your energy up. Cut them out. Also, you might think your evening glass of wine is helping you relax and feel sleepy. The reality is that it’s disrupting your deep sleep. The safe bet is to just drink water after 5pm.
  • 9:00 PM — No more screens. If you truly want to get your anxiety under control, you’re going to need to do something very difficult… You’re going to have to stop looking at ALL screens — cell phones, laptops, TV’s — after 9:00 pm. I know, it’s crazy. But it works. It takes a lot of discipline to stop looking at screens, so I use the Commit app ($2.99) to remind me to put my cell phone away at 9pm.

  • 10:00 PM — Get ready for bed! Every night at exactly 10:00 pm, I’d start getting ready for bed. 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 this rule. Even if I was in the middle of a conversation or near the end of a great movie, I’d abruptly get up and walk to the bathroom. After I finished getting ready, I’d climb in bed to read fiction for 15 minutes, and then I’d turn off the lights and focus on the rhythm of my breath until I fell asleep.

How you can use this system: All of the suggestions above will help you wind down earlier, but the key is getting ready at the same time every night. That’s what sets you in motion toward actually getting in bed, and ultimately re-trains your body to crave sleep at a reasonable hour.

If you take your bedtime seriously, you can get back into a steady sleep routine within a week.

System 3: Guilt-Free Play, Every Day

Exercise is a proven way 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 lame and miserable. People only do them because they think getting in shape has to be a punishment.

Exercise doesn’t have to feel like work; it can be play (i.e. physical movement that gets your heart pumping, causes you to sweat, and is legitimately fun for you and 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 (getting 20-minutes of sunlight does your body good). However, any fun play activity that you can do on a regular basis with your friends should work.

Each day, I set aside a minimum of 20-minutes to do one of my favorite play activities. I actually scheduled a recurring daily event in my calendar called Play! I started taking frequent trips to the park with an Aerobie Flying Ring — a flat rubber disc that flies really fast. The Aerobie was perfect for playing catch because I had to call up a friend to join me, and we’d both end up running around while chasing it.

I also played homerun derby with my friend Tucker Max on the weekend, took trips to the driving range, did an hour of circuit training a few times each week, and signed up for improv comedy classes (3 hours every Monday).

How you can use this system: Make Play part of your daily routine. Schedule 20-minutes of Play in your calendar (that’s only 1.3% of your day!) so you’re regularly having guilt-free fun doing an activity you love, with people you enjoy.

Oh, and one more thing… GET OFF YOUR PHONE.

How often do you see people doing this while they’re supposed to be having fun with friends?

If you truly want to get your anxiety under control, you need to disconnect. If the lure of the internet is too tempting, just turn your cell phone OFF. I know it’s fun to share your life, but social media is destructive when it’s compulsively used to gloss over how lonely and insecure you feel. Stop trying to convince everyone on Instagram that you have a wonderful life. Face the fact that you don’t, then go play so you can make it better.

System 4: Protein + Vegetable + Healthy Side, for Every Meal

When I was at the height of my anxiety, I was regularly eating foods that I knew were toxic on a daily basis — fast food, junk food, ice cream, pizza, alcohol… But I didn’t care. I was just so desperate for quick and easy forms of comfort, even though they ultimately made me feel worse. The food highs disappeared as quickly as they came, and I’d run off to find another stimulant to numb my bad feelings.

Then I swung in the complete opposite direction, and got ridiculously rigid about my diet. I would only eat vegetables and fruits. The result? I lost 25 pounds, and felt lethargic and depressed.

It took a while for me to get back in a healthy eating routine. What helped me most was copying my healthy friends’ eating habits. I just studied what healthy people ate, and then I copied them. After a few weeks of regularly emulating the routines of my healthiest friends, I was feeling and looking vigorous again.

Here’s the eating regimen I eventually settled on. I still eat this way now, and I feel great:

MORNING — 8:00 AM

  • Skip breakfast. Drink up to 1/2 cup of coffee, no more than that (too much caffeine is bad news for anxious people)
  • Take Vitamin B and fish oil. These are vital nutrients that your brain needs to function properly, and they’re depleted when you’re stressed out for long periods of time. I started taking both of these at the same time, and it took about a week and a half before my mind felt noticeably calmer and lighter.

AFTERNOON — 12:00 PM

Lunch is comprised of three ingredients: (1) Protein + (1) Vegetable + (1) Healthy Side. It’s basically a variation of the Paleo diet. These are the foods I most frequently eat:

  • PROTEIN: Grass-fed beef, free range chicken, cage free pastured eggs, wild Alaskan salmon
  • VEGETABLE: Kale, spinach, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, bok choy
  • HEALTHY SIDE: Avocado, almonds, blueberries, cherries, black beans, sauerkraut, sweet potatoes

I frequently assemble my lunch at Whole Foods’ salad bar (bit expensive, I know, but my compliance for sticking to my diet when eating at WF is 100%). I also eat gluten-free Thai dishes (meat and vegetables) and occasionally have Chipotle’s burrito bowl with fajita mix and steak (no rice, no queso).

For drinks, I only have water. No beer, no diet sodas (aspartame is poison), no fruit juice or beverages containing milk. Just water.

Notes: Have as much of the one protein and one vegetable as you want. Limit the quantity of your healthy side to one handful. Eat until you’re full. Cook and eat with plenty of KerryGold Irish butter (healthy source of fat).

Foods that are NOT allowed: No bread, crackers, pasta, rice, fried foods, fast food, pizza, chips, popcorn, candy, ice cream, soda, beer… Basically anything that’s made of wheat, sugar, or chemical ingredients you can’t pronounce

(If you prefer to have more leeway to cheat, follow Tim Ferriss’ highly effective Slow Carb Diet – it’s another variation of Paleo eating, which helped both of my parents lose 20+ pounds of fat in one month).

EVENING — 7:00 PM

Same rules as lunch: (1) Protein  + (1) Vegetable + (1) Healthy Side. Eat with a healthy source of fat, like KerryGold butter. Drink water.

That’s it! Just two big meals per day — three ingredients — at noon and 7pm.

Pretty simple, right?

How you can use this system: Try eating this way — protein, vegetable, healthy side — at lunch and dinner for the next two weeks. Assess how you feel at the end of each week.

Don’t chastise yourself if you break the rules and have some junk food every now and then. You’re just trying to get in the habit of eating healthy meals, while cutting most of the toxic crap out of your diet. Your transition to a healthier diet should be gradual and forgiving, rather than abrupt and perfect (which is impossible).

*  *  *  *  *

Final Thoughts

Anxiety builds up slowly over time, little by little each day, until it becomes a glaring problem. It’s not going to disappear overnight, but it can evaporate if you focus on making your life a little bit better every day. And the way you do that is by setting up systems that work in your favor.

Systems are what get you in a healthy routine, while eliminating options that are making you feel worse (e.g. the news, unhealthy food, checking screens late at night).

Don’t expect to be back to normal overnight (you won’t). And don’t expect to do everything perfectly (you won’t). Just set up these four simple systems:

  1. No news
  2. Quality sleep
  3. Daily play
  4. Healthy meals @ 12p and 7p

*  *  *  *  *

Sign up for Charlie’s free course: Heal Your Anxiety in 10 Days.

He’ll send you exclusive videos on how he rapidly reduced his anxiety, along with a bunch of other tips from his new book, Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety.

 

 

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78 Comments

 
  1. As one of the first commentators, I’m so glad I didn’t have to scroll past a million: ‘You shouldn’t skip breakfast!!! Don’t you know it’s the most important meal of the day – makes you 94.567% smarter, yadda yadda yadda!!’ [Betting loads of people will still feel the need to say it though, sigh].

    Anyway, I’ve just downloaded flux and LOVE it. It’s so awesome for anyone who works into the night. I feel sleepier already – can’t believe the difference it’s actually made!!

    On another note, I would have been interested to hear your thoughts on addressing the mental causes/aspects of anxiety – your post talks about minimising anxiety by choosing to remove stimulus that may provoke it (e.g. the news), and establishing healthier routines, but what about those situations that you can’t tune out and that you previously used to numb yourself to (e.g. anxiety in a social situation which you would drink to feel calmer). What are your thoughts/techniques for confronting situations like these?

    Also what is your experience in the correlation between patterns of thinking like worry and apprehension, excessive need for approval, perfectionism, excessive need for control and catastrophic thinking (which you mention) – as these tend to accompany and/or are drivers of anxiety. Have you had experience dealing with the mental causations of anxiety – or was yours alleviated purely through physical and routine changes?

    • I would be interested in the answer to this too.

      I’ve managed to get some major general and social anxiety under control with tons of different methods over the course of a decade. One of the big themes that emerged was play and learning to enjoy frivolous activities again. So seeing Charlie write about his book about play excited me. It does however seem focused on tackling anxiety amongst workaholics fairly exclusively, although his methods are still useful for non-workaholics too. Would be interested to see if the book does go beyond workaholics though…

    • Hey Cam, thanks for the nice comment!

      Great question (dealing with situations you can’t tune out). The biggest thing that’s helped for me is regularly doing fun play activities — outdoor sports, improv — with the same group of friends. In other words, PRACTICING being social and having guilt-free fun with cool people, without the use of alcohol or drugs. I also wrote about this in the book (chapters on playing away panic attacks, practicing observing thoughts, releasing frustration, etc.)

      Most anxious people are too shy / embarrassed / scared to put themselves out there willingly, so I’d suggest spending some money and committing to some formal group or activity that you’ll feel guilty if you don’t go. We spend money on what we value, and I value committed time with friends (which is super easy to brush off unless we are held accountable in some way).

      Per your second question (mental causes of anxiety)… Anxiety manifests itself differently in everyone, for different reasons. I definitely recognize this, and know there are all sorts of feedback loops and hidden traumas for people. But for me, I found that the biggest wins were removing constant sources of stress, taking better care of my body (sleep and diet), and spending quality fun time around good people. When I practice those things, I feel safer, less stressed, and balanced. Work becomes harder for me to take too seriously, I don’t feel the need to be perfect all the time or seek constant stimulation, because life feels okay as it is.

      Hope that makes some sense! Thanks for commenting :)

    • Oh, and the book isn’t only for workaholics. That’s just the group that needs it the most.

    • Thanks for the interesting reply Charlie. I like the tip about committing $ to an activity where u have put yourself out there. Useful.

  2. I have quite a similar regime.

    Diet:

    I’m also not a strict Paleo follower, I like the PHD variation http://perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/
    White rice is ok. I also have occasional pasta with bolognese sauce.
    If you live in UK beef and lamb are pasture raised, so just pick one of those 3 for 10£ deals, I would skip on pork though. Preferably eat more chicken,turkey,fish than red meat.
    Fry everything with olive oil,butter or if you can afford coconut oil.

    Vegetables, do not forget them!
    1. Frozen are good, just reheat them in the microwave, I sprinkle some mint on mine for taste. Personal favourite green peas + carrot + broccoli.
    2. Cucumber + tomato + paprika chopped with with olive oil.
    3. One of those prepackaged and washed salads(1 £ each).
    4. Sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers/beetroot.

    Bananas, oranges, grapefruit and apples for snacks. Dark chocolate Green & Black 85% to kill cravings.

    Supplements:

    Eat fatty fish. Mackerel is quite cheap, salmon is also a great choice. Don’t waste money on omega pills.
    Get some sun or pick up a Vitamin D 5000 IU.
    Nootropics and other supplements are a waste of your time. If you think something is wrong with you,
    go check your vitamin levels.

    Exercise:

    Bodyweight training:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitness/wiki/faq
    http://www.simplefit.org/
    http://hundredpushups.com/ http://www.twohundredsquats.com/
    Cardio:
    Couch to 5k http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/index.shtml

    Meditation:

    Proven to work, you know you should be doing it.
    http://www.getsomeheadspace.com/
    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/how-to-meditate
    http://zenhabits.net/meditate/

    Music:
    https://www.focusatwill.com/
    Psybient http://ultimae.bandcamp.com/
    http://somafm.com/

    Stoicism as philosophy of life:
    Meditations by Marcus Aurelius(Hays translation) http://www.ryanholiday.net/meditations-interview-with-gregory-hays/
    http://www.samuelthomasdavies.com/2013/11/how-stoicism-will-save-your-life_8078.html
    http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2013/11/important-life-lessons-courtesy-of-a-roman-emperor/

    Having problems forging new habits? Commit to your goals with https://www.beeminder.com/ Beeminder is Quantified Self plus Commitment contracts. You pay money if you don’t follow through.

    P.S Aspartame is not evil http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/aspartame-truth-vs-fiction/
    GMO Is not evil. http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/2225-no-health-concerns-for-gmo.html

  3. Charlie,

    Wow, what a great, comprehensive post. I completely relate with you on watching the news being a depressant; I could not stand all of the end-of-the-world and shocking stories of violence and evil that’s out there. I started listening to positive podcasts and audiobooks instead, and it has made a huge difference. The celebrity/gossip nonsense is enough to feel depressing as well.

    Overall, fantastic job, and I appreciate that you went to great lengths to detail the information out instead of a quick “10 tips for better health” or something simple such as that.

    Emily Jones

    http://www.growaleader.com

  4. Correction about alcohol and sleep: you said that “[alcohol] is disrupting your deep sleep. ” The article linked below, however, states “A review of all known scientific studies on the impact of drinking on nocturnal sleep has clarified that alcohol shortens the time it takes to fall asleep, increases deep sleep, and reduces REM sleep.”

    Deep sleep is most common in the early part of the night, and REM later on, which means that if you have only one drink, it will likely have worn off by the time you even get to much REM sleep. If you have lots of drinks though, and don’t sleep for very long, you’re going to be in rough shape because you won’t get much REM at all! Try to avoid this, but if it happens then see if you can take some midday naps.

    Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130122162236.htm

  5. Love the improv class recommendation for having fun. I’ve been taking one for two months. It’s not only fun but has helped me be less anxious about social situations and connecting with people. It’s like a 2-for-1 special for reducing anxiety.

    • Agreed, 100%!! That’s what I was trying to say above, not sure if I accomplished it. But improv is great because it regularly exposes anxious people to one of their worst fears — looking really stupid in front of a group. That fear gets completely destroyed, it’s great.

    • Hi Ted, I did the same thing: i tried improv last summer for 6 weeks. It was so hard in class and getting there mentally. But everytime, I’d leave class feeling so free. I was like giving my brain a break from thinking so hard.

  6. Great post Charlie.

    I’m really surprised there was no mention of meditation – have you tried it and not found it useful? For me, it’s been key to dissipating a lot of work related and personal tension, and given me a deeper perspective on many issues of my life and the thoughts/emotions associated with them. I don’t do anything fancy – 20 minutes in the morning and 10 before bed, both focusing on my breath – but it is a game changer for me and I can notice a host of negative emotions on days that I skip the morning session.

    Also, if people here are suffering from limiting anxiety & panic attacks, I’d suggest to do some research into the DO NOTHING approach. In brief, the idea is that anxiety/panic is just stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and should be more correctly termed ‘energy surges’. The key is to give your body feedback that there is nothing wrong, nothing threatening in your immediate environment. You do this simply be acting completely normal and make slow, deliberate movements that tell your brain there is no threat, so the energy burst is unnecessary. For example, if you’re feeling anxiety coming on, slowly stand up, walk to the kitchen and make some tea. Focus on each movement in your body and make them as conscious and deliberate as possible. Drink the tea slowly and really focus on the flavour and sensation of the liquid on your tongue. Of course, as Charlie mentioned, its essential to remove all the other factors that can contribute to an overreactive sympathetic nervous system (e.g. stimulants, poor sleep, lack of exercise and nutrition), but this approach is one of the most effective and under discussed ways to treat anxiety/panic. No pills, no coping strategies, simply doing nothing.

    • Hey Aiden, thanks for this. I’m a big fan of meditating and talk about it extensively in the book as a great technique I used. It worked well for me, and I considered including it in this post. But I wanted to be selective and not completely overwhelm the reader with a ton of suggestions.

      Meditating can actually be a frustrating activity for an anxious workaholic, because we tend to approach it with the wrong mindset (“I’m not doing this properly, I suck at this, my thoughts aren’t perfect or silent, time to check email”) so it’s not very relaxing or immediately rewarding practice. I overcame this basically by thinking of my thoughts as a room of obnoxious people trying to wind me up. After a couple weeks of practice, I got tired of them and they slowly turned into background noise.

    • P.S. I like the Do Nothing approach (even though it’s technically doing something). You can combine the two and just focus on your breath at all times (this is what yogis do). That way, you’re less worried about each moment and you’re just living.

  7. Early last year I realized the news was making me anxious and depressed, so I cut it out completely for a month to see if it helped. WOW did it ever! So I kept at it – eventually allowing myself to scan the headlines only once a week, and only on one news site. I still avoid television news and newspapers. I only clicked headlines to read the article on ones that really could impact me (such as Affordale Care Act info, coming storms in my area, etc) and any article that appeared to be funny and/or upbeat.
    I HIGHLY recommend this practice :)

    • Ellen Greenlaw Link to this comment

      Eliminating “news” is a wonderful idea. Not much there to help anybody be an informed, educated citizen active in her community. Would be helpful to suggest reliable sources of information to get accurate, realistic information about what is happening. I am disabled and need to be informed about what social services is doing
      (or not doing or cutting back) because I need their help. In my community, if I find someone interested in having a loving, caring community- and there are lots- I ask them where they get the straight skinny real life information. Great way to find out what is really happening and who is doing something worth following. Of all the people reading this post, please note places that you get helpful information that empowers you.

      Here’s what I do:
      Read the Nation, local Sandy Post newspaper, scan fast Willamette Week, Mercury,
      get newsletters from senior center and local independent living center,
      and am on mailing lists for musical groups I like. That does it for me- I just need to
      know when good music, plays or speakers come to town and at this point I am on enough mailing lists, I don’t miss anything worthwhile. Not to busy and have lots of fun.
      Snail mail works better for me since my internet access is not reliable due to electric outages- had four outages this past week.

  8. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich Link to this comment

    I’ve actually struggled with anxiety for years and really appreciate when people write down detailed steps to what they did to make it better for them. I’ve never really tried adjusting my diet, although so many people recommend it. Maybe it’s time.

  9. I don’t suffer from anxiety much, but these are all great systems for a healthier life. Thanks Ramit and Charlie!

  10. Just fabulous, all of it :) and btw Flux is totally awesome, I just tried it out. Thanks for the tips!

  11. Great article! The same thing happened to me also. I was used to sleep late at night. I wake up with Headache, anxiety and feeling bad.

    Thank you Charlie for your helpful tips. I should have to follow your tips from now to keep my health good.

    I want to add another tips that i found helped me. when I got anxious I take some deep breaths and meditate myself for sometime. That heal my mind and alleviate my anxiety.

    Also I am going to subscribe for Charlie’s free course.

    Thanks.

  12. These are fine suggestions, for some people. But to present them as effective for everyone or as sufficient to cure anxiety, which is an actual DSM recognized disorder, is irresponsible.

    For someone with diagnosable or chronic anxiety, these ‘fixes’ are not going to solve anything. They may be helpful for someone like the author, with situational anxiety due to stress. But a combination of clinically proven programs like MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction), medication, and therapy are probably going to be needed for most other people. Lifestyle and at-home remedies can only go so far.

    The overall tone of the article has the Tim-Ferris style, which Ramit himself is good about avoiding, of assuming that what worked for the author and the author’s body is the universally applicable Secret Answer to a complicated problem. On food, breakfast works for some and is bad for others. On exercise, sports work for some people – solo runs with iPod work for other people – hot yoga works for others. Gretchen Reynolds’ style of identifying personality types and options in a structured way is a much more relatable, less arrogant approach.

    • Can’t agree more with you Stella.

    • There’s a critic in every group.

    • Thanks for your feedback Stella. Didn’t mean to come across as arrogant; I understand what worked for me might not work for everybody.

    • Although there are certainly some good points here you lost me at, “my friend Trucker Max.” Why name drop someone who is purposefully cruel and hateful towards women? Sure, he has his audience and they love him but if you are trying to market a “treat your own anxiety” e-course maybe it would be best not to mention someone who is so controversial.

      I would also like to add that I am disappointed in Ramit for this. You wouldn’t brag about a friendship with a proud misogynist, so why are you letting someone else do such a thing on your blog? Were you unaware of this or does this simply not bother you?

    • oops, that was not meant to be a reply t this. Oh well.

  13. Great post, and tons to think about!

    I personally love reading the news to stay informed about world happenings and even practice the languages I’m learning, but in order to keep your sanity it’s necessary to build a system for that as well. For example, maybe you’d cut out the local news outlet that tends to be sensationalist and apocalyptic, but instead subscribe to the blogs of a handful of columnists who you know write insightful, intelligent stuff (they are out there.) Personally I consume my news through email newsletters and I filter them all to a special gmail folder that I have to click “more” to see (so it doesn’t distract me) and just do that at predetermined times. And since this can easily get overwhelming if I subscribe to too many I ruthlessly unsubscribe if there’s any question as to the value of a particular subscription.

    I also love the strategy of recurring calendar events for things like “Play.” I just set up a couple of those types of things in my Google Calendar, after one of Ramit’s recent posts.

    Definitely going to check out your ecourse, Charlie.

  14. Good article (coming from a counselor) – I hope your readers appreciate this information and share it…it is right on target for general anxiety…I do want to note that ALL anxieties will be helped by following these guidelines. Anxiety that is related to PTSD can be immensely helped by the methods shared in the article, but may have to have some targeted intervention to reframe the traumatic memories into a neutral “storyline” to be fully resolved.

    And it was interesting to note that someone who had achieved so much had fallen prey to anxiety – but as with all your content, Ramit, this article empowers folks to take stock, take responsibility and act on the information offered.

    • Thanks so much Cindy :)

    • It’s great that you mentioned PTSD, Cindy.

      For those who have more severe/debilitating/entrenched anxiety & want to step it up a bit (the recovery, not the anxiety) check out Dr David Berceli ‘s Trauma/Tension Releasing Exercises. First hit on YouTube. :)

      In fact, I think you’ll find it interesting too, Charlie. Loved your talk on Paleocon.

  15. Well, I have a few issues with this article.

    Of course, having a good daily routine as suggested by Charlie in his post, does help a lot. Sleep, food and exercise are fundamental aspects of one’s mental health. BUT coping with anxiety is much more than just having a stable, active, healthy daily routine.

    You can’t go around claiming that “…your anxiety – panic attacks, paranoia, all that scary stuff – could be cut in half, in less than one month?” without any other evidence than ” I know it’s possible, because I’ve done it. ” That’s not just irresponsible, but dangerous for readers who are going through moderate to severe mental health issues.

    I’ve suffered social anxiety for years, and from the academic research I have done , as well as sessions with different therapists and counselors, and anecdotal evidence I have gathered from no less than 20 people, that I know better than to make shitty marketing claims like these, Charlie.

    Ramit, I’m very disappointed when I saw this from you in my inbox to say the very least. What happened your advocacy of results-based personal development?

    • Ian, how are your results going with this particular plan? Are these suggestions working for you?

    • Thanks Ian. Maybe my word choice was a bit too strong, and hope my advice isn’t dismissed because I was too enthusiastic.

      What’s worked well for you while overcoming your anxiety? Have you had a chance to try my suggestions for an extended period of time? Results?

    • I agree with you, I’m also disappointed – it’s an all-around terrible post, and I’m surprised it would be posted here.

      It’s nice in concept, eat and sleep and exercise and you’ll feel better – but none of it researched. Especially “don’t eat breakfast” – that’s a good way to have fluctuating blood sugar levels and feel super crappy all day.

      Advice on diet, sleep, mental disorders – there are plenty of doctors and nutritionists who can help, and have published many great resources – but they’re getting harder and harder to find when everyone thinks they have expert advice that they must publish.

      It’s a huge claim – heal your anxiety in a month. No reliable source would say that. If only it were that easy!

  16. Love your articles and desire to help…There is an established connection between the use of computer screens and depression that has widespread studies done…Also the dependency on screens is really scary…

    P

  17. Great advice! Systems and habit create the structure so people can relax, as I learned when my kids went to Waldorf kindergarten. One thing I would add: a small breakfast of a protein (egg) + veg (kale) + healthy side (avocado), a la the Japanese, keeps your blood sugar balanced after a night of good sleep, so you’re not hungry enough to eat your desk (or a whole super size chocolate bar) by lunch time. Also, a minute of measured breathing and a big glass of water can help with cravings until you can get to play or sleep breaks. Thanks so much, Charlie!

  18. As to Ramit’s introduction, I think I discovered one of the “everybody’s feeling” issues. It’s quite simple. We all want to feel important, or at the very least, potent to command our lives in some way. Some of us are over driven by work, others look to hold their lotto ticket like a figurative lightning rod in a storm, hoping to be struck down by an improbable benevolence. Others crumble under the weight of helplessness and despair.

    Still others insist on criticizing the work of others, since the criticizer can seldom offer any value on their own.

    This article is about taking command of your life, at least in one way, and to that I offers kudos. I’ve used some of these techniques but not all. One I can offer as an addition is to stop watching crime shows on TV.

    • Exactly. Who would reasonably expect a post to contain a one size fits all solution to an issue that’s complex. And since when can’t one person share what worked for them, in their unique situation? I’m sure there are many who will find value in these suggestions and by implementing one or two start on the path to less anxiety- which is a step forward (anxious people can stay immobilised by faulty perfectionist thinking, so surely any positive improvement is worthwhile). There’s nothing wrong with constructive debate, but why not try to see the value, not pick out the faults?

    • Interesting point, but I don’t think we should believe everything we read either. We need to be critical thinkers, and there needs to be questioning and debate around important topics.

      I thought this article was interesting, but I can see how people were put off by the unrealistic claim in the introduction. Writers have a responsibility to be truthful and accurate — the burden of proof is on the one making the claim, not the audience.

  19. Great read. There’s a lot of good stuff here. The one tip that I’m struggling w/ right now is the “no news” tips. Mostly…because I know it works. But I’ve recently taken on a new project that asks me to look in the face of the “bad” stuff, or perceived bad stuff going on around us. It’s my aim to be a “truth delivery” that is able to cut through the bullshit to find a silver lining, but at the same time….realize there’s some bullshit out there. I guess the take away is that we all have a choice. Thanks.

  20. I’d add meditation to the list. Numerous studies have been conducted that demonstrates its affects in reducing anxiety, plus it improves health in myriad ways (lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol fewer cardiac events, stronger immune system, to name a few) and enhances attention, innovativeness, ability to navigate uncertainty, resilience and emotional intelligence. You can learn more about the physical, mental and emotional benefits of meditation in this series of articles I wrote for MBA applicants here:

    http://poetsandquants.com/2012/08/02/train-your-mind-improve-your-game-meditation-for-the-21st-century-leader/4/

    http://poetsandquants.com/2012/08/16/meditation-for-mbas-train-your-mind-improve-your-game-part-ii/

    http://poetsandquants.com/2012/09/01/meditation-for-mbas-train-your-mind-improve-your-game-part-iii/

    and you can learn more about meditation here: http://www.insightadmissions.com/conscious_leadership/

  21. A few things came to mind while reading this article. I couldn’t help but laugh at the ‘cut out news’ part – I’d have to quit my job!

    And I was surprised by the ‘skip breakfast’ part. We’ve always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it’s interesting to read the contradiction to it. Personally I enjoy spending the time in the morning taking in the day over a bowl of Sultana Bran, so whether or not it’s healthier to skip it, it’s a part of my daily routine that I feel helps with keeping me sane.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the exercise part. I keep to a weekly schedule of dance classes which I love going to during my lunch break.

    So there’s some good advice in there, but I can’t help but feel uneasy about how it’s being touted as a simple cure to anxiety – that if people followed these steps then they will eventually – slowly even – address the problem. That part seems a bit presumptuous to say the least. It may work for some, but I can’t imagine this being a cure for all.

  22. Great article, and excited to discover flux.

    I get 8 hours of sleep a night, but I tend to stay up late and sleep in late (at least according to the standard 9-5 work day). My entire life I’ve found that my brain is more “on” in the afternoon and evening, so I prefer to work within that time frame. At times I feel pressured to change it because it’s not the norm, and I wonder if you have any thoughts on that Charlie? I should also add that where many people like early mornings because it is a quiet and uninterrupted time to work, I feel the same about late night – again because my brain is less active and sharp in the morning than it is at night.

    I do think I would benefit greatly, however, from having more of a sleep routine and I’m going to give this a shot even if my bedtime is midnight rather than 10:00 pm.

    I’ve had a meditation practice for years, though I struggle to keep it consistent, and I’ve done news black outs for large swaths of time and definitely, DEFINITELY notice a difference in my anxiety levels with less news on the menu. Most of my friends are deeply politically active so I sometimes feel guilty that I’m shirking my responsibility as a citizen if I cut out news, but I resist the guilt in favor of peace of mind that actually allows me to be more effective and helpful.

    I was surprised by some of the angry responses to your advice here. I get it that if one is suffering from diagnosed severe anxiety these tips may not heal it, but they certainly won’t hurt. I understood it as a given that you were clearly talking about situational anxiety brought about by lifestyle – a problem that feels near epidemic. Yes, for entrepreneurs, self-employed, and workaholics, but even more generally because of the “always on” environment we all exist in at this time in history. Not to mention the shifting of work generally – a shift from lifetime careers with one company who takes care of you so long as you show up every day, to a constantly swiftly changing landscape with less built-in security.

    At any rate, I found it all to be sound advice to begin, and if one doesn’t find enough relief from these tactics (honestly applied) then it’s time to seek professional help.

  23. I gave up facebook on Jan 1st and immediately felt great benefits from this. To build on that, I was just about to start reducing the news to zero and curating my daily diet of information to work/interest-related posts at a reasonably frequency. Glad to hear it worked for Charlie, here’s hoping it will work for me :)

    Just installed flux… thanks for the tip! I’ve felt in need of an electronic sunset for a while.

  24. Great post! Reading non-fiction can definitely wind the brain down and help you relax before going to bed.

  25. I cannot believe you would recommend not eating breakfast. There are studies that show eating breakfast might even be associated with lower BMIs (for example http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23512957). Also, when I dont eat breakfast I just have a “low” all morning! Believe me, I didnt eat breakfast at all for a few years and now completely regret it.

  26. […] I Will Teach You to be Rich: “How to Systematically Heal Your Anxiety” […]

  27. I liked the post Charlie. I have avoided news and skipped breakfast for ages and even used Flux. For me leaving a stressful job and seperating alcohol and social media are probably greater in their impact. I fail to understand the tone of some comments – in terms of research, there is loads. Tom Rath’s excellent book “Eat, Move, Sleep” cites sources (I’ve not read yours yet Charlie so I don’t know).
    Being committed to making changes in your life for a sustained period of several weeks is very likely going to make a difference. I’m glad you feel better and so why not share that? Cheers Charlie

  28. Fresh-baked bread is the most delicious food in the world!!!! Take it away from me and you’ll see what REAL ANXIETY looks like!!! Besides, i don’t believe that anxiety could be related to a slice of bread or a home-made milk shake. Personally, i find Tim Ferriss’ diet really depressing.
    I’m absolutely against junk food and in favour of healthy food, exercise, good sleeping, meditation…you name it but when i start hearing: “NO BREAKFAST, NO BREAD, NO PASTA, NO RICE, NO MILK, NO THIS, NO THAT…”, i smell BS. Enjoying tasty food is one of the best pleasures in life. As long as it’s healthy and eaten in reasonable quantity, there’s really NO REASON to torture ourselves giving it up.

    If i were anxious, i would probably look for serious sources of stress instead of blaming a plate of spaghetti…

    • Please educate yourself more in gluten,wheat,and GMO to name a few.All very much related to anxiaty ,depression and neurological disorders.Because you find Something depressing, that doesnt make it bad.Author is right with his diet recommendations.

    • Some foods can certainly cause anxiety and other symptoms if you’re allergic, intolerant or sensitive to them — but that doesn’t make them “evil”. I can’t have dairy, but that doesn’t mean no one should have dairy ever. Some people are sensitive or intolerant to only one grain, so they’re “throwing the baby out with the bath water” by going gluten-free or grain-free.

      Responses to food are so individual. One of the best things I did for my health was get my food issues identified by an allergist.

    • It’s very interesting that giving these foods up will cause you anxiety. That effect sounds like withdrawal symptoms from breaking an addiction, doesn’t it? Does that suggest anything to you?

    • Layla@Touch of Feathers Link to this comment

      Alex, LOL!! :) Of course, if you’re healthy, you can keep the bread and spaghetti!
      I agree with Elizabeth that different people are sensitive/intolerant/allergic to different foods. Yes, wheat is over-sprayed, GMO’s are evil, some grains can be tolerated even by people intolerant to wheat or corn (buckwheat or amaranth anyone?)
      Breakfast is important too, probably better to have 2 healthy meals than 1 unhealthy though. (I was told that only one meal per day can cause diabetes.)
      Paleo diet can have its drawbacks too, long term… (there is info and testimonials on that online, it’s good to do some research before committing to any bigger changes) Different people have different lifestyles and needs and need different food…

      Great blog post in terms of motivation and general message that MANY THINGS CAN BE DONE! Lifestyle is a huge factor. Improv or Laughter yoga (similar!:) can ROCK!
      As for more, CBT is a proven therapy that works and can be done DIY style with the help of a good book too.

    • maybe bread is a great food for you to eat but… my experience is that I reduced my wheat intake alot (along with other diet changes) and my anxiety and mood is greatly improved.

  29. Jennifer put her finger on exactly what is wrong with much of this article. Having a healthier lifestyle is old news, and will not help people much with real anxiety disorders.

    “Most of my friends are deeply politically active so I sometimes feel guilty that I’m shirking my responsibility as a citizen if I cut out news, but I resist the guilt in favor of peace of mind that actually allows me to be more effective and helpful.” Actually, you should feel guilty; you are shirking your responsibility as a citizen in a crumbling democracy.

    The news is depressing because we live in a world where no one wants to take responsibility for anything anymore. Rather than doing the work to become politically active to actually change the world, we lobotomize ourselves by tuning out the world and wrapping ourselves in a little cocoon to make ourselves feel better.

    Then we can rationalize that we are actually making the world a better place, “I resist the guilt in favor of peace of mind that actually allows me to be more effective and helpful.” Effective and helpful at what?

    If I get a lobotomy I will also feel less anxious. Strong words, I know, but not too far off from this New Age self-help hocus pocus designed to make money.

    • “Actually, you should feel guilty; you are shirking your responsibility as a citizen in a crumbling democracy….Rather than doing the work to become politically active to actually change the world, we lobotomize ourselves by tuning out the world and wrapping ourselves in a little cocoon to make ourselves feel better.”

      HAHAHA WOW that’s like pure, unadulterated truth right there. If only more people could say that straight to our faces instead of being “do your own thing to be happy” BS.

    • New Age hocus pocus? Well, you DID come here to read the article.

      I’ll admit that I’ve struggled with the concept of responsible citizenship versus worrying only about things I can influence. The trouble is that our sources of info, the news, are highly filtered and attuned for paranoia and ratings, while providing no insightful analysis whatsoever. Why watch the news when it is no help and designed for paranoia? You really need to dig for alternate information sources, and even then you often can’t tell the provenance of their info. So you do the best you can.

    • Hey guys, good discussion. A few more thoughts…

      I disagree that people are tuning out. I think the opposite is true — they’re hyper-connected to a constant stream of noise that has little or no actual bearing on how to live a better life, or be a better citizen.

      If you really think it’s your civic duty to tune into what the mass media is telling you about world affairs, then you’re not only overlooking their incentives (ad money), you’re also romanticizing reality.

      News outlets do not have a financial interest to deliver truth! Most individual journalists will try, but anyone who’s worked for a high-churn online news site (that’s all of them now) will tell you that they can’t afford to care much about fact checking, biased agendas, or whether they’re poisoning their audience’s psyche. Their primary focus is page views, shares, and the number of eyeballs for their ads — those are the incentives that literally determine what the news reports. That can’t be overlooked.

      I definitely get where you’re coming from, but being a good citizen and being “politically active” by watching the news don’t go hand-in-hand. You don’t have to bury your head in the sand, but you can cut the news out of your life without feeling guilty.

      “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” – Thomas Jefferson

      P.S. “New age self-help hocus pocus” — ha! Thanks :)

    • Layla@Touch of Feathers Link to this comment

      hmm… There needs to be a balance between ‘information’ and ‘overwhelm’ – some suggest not watching the news early in the morning or before sleep, or if hungry or already overwhelmed…. Everyone needs to find a balance… I agree that knowing nothing can be like an ostrich with head in the sand, on the other hand being paralyzed by anxiety is another extreme, so in these extreme cases maybe cutting it out can help, then people can get some info in small doses later…

  30. Great Post. I think many people underestimate the power of a good diet. I eat mostly vegan, but sometimes cheat on the weekends, and i always feel like crap on Monday. Same with unplugging. It seems like a harmless quick glance at your phone, but it has way more impact for other people hoping for your attention (especially kids). Thanks for the quick summary and tips.

  31. Daniella Renee Link to this comment

    You had me when I saw Ratatouille on your Anti-News board. There’s a line from an article about Da Vinci that’s stuck with me ever since I read it. His creativity and innovations were due in large part to his unceasing curiosity and willingness to maintain a childlike sense of awe and wonderment.

    It’s easy to get caught up in business books/blogs/articles/news/stock quotes…EGADS. But, stand-up comedy, Pixar movies and Ramit’s favorite, trashy reality TV, all serve an important purpose (well, some may disagree on the reality TV but everyone has their own form of anti-news content). It’s called work hard, PLAY hard. Most of us forget the second part.

  32. Heads up: The landing page doesn’t work for me it says “This Web Page was built and hosted with InstaPage,but no longer exists.” Might want to look into that.

    Great post. I’m lucky enough to have dismissed the news years ago when I was teenager because I noticed that all it did was make me feel frustrated and powerless. But thanks for reminding me to restart my healthy eating efforts, and to get out there and have more fun. I definitely need to put some systems in place for the latter because that’s something I’ve never managed to maintain long term in my life.

    • So I wrote this a while ago and forgot to publish. The landing page loaded now although rather slowly.

  33. Charlie,

    Your “skip the news” idea is music to my ears. I never read the news (save for a quick scroll through the WSJ or Dealbook every now and then, or to watch a favorite commentator on TV at my parent’s), though a number of my friends are true junkies — news apps galore on their phone, texting each other constantly with things like, “OMG, did you hear [person] did [thing]?!?” a few times a day. I’ve even heard people say they’re in a bout of “depression” over the things they read/see/hear in the news each day. It’s absolutely maddening!

    Don’t get me wrong — it’s good to be informed with world events, but too many people take it too far. Kudos for going against the grain.

    PS — I’m writing this with flux right now; my eyes haven’t felt bloodshot since I began using it. Thank god.

    • Charlie, I am curious – what is your take on people watching sensationalized TV like reality shows, american idol, jersey shore, etc? People I speak with say they like to “tune out” and watch shows like that, but in my mind they are on the same level of sensational as the news, churning out endless drama and conflict and yet people seem to embrace that kind of television programming.

  34. Thanks Ramit for sending the link for this post to my email. Really really appreciate that. And Chris – great job on turning your life around systematically. Love your straightforward way of writing, and the detailed links. Thank you!

  35. […] But we’re just hurting ourselves when we let such stimuli run rampant in our minds, aren’t we? How does one slowly climb back up from the fall? New York Times bestselling author Ramit Sethi explains exactly how to do this in his article, “How to Systematically Cure Your Anxiety.” […]

  36. Great tips! Here’s my thought, the best way to deal with anxiety is to treat it as opportunity. An opportunity to retrospect your habit, to pause,to relax and to go deeper not faster. We are living in a fast-changing world where the evolution of things around us affects our lifestyle consciously and unconsciously. In order for us to live in harmony, we should learn to train our brain to think only good thoughts and yes it needs practice but I believe if you give it a chance, the mind really will follow the body.

  37. Full disclosure: Yes, I am a journalist. Yes, I am biased to defend my peers and the value of my field. And yes, I will admit it. That said, Charlie, you lost me by painting all of journalism with the same brush. Particularly what you said in this comment:

    News outlets do not have a financial interest to deliver truth! Most individual journalists will try, but anyone who’s worked for a high-churn online news site (that’s all of them now) will tell you that they can’t afford to care much about fact checking, biased agendas, or whether they’re poisoning their audience’s psyche. Their primary focus is page views, shares, and the number of eyeballs for their ads — those are the incentives that literally determine what the news reports. That can’t be overlooked.

    There are journalistic outlets that work that way, absolutely. But I can’t get behind the concept of dismissing all news sources out of hand. There’s a church-and-state division between editorial and advertising departments for a reason: so that journalists can practice journalism and advertising reps can sell advertising without swaying a publication’s content. Some sites might not care about that division, but plenty do. And the journalists I’ve worked with care GREATLY about being as unbiased as possible, about presenting verified facts and telling stories that matter to people, about things that impact their lives.

    I completely understand people avoiding sensational yellow journalism and gossipy infotainment media. And I can see making that kind of decision if the news is hurting your mental well-being and having an adverse effect on your happiness. But I do wish you hadn’t presented all journalism as inherently harmful and encouraged everyone to drop it like a bad habit. Journalism can be a beautiful thing, man. I promise.

  38. Thank you Charlie for writing this, and Ramit for hosting this article. I often suffer from anxiety from working too much, among other things.

    Just bought your book on Amazon. I’m looking forward to digging into it at the park this afternoon :)

    Charlie – Do you have material beyond the book I can check out? I’d like to become more educated on this topic.

    By the way – Charlie was my late grandfather’s name. He was a great man, so, good on ya for that!

  39. This is great advice, up until the part about two meals a day. If I don’t eat breakfast I get hangry. It throws my whole day off and I end up snacking on whatever the whole day. I recently realized that this was the culprit for my oversnacking and, since then, I’ve been doing much better.

    But excellent advice nonetheless!

  40. I had an aha! moment in the ‘no news’ section, not because news in particular makes me anxious, personally (I only get my news from the Daily Show, so it’s funny yet still put in context). No, my anxiety stems from the whole ‘fear of an imaginary future’ as it stems from reading blogs tangentially related to my field. I want to freelance, but the information overload has left me preparing for too many possible futures and then I get anxious because I can’t do everything and I don’t know what’s the most important.

    So my imaginary futures aren’t news-created but blog-created, and I hadn’t realized that. Time to detox and start trusting myself again.

    Thank you.

  41. […] Fantastic posts from Charlie Hoehn related to his new book, Play it Away: Preventing Burnout: A Cautionary Tale, How to Cure Anxiety — One Workaholic’s Story, Six Techniques That Work and How to Systematically Cure Your Anxiety […]

  42. Hey guys,

    I highly recommend dancing for a group activity! I joined a dance studio last fall as an alternative to the gym (I’ve always hated it and wasn’t going) and group salsa classes are great! Usually, studios offer discounts if you sign up for 3 months at a time, for example, so there’s a built-in accountability, without the year-long gym commitment. It’s a ton of fun, you form a community with the ‘regulars’, and the physicality always releases my anxiety. After a dance class, I always feel less tense and sleep well.

  43. […] How to Systematically Cure Your Anxiety on I will Teach You to be Rich […]

  44. Thanks for this great article. If find that it helps to always look at the big picture. View your life as a much broader journey, and don’t get bogged down in the details. Take a minute to be grateful!
    -Wes

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