Anxiety to Zen: Your Four-Step Plan to Calm, Confident and In Control

image Anxiety to Zen via TalkTherapyBiz“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” ~Bruce Lee


The best productivity tools involve mind games.

I love mind games :P

And I love to be productive, organized and clear about my boundaries.

I’m sure you do, too.

But what happens when life gets in the way, as it inevitably does?

~Do you forge ahead despite the distractions?

~Do you wallow in nothingness and overwhelm?

~Do you give in and let anxiety control your body and mind?

If the latter describes you, I have two solutions.

The first involves reading the following four calmness hacks. I guarantee you’ll learn a few anxiety-relief tips and tricks to get you on the other side of stressed out.




Anxiety-Hack #1: Remember That Calm is An Inside Job

If you’ve ever suffered panic attacks, you know how scary the experience can be. Maybe you thought you were having a heart attack, or worse — felt like you were knocking on death’s door.

That’s your mind-body connection playing tricks on you.

Back in the cave dwellers day, we had to hunt for food. We were chased by wild animals and faced death at any given moment. The fight-flight response was activated during times of stress, and your brain sent signals to your body preparing you for an adrenaline-surged run for your life, or it screamed “Fight back!!”

The modern day problem is that our minds haven’t changed with the times. The vast majority of us do not encounter life-or-death situations, but our brain doesn’t know this.

So how do you exorcise your inner-cave dweller?


Breathe slowly and deeply. Be aware of your breath when you’re stressed. Practice deep-breathing exercises like the 4-4-4 to train yourself to get in touch with your body:

Inhale for a count of four. Hold for a count of four. Exhale for a count of four.

Remember to practice when you’re calm, too.  This way you’ll train your brain to use breathing as a relaxation tool throughout the day.


Anxiety-Hack #2: Live in the Present + Practice Positive Psychology

Anxious people have a tendency to live in the future. And often this future is a place of gloom and doom. Depressed people tend to live in the past. Spending hours, days, months, and even years rewriting, reliving their childhoods, and ultimately trying to recreate those memories and life events.

If you want to feel more calm, confident and in control you must be BFF with the present. It’s the only time we actually “own.”

Mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises, and visualization tools are wonderful for getting us grounded in reality and leaving the past and future alone.

Here’s a free visualization exercise to get you started.

Positive psychology is one of my favorite practices because the focus is on the good things we do, rather than what we’re not doing right. It’s super helpful for changing our negative thinking patterns, too.

Check out this popular post: 20 Quick Positive Psychology Actions You Can Do Today.


Anxiety-Hack #3: Tackle Anxiety’s Hidden Emotion

Do you know what this emotion is?

Take a guess. I’ll wait…

Anxiety’s Hidden Emotion Is:
a) Fear
b) Jealousy
c) Regret
d) None of the above

If you guessed d), give yourself a pat on the back.

The main emotion underlying anxiety is not what you’d expect. After all, anxious people are often nice. And successful. And kind.

However, there’s a price for being the go-to guy when a buddy needs help moving, or the gal who does for everyone else but herself. And for taking on too many responsibilities. And for being on time. And for over-achieving.

And that price my friends, comes courtesy of anger.

Let me guess — you either swallow it while continuing to say ‘yes’ — or hold it in until you explode in emotional outbursts.

I’ve totally been there.

The key is learning to express it appropriately at the right time, in the right amount, and to the right people.

No easy feat, but with regular practice you’ll learn that anger is normal. It doesn’t make you mean. And expressing anger appropriately is healthy.

Besides changing negative thinking, anger management is what most therapy clients need help with. What the majority of us need assistance with, really.

And some days will be better than others, and that’s okay. The key is to manage your anger so it doesn’t manage you. Even if it’s repressed. And especially if you’re shaking your head right now…


Anxiety-Hack #4: Build Your Boundaries

I love this one! Healthy boundaries are the key to happiness. And man — you nail this one, and you’re looking at one emotionally healthy year ahead!

What are boundaries?

Think of invisible lines around yourself which define who and what you feel comfortable with. Anything outside the lines means your boundaries are crossed. And that’s not good.

There’s many types of boundaries: Physical, emotional, mental, sexual, financial, dietary, substances, moral, etc. How we approach boundaries makes all the difference in our moods.

Wanna tighten your boundaries?

Check out this tutorial about everything you need to know about setting and establishing good, solid, healthy boundaries. It’s part of this awesome product, and I’m offering a free sample.

Click the link to listen –> Anxiety to Zen-Boundaries 2014


Remember I said I had another tip?


Here it is: Anxiety to Zen: 30 Days to More Calm, Confident and In Control. This digital product contains the anxiety-relief strategies listed above in thorough and detailed fashion + a whole lot more good stuff. It’s a click away…



What will you get done today?
Got any favorite stress relief exercises?

Leave your brilliance below. You never know who you’re helping when you share your story…

Lastly, please spread the good mental health word by sharing this article to Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you!

Yours in calm, confident, and in control,

About Linda Esposito

Hi there! I'm an Anxiety Saboteur and the creator of the soon-to-be retired If you want to join me on Wired for Happy click this link to subscribe for details.

15 Responses to "Anxiety to Zen: Your Four-Step Plan to Calm, Confident and In Control"

  1. Carrie AnnNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for breaking this down Linda. I like the order and sequence here. Though I’m new on my counseling journey, I’ve noted how clients want to skip the foundation steps. I’m looking forward to digging into the audio exercises :).

  2. Linda EspositoNo Gravatar says:

    You got it Carrie Ann! Make sure to check out boundary tutorial — I wish I had this when I started.

  3. BensonNo Gravatar says:

    Good tips, as always Freud. I will forever think of you and your boundary slogan as one and the same.

  4. jo CaseyNo Gravatar says:

    Great Reminders Linda – Even the most centered and boundary conscious ;-) of us get overwhelmed sometimes
    I might get some postcards printed with your 4 tips on to give out to stressed out colleagues. These are definitely shareables.

  5. Linda EspositoNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Jo! Maybe I’ll do a post centered around boundary quotes next week…?

  6. crystal gardnerNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Linda,

    I loved this so much I shared a link to your site in my monthly client newsletter. Thanks!!! I know it will help my clients feel and look great!

  7. Linda EspositoNo Gravatar says:

    FTW Crystal.! And what a lovely gravatar, too :)

  8. Jess @UsedYorkCityNo Gravatar says:

    Great tips for kicking off 2014 on a healthy, happy mental note, Linda! Reflecting on last year, I definitely let my exercise routine slide (a LOT!), so one thing I’m being more pro-active about is rising early in the morning for some light yoga/meditation right in my living room. Great physically, and also stress relieving!

  9. Linda EspositoNo Gravatar says:

    As I write, I’m reflecting on my goal to wake at 5 am for the gym — didn’t happen :(

    I should take your lead Jess and just settle for a few downward dogs at home.

  10. FredNo Gravatar says:

    And inhale, exhale until you’re feeling calm.

  11. JessicaNo Gravatar says:

    Great tips for reducing anxiety, just in time to start the year off right! Thanks for sharing and best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year.

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