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Home » Behavior, Featured, Headline, Managing Emotions, Problem Solving

How to Overcome Fears and Anxiety in Two Easy Steps

Submitted by on November 18, 2012 – 11:00 pmNo Comment

Author: Marvin H. Berenson, M.D.

By Marvin H. Berenson, M.D. August 17, 2011

“You’re driving me crazy with all your worries,”Jacksoncomplained to Norma, his wife.

“What do you expect?” she responded. “The world’s going crazy and anyone with any sense would be worried.”

“Not the way you are. You think the country’s falling apart, that we’ll be out of money and inflation is going to hit us like a slam hammer.”

“Have you been shopping at the market lately,”Norma retorted. “I go for a few things and the bill comes to a hundred dollars. How are we going to make it?”

“I understand what you are saying,”Jackson replied. “But that is our life for now and your worry seems to me excessive and it’s driving me crazy. I can’t stand to be around you when you complain so much.”

“What do you expect me to do about it?”
Jackson reflected before he spoke.

“Do you really want to change? If so, then we can talk about some of the things you can do that will help you. I have used these same methods for years, as you know, to change my life in numerous ways.”

Tears appeared in his wife’s eyes as she murmurs, “I hate to live in fear but I can’t seem to help it. Everybody I talk to is afraid of what’s happening.”

“I understand that there is much fear in the world, but you need to separate yourself from others and reduce your anxiety.”

“The technique that you have seen me use will also help you overcome your anxiety and separate yourself from the hype, frenzy, misinformation and even the real threats that we face. I don’t mean that you should close your eyes to our real world. It’s a matter of knowing what is going on, being well-informed, but not let the facts cause such anxiety. Sometimes what we learn requires or even mandates that we take action to both protect ourselves or change how we live and, if necessary, even move. That however is different from living in fear.”

Norma dried her eyes. “I want to know how to change myself. I am finally ready to make the effort and I won’t falter.”

Jackson replied in a soothing voice. “I love you. You can do it. The steps are simple. They only require dedication, belief in your power to change, and applying the techniques I’m going to describe.”

“First you start a simple daily meditation exercise. You sit quietly in a chair, with your eyes closed. Breathe in through your nose slowly while saying to yourself the letter O. Exhale slowly while saying the syllable NA. Thus, as you breath, you are repeating O NA. The letters are called mantras and by concentrating on them you essentially decrease and eventually eliminate others words and sounds in your mind. If other words intrude make no conscious effort to get rid of them. Rather just go back to your mantra. That’s all there is to it. Simple and effective. It really works. Do it daily for 15-20 minutes/day. You can go longer, if desired, and some prefer doing it twice a day.

You will add to the meditation a simple mental imagery exercise. In the middle of the meditation you would stop using the mantra and instead visualize yourself in a totally relaxed and anxiety-free state. For example, see yourself calmly floating on water or flying in the sky or lying on the beach alone and enjoying the sound of the ocean or just being in a state of relaxation in your home. Do this for about five minutes. At the end of the imagery say to yourself that you will remain relaxed and free of fear and anxiety all day. Say this emphatically and with total belief. Then continue the remainder of the meditation.

“Norma, it is important that you believe in what you are doing and don’t doubt the process or your ability to change yourself. Usually within a few weeks you will begin to feel the benefit and after a few months you will definitely feel better. Meditation and imagery are a great combination to change your feelings, thinking and behavior.

Reducing and even overcoming chronic anxiety can be done with persistence and maintaining a high motivation to change. Your entire life will benefit from your increasing self-control and knowing that you have the power to change your life.

For additional information about using imagery follow the methods and exercises described in “Awakening Your Creativity” where you will find the primary tools to change your life in ways that will excite and delight you.

Visit to review “Awakening Your Creativity” and sign-up to receive Dr. Berenson’s highly informative biweekly newsletter and twoFREE gifts.

Marvin H. Berenson, M.D. is Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry,USCKeck School of Medicine, psychiatrist, lecturer, author and artist.

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About the Author

Dr. Berenson is Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the USC Keck School of Medicine and has been a Training and Supervising Analyst with the Los Angeles Society and Institute of Psychoanalysis. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the International Psychoanalytic Association, and the Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical Society.

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