1. Learn the difference between emotional and factual reasoning.
  2. Learn to differentiate what’s actually happening from what you’re currently thinking about.
  3. Prove yourself wrong. Show yourself that your thoughts have no basis in truth. Go to the doctor and confirm that you aren’t dying of some incurable disease. Ask someone how they feel about you if you don’t know. Do not live in the grey area when answers are available.
  4. Stop trying to navigate the path while the hallway is dark. Do not make decisions when you’re upset.
  5. Unhook from your emotions. Instead of saying “I am…”  say “I am having the thought that I am…”
  6. Fire can burn your house down, or it can cook you dinner each night and keep you warm in the winter. Your mind is the same way. Will you let it burn you out and cause you to feel helpless and hopeless, or turn you into MacGyver?
  7. Realize that thoughts can be merely illusions. Think about all the things you’ve thought and worried about that have turned out not to be real. Think of all the time you wasted preparing for outcomes that would never happen. In the future when you start to worry, ask yourself if what you are worried about is factual and probable.
  8. Follow it to the end. Think about whatever you are worried about.  Then imagine, realistically, what will happen and follow it out to its conclusion.  If you stick with fact-based, probable scenarios, you will often find that the outcome is not that scary.
  9. Remember that the average person has over 50,000 thoughts each and every day. Some are happy some sad, some fearful and some scary. If you were asked how many of your 50,000 thoughts you remembered today it would likely be less than 100.
  10. Ride the wave. Feelings come, peak within about 20 minutes and subside unless you “feed them.” When you experience an unpleasant feeling, thank yourself for the alert. Check it out.  If there is no pressing danger, turn your attention to something else–your breathing, the song on the radio, making a cup of decaf coffee…  When you check back in with yourself, you will likely notice that the feeling is fading.
  11. Don't swat the bee. Acting impulsively to make the anxiety stop can actually cause more pain.  When a bee lands on your arm it may make you anxious.  You start thinking, “What if it stings me.  I need to get it off of me.”  If you swat at it, then the bee will likely sting you.  In reality, bees will come and go if you don't swat them. The same it true about your urges.  Often times if you act on the first thing that comes to mind when you are afraid, it will cause worse problems. (Breaking up with your boyfriend because you had a fight.  Quitting your job because you are angry you didn't get a promotion.  Running away from a grizzly bear. )
  12. Embrace the dialectics. That is, try to figure out how two seemingly contradictory things can both be true.  (This relationship can end, and I can be okay.  I could lose my job but still have my family)
  13. Look for opportunity in the angst. Worry tells you that something MIGHT need to change. Opportunities make up the majority of the iceberg that is the reality you don’t yet know and can’t yet see.  Dive in!
  14. Change your objective. The goal is not to feel “good” all the time, it’s to be able to express a healthy range of emotion without suppressing or suffering. Remember Yin and Yang.  There is a little bit of Yang in Yin and a little bit of Yin in Yang.
  15. Develop hardiness. Identify all of the things in your life to which you are committed.  Remember these things when you start getting anxious.  These are the reasons you have to keep going.  Focus on the parts of all of those things over which you have control.  View hardships as challenges.  Think about times when you have made it through similar or worse times. Just like you have to push until it is uncomfortable to get physically stronger, pushing through the emotional discomfort will make you emotionally stronger.  Create a 2 column chart.  On the left side, list all the things that are going well.  On the right side list all of the things that are important and need improvement.  Challenge yourself to have three things in the left column for each thing in the right.
  16. Accept the fact that everyone, everywhere, has weird, incorrect, disturbing thoughts that have no bearing on reality. You are not a freak. You are (probably) not sick. You just have to learn to not be intimidated by your own mind.
  17. Stop gauging how bad things are by how much you panic. The more you panic, the more you will panic.
  18. Identify your comfort zones, and step back into them now and again. Moving past the place that you’re used to is a gradual process – going too quickly is a recipe for a stress.
  19. Practice healthy discomfort. Learn to lean into your stress, not resist it. Accept you feel how you feel and remember that it is unpleasant, but you can tolerate it.
  20. Practice radical acceptance. Learn to acknowledge the parts of your story you’d rather ignore, forget or not admit. You’re allowed to say: “I don’t love my body.” “I feel stuck right now.” “I am not happy in my relationship.” without it being a condemning statement.  It is what it is.  Choose to love your home, and your body, and your work, even if you don’t like it all the time. Choose to build your life from a place of gratitude and vision, rather than running from your own fears.  If you decide that something is not how you prefer it, and it is worth addressing, then make a plan to improve the next moment.
  21. Irrational thoughts are sometimes products of traumas you’ve yet to fully acknowledge or deal with. When you’re in a stable state of mind, sit down and be honest with yourself about what those are.