I am an anxious person.
Anxiety leads to bad decisions leads to bad futures.
In 60 seconds I try to describe how I deal with my anxiety. Watch the video here.
In the morning, I tell my daughters, “Give.” And then, at the end of the day, I ask, “Who did you help today? And how?”
Sometimes they ask me the same question. Like earlier this month, I did a video (just 60 seconds) about anxiety. I talked about how it arises and what I do to deal with it.
I got a lot of comments . And a lot of “Oy vey’s”. (See below).
I liked reading these. Feedback is fuel. But there’s no input without output.
So today, I’m doing a giveaway.
And I’m already hopeful for when my daughters ask me, “Did you give today, Dad?”
I’ll say, “Yes, I gave away 5 of my favorite books.”
And they’ll say, “To who?”
And I’ll say, “I don’t know yet. It’s a contest. People are entering right now…”
You can too. Here’s how.
Okay, back to my anxiety…
My followers on Instagram gave me good advice.
So good that I decided to share it with you.
Maybe it can help you too.
subconsciousketches “Glorious advice James! Do playing games such as backgammon or chess relieve stress for you? or increase it due to the competitive nature of those games?”
@altucher “I do play online chess. BUT, I find that this is more escapist than a way of dealing with anxiety. The more I play online chess, the more I realize it’s a signal that there is something wrong in my life. Like a bad relationship or a way of avoiding financial distress.”
lilyinthestars “Thank you for your honesty and sharing it ✨”
@altucher “thank you, Lily. I want to get good at being concise and I like the 60 second limitation Instagram imposes.”
hikingviking1331 “Doesn’t that come from over thinking the situation?”
@altucher “overthinking” though is a habit developed over an entire lifetime. That’s why some basic tools are needed to walk me through an overhyped anxious moment.”
nedspecktor Try @headspace. “Absolutely life changer for me and my anxiety. Never in a million years would I have thought I would have mediated but they make it fun. Like a kid learning a new skill. Peep em. You can do it for 3 mins a day. I think you will enjoy! Rock it! Appreciate you brother so much!”
@altucher “thanks. I don’t use headspace but I’ve been meditating since about 12 years old. I do find it to be very helpful although sometimes not enough. Anxiety can often come from years or decades of stressful situations. Meditation (or prayer) is a good way to take care of yourself but then specifics are needed to climb out of anxiety so you don’t self-sabotage.”
motivatedpainters “Thank you brother !! I can relate so much !!”
@altucher “thanks! I think a lot of people can. I find that over-anxiety has probably created almost every bad situation in my life. And still does. Anxiety can be a useful tool to moving forward on a goal but it’s so easy to get over-anxious and self-sabotage.”
@thedannorris “especially the bit about anxiety being useful. I’ve never thought of it as useful but knowing it can be useful helps in identifying when it’s not useful”
@altucher “thanks ! As I’m sure you know all too well from being an entrepreneur. The key with entrepreneurship is often avoiding being addicted to the daily anxiety and things that pop up.”
ohananery “I feel the same, I learned to notice my reaction in my head and wait to act instead of react! It saves from make the decisions that put you in a worst place like you said! You’re the best ?”
@altucher : “I like that “act” instead of “react” . That is so key. As well as “wait”.”
jaydbilli_ “Thank you! I’m a very anxious person. What’s your personality type??”
@altucher “I’m not sure I believe in personality types although a good friend (cc @coachoncall – see my podcast with her. She is a great self-improvement writer and has saved my life) things I should check out the Enneagram test so I will.”
paleotreats “Great advice. Great hair too. :)”
@altucher “it’s because I had a paleo breakfast.”
@altucher thanks. I’m trying to take BIG issues and be as concise as possible. This is a good exercise for me and I hope I can provide some value.
alicezilberbergHi James, I love this video! I can really relate. Thanks for the reminder about not making decisions in that kind of headspace, I really needed that! ❤️
altucher Alice, thanks. I think back to emails I send at 3 in the morning because of seething anxiety. Why? Why didn’t I just wait until 10am after a good night’s sleep. It’s because anxiety wants to destroy us.
poppytingedThank you so much for posting this, @altucher ! Really needed this and your insight into conquering and dealing with those anxiety woes makes perfect sense and is encouraging too. Feeling less anxious already! You rock! ??
altucher thanks poppy! Me too.
michelleburleson@altucher I remember you saying/writing years ago to kneel when you pray so your body knows it’s being humble. That resonates with me and has become a practice. Thank you for all the times you’ve saved my life. ????
altucher it’s very “Western” to look East for meditation when all along we have prayer as an equally valuable tool. I meditate but recently, after reading Timothy Keller’s book “Prayer” (thank you @ashleyaustinmorris for recommendation) I find that prayer is humbling, lends itself to surrender and compassion, and is often a great way to get out of anxiety. I am Jewish by upbringing but I love Paul’s prayer that “others may know prayer better” (I am misquoting on purpose but it suits my needs better). “Giving” is often a way out of anxiety and that’s a prayer about giving.
matthewbrowntbol Hi James @altuchergreat video, definitely resonates. I find it sometimes makes me rush things to get the thing over! Even if that thing is important or something I enjoy. Like, sometimes even writing my next article is something I want crossed off my to do list, this should never be the case. Maybe I get anxious that I’ll just forget how to write if I stop for any period!
altucher yes, and that’s when (as mentioned above) it’s more of a “react” than an “act”. Recognizing that it’s coming from anxiety allows one to do what I say in video and move more towards action than re-action. But…I do the same often.
georgiebehumbleSounds like the story of my life ? then to top it off I get anxious about being too anxious
altucher “the anxiety death spiral”. I know what you mean.
ttttttyler_aLove this post. It’s crazy to hear that even James Altucher himself has anxiety. I feel that sometimes people think that those of your position have everything perfect (happens to me). This is comforting to hear you be so open about it. Much love James
altucher I remember being anxious as a 5 year old and now as a 50 year old. For a long time it was how I moved forward. But then when trauma hit (losing money, failing, divorce, etc) anxiety can often become unbearable and the way I keep moving towards success is to always find tools to deal with anxiety. Some tools I try to describe in this 60 second video.
lilyinthestars It was perfect, and the “I would do” instead of “you should” 🙂 ??????
altucher Thanks. I had to catch myself. I never trust a “you should”. Nobody really knows what “I should” except me. So I always get back into storytelling. “I” instead of “you”.
whatzynettedoes Great Advice James! You are the BEST! For me, one immediate actionable step is taking deep breaths and looking around to notice the objects. This switches my focus immediately @altucher
altucher great advice. Taking deep breaths relaxes the entire nervous system. And noticing objects puts you in the present moment instead of the imaginary future created by anxiety. I like to look at rooftops. They are secretly so beautiful. And for deep breaths I like to hold on the exhalation. I don’t know why but seems to relax me better.
mattrath Thankful for you and your platform James. So many times fear cripples us. I really believe most our decisions are rooted in either love or fear. Thankful to hear you operate in a hunger for humility and actual authenticity, I know your listeners appreciate your sincerity and heart.
altucher thanks. You are right: Fear cripples us. Before every important decision (and even some small ones), I try to think: is this coming from a place of “fear” or “growth”. I try really hard only to make growth decisions.
iloveisola Good advice, but why am I surprised to hear you mention money problems?
altucher no matter how much money I have: when I have a lot, or a little, I am always thinking about it. What to do, how to make more, how to give away, how to live a good life, how to relax, how not to lose it, etc. I’m trying to settle this down by focusing on my “daily practice” I mention in “Choose Yourself” but due to all of my trauma around money the past 20 years, it’s something always close to my mind.
vonbliss@altucher Sometimes strange, beautiful nuances & wisdom are found in those depths. I like them best too. Creative mystics & artists often do. ??
altucher right now I’m obsessively listening to all Harry Nillson songs. As well as the song “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Beatles. In fact, I did an entire episode (not yet released) on podcast about that song and their famous rooftop concert and how it’s related to creativity in general.
vonbliss Music (the right songs/melodies/lyrics) changes my setpoint & frequency pretty much instantly. Soothing balm for the soul. ????????
vonbliss YAY!!! As long as it’s not that infamous Harry Nielsen song (which I absolutely love tho.. haha) when you’re in a low funk. Sounds like a cool podcast! You know when I eventually get to NY, I’d like to do our interview on a rooftop or something similar. ?
altucher deal. And it probably is the depressing Nillson song. I like those the best.
yeahlos You live at the Apthorp? I thought you lived downtown.
altucher good recognizing! I moved from Airbnb-ing for the past 3 years downtown to the Apthorp because I wanted to live close to @StandupNY where I am a co-owner (and frequent performer).
voiceofintuition Thank you for sharing your techniques! And for once again proving we are not alone in how we feel. ?
altucher thanks! Socialized Anxiety Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder effect up to 20 million people in the US and few ever recognize or try to solve it. It has nothing to do with age, race, income, wealth, poverty, etc although these can all be triggers. And everyone feels anxiety at different levels on the spectrum so tools to deal with it during critical life situations are important.
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