The Best Tool I Know to Manage Anxiety

Not being able to predict how something will turn out—a job, a relationship, a health concern, or even a pandemic—is stressful and can be paralyzing. As a patient of mine explained, “It’s the not knowing that makes me miserable and keeps me up at night.”

Learning to let go of the things that are beyond your personal control is easier said than done. Telling someone to “stop worrying so much” is useless advice.

Here is a tool that can help—the Responsibility Transfer. Taken from The Charisma Myth, it is the best strategy I know to alleviate the discomfort of uncertainty.

1. Sit down or lie down in a quiet place and close your eyes.

2. Take three deep breaths. As you inhale, imagine drawing clean air toward the top of your head. As you exhale, let the air whoosh through you, washing away all worries and concerns.

3. Pick an entity—Fate, the Universe, God, whatever best suits your beliefs–that you imagine to be benevolent.

4. Imagine lifting the weight of everything you are worried about—that meeting tomorrow, the interaction with your boss this morning, a health concern—off your shoulders and placing it on the entity you have chosen. Now, the entity is in charge.

5. Visually lift everything off your shoulders and feel the difference as you are now no longer responsible for the outcome of any of these things. Everything is taken care of.

The unproductive worry that accompanies uncertainty can leave many of us feeling like Atlas buckling under the weight of the world on our shoulders. This exercise will help you clear your mind and help manage your day to day.

I wish you all the best,

Dr. Samantha Boardman