Free Yourself From Anxiety

Erin Olivo, PhD, MPH

In Free Yourself From Anxiety, clinical psychologist Dr. Erin Olivo helps us pinpoint when our daily stress becomes anxiety and prescribes exercises and meditation to help with anxieties such as getting on elevators, being in crowded spaces, or just waking up with an existential sense of dread. Dr. Olivo understands how to diffuse our anxious responses. The title is, she admits, “a misnomer…we wouldn’t want to completely rid ourselves of our anxiety, because our anxiety communicates to us. There are important and powerful messages behind our anxiety,” so Dr. Olivo’s practices are here to help transform your experience of your anxiety.

The first disc finds Dr. Olivo introducing us to the various ways that stress is experienced and can be overcome through breathing, focusing our “flashlight attention,” and letting go of our thoughts, learning to watch them come and go without judgment or involvement. In the opening track she explores treatments like cognitive therapy and neuroscience, which has measured and proven how our brain actually changes through mindfulness meditation. This involves “the mindful approach to anxiety” and learning how to “cultivate a compassionate stance.” Dr. Olivo uses the metaphor of a glass of muddy lake water that the stressed mind wants to keep stirring and shaking. But if we can step away from the glass for enough time, the sediment settles to the bottom and we have clear water. In session two, “Practices for Working with Anxiety,” Dr. Olivo takes us into various relaxation practices that focus on elevating mood.

Dr. Olivo also gives us lingo to use like “worry thoughts” and “rumination,” which help us identify and prevent anxiety as it builds within us. With her practical and friendly bedside manner she makes learning how to Free Yourself From Anxiety a breeze. Dr. Olivo also shows how we can tell when our anxiety is manageable or has led to destructive behaviors that may require professional help for dealing with our anxiety. All in all it’s a valuable primer and a great gift or recommendation for yourself or that friend in need.

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