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This Psychotherapist-Approved Tip Can Reduce Anxiety In 23 Seconds (Really)

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First, take note of your mood at the current moment. Write a sentence or two about it. Time yourself for 23 seconds. Simply breathe deeply. Notice how your breath moves throughout your body. As your attention wanders, invite your focus back to your breath. Stop the clock and notice whether your mood has changed at all. 

Look for micro-mindful moments throughout your day, times when you can take a breath and re-center. Now start tracking when you were successful re-centering yourself and when you couldn’t bring your heart rate down. If you’d like, get more specific in your record-keeping, noting date, time, location, and other important variables. 

Look for patterns. Are you better able to re-center in the morning than at night? Do you have trouble re-centering when you’re in public? Does the presence of certain individuals or certain tasks make you particularly tense? If nothing else, perhaps you’ll get guidance as to where you need the most practice, or a relationship you need to repair, or a deeper value system you need to spend more time with in the mirror. 

Remember, every time you go through the steps—deep breathing, maybe saying your mantra—you are practicing, whether you reach your goal of re-centering or not. I’ve seen many practices in my day. Whether you call them touchdowns, points, baskets, hits, or goals, sometimes hours and hours go by without reaching a single one. You put in your time on the field. That’s all you can do.

From the book HOW AM I DOING?: 40 CONVERSATIONS TO HAVE WITH YOURSELF by Dr. Corey Yeager. Copyright © 2022 Dr. Corey Yeager. On-sale October 18, 2022 by Harper Celebrate, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission. 

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