How to overcome anxiety

Props: A minute timer
Difficulty: Easy

Most of us feel, at least every so often, that time is getting away from us, that there just aren't enough hours in the day. But just how long is an hour, really? Or a minute?

This game can help you get a sense of how connected you are to the actual passing of time. If you find that you often feel hurried, it may be that you sense time passing more quickly than it really does.

On the other hand, if your perception of time runs too slowly, you may find that you're often late for things. Once you've played this game, you'll have a good idea whether your internal clock runs fast or slow.

If you have a history of trouble with anxiety, here's a bet: we think your clock will run fast, speeding you through the game in anticipation of whatever comes next. Of course, that's not necessarily so, but the odds are definitely with us.

At the end of the game, you'll also know what it feels like to be very attentive and focused for just one minute, which, repeated over and over again, is all a mindfulness practice really is.
  1. Sit comfortably in a chair or on a cushion in a quiet part of your home or in some peaceful setting at a time when you're not likely to be disturbed.

  2. Loosen anything you're wearing that might restrict your breathing, such as your collar or belt. Get comfortable. If you're wearing a watch, take it off, but keep it close at hand.

  3. Take a few deep breaths. Once you do, take a look at your watch. As the sweep hand passes the twelve, set your watch aside or turn it over in your hand so that you can't see the face.

  4. Now just sit comfortably and breathe normally until you sense that one minute has elapsed. (Oh, and don't cheat by counting the seconds. It may be tempting, but it defeats the purpose of the game.)

  5. Check your watch, and note how much time has passed.
How did it go? Do you feel as if you have a good sense of time, or were you surprised by how long or short your minute actually was?

Remember that your purpose here is to develop an intentional and attentive relationship with the present moment, and becoming sensitive to the rate at which time passes is a good place to start.

Think about what the results of this exercise might mean for you. Also, you may want to make a note of where your thoughts wandered while you were waiting for the minute to go by.

After you've practiced the techniques for a while, you might want to play this game again to see if your perception of time has become more accurate.

About the book:

Whether it manifests itself as worry, fear, rumination, obsession, compulsion, or shyness, anxiety is everywhere, and it causes no end of trouble for just about all of us.

But at its core, anxiety serves an important purpose: it helps us to avoid the world, rather than accept it the way it is.

Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong begins with a whirlwind tour of anxiety: what causes it, what we think about it, and what it might look like. Then the book looks at some of the approaches to treating anxiety and poses an intriguing question: What if you don't need to get rid of anxiety in order to live a terrific life?

Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong approaches this startling hypothesis through acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and offers a series of thinking points and short games readers can do to easily and effectively begin to incorporate ACT techniques into their lives.

Filled with literary references and possessing a light-hearted authorial voice, Things is not a full-scale self-help approach for someone with serious anxiety problems; rather, it is an easy way for readers who have wrestled with worry, fear, and shyness to put those feelings into perspective and focus instead on what they want to do in life.

Wilson and DuFrene will help readers to foster the flexibility they need to keep from succumbing to the forces of anxiety and open themselves to the often uncomfortable complexities and possibilities of life.

Visit the authors online at and

>> Buy this book on Amazon: Mindfulness for Two: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Approach to Mindfulness in Psychotherapy

About Troy DuFrene:

Troy Dufrene is a writer specializing in psychology, particularly acceptance and commitment therapy. He is co-author of Coping with OCD and Mindfulness for Two. He lives and works in Oakland, CA.

For more information, visit

>> Buy this book on Amazon: Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong: A Guide to Life Liberated from Anxiety

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