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Style Magazine

Just Breathe

Apr 01, 2011 12:51PM ● By Style

As a father, husband and leader of an organization, one of my biggest challenges in daily life is handling anxiety.

How do I prevent being maxed out, stressed out, freaked out and bummed out? Living without worry and anxiety is hard work. Living with worry and anxiety is even harder. If you insist on letting stress run your life, here are 12 practical steps that will guarantee high levels of anxiety and worry.

1. Keep going.

Don’t take time off. Sleep as little as you can. Work on Sundays. Leave no time for quiet reflection and play. Keep the pace high and the margins narrow.

2. Try to fix tomorrow’s problems today.

Even though you may already feel depleted and overwhelmed, start thinking about how you can solve tomorrow’s problems. When you are done, begin worrying about the problems of others.

3. Keep your daily focus on the worst traits of the most immature person around you.

Focus on what is wrong with them. React instinctually to them. Commit to changing them. Find two other people who will criticize their faults and who will validate your complaints.

4. Focus on everything you do not have.

Talk about it. Dream about it. Hone the skills of dissatisfaction and murmuring. Think about all of the good experiences you are missing out on. Somewhere, someone is having a better time than you are. They have a nicer home, more money and a hotter wife. Think about it.

5. Nurse your grudges.

Keep track of all the ways you’ve been wronged. Don’t reconcile, forgive or make amends. Keep your distance from the people that have wronged you. If necessary, cut them off. Plan to retaliate. Never admit wrongdoing.

6. Make sure you never let people see the real you.

Keep your true self hidden from others. Through careful image management, you should be able to create the illusion that you have it all together. Keep this appearance up at all costs.

7. Let the opinions of other people control you.

Ask these two questions every day: What are they saying about me? Is there anybody who really loves me?

8. Let your imagination run wild.

Every single, negative event is surely part of a never-ending pattern of defeat and difficulty. Every positive experience is probably a fluke. Even though you have no definite facts, feel free to jump to conclusions.

9. Ignore small but crucial details.

Expend energy in putting these essential tasks off until they are past due. Keep working on them in your mind but don’t do anything about them.

10. Betray your deepest sense of what is right and find a way to justify it.

Act contrary to what you feel you should do. If necessary, blame others.

11. Stop breathing.

If you ensure that your breathing is shallow, you will reduce the oxygen to your brain. This will certainly prevent you from having a calming response to the stressors in your life.

12. Do not ask for help.

Not from anyone. Assume that you are to tackle all of your challenges on your own. Do not depend on God, trust in God or ask God for any help.

Blackmon is the former lead pastor at River Rock Church in Folsom. For more of Blackmon’s articles, visit his blog at