Discover some of the most inspirational TED Talks about anxiety. These speakers give real-life insight and practical tips that have transformed the way I think and live.
So many of us are struggling with anxiety during this time of Covid-19. We may feel cut off and alone, dealing with the necessary isolation of physical distancing. The coping strategies and self-care practices that are vital to our mental health may be inaccessible.
For those with little ones, we find ourselves trying to answer hard questions. Why can’t I see my friends? Play on the swings? Go to class? See PaPa? The grocery shelves are empty, will we have enough food? (And why can I only use 2 squares of toilet paper?) We try to give assurances about things that are our own insecurities and out of our control.
While all of us are currently facing unprecedented anxiety and stress, the very real health anxiety many already struggle with didn’t go away.
While the coronavirus case counts rose in Canada, I found myself not only fearing the reality of Covid-19, but caught in an obsessive search of symptom checking to make sure that “everything else” was healthy and well.
And as we all know, if we go looking for it, we will certainly find those benign changes that could bode the most terrible diagnosis according to our latest online search.
Whether you suffer from an existing anxiety disorder or are experiencing anxiety for the first time, here are 5 of the best TED talks about anxiety and fear that have helped me learn new anxiety coping strategies and inspired me during this time.
In this TED talk about anxiety, comedian, author, and mental health advocate Neil Hughes shares his personal insights and realization: anxiety is just like walking on custard!
“The more I thought about walking on custard … The more I realized how exhausting it would be. Once I start I can’t stop. Every time my foot hits the surface it hardens beneath me, but I can’t pause to enjoy it. I have to keep going. If I stop, then I am going to sink and drown in custard, which is definitely in the top three most embarrassing ways to die that there is.”
This funny, light-hearted approach to exploring the roots of anxiety was just what I needed. Neil shares some practical tips for recognizing and avoiding the “custard traps” in our minds.
2. The Power of Mindfulness: What You Practice Grows Stronger | Shauna Shapiro | TEDxWashingtonSquare
In this inspiring TEDx talk, clinical psychologist Dr. Shauna Shapiro shares the power of mindfulness for changing our lives. For Dr. Shapiro, mindfulness includes our attitude as well as our attention.
“What you practice grows stronger. . . . We’re growing something in every moment. So the question really becomes. What do you want to grow? What do you want to practice?”
She encourages us to experience the spiritual and neurological transformational possibilities of “intentionally paying attention with kindness”.
Kindness not only to others but also to ourselves. This video helped me realize: I am doing the best I can, and for now, that is enough. I am enough.
Psychotherapist Sheva Rajaee begins her TEDx talk sharing a personal story of her own health anxiety that many of us have experienced. A new pain in her shoulder led to a frantic search for answers online which ended in an all too familiar conclusion: I must be dying!
In a world of health information available at our fingertips, she argues that we have become “addicted to the answer.”
“More access leads to more consumption, leads to more anxiety.”
We have a choice to make. If we allow ourselves to get caught up in the need to have all the answers, we will only fuel our anxiety. Instead, she challenges us to tolerate, accept, and learn to work with our anxiety rather than trying to avoid it.
“Can you believe that not having an answer might be the greatest solution of all?”
Harvard Medical School professor and psychologist Susan David gives concrete strategies for accepting and engaging our emotions without allowing them to control us. She argues for “emotional agility” rather than our tendency to lockdown or avoid our emotions in a rigid response. Normal emotions are neither good or bad. She explains, our “rigid denial” of those feelings that we find difficult isn’t sustainable and doesn’t work. Pushing them aside only makes them stronger.
“Research now shows that the radical acceptance of all of our emotions – even the messy, difficult ones – is the cornerstone to resilience, thriving, and true, authentic happiness.”
Dr. David asks some hard questions. Her thoughts gave me pause to re-evaluate how I view and relate to my anxiety. Let me know what you think!
Jessica leads us through a short visualization exercise that helps bring us into the present moment to build trust in ourselves despite our not having control over our present circumstances.
“When you are overwhelmed with the apprehension of a possible future misfortune or danger you can always come back into the body in this moment and know you are safe.”
I don’t know what challenges tomorrow will bring to my family and community. Jessica reminded me to find the peace offered at this moment and recognize – this moment is safe.
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Wishing everyone well with virtual hugs and support.
Try this post too: Feeling Anxious? 8 Tips to Better Sleep that can Lower Anxiety
I’m not an expert. If you have any concerns about your health, you should always consult your doctor or other qualified health-care provider and don’t disregard or delay seeking professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis or treatment because of anything you read on this site. Wishing you well.