You hear the fire alarm going off, but there is no fire. How much time do you spend worrying? Does it sometimes take you over to the point that you simply can’t calm down? It’s okay. Allow yourself to feel your emotions. Don’t bury the hurt. Permit yourself to be anxious. Simply expressing your feelings may help decrease them. Now allow them to pass. Sure, your thoughts have now conjured up the worst-case scenarios. Can you challenge your thoughts into a more hopeful way of thinking? Do you even try?

I know y’all have heard this a million times, but please do breathe. Believe it or not, breathing is the primary way to reduce anxiety quickly. Drop your shoulders and take some long, deep breaths and gently exhale fully. Do it now. You have to breathe it to believe it.

Release your negativity somehow. Get yourself outside. Get some fresh air. A change of scenery can quickly change your troubled and tense thought process.  Run, walk, dance.  Hey, you know you’re a runner when you see 5K, and automatically think 3.1 miles, not $5,000. Anything that releases serotonin will calm you right down. Unclench those fists, sweet friends. Perfection will never occur. We truly need to take one day at a time in order to survive. Embrace uncertainties.

By the way, the best way to build upper arm strength is not by taking selfies. Sorry. But truly, we refuse to take seriously how much care we should take to keep things simple and calm. Most of us are simply overstimulated. Lots to do, and people to see? What’s physically possible may not be emotionally plausible.

You can aggravate your sorrows by not getting enough rest. Checking your phone incessantly and being bombarded with news is a risk to your mental survival. Close your eyes and visualize yourself poised and peaceful. Imagine yourself calmly working through a tension-causing situation in your life right now. Do not allow this pressure to steal your peace, my friends.

Disasters and cataclysms all over the planet are not what you need to know. The news is sad and dispiriting.  Journalists do not live by words alone, although sometimes they have to eat them. So, you stress about stress before there’s even stress to stress about? It’s been said: The good news is that being hopeful doesn’t mean dumb. The bad news is that being cynical doesn’t mean smart. So please keep the faith.

Your mind will take revenge in the form of nervous tension or even insomnia. Want to hear a joke? Sleep. Yeah, I don’t get it either.  What is causing you distress? Have you sifted through your mind to find ways to be more serene? Perhaps you cannot detox from your phone and have become part of the manic, sleepless masses. Some things are just better not spread too thin: yourself and peanut butter.

Sometimes we feel profoundly helpless and at the mercy of the world. Then we see a familiar face and it feels as if the demons have been sent packing. Someone just soothed your pain. But can you soothe yourself? It’s okay to have a comforting object, even a stuffed animal to hold, to center you and bring you back to serenity.

Access a voice within yourself to remind you that you are not deficient. Yes, disapproval still feels disastrous. It seems less threatening and easier to withdraw into a defensive posture than to ask for soothing or kindness when we so need it. Ask anyway.

Fear can fill you with unnamed dread. If you wish to drain it of its debilitating power, accept that if the worse comes to the worst, you are more adaptable and resilient than you know.

Life will never be an error-free entity. Can you differentiate between what is simply a passing nuisance or something to really contemplate? How much do you struggle to achieve worldly cravings, fame, money, or success?

You may have been given a cactus; but you don’t have to sit on it. We cannot change reality, but we can soften it with some humor and a handful of stress relievers. Vent to your best friend. Pick your funniest friend while you’re at it.

Know this, sweet friends: Your brain cannot experience fright and gratitude at the same time. Shift your mind to finding things you are grateful for when you feel overwhelmed by difficulties. You do not have to buy more, do more, or be more. Then again, they say if you’ve never fallen in love at first sight, you’re shopping on the wrong site.  Listen, I just saved $198.26 by not going to Target.  But truly, stop overwhelming yourself, please.

If you find yourself in a rut, don’t furnish it. The next time someone asks how you are in the midst of a crisis, a setback of sorts, simply say: “I am taking it one day at a time.”

 Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at