Got anxiety? Here’s how to convert nervous energy into productivity

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If you have days or moments (or years) during which you feel like your anxiety is in charge, or you’re stuck in patterns of self-criticism, double and triple-checking yourself, worrying about the future… then today’s interview is for you.

I talked to Dr. Chloe Carmichael, author of the new book Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety. With her doctorate in clinical psychology from Long Island University and her years of private practice in New York City focusing on issues including stress management and self-esteem, Dr. Chloe delivers a great piece of news: anxiety and nervous energy can be your superpowers when you learn to harness them for good.

In this interview, we discuss what our anxiety may be trying to tell us, and what strategies we might use in the moment to harness its power for good.

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Listen to the full conversation on AppleSpotify or your favorite podcast platform.

So, what is anxiety?

“I really think anxiety gets kind of a bad rap sometimes,” Dr. Chloe began. “People will often come and say, ‘Hey, Dr. Chloe, how do I get rid of my anxiety?’ And I want to explain that the goal is not to get rid of it. It’s a gift from mother nature. We get it for a reason. … It’s actually a big source of energy. We just have to learn how to point [our anxiety] in the right direction. So, I think of it as that kind of heightened sense of awareness that we have when we realize that there’s some kind of a challenge or a situation that we don’t yet have fully resolved. And it’s that little tickle from mother nature saying, ‘Hey, let’s see how we can figure this out.”

In other words, anxiety isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s offering us insight and information that’s ours to pay attention to and make sense of.

How might a mental shortlist soothe an overactive mind?

Dr. Chloe describes the “mental shortlist” as a great strategy for calming the mind.

“Having an active and tenacious mind can be a great thing until it starts to get in our own way,” she explains. She goes on to describe a case from her book in which a man was trying to prepare for an important meeting at work.

Once he had done all he could to prepare, he couldn’t seem to quiet his mind.

“He reached a point where he was just spinning his wheels, but he [couldn’t stop] thinking about it. And when you have a strong, powerful mind, your cognitive habits can be pretty hard and strong. So, to help divert himself and use that mental energy for something better … what we do is we come up with a new mental shortlist. … We think of five things in advance that we know are going to be much better in productive uses of our mental energy. And I encourage people to have the mental shortlist. … It could be getting a jump on your birthday and holiday shopping.”

Telling your mind to stop thinking about something only causes you to think about it more. Instead, the mental shortlist redirects your mind to something else, something more neutral and productive.

What might you put on your mental shortlist?

What can a mind map do for an anxious mind?

Dr. Chloe also shares the story of “a stressed-out lawyer named Matt.” He realized at one point he had invested so much of himself in his job and his family that he had let go of taking great care of himself.

“He was frustrated because he felt like he wasn’t living the life he intended when he became a lawyer … and he started to find himself really resenting his job.” So, Dr. Chloe invited him to make a mind map about his career and what it really meant for him.

The technique is described in more detail in the book. But it helps you organize—and see the connectivity between—the different moving pieces of your life.

Through this technique, Dr. Chloe helped Matt to recognize “because of this income that you have, you could actually have a personal trainer come to your office and help you to train right there. … And maybe we need to build your communication skills so that you and your wife can … make sure it’s clear to the children that dad is working in order to take care of us. That his time at work is not in competition with our family, [but rather] in support of our family. “

So, with this mind map, he was able to “streamline his energy and use it to do things like workout or plan family vacations instead of just criticizing himself.”

We discussed these tools—and several others from the book—in our interview. There’s something so empowering about recognizing you don’t need to conquer your nervous energy; you just need to hear and then harness it. It’s an essential part of what’s made you successful to date.

There is much more wisdom to be discovered in the book. Listen to our interview for more great insights. And then pick up your copy of Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety.

 

This article originally appeared on QuickandDirtyTips.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

More from MediaFeed:

39 facts about marijuana we’re betting you didn’t know

 

Cannabis is a booming business in states where legalization has been in effect for years and the trend seems on pace to continue.

In fact, more
and more U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational uses. In fact, most
states
have some form of legalization.

So
with so much talk of marijuana out there, it’s time to separate the
facts from the fiction. Here are 39 of the most surprising and unusual
facts about marijuana that you may not know:

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According
to a study,
“9 percent of those who try marijuana develop dependence.”
Compared to other substances like cocaine and heroin, marijuana
dependency is low. However, marijuana is also much more widely used
than other substances.

 

Niyaz_Tavkaev / istockphoto

 

Even
with all the confusion around laws and its history of illegality,
researchers
say that 42% of Americans have tried marijuana.

 

Heath Korvola/Getty Images

 

Multiple
studies have found that marijuana is safer than alcohol.

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We
tend to think of Colorado and Washington when we think about legal
weed, but both Alaska and Oregon legalized recreational marijuana use and possession just a few years later.

 

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Scientists
at California Pacific Medical Center studied a compound derived from
marijuana and discovered that it may
prevent metastasis in some aggressive cancers
. The scientists
were studying CBD, the substance in marijuana that is non-psychoactive.

 

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Despite
pushes for legalization, there are still a
lot of arrests
made in the U.S. for marijuana possession. In
2015, 650,000 people were arrested because of violations related to
marijuana. That’s 40% of drug arrests in the country and one arrest
every 50 seconds! And these arrests are still disproportionately
focused on black and Latino communities.

 

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Illegal
marijuana tends to be stronger
than legal marijuana
. This is partly because legal marijuana is
more carefully measured for consistency and potency.

 

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While
there are conflicting reports on the effect of marijuana on
teenagers, in adults negative cognitive effects like changes in
memory, perception and thoughts tend to be temporary. There is
currently no evidence that marijuana
use
, even among heavy users, will permanently damage an adult’s
memory or cognition.

 

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Despite
North Korea’s strict stance on other drugs, marijuana is not
even considered a drug
in the country.

 

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In
the 1700s, both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew
hemp
and in the 1800s marijuana was sold in some drugstores for
relief of migraines and menstrual cramps.

 

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Marijuana
started
to get banned
in the U.S. in the early 1900s. The 1930s saw the
country’s first drug czar, Harry Anslinger, who started to make
claims that marijuana turned youth into homicidal maniacs.

 

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In
2013, Uruguay
became the first country in the world to allow its citizens to grow,
sell and consume marijuana legally.

 

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The
ACLU
has tracked multiple cases where people were sentenced to
life in prison without parole for marijuana possession. In one case,
the person possessed 32 grams of marijuana (that’s just over an ounce). In another, they acted as
a go-between for the sale of just $10 of marijuana.

 

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In
2010
, legalization produced such a boom in Colorado that medical
marijuana dispensaries outnumbered Starbucks stores by a ratio of 3
to 1.

 

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In
2015, legal marijuana was the fastest-growing
industy
in the U.S., with a market of $2.7 billion.

 

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James
Munch served as the U.S. Official Expert on “Marihuana” from 1939 to
1962. During that time he testified under oath that marijuana had
turned
him into a bat
.

 

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The
earliest
recorded use
of cannabis is from China in 6,000, B.C., when
cannabis seeds were used for food.

 

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The
oldest stash of marijuana ever found also came
from China
. Researchers discovered 789 grams of dried cannabis
“cultivated for psychoactive purposes” in a 2,700-year-old
tomb in China.

 

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In
India, Bhang shops
sell cannabis-infused drinks like bhang lassi and bhang thandai,
particularly during the celebration of Holi.

 

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In
1971 or 1972, the first
online transaction
happened, well before Amazon or eBay. What was
it? Marijuana sold between students at Stanford and MIT.

 

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Bob
Marley was
buried
on May 21, 1981, along with his red Gibson Les Paul
guitar, a Bible open to Psalm 23 and a stalk of marijuana.

 

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Overdosing
on marijuana
is technically possible, but extraordinarily
unlikely. In theory, a person would have to consume almost 1,500
pounds of marijuana in just 15 minutes to overdose, making it a
practical impossibility.

 

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In
2015, legal marijuana outsold
Girl Scout cookies
.

 

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Sales
of marijuana are on
the rise
. Sales in 2020 grew 46% according to one report.

 

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By
2022, yearly
marijuana sales
in the U.S. could hit $22 billion. This is partly
due to more and more states opening medical and sometimes
recreational marijuana markets.

 

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After
California changed its marijuana laws in 1976, prankster Danny
Finegood hung curtains over the Hollywood sign to change it to
Hollyweed.” It happened again on New Year’s Day, 2017, when another prankster scaled Mount Lee to change the sign.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

In
1982, a man with a rare and painful type of bone tumor condition,
Irvin Rosenfeld, sued the federal government for access to marijuana
medicine
– and won, paving the way for others with qualifying
conditions. Today, he gets his marijuana from the federal government,
picking up 300 joints every 30 days.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

A study of pipe fragments from William Shakespeare’s garden revealed traces of cannabis.

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On
his 20th birthday, Bill Murray joked about having bombs in
his suitcase while in an airport. When agents searched his luggage,
they instead found $20,000
worth of marijuana
.

 

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In
2017, farmers in Italy started cultivating
cannabis
in order to decontaminate polluted soil. The plants
helped pull heavy metals out of the ground.

 

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As of
2020, 34 U.S. states have legalized marijuana in some form.

 

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A
study
of 6,000 teenagers in the U.K. found that high-achieving
teens were more likely than their peers to drink alcohol and use
cannabis.

 

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There
was a real Mary
Jane
. Mary Jane Rathburn, or Brownie Mary, baked and distributed
marijuana brownies for AIDS patients.

 

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The
Easter Island statues may have moved. How? With ropes
made of hemp
, the fibers of the marijuana plant.

 

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Estrogen
levels may make some people more
sensitive to THC
, the active ingredient in cannabis. Female rats
were at least 30% more sensitive to the properties of THC, including
pain relief.

 

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Marijuana
may have some therapeutic
benefits
for sick pets. But proceed with caution. Dogs and cats
can also die from marijuana toxicosis.

 

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People
can be allergic
to pot
. Experts found that people are sometimes, though rarely,
allergic to the pollen or smoke of the marijuana plant.

 

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Marijuana
can cause “cannabinoid
hyperemesis syndrome
,” a condition characterized by “cyclic
episodes of nausea and vomiting.”

 

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During
World War II, the Office of Strategic Services investigated marijuana
as a means of inducing detainees to spill
their secrets
.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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Featured Image Credit: AaronAmat / iStock.

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