Forget Ambien. Try Venting.

Last week I found myself gnawing off my own arm from anxiety between 2:30 and 4 a.m. Should you be curious as to why, see ** below. If it’s simply enough that you have sometimes felt the same, I hope you will make the most of the 3-part anti-anxiety formula, I hit upon, below.

At the outset of your mental shenanigans:


First and most important: you don’t want to vent to anyone who is going to offer suggestions regarding how to fix things. When you are ready to fix things you can get people of this kind involved. Right now, you want to have what’s known in my world as a wallowing conversation. This is where I call all my wallow-friendly friends, wallow in how overwhelmed I am, and consider changing my answering machine message to say, “I can’t come to the phone right now because I’m redecorating my bell jar, but please leave a message after the tone…”

This is a critical step in the process. Please don’t skip it. This is usually when you will rediscover your misplaced sense of humor.


OK, while you may not be able to get everything done in one day, you can get an enormous amount accomplished if you prioritize properly, so make a list. Before you begin, though, you need to recognize that an insanely long to-do lists that puts “Thank Dave and Susan for the maracas” next to “Write a 5-year business plan” are just going to make you crazier. So make a list where maraca-thank-you’s are put next to items along the lines of “pick up dry cleaning” and items such as “Write a five-year-plan” get the time and attention they deserve. Frittering away time on little things at the expense of the big will make you feel even worse, and you are complete with feeling overwhelmed.

Step Away from the Vehicle:

Stopping work on something is often as important as starting. If you’ve “busted your hump,” as my brother so colorfully says, to the best of your ability then there will come a time to stop. Continuing to work after that point is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, and will lead to the kind of mistakes that will keep you awake in the aforementioned 2:30 -4 slot of the morning. In these moments it is critically important to  “step away from the vehicle” as they say on all the best police shows. If you can’t think of anything you can do to make the situation better, then there’s your answer. Turn it over. Take a break. Go get that dry cleaning. Thank Dave and Susan for the maracas. Or give me a call. I always enjoy a pow wow. *

* Speaking of a pow wow—have you checked out pop expert yet? You can sign up now for my 7- day course: You can also register with pop expert for a one-on-one pow Wow!

** Thanks for asking! It’s due to the (incipient) launch of my e-book, “Wow Your Way into the Job of Your Dreams”; the (imminent) overhaul of my app, and the (upcoming) series on popexpert (all of which you will be hearing far more about next week—stay tuned!)

 Frances Cole Jones