As a result of his procrastinating, he not only feels inadequate to others, but worse, he may worry that he's becoming incapable of living any other way of life. Most of the time, he feels stuck, especially when faced with a complicated task, or one that he perceives of as being boring. Owen Cook says, "Those who don't have a larger purpose, when they get in pain, their interpretation is I'm a victim. <a href=''>I've</a> been victimized. <a href=''>That</a> thing victimized me. <a href=''>I</a> want to complain!' Every second of this shit out of their mouth is a loss of their life. <a href=''>What</a> are they talking about this for? <a href=''>They</a> don't need to blame anyone for anything. <a href=''>If</a> I get robbed, I say,Oh, I guess I shouldn't have put myself in a position to get robbed.' If I get fucked over, I say, Oh, I guess I shouldn't have put myself in a position to get fucked over.' Sometimes I get screwed over in very unfair ways and I say to myself,Oh, a lot of my situation is good and maybe I wouldn't have this situation if these other bad things weren't happening and I'm trying to remove those bad things out of my life. But in the meantime, they're there, and that's part of the life I'm in, so I accept it and I'll work my way out.' Full self-responsibility. And sometimes I truly do get victimized but I don't run around complaining about it. I'm just like, `Well, sometimes in life, life isn't fair. Sometimes my situation is not totally fair and if I keep working on improving my situation, I'll have less of that in the future. But then again, my kid could get killed in a car accident and all of victim mindset stuff won't mean shit anyways.' Life is going to have an inherent level of pain and unfairness and you try to minimize it as much as you can and the rest you accept. One part of life is improving your execution and situation and another part of it is accepting it's going to be fucked up either way." Stop seeing yourself as being a victim. Switch your mindset to, "I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and something happened that I'm not exactly happy with" and leave it at that. Your ego wants to be the victim. Your ego wants justice. Your ego says, "I'm important and this thing made me uncomfortable, angry, and sad and I want someone to pay for it! I want to act weak and helpless!" Stop playing the victim card.

Transcendental Meditation was popularized in the United States many decades ago. I learned Transcendental Meditation while in medical school and used it on and off until I began to practice yogic breathing some years ago. Once, while volunteering for a study on brain-wave activity while in medical school, I had my electroencephalograph, or EEG, readings taken while practicing Transcendental Meditation. I was delighted to learn that, compared to my normal EEG reading, my alpha waves--a type of brain waves produced during peaceful relaxation, possibly playing a role in effective brain-circuit activities--were particularly prominent during my meditation. Many meditation centers, experts, and even online services teach meditation. It is highly accessible, affordable, and generally readily learned. But as with exercise, repetition with meditation is the road to its nirvana. Changing our consciousness, which can get stuck in familiar patterns from the endless repetition of existing, takes some doing. But it has been done for thousands of years. Meditation, yoga, and breathing techniques are psychoactive-substance alternatives that are safe and, over time, effective in supplying the human appetite with experiences beyond the everyday, the mundane, and the dysphoric. The practice of mindfulness appears to have been derived from the Buddhist practice of sati, which means "awareness." Through mindfulness, people can gain awareness of the present moment, at once also recognizing and accepting their feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. The practitioner may eventually come to appreciate that all feeling states are transient, transitory, and will pass. This knowledge is invaluable to people who are flooded by feelings that paralyze them or compel them to act and is highly useful in resisting the cravings experienced by substance-dependent individuals. Mindfulness has been used for stress reduction, as a meditative technique, and as an essential component of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), as fashioned by Dr. Marsha Linehan, a psychologist who has diagnosed herself as having borderline personality disorder, for which DBT is an evidence-based treatment. Mindfulness is yet another Eastern contribution to changing our consciousness in ways that do not carry the consequences and costs of psychoactive drug use and abuse. In her memoir, Wishful Drinking, the great actress and writer Carrie Fisher - best known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies, and for her novel-cum-screenplay Postcards from the Edge - tells an amusing story about how coming to this realization helped her overcome her struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction. The insights she learned here apply just as well to people working to manage and overcome their anxiety. In detailing her efforts to join Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Fisher notes that at first the hardest part for her was simply getting herself to AA meetings because she did not like going to them. Eventually, however, her sponsor in the program told her something important.

He told her that she "didn't have to like going to [the AA meetings], [she] just had to go to them," in Fisher's words. "Well this was a revelation to me," she then proceeds to tell us. "I thought I had to like everything I did. [...] But if what this person told me were true, then I didn't have to actually be comfortable all the time. If I could, in fact, learn to experience a quota of discomfort, it would be awesome news." "Learning to experience a quota of discomfort" is key to overcoming anxiety and panic as well. If you experience fear, anxiety, or similar emotions, it does not mean these emotions are bound to escalate in an uncontrollable way. Discomfort is a part of life. The important thing is to continually draw yourself back to the things that give you joy, even in the midst of the inevitable discomforts. For example, there were many times in my own past when I felt so overwhelmed, I simply froze and could not take action. During one particularly difficult and prolonged occurrence of procrastination, I telephoned a local crisis hotline due to the shame I felt when I realized that I was stuck mid-way through the job of plastering and painting the studio apartment I had moved into a few weeks before. Even worse, I began to worry that I might not be able to complete the job. My furniture left me little room to negotiate, and I had never before taken on such a complicated job. One wall was half-puttied, while another that had been brushed with primer almost glowed in the dark, and the apartment reeked of plaster dust. Bed sheets covered my belongings and just lifting the sheets momentarily, resulted in small clouds of dust rising up into the air. It was a terribly depressing scene. Hoping to prompt me into action, the hotline's volunteer asked, "How about this? Can you just picture how nice your apartment will look, and how good you'll feel after you've finished painting it?" "No," was my simple reply. No other word had the same clarity and honesty to express the way I felt. The only thing I could picture in my mind's eye was myself as an utterly inadequate adult, and I was certain that this unfinished nightmare of a job could be done better and faster by just about any other person. So convinced was I of my inadequacies, the only outcomes I could foresee were either an apartment that looked worse after the paint job, or one that looked mediocre at best.

In my twisted logic, it simply made no sense to continue, and for long periods of time I did nothing except to watch television while I internally cursed myself for my past bouts of inactivity; doing nothing to alleviate my situation other than distracting myself from this self-imposed misery. Quitting is not giving up what you're doing. Quitting is giving up on yourself. It's allowing your will to die. It's reinforcing, in your mind, you're not fast enough, tough enough, strong enough, smart enough, or good enough to keep going. That you don't have what it takes to get what you want, become the person you want to be, and to have the life you want. You only lose when you quit. Everything you've worked for and the time, effort, and energy you put into it vanishes when you decide to quit moving forward, pushing, and surviving. You can crawl, feel sorry for yourself, cry, lick your wounds, call out for your mom, get emotional, and even complain, but you can't quit. In hard times, everything else is acceptable, but quitting is not. Coming in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. doesn't make you a loser. It means you finished but you just happened to come in behind someone else. It means you didn't give up and you just have to work on your execution for the next time it gets real. Not quitting means you're going to have to, as Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, "crawl through the shit". He says, "Most people aren't willing to eat shit for two years so they can eat Caviar for the rest of their lives." Most people quit because they don't want to have to endure the pain, suffering, lack of comfort, and hard work that it takes to get to where they want to be. You're not a quitter. You will do what is necessary to get there, to have what you want, to be what you want, and to do what you want. Grit your teeth, dig in, and endure. Endure the pain, suffering, lack of comfort, and hard work.

Endure the shit. Endure whatever it is you have to go through to reach the finish line. Steve Jobs once said, "Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there's another side to the coin, and you can't remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important--creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could." Psychedelic drugs profoundly alter our consciousness by changing what we see and feel, how we experience ourselves and the world. They can instill a state of being at one with the universe. They have captured human imagination for a long time, well before the sixties, when I came upon them. Psychedelic agents, such as psilocybin, LSD, and ayahuasca, can produce a sense of wonder that we often leave behind in childhood. It may seem ironic that I list psychedelic drugs as one alternative to psychoactive drugs in pursuing changing our consciousness. However, counterintuitively, new research shows that we must consider their potential utility in strategies to combat the drug epidemic and as paths for research into other psychoactive interventions. They represent yet another alternative that may be more successful, for some, than our otherwise failed efforts. The most effective method of treating anxiety disorders is known as cognitive behavioral therapy. This is the method recommended by the American Psychiatric Association, and of all the tactics people have tried over the years to combat anxiety, this is the one with the longest proven track record of success. As the name implies, cognitive behavioral therapy is a method of treatment that focuses on the way in which thought processes (i.e., cognition) and patterns of behavior influence one another. As we have seen above, people who suffer from anxiety and panic often exaggerate the power of their thoughts to influence their behavior. We have seen that people with panic often experience a fear that the severity of their panic feelings will "force" them to do something against their will - such as harming themselves. In reality, emotions do not have this kind of power to control our behavior, and the emotion of fear, in particular, will not force a person to do the thing they are afraid of. On the reverse side, people with anxiety and panic disorder often tend to downplay the power that behavior has to influence our patterns of thinking. After all, the things that happen inside our heads feel like they are "purely mental." We don't intuitively sense that they are connected to the physical world or to our own actions and behavior, and therefore, we can't imagine how changing our behavior could affect our thoughts. During that time, it never seemed to occur to me that this was my very first experience in painting an apartment, especially one that first required extensive plastering, then a coating of primer, and last but not least, paint.