Traffic jams are not "problems" but you allow them to make you angry and unhappy because you create the "problem" using your thoughts, emotions, and perceptions. People aren't actually THAT stupid, you aren't actually that much of a smarter driver, and your day isn't as bad as you think it is. Things are only "problems" because we're making them into problems. We create the illusions of a "problem". If it actually is a problem, we're making it worse than it actually is. What everyone sees as a problem, see it as nothing. See it as a rock and, logically, not emotionally, figure out how to handle and solve it. When something arises that can easily be perceived as a problem, detach yourself, your ego, and your emotion from it and handle it. Emotion makes it bigger, worse, and causes you to lose motivation in handling it. The more emotion you develop during a traffic jam, the angrier you'll get about it and the bigger of a problem you'll think it is. But if you remove all emotion, you'll realize you didn't cause the traffic jam, there's nothing you can do about it, and being angry doesn't help. The reality is that when a lot of vehicles are in a small area, they're entering and exiting the roadway, and they're all going different speeds, there will be, with 100% certainty, a multiplied chain reaction and pattern of slowing down and speeding up. There will be people on their phones, people not paying attention, traffic accidents, large objects in the road that fell off of a truck, etc. So many things can go wrong and the chances of a traffic jam are extremely high. Once you take all of this into consideration, getting upset is completely pointless, ridiculous, and a waste of your time. But we humans have evolved past many animals. We now have brains with a highly developed cortex, especially the frontal region (P), where our reasoning and judgment reside. The "prefrontal cortex" can control our drives, put some brakes on the accelerator pedal when going at a high RPM, so to speak. Finally, there are the A/H, for the "amygdala" and "hippocampus," which are regions of the brain that store memories of what we find rewarding. They also register what is salient to the reward, namely the cues associated with its source.

Remember that Pavlov's dogs salivated, over time, to the bell, not to the food; that mental change is known as a conditioned response. While it is the reward that drives us to repeat a behavior, to survive or simply to enjoy life, it is the cues that get us going and offer important opportunities for intervention. In a brain addicted to drugs, this five-region circuit becomes pirated away (hijacked) because the opioid (heroin or analgesic pain pills, for example) directly boosts dopamine in the V and N sections of the brain. This spike then triggers the circuit to powerfully fire, which drives a person to repetitively seek sources of the pleasure. However, in this case the aim is not love, food, or altruism; it is securing more substances of abuse. A doctor or clinician today has ways to construct a comprehensive treatment plan that targets the various components of the circuit and thereby increase a person's likelihood of successful recovery. Each intervention is additive, and their sum is useful, often essential, given the power of an addiction. With problems of this magnitude we know that the more we arm our brains with, the better we will do. Several examples: A number of medications are now available, and their use is called medication-assisted treatment of addiction, or MAT. They can, for example, block the effect of the drug in the V and N regions of the brain. More about these later in this chapter. We will be discussing other ways to counter anxious feelings through simple somatic exercises in the following chapter. Diaphragmatic Breathing. Many times, when people are in the midst of an anxiety or panic episode, well-intentioned people around them will advise them to "breathe deeply." Unfortunately, this advice is often not helpful, because many of us when we take a deep breath tend to fill our chests and suck in our bellies, with is a kind of breathing associated with anxiety, and which does not prevent hyperventilating. What people should really be advising is to practice diaphragmatic breathing, in which one fills and extends one's whole diaphragm - the large muscle that surrounds and controls the lungs. This is the sort of breathing in which one can feel one's belly extending. This is a sort of breathing that is practiced most often in childhood. Even though it is available to us at any moment as a method of respiration, many of us forget about it as adults, unless we consciously remind ourselves to practice it in a moment of tension. This method of deep breathing "with one's belly" is associated with immediate feelings of relief and the relaxation of tension. This breathing method is therefore extremely helpful in regulating one's feelings while struggling with anxiety, and even in the midst of a full-on panic attack.

Many people may find this hard to believe. How could something as frightening and seemingly uncontrollable as anxiety or a panic attack be affected by something as simple and familiar as breathing while extending one's belly? Try it though, and see if you do not notice that you very quickly begin to feel much calmer. The next time you are in a situation in which you are beginning to feel a panic attack coming on, therefore, instead of looking for an "escape route," or asking yourself if you remembered to pack your Xanax, try reminding yourself that at any moment, you have access to the ability to calm yourself through your own body, through the simple act of deep, diaphragmatic breathing. The procrastinator feels regret over his inaction and says, "I should have," "Why don't I?" and, "Why didn't I take care of that when I had the chance?" The lazy person acknowledges his situation with, "Yeah, I'm lazy, that's me!" safe in the knowledge that he will act, long before it's absolutely necessary. Procrastination involves the cessation of important and even essential activities. A procrastinator may discover that he has run out of food or come home to no electricity because he hasn't paid his bill for months. While a lazy person may put things off, he also keeps one eye on his deadlines. He may come close to disaster, but he gets a jolly thrill after coming close to the edge of the falls, while not going over the side. The procrastinator is very unhappy with his way of life and wants to change, but he doesn't know any other way of life. The lazy person is quite satisfied with his life and is generally as happy as anyone else. He's apt to sum up his situation with, "It's no big deal!" When you detach from the situation and remove all emotion, you'll see what's happening more clearly and it won't seem so frustrating and difficult. Don't allow thoughts and petty emotions to make people, situations, and things worse than they actually are. When you have to clean your bathroom, instead of feeling, "Dammit. I don't want to do this! It's hard and nasty!", just detach from it and think, "This has to be done and thinking about it won't make it happen." Remove emotion, get to work, and before you know it, you're done, your bathroom is clean, and it wasn't as hard as you anticipated. When faced with anything, even remotely, challenging, remove emotion, detach from it, and deal it. Quit seeing it as and making it a big deal. Quit being dramatic about it. Don't feel one way or the other about it.

Motivation to resist desire to reexperience the spike in the O region can be enhanced by motivational interviewing (MI), a brief technique that has for many years been used with people with addictions and is now popular in helping individuals with any number of problem behaviors (e.g., overeating, tobacco use, and gambling). The section of our brain that helps us use good judgment, the P region, can be substantially assisted by a variety of interventions, including NA/AA, family psychoeducation and support, and promoting coping skills, such as surrounding yourself with people who are not using or abusing substances, eating and sleeping well, and stress-reduction practices such as yoga and slow breathing. Finally, the A/H regions can also be positively impacted, especially the H region. Environmental triggers can drive cravings and relapse; these include the sight of a needle or a pill, contact with people using or dealers, commercials about pain relief, even reports of the overdose deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman or Prince. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help a person with a substance use disorder to avoid or have a reduced response to a trigger. A comprehensive plan for a person with a drug addiction could, therefore--hopefully kindled by motivational interviewing--offer the patient, and supportive loved ones, a solution potentially including medication-assisted treatment, 12-step recovery, family psychoeducation, CBT, and a number of wellness activities such as yoga and yogic breathing, meditation, mindfulness, exercise, and a nutritional diet, as well as the company of those dedicated to life, not addiction. This is more than a menu of services: it is an essential compilation of what can save a life and promote recovery. If I, or a loved one, had an addiction, I would want a clinician or clinical team who thought this way. Can an argument be made against comprehensive treatment of this sort? Not that I know of. But it does require informed professionals who recognize the power of attacking tough problems in a variety of ways that augment one another, and who talk with, engage, and help patients to help themselves. That also means that an informed patient, family, and public should expect no less. Sleeping Well. For anything in the world of human health, this is always a good idea! Healthy, natural sleep is essential for both physical and mental wellness. Yet people with chronic anxiety may take a look at this and think: easier said than done! Do not despair, however. If you are having trouble sleeping due to your anxiety, here are some simple methods you can apply. First of all, do not lie in bed trying to force yourself to sleep, if you are not managing to drift off. Lying in bed trying to sleep at night is often the time of day that people report having the most trouble with rumination and repetitive anxious thoughts.

It is much better to distract oneself with a different activity until you feel genuinely tired and ready for bed. Do not distract yourself with a screen, however, as the light used in electronic screens is built to remind our brains of daylight, thus confusing our body's sense of its natural sleep pattern - also known as our circadian rhythm - which is timed to correspond to the presence of daylight. This is what often leads to the feeling when we are looking at screens that we are wide awake - even "wired." Reading a book (but one printed on paper or on a reader with a dim screen, not on a computer or TV screen) or doing a simple repetitive chore can often generate the sort of natural fatigue that leads to healthy sleep. Moreover, avoid drinking or eating anything that has caffeine in it late in the day. This may seem obvious, but many people forget to put it into practice, and the chemical effects of caffeine often last far longer than people expect it to. Yoga and Other forms of physical activity. Yoga, sports, running, and other kinds of physical activities have been proven to be remarkably effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and relieving all kinds of stress. Partly this is because these activities naturally trigger the release of the chemicals associated with anxiety and panic responses, channeling them in healthy ways, and leading to natural feelings of physical tiredness that lead to healthy sleep at night. Competitive sports, for instance, can induce a "fight or flight" response that helps the body to regulate the production of the chemicals involved in this response and channel their use in a naturally-occurring way. Even beyond other forms of physical exercise, however, yoga has been found to be particularly helpful, as it includes elements of mental concentration and focuses similar to the effects of meditation described above. There are several differences between procrastination and laziness. The first difference is that procrastination is a long-term problem. Many procrastinators complain that they've suffered with the condition for years and don't have any expectations of living any differently. On the other hand, many persons who accept that they have a lazy-streak often claim that it's not a big an issue for them because their laziness comes and goes over time, depending upon how involved they care to be. A second point is that the procrastinator is puzzled by his errant behavior: "I know I should take care of my needs, and I know what those needs are--so, why don't I take care of them?" Conversely, the lazy person is the first to admit to his situation, because he knows full well that when he needs to act, whether he wants to or not, he will. In addition, many procrastinators find difficulty in keeping track of important future dates, like appointments, even when they may be charged for those missed appointments. Lazy people usually have their needs firmly planted in their mind's eye and rarely, if ever, completely let things go. Lastly, generally speaking, procrastinators can be a glum lot because they constantly carry the burden of all the things they should have taken care of, and they don't trust themselves to "do" any better in the future. In contrast, lazy people have more of a laid-back "I'll get to it," lifestyle. People who are just lazy aren't terribly concerned with their chosen lifestyle because they know that in time they will eventually get to whatever it is, just as they've done many times before.