How to be anxious

Perhaps you’ve heard of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, the Minimalists. I came across an essay of theirs recently called “How to be anxious.” After they set the mood with a black and white picture of a goat (?), they provide a long list of short instructions. I’m gathering my gumption to identify which ones I’m already really good at. Here is their list:


Create less.
Consume more.
Crave nonessentials.
Regard everything as precious.
Refuse to let go.
Stare at the rearview.
Espouse cynicism.
Feign sincerity.
Channel surf.
Watch the news.
Peruse social media.
Inhabit the email inbox.
Focus on productivity.
Compare achievements.
Yearn for success.
Forsake sleep.
Forgo exercise.
Seek quantity.
Disregard quality.
Hide from fear.
Reject help.
Hold grudges.
Flout gratitude.
Ignore friendships.
Expand the to-do list.
Embrace perfectionism.
Stay busy.
Take on debt.
Go to the mall.
Fabricate goals.
Raise expectations.
Lower standards.
Spend more.
Save less.
Rely on handouts.
Shun contribution.
Think only about self.
Ruminate on the unchangeable.
Say yes to everything.


Are there a few on this list that you excel at? Thinking about what to do with that information is a sobering exercise, I’m finding.

The few hyperlinks above are original to the essay, and include a post and a video, both of which are worth your time. You can find more at



While I used their list, I provided my own goat picture. You may have seen these guys with a recipe here and a dance here.


[Image: El Guapo]



4 thoughts on “How to be anxious

  1. Very interesting Lori. I have copied the list and I am going right to work at getting “ungood” at a couple of items on the list. Thanks for always sharing good stuff!
    All the best to you and yours,

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