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How to become friends with your anxiety: You Are Not Alone mental health series with 3News' Hollie Strano

These tips come from NYU professor Wendy Suzuki's new book 'Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion.'

CLEVELAND — Everything gets a bit more spooky as Halloween arrives, right? Thanks to a new book, however, your anxiety doesn't have to be one of those things.

Dr. Wendy Suzuki, a professor at New York University, just published Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion, where she talks about regulating and becoming friends with your anxiety. She points out that anxiety is part of our bodies for a reason -- and that's to warn us of things to come.

She writes about how she never saw herself as an anxious person until she talked about it with friends:

My early days of investigating and writing on this subject began in my lab as a neuroscientist at New York University. At the time, I never really thought of myself as an anxious person. That is, until I started to notice the words used by my subjects, friends, lab mem­bers, colleagues and even myself to describe how we were all feeling: worried", "on edge", "stressed out", "distracted", "bored", "pessimistic", "unmotivated", "nervous", "ready to snap" "defensive", "frightened", "unable to sleep." Sound familiar?

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Through her own exploration, Suzuki says not only began to recognize her anxiety, but recognize how to live with it and become less afraid of it. She outlines six "gifts" throughout the book that we can actually use from the feeling. One, being productivity. When you're tossing and turning at night with your long list of things for the next day, writing them down can help turn the anxiety into something constructive.

"The idea is to harness the power of that what-if list and turn it into a to-do list," she says. "So what I do, when it comes up at night as it often does to me, I'm not going to stop that, but I'm going to note all of these things because I am going to address each one of them tomorrow."

Another gift Dr. Suzuki has since recognized is the gift of empathy. In the book she talks about how you can use the fears you have to better understand where others are coming from, and in turn understand yourself better.

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"Here I am, professor of neuroscience, I am in the front of the classroom now, and I realize I always try to come early, stay late and answer those questions for all of those students out there that were too shy to ask in front of the class. That became my super power, of teaching empathy," she says. "I can't think of anything else the world needs now than more empathy."

To help recognize these gifts, Dr. Suzuki recommends starting with deep breathing exercises to regulate your anxiety. From there, you can decide which gift to implement in that certain situation.

You can purchase her book in store and online. To learn more about it and about Dr. Suzuki, click here.

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