**Acknowledge Anxiety as Unfocused Fear**: Understand that anxiety is a form of fear that lacks a clear and specific focus, a holdover from instinctual responses that have evolved over time to protect us from danger.
**Focus the Fear**: To counteract this unfocused anxiety, the method involves channelling the fear into specific concerns that you can identify and articulate.
**Write It Down**: When feeling anxious, take a piece of paper and a pencil and write down the top ten things that are causing worry or fear. For each item listed, also write down why it’s concerning and the worst outcome it could lead to, along with any steps that might be taken to address or mitigate the concern.
**Engage the Prefrontal Cortex**: This act of writing and reflecting engages the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for complex behaviours and decision-making. It helps shift control from the reactionary limbic system to a more deliberate and thoughtful part of the brain.
**Create Cognitive Space**: The exercise also serves to create space between immediate emotional reactions and your actions. By slowing down and allowing the prefrontal cortex time to process, you’re better able to choose your responses to emotions rather than reacting impulsively.
**Choose Your Reaction**: Ultimately, the tool empowers you to choose your reactions to emotions like anxiety and fear by engaging in thoughtful deliberation.
In essence, the tool aims to make you happier by allowing you to exert control over your reactions to anxiety, directing the anxious energy into constructive problem-solving, and preventing impulsive decisions that are driven by fear rather than rational thought.