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A useful gimmick to apply in our stressed-out society of neurotic overachievers, is to create your own anxiety-free zone whenever you have some spare time to yourself. The idea is to remove yourself, for a set period of time, from all sources of external and internal stimuli that are likely to trigger the slightest hint of unease.

First of all, this requires being by yourself, completely undisturbed by other human beings. Conversation with another is too unpredictable, and even minor facial expressions of a companion might express disapproval or annoyance, etc. Since we don’t want this, invest in some solitude, unplug the phone and don’t answer the door. Television is out of the question, so are newspapers and magazines. Again, these things are too unpredictable – you could see something that immediately worries you, or something that starts a train of thought which leads to depression (no matter how slight). The mainstream journalistic mindset is a toxic mix of dog-eat-dog insecurity, destructive criticism, and the usual corporate pressures. This negativity inevitably infects the resulting newspaper or TV content like a virus – but you may not see it while you are being contaminated. So spending the whole of Sunday reading the newspapers or watching the telly is not a good way to relax.

The best solution for avoiding worrisome external stimuli may seem to be a stroll in the countryside. Unfortunately, this doesn’t solve the problem of internal stimuli, since an unoccupied mind has a 50% probability of ending up in a negative train of thought. Our emotions are bodily reactions to the thoughts we have, so, in order to create an anxiety-free zone, it is a good idea to limit our internal stimuli to only those thoughts that please us. The most effective way to do this for extended periods of time is to read a good book. Any escapist fiction which is unlikely to remind you of any of your problems is recommended for this purpose. Some of the sunny Californian futurist or ‘new age’ type of affirmation books may also be of use, for their optimistic worldview, if you like that sort of thing.

The final ingredient for an anxiety-free zone is plenty of your favourite ‘fun’ food, whether it is doughnuts and fresh coffee, chocolate fudge ice cream, popcorn... you get the idea. Desirable unhealthy antisocial escapes from reality are good for you when indulged in excessively.