Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Solution by Lucinda Bassett

You may have heard of Lucinda Bassett and the Midwest Center for Stress and Anxiety. I remember hearing her on radio commercials talking about a book or audio program. You may have seen her infomercial or an appearance on a talk show, notably Oprah.

As you can guess form the name of her business, Bassett focuses on helping people overcome stress, anxiety, and fear. That is the purpose of her book, The Solution.

The first part of The Solution is a description of the problem. Of course, a certain amount of fear, stress, and anxiety are natural. They are our built-in emotional and physical responses to threats in our environment. They become problems when we experience them too often, when they capture us in constrained and unsatisfying lives. The worst part is that much of the fear, anxiety, and stress we experience is our own doing, responses to worries and imagined threats.

Worry turns our imagination into our worst enemy.  We seek out threats, conjure catastrophes, and foresee the worst. Bassett says we can turn this around. We can train ourselves to use our imaginations positively, to seek opportunities, to foresee desirable results. This notion is fundamental to most self-help, but Bassett frames it a little more interestingly. We can worry positively. A great worrier can be a great success.

These worries and the habitual behaviors they trigger, are rooted in a core story. This is another opportunity for reframing. A core story that once lead to defeat and discouragement can become motivation to strive for something better. Exercises in the book guide the reader in discovering his core story.

The second half of the book presents six strategies for dealing with stress and anxiety.
  •  Detachment is about accepting and letting go of things you cannot change, being honest, and holding on to peace.
  • Security is about improving your attitudes and beliefs about money and getting your financial house in order.
  • Good health is important to coping with stress. Diet, exercise and sleep are the keys to good health.
  • Compassion is a potent antidote to anxiety. Show yourself compassions by stopping the negative messages you repeat to yourself and intentionally practice positive self-talk.
  • Reconnects with you dreams and decide what you want, the develop a plan to achieve your goals. Put the plan into action.
  • A balanced life looks different for different people, but balance helps us all feel less anxious. Set your priorities, act on them, and live with purpose in the moment.

The strength of the book is Bassett’s own experience. She is someone who was once hindered by anxiety who has turned her imagination from and enemy to an ally. She reframed her core story from one of loneliness and lack to motivation to have a good life of family and abundance. Bassett also enlivens the book with stories of her clients, popular figures, and historical people.

If you’re interested in this book, you may also be interested in

Bassett, Lucinda. The Solution: Conquer Your Fear, Control Your Future. New York: Sterling, 2011.