In this episode of "On Purpose," Jay Shetty dives deep into a common issue many struggle with – anxiety and worry-filled thoughts.

Acknowledging the pervasiveness of these troubling emotions, Jay emphasizes the need for a strategy to deal with them effectively.

He assures listeners that it is not possible to eradicate such thoughts. However, one can undoubtedly implement strategies to overcome, transform, and break through these emotions.

Living With Anxiety

Jay Shetty addresses this episode to the listeners dealing with anxiety, be it due to waking up anxious, trouble sleeping due to worries, or heightened nerves when around people. Moreover, he acknowledges the sudden and unexpected bouts of anxiety one may experience despite considering themselves generally free from it.

To put the issue into perspective, Jay shares statistics from an article on, revealing that more than 31% of U.S. citizens will experience an anxiety disorder at some point1. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to develop an anxiety disorder.

Jay Shetty emphasizes how anxiety can manifest in physical symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, fatigue, heart palpitations, sweating, upset stomach, or nausea. In his view, even if one perceives themselves as unstressed, their body might be storing anxiety in a way they're unaware of. Therefore, being present in and aware of one's body is crucial.

True and False Worries

Jay Shetty shared with the listeners the difference between true and false worries. He referenced a study from Penn State University2. Participants in the study were instructed to record their worries for ten days and then review them after 30 days to see which worries had materialized. The study revealed that 91% of worries were false alarms. Of the remaining worries that did come true, the outcome was generally better than expected.

Moreover, Jay Shetty highlights the universality of anxiety and worry, their varied manifestations in our lives, and the conclusion that many of our fears never actually come true.

Jay's Anxiety Experience

Jay Shetty shares his own experience with anxiety during his world tour. The anticipation of back-to-back travel and a sense of unfamiliarity with such a new experience triggered anxiety. Despite his extensive experience with public speaking, the anxiety was particularly palpable due to the personalized nature of this tour.

Jay experienced physical symptoms such as a tight chest, which, after medical examination, were determined to be stress-related. This highlights how stress, anxiety, and overwhelm can manifest physically in our bodies. Yet these symptoms are often discounted due to people's tendency to underestimate or perceive these feelings as insignificant.

To help the listeners deal with their own anxiety, Jay put together a list of seven methods to implement on a daily basis.

1. Start Your Day on a Positive Note

Jay Shetty offers a strategy to combat anxiety: controlling the first and last thought of the day. Considering people experience between 60 to 80,000 thoughts daily, of which 80% are repetitive and negative, these thoughts add up to an overwhelming number of uncontrollable thoughts3. This method requires mastering the first and last thoughts and setting a positive tone for the day. By consciously controlling these thoughts, you can influence what happens during the day.

Jay emphasizes avoiding checking your phone immediately upon waking and before sleeping. This limits exposure to external triggers that can lead to anxiety. For instance, checking the news or email first thing in the morning may result in starting the day with a negative or reactive mindset.

Instead, beginning and ending the day with gratitude or an uplifting quote can transform one's day. Jay Shetty also recommends changing the alarm tone to something less jarring, highlighting how an alarming sound triggers fight-or-flight responses. Waking up gently, as if eyes are opening slowly to the room's light, is ideal. Starting the circadian rhythm with natural sunlight is also highly beneficial.

Concluding the day with positivity is equally essential. Reflecting on the day's achievements and expressing gratitude can provide encouragement and acknowledgment, enabling a restful sleep.

2. Breath Work

Jay Shetty emphasizes the importance of breath work in regulating our state of mind. He says, "When you change the pace of your breath, you change the pace of your life."

Our pace of life often mirrors our breathing. When we're rushing or overwhelmed, our breath becomes fast and shallow. On the other hand, when we're calm and in control, our breath is more profound and slower.

Various studies demonstrate the physiological benefits of controlled breathing. Deliberate, relaxed breathing patterns can result in lowered blood pressure and heart rate, reduced levels of stress hormones, and calm the nervous system.

One of the breathwork exercises Jay recommends is "ocean breathing," which involves observing and mimicking the rhythm of ocean waves. For those who prefer to close their eyes, Jay Shetty suggests breathing in for a count of four and exhaling for more than four, which helps to relax the body and slow the heart rate. He pointed to a personal experience when he could maintain calm and serenity in a high-stress environment by consciously controlling his breath.

Breathwork, significantly extended, controlled exhalation, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, counteracting the stress response and promoting feelings of calm and relaxation. Regular practice can effectively help cope with feelings of stress and anxiety.

3. The Power of Scent

The third strategy Jay Shetty advocates for managing stress is harnessing the power of scent, an often underutilized tool in stress management. Odors can send signals to our limbic system, the part of the brain that governs memory and emotion.

According to a study from 2011, certain fragrances that elicit positive emotions can significantly lower stress levels and improve overall mental outlook4. In his personal experience, Jay highlights the strategy of having different scents in different areas of the house to create a varied ambiance. This can be achieved using a diffuser with a few drops of essential oils, instantly transforming a space's environment.

Whether it's the refreshing feel of peppermint oil or the calming influence of lavender or sandalwood, carrying around a favorite scent can help foster a sense of calm in our everyday lives. Jay advises the listeners to find scents that have a calming, energizing, or relaxing effect on them. Understanding and utilizing the power of smell and other strategies, such as controlled breathing and starting the day positively, can provide practical tools for managing stress and anxiety.

4. Listen to Your Favorite Music

Jay Shetty highlights the therapeutic benefits of music, suggesting that it can be an effective stress management tool. Citing a 2016 study that emphasizes the influence of personal music preference in stress reduction, he encourages listeners to create personalized playlists for different moods and situations5.

Moreover, Jay asserts that music, primarily instrumental music, can help align individuals with the pace they want to live, thereby controlling their stress and anxiety.

5. Visualization

Visualization is a crucial strategy for managing stress and preparing for challenging situations. Jay Shetty relates personal visualization experiences, emphasizing their usefulness in rehearsing emotional or complex scenarios. They allow individuals to control their emotional reactions in real situations better. This practice can be beneficial when expecting imperfect or uncomfortable situations.

A study cited by Medical News Today reinforces the efficacy of guided imagery (GI) or visualization in stress management, showing significant improvements in well-being and reducing stress markers6. Jay recommends combining music and visualization for a more immersive and effective experience.

Jay Shetty advises listeners to identify and understand their stress triggers - situations or people that induce anxiety or discomfort. Recognizing these triggers can help individuals manage their reactions better and sometimes limit their exposure to such conditions.

Jay argues that while it's important to have coping mechanisms for unavoidable stress triggers, one should also be aware of more subtle, everyday triggers and manage them effectively. He suggests that if these triggers involve interactions with people, listeners may find revisiting his previous discussion on overcoming people-pleasing tendencies helpful.

6. Journaling

Journaling is an effective way of managing stress and anxiety. By translating thoughts and worries onto paper, the mind can experience a certain level of relief. Doodling, in particular, is a calming activity that soothes the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for the fight-or-flight response linked to stress and anxiety.

Jay Shetty suggests categorizing anxieties and worries into what is controllable and uncontrollable, a strategy derived from Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. By focusing energy on what can be controlled, one can change their overall experience.

7. Expand Your Horizon

Jay Shetty encourages listeners to broaden their knowledge on topics they may be anxious or unsure about. Reading and listening to relevant content can provide new perspectives and tools to tackle these issues.

Furthermore, sharing newfound knowledge and strategies with others can reinforce personal understanding and increase the likelihood of incorporating these practices into your daily routine.

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “7 Steps to Transform An Anxious Mindset & How to Overcome Worry Filled Thoughts” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at

1Bettino, Kate. “Anxiety Facts: All You Need to Know.” PsychCentral (blog), March 30, 2021.
2LaFreniere LS, Newman MG. Exposing Worry's Deceit: Percentage of Untrue Worries in Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment. Behav Ther. 2020 May;51(3):413-423. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2019.07.003 Epub 2019 Jul 17. PMID: 32402257; PMCID: PMC7233480.
3Verma, Prakhar. “Destroy Negativity From Your Mind With This Simple Exercise.” Medium (blog), November 27, 2017.,than%20we%20think%20positive%20thoughts
4Matsunaga M, Isowa T, Yamakawa K, Kawanishi Y, Tsuboi H, Kaneko H, Sadato N, Oshida A, Katayama A, Kashiwagi M, Ohira H. Psychological and physiological responses to odor-evoked autobiographic memory. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2011;32(6):774-80. PMID: 22286798.
5Mornhinweg GC. Effects of music preference and selection on stress reduction. J Holist Nurs. 1992 Jun;10(2):101-9. doi: 10.1177/089801019201000202. PMID: 1301419.
6Nguyen J, Brymer E. Nature-Based Guided Imagery as an Intervention for State Anxiety. Front Psychol. 2018 Oct 2;9:1858. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01858. PMID: 30333777; PMCID: PMC6176042.

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