Anxiety RX: A Powerful Prescription for Healing Your Worries

Put your worrying mind aside and read Anxiety Rx by Russell Kennedy. If you are like me, you will be a changed person long before you read the last page.

Kennedy is a doctor, neuroscientist, developmental psychologist and a professional stand-up comedian, but his words on these pages are no joke.

I highlighted quotes that caused me to stop, ponder, go back, and read again. One stood out:

“I can tell you from personal experience that believing we will be healed by some doctor, treatment, supplement, patch, drug, psychedelic, guided meditation, yoga nidra, hypnosis, meditation, or therapy is a fool’s errand.”

He is not against these strategies, though. He has tried many of them himself. So what does he propose? He writes that you can best heal anxiety by finding its source: your body, not your mind. When you find yourself in “alarm,” or worrying, go directly to your body, find where the alarm is. Kennedy proposes embracing the child in us. The child who was scarred. He describes a series of methods to connect with the places where our bodies feel the worry and heal the old wounds by being kind to ourselves.

“The leap of faith comes when your adult self opens the chest, pulls out your innocent child self, and fully accepts, embraces, and loves them,” he advises.

The cure is not easy, Kennedy writes. Worry is an addiction, “rewarding you with dopamine each time you do it.” But regular attention to the alarm in your body is the best way out.

Some readers might criticize Anxiety Rx for being repetitive, but I found that quality to be a strength.

Kennedy’s story is personal. His father lived a life of mental illness, eventually committing suicide. The author carries guilt about how he used to feel embarrassed by his dad.

Feel free to share your thoughts about his book here.

Lassen Volcanic National Park: Three Day Hikes

Three day hikes offer something for everyone in Lassen Volcanic National Park, located east of Redding, California. If you start from the north on Highway 89, the 1.7-mile Manzanita Lake Loop is a relaxing warmup. Head south to the other two trails: three-mile Bumpass Hell Trail and the tough, five-mile climb to Lassen Peak, 10,457 feet, and back. The Bumpass trail transports walkers to a boardwalk, which passes through a hydrothermal area. Sue and I walked the lake loop and Bumpass trail in half a day, but decided against tackling the peak in the warm afternoon sun. (I was tempted, though.) Looking for more? The park offers 150 miles of hiking and if you are walking the Pacific Crest Trail, you’ll get fantastic views as you pass through yet another national park. If you’re camping, the Manzanita Lake campground looked great and was still open in mid-October. The three day hikes close sometime in fall until spring. (Thanks to Sue for the photos!)