What does Sam Harris suggest to manage anxiety?

This blog answers questions about: What does Sam Harris suggest to manage anxiety? Does mindfulness help with anxiety? Who is Sam Harris? What are some alternative ways to manage anxiety? What are the therapy options for anxiety?

What does Sam Harris suggest to manage anxiety?

Sam Harris strongly suggests using mindfulness to manage and tackle one’s anxiety. He suggests that one can practice mindfulness through the following steps:

  • Thinking conceptually about the problem
  • Become mindful of the feeling of anxiety
  • Understanding that you aren’t your thoughts

Thinking conceptually about the problem

Sam Harris suggests that when individuals are faced with situations that trigger anxiety it makes it hard for them to address the situation conceptually.

He recommends individuals to think conceptually about the problem as it enables people to understand the various complexities of the situation and come up with solutions to the problem more effectively.

He looks at this conceptual thinking as a skill that is important for every individual to improve their functionality and problem-solving skills.

Conceptual thinkers examine the problem in every way and find out the similarities to situations that they have handled in the past and then come up with a decision to improve their favorable outcome.

Become mindful of the feelings of anxiety

The symptoms of anxiety such as having negative thoughts, trembling, and increased heart rate makes it very difficult for individuals to rationalize a particular situation.

Sam Harris suggests that whenever people are experiencing unpleasant or discomforting sensations our body tries to get away from it.

However, becoming mindful of one’s feelings and the sensation that one is experiencing allows one to eliminate this temporary escape.

By becoming mindful of a particular sensation one can start to recognize them from what they are and acknowledge the fact that they are harmless sensations.

One can completely focus on these sensations by focusing on the rhythm of their breathing. Individuals will realize that focusing on one’s breathing helps to reduce these discomforting sensations that occur during anxiety.

Understanding that you aren’t your thoughts

Sam Harris suggests that individuals must understand and acknowledge the fact that they are not their thoughts. when anxiety strikes an individual and makes a person feel that they are helpless, worthless and bring about all negative emotions and thoughts it leads to a vicious cycle in one’s head.

Sam Harris mentions that if people are ready to let go of these negative thoughts and emotions then anxiety doesn’t last for long.

According to this the negative thought or anxiety is only present in one’s mind as long as they allow it to be. People can use various techniques to stop thinking negatively.

Does mindfulness help with anxiety?

Research indicates that mindfulness helps to reduce anxiety and other mental health conditions such as depression.

Mindfulness provides a path for individuals to respond to stress with absolute awareness of what is happening in the current moment rather than focusing on the future or the past.

Mindfulness can work through several ways to reduce anxiety. It encourages people to accept the emotions that they feel at a given point.

Resulting in individuals being better able to acknowledge, experience, and process their emotions. Mindfulness also motivates individuals to adopt a different perspective that is less anxiety-provoking.

Mindfulness improves our ability to identify sensations in the body and prepare an individual to come themselves down to get rid of these discomforting sensations.

 What are some alternative ways to manage anxiety?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques


Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.



A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy


It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time


Samuel Benjamin Harris is an American philosopher, neuroscientist, and podcast host. His work touches on a wide run of points, counting soundness, religion, morals, free will, neuroscience, contemplation, psychedelics, the reasoning of intellect, legislative issues, fear-based oppression, and counterfeit insights.

His notion of wellbeing is very open-ended. He preaches that people must get their acts together psychologically and socially in a way that they haven’t before.

He also speaks about how to never be anxious again and stay calm in one of his videos.


Frequently asked questions 

What does Sam Harris say about meditation?


Sam Harris believes that the goal of meditation is to uncover a type of well-being that is inherent to the nature of our minds. Therefore, being available in the context of sensation, sound, thoughts, and even sight.

What are the seven steps of meditation?

  • The seven simple steps of meditation are:
  • Sitting upright comfortably
  • Breathe deeply
  • Gently close your eyes
  • Slowly calm your body and notice your sensations
  • Be aware of one’s thoughts
  • Focus on your breathing
  • Gently open your eyes when you are ready

How can one be successful in meditation?

Some steps that individuals can carry out for successful meditation are

  • Don’t worry about clearing your mind
  • Try to stay away from distractions
  • Try to create a relaxing environment
  • Moderate your comfort level
  • Stay physically still
  • Choose and focus on your thoughts.

What is the first stage of meditation?

The first stage of meditation is Dharana which means being able to hold one’s attention onto an object for long periods without distraction.

Is Sam Harris a Buddhist?

Sam Harris is a long-time Buddhist meditation practitioner. He believes that through medication everyone can achieve what is called a shift in perspective to feel connected to spirituality.







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