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The George Costanza Lifehack for Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

The George Costanza Lifehack for Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

George Costanza

    Despite what you may think, there are lifehacks to be learned from the television show Seinfeld. Take for example the episode “The Opposite”- George Costanza decides that every decision that he has ever made has been wrong, and that his life is the exact opposite of what it should be. George decides to do the opposite of everything he has done before, and great things begin to happen to him:

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    What George inadvertently discovers is Victor Frankl’s lifehack for overcoming fear and anxiety, called paradoxical intention.

    How to use Paradoxical Intention

    If you want to overcome fear and anxiety (including obsessive-compulsiveness and phobias), do the opposite of what you ordinarily do- deliberately wish for that which you fear, in order to remove it. According to patient statistics, paradoxical intention is successful in 80-90% of cases.

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    As fitting with a Seinfeld episode, humor is the key to using paradoxical intention. “The neurotic who learns to laugh at himself may be on the way to self-management, perhaps to cure”, says Godon W. Allport in his book The Individual and His Religion. Unable to maintain your diet due to fear of food binging? Eat as much as you can next week. Unable to fall asleep due to fear of sleeplessness? Try to stay awake as long as possible. The pure absurdity and humor of such suggestions are what allows one to put himself at a distance from his own fear and anxiety.

    How Paradoxical Intention Works

    Frankl says, “as soon as the patient stops fighting his obsessions and instead tries to ridicule them by dealing with them in an ironic way- by applying paradoxical intention- the vicious circle is cut, the symptom diminishes and finally atrophies.” Paradoxical intention seems to reverse the patient’s attitude, taking the wind out of the sails of anxiety.

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    Sweating Out Your Fears

    An example was given in Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning. A young physician who had a fear of perspiring. His anticipatory anxiety of perspiration actually caused him to excessively sweat around certain individuals. Frankl advised the patient to use paradoxical intention, by deliberately showing people how much he could sweat. When the patient tried this, he was able to permanently free himself of a 4-year-old phobia, within one week.

    Paradoxical Intention is Not a Panacea

    If you are fighting anticipatory anxiety, obsessive-compulsive thoughts, or phobias, my suggestion is to give paradoxical intention a try. But if you are having suicidal thoughts, or have a mental disorder such as schizophrenia, paradoxical intention is not a good solution. I’m not an expert on paradoxical intention, and I don’t want to mislead anyone with this post- please do your own research, and talk to a medical professional if your condition is serious.

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    Last Updated on February 11, 2021

    The 20 Most Creative Instagram Accounts That Will Inspire You

    The 20 Most Creative Instagram Accounts That Will Inspire You

    Instagram allows you to see exactly what inspires people and how creativity is drawn from their everyday life. We use Instagram to capture what makes us smile, what brings joy to our life, and what we are passionate about, and the accounts listed below are sure to inspire you in turn.

    Here are our 20 top creative Instagram accounts that you should be following today.

    1. Humans Of New York

    Brandon Stanton walks the streets of New York City taking street photography, and he gets his subjects to open up about life details that even many family members may not know about them. It makes you smile and connect with the images at a new level.

     2.  Paris in Four Months

    Carin Olsson moved to Paris and is documenting every part of her experience, from the macaroons to the Eiffel Tower with all of its shimmering lights. If you want to go to Paris but can’t get there today, Carin will take you.

    3. Civilized Caveman Cooking

    George Bryant offers up more than his love for cooking Paleo cuisine as he shares more about life, joy, and happiness. His coined hashtag is #hugsandbacon.

    4. Andrew Knapp

    Andrew has taken the world by storm with his adorable version of Where’s Waldo? His version is Find Momo, and stars his border collie.

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    5. Idafrosk

    Ida Skivenes has developed a knack for food art. From the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Strawberry Fields Forever, she has recreated it all with food.

    6. GrandmaBetty33

    Grandma Betty is fighting cancer and is inspiring others to smile and be happy in life. She brings a smile to your face instantly and is like having your grandma right beside you.

    7. Maya_on_the_Move

    Tania Ahsan captures the world of her cute bulldog, Maya, on her adventures in New York. Maya makes appearances that will make you smile, laugh, and inspire you to go out and create something special.

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    8. Leoleoparis

    Leo captures the life on the streets of Paris. Most of his work is done in black and white, offering that iconic Parisian look.

    9. Jacob Santiago

    Jacob Santiago creates stunning, vibrant images around New York City, showcasing the architecture and streets. I’m sure you haven’t seen the streets of NYC like this before.

    10. Julie’s Kitchen

    Julie Lee showcases how everyday produce can create colorful art designs. At first glance, you think it is just a design; then, a second take illustrates that it is really fruits and vegetables.

    11. iloveplaymo

    iloveplaymo brings together photography and Playmobil toys in action. The images are up to date with current world events and everyday life.

    12. “Red” Hong Yi

    Red Hong Yi loves to paint without a paintbrush. Her style uses daily items to create lovely images.

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    13. Alexis Diaz

    A breathtaking artist from Puerto Rico who loves to paint murals. Alexis’s work is featured all over the world.

    14. Murad Osmann

    Murad Osmann is a music video producer, but his claim to fame on Instagram has been his photographs with his girlfriend leading him by her hand.

    15. Simone Bramate

    Simone Bramate is a storyteller who just so happens to take delightful photos as well.

    16. Willie Kessel

    Willie Kessel brings beach life right to your smartphone. Amazing surf and lifestyle images that take your mind off of all of the work and stress in your life.

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    17. Nick Ulivieri

    Nick Ulivieri is a talented photographer who loves to capture the windy city of Chicago and skies, especially during storms. His images are gorgeous and make you realize how wonderful life really is.

    18. Jo Jerry

    Jo Jerry’s landscape photos around Santorini, Greece, make you want to book a flight immediately. The bright colors and simplicity in the images make his photos stand out from the rest.

    19. GoPro

    GoPro uses fan-sourced images on their account that are all captured with a GoPro. Creativity to the max is used in these images and range from the grocery store to incredible surf.

    20. Vin Farrell

    Vin Farrell is a creative who works on the agency side for large clients and has a knack for photography. His iPhone captures amazing aerial images around NYC and the world.

    Featured photo credit: Andy via flickr.com

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