It’s no secret, I’m a massive fan of TED Talks. So, when I realized I was struggling with anxiety, naturally I started searching TED Talks about anxiety to learn more about this complex condition.
The truth is, while I’ve been wrestling with anxiety for as long as I can remember, I am most certainly not the only one.
Roughly 18% of the adult population in the US have had an anxiety disorder at some stage, making it the most common mental illness, even though only roughly 37% of people get treated.
If you’re in the same boat and are trying to find out as much as you can about anxiety, then this list is a great one to add to your collections of TED Talks.
These talks about anxiety explore the mental health issues around anxiety, and the difficult periods we as human beings and anxiety sufferers go through.
Rather than having you sift through the library of TED Talks, I’ve compiled for you a list of the best TED Talks about anxiety, from all the TED conferences around the world, and have shared them below for you.
(Be sure to save this list for later too so you can come back and watch them anytime you want.)
1 – How To Cope With Anxiety – Olivia Remes TED
Olivia Remes is an anxiety researcher who shares her vision for anxiety treatment and management of this mental health condition.
She talks about the coping resources and skills that can help you take control and lower your anxiety and the studies from the University of Cambridge that support the idea that those with these coping resources have significantly lower instances of anxiety.
The resources she speaks about are feeling like you have control of your life, forgiving yourself, and having a purpose and meaning in life.
Don’t just take that list and run with it – be sure to have a listen to this talk because Olivia dives deeper into each and shares more about each coping resource.
2 – Overcome Anxiety In 7 Minutes – Mel Schwartz
“Anxiety has reached an epidemic level in our society.”
The cause of our anxiety is due to our relationship with our thoughts.
Ask yourself – what causes stress, fear, and anxiety in your life. Does it have something to do with your fear of the future?
Our fear about the unknown, uncertainty about what could happen, our fear-based relationship with our thoughts and feelings of uncertainty fuel our anxiety.
So what do we do about it?
Mel shares ways we can take control of our thoughts and make them our allies instead of allowing them to thrive in the idea of uncertainty.
3 – Breaking The Anxiety Cycle With Kindness – Steven Zanella
In the first two minutes of this talk, I felt like Steven was talking about me.
And with 40 million people in the US having anxiety too, I’m sure there are so many more people out there who can relate as well.
Steven talks about his lifelong struggle with anxiety disorder and how it affected every aspect of his life – as he added new coping mechanisms, they would work for a while, then fail, and he would move on to find more.
It wasn’t until he started ‘parenting himself’ the same way her was parenting his daughter that he started to see improvement.
Rather than allowing his negative thoughts to speak to him and fuel his anxiety, he started talking to himself in a more positive way, the same way he would speak to his daughter if she were ever in the same situation as he was, and he found that through being kind to himself, he was able to start to shift his anxiety.
4 – 3 Ways To Overcome Anxiety – Olivia Remes
Olivia is an expert in anxiety and anxiety disorders and shares her approach to overcoming anxiety.
She shares passionately the importance of moving on from anxiety disorders as those with anxiety are more susceptible to a whole host of other medical conditions (such as stroke, high blood pressure, and other cardiac conditions) for those who say not to worry about anxiety because it won’t hurt you, they’re wrong.
The first way she shares to overcome anxiety is to stop censoring what you say.
If you’ve ever felt anxiety before you’ll know all too well how much you censor what you say, replay over and over again the things you did say, and constantly worry about what others think of what you have said.
The second way is to practice spending time with people who treat you well.
And the thrid I’ll leave for you to listen to as you watch this talk (it’s worth the watch, I promise).
5 – What’s Normal Anxiety – And What’s An Anxiety Disorder – Dr. Jen Gunter
Have you ever thought that anxiety is just all in your head?
Well, you’re not wrong… but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a very real, and very treatable condition.
This talk explains that anxiety disorders are just as real as diabetes, that they are the result of a chemical imbalance and the anxiety we feel is the body’s response to that imbalance. Most importantly, she shares that that there’s no shame in seeking help.
This is such a great explainer of how anxiety works and that it’s not just a matter of calming down and you’ll be fine.
6 – How I Live With High Functioning Anxiety – Jordan Raskopoulos
When I watch TED Talks I often take notes, most often for myself, and sometimes I share these thoughts with you through articles like this.
When I finished watching this TED Talk and I looked down at my note pad I saw I hadn’t written anything.
Not because the talk didn’t have anything to offer – quite the opposite.
It was because I was so captivated by this talk that I couldn’t stop watching to make notes.
So I watched it again, and again, and I relate so much to this talk I absolutely had to share it.
If you’ve ever had someone say to you ‘but you don’t look like you have anxiety’ then this is absolutely for you.
Jordan talks about her high functioning anxiety, which seems like a paradox to her absolute lack of stage fright. She talks about how she struggles most with social situations, avoids talking on the phone, and is oftentimes misunderstood as being rude or arrogant – when really, this is how her anxiety manifests.
This is a great example of the different types of anxiety people experience and is a very personal talk about her own experiences with anxiety.
7 – How To Stop Feeling Anxious About Anxiety – Tim Box
This talk offers a different perspective in that anxiety isn’t an illness but is an emotion, and a necessary one.
Tim is an anxiety awareness expert who talks about how instead of seeing his anxiety as the enemy, and that his mind has turned against him, Tim took steps to take control of his anxiety.
He also suggests that anxiety and feelings of anxiety are a necessary part of life, and that we spend so much time trying to ignore our anxiety, or feeling like there’s something wrong with us, when it’s actually a normal part of who we are.
Tim developed specific coping mechanisms summarised in 3 steps that he believes were effective ways to help him move on from debilitating anxiety:
1 – He refused to believe he was ill, he refused to believe anxious about feeling anxious. That it wasn’t random.
Instead, he paid attention to the things that triggered his anxiety.
2 – He stopped ignoring his anxiety and listened to it, trying to understand what his anxiety was trying to hear.
3 – He stared being kind to himself.
This is a very interesting talk that offers another perspective on anxiety and how we can manage it.
8 – How To Raise Kids Who Can Overcome Anxiety – Anne Marie Albano
As a parent of a child with anxiety, this talk hits me right in the feels.
If you have a child with anxiety (or had anxiety yourself as a child) this is an incredibly interesting TED Talk.
While it’s our natural response to protect our children from being upset and from feelings of being uncomfortable, teaching them how to manage these feelings, take risks and engage (especially in situations where they feel uncomfortable) can actually be more helpful.
The only thing I would add to this is to ensure that you’re engaging in age-appropriate activities – this talk mentions things like ‘self-soothing’ but they aren’t talking about teaching babies to deal with situations on their own, because they aren’t cognitively able to.
Understand what your child is able to achieve cognitively at their age, and use age-appropriate ways to help support them through uncomfortable situations.
9 – The Link Between Inequality And Anxiety – Richard Wilkinson
Richard Wilkinson is a social epidemiologist who studies health and society. He talks about why the global levels of anxiety and depression are so high.
I love learning all about anxiety and this talk offers a different view to anxiety than your normal ‘this is anxiety and this is how to overcome it’ talks (which I also love, by the way).
Whether you’re researching anxiety for the first time, have a long history of experience with anxiety, or are just super obsessed with TED Talks (I totally understand) this collection will be perfect for curious minds.
And if you ever get a chance to attend a local TEDx event, or be part of any of the TED offerings, or even any local events where you get to meet new people, do take up on the opportunity because it really is an amazing environment full of learning and connections (even for those with social anxiety).