363. Worrying Is Optional with Ben Eckstein

If worry is your constant companion, take heart—you’re in good company. Let’s clear something up: worrying is as human as breathing. Everyone does it, and sometimes it even helps. But when worry transforms into a monster that steals your sleep, scrambles your thoughts, and holds your decisions hostage, that’s when we’ve got a problem. If this sounds familiar, you’ll want to hear this conversation with Ben Eckstein where we unpack his book, Worrying Is Optional: Break the Cycle of Anxiety and Rumination That Keeps You Stuck. Tune in to learn how to navigate the cycle of worry and find a balanced approach to life’s uncertainties.

Listen and Learn: 

  • The fundamental distinction between “worry” and “worrying” 
  • How did worrying become part of our human operating system, and when does it stop being helpful?
  • Why don’t our brains dismiss anxiety and focus solely on problem-solving, instead of reinforcing fear patterns?
  • How to master the skills to coexist with anxiety and thrive despite it
  • Unexpected insights from “Legend of Zelda” to explain the nuanced approach needed to treat anxiety
  • The importance of having compassion for the future version of you


About Ben Eckstein

Ben Eckstein, LCSW is a therapist specializing in the treatment of OCD, Anxiety, and OC-Related Disorders.  Ben honed his specialty in OCD while working at McLean Hospital’s OCD Institute in Boston.  He’s now the owner and director of Bull City Anxiety & OCD Treatment Center in Durham, North Carolina.  Ben is the vice president of OCD North Carolina, the NC state affiliate of the International OCD Foundation.  In addition to his clinical work, Ben is a speaker, trainer, and author.  His first book, Worrying is Optional: Break the Cycle of Anxiety and Rumination That Keeps You Stuck, was published in 2023.

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Episode 363