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Today's Takeaway with Florine Mark

Aug 29, 2022

Dr. Wendy Suzuki, Neuroscientist, Professor, and Dean of the College of Arts & Science at NYU


What do you think of when you hear the word “anxiety?”  Do you get a feeling of heightened alertness and that sense of doom and gloom?  Anxiety is our mind’s internal warning system and it’s often characterized by fear, worry, or feelings of apprehension. When we become aware of feeling anxious, the first thing we want to do is make those uncomfortable feelings go away.  But there are times when anxiety can actually work to our advantage and be a force for success, progress, and positive change in our lives. For example, in an emergency situation, anxiety could help us react faster and protect us from danger. Scientists have found that in certain situations, stress and anxiety can keep us motivated and provide an opportunity for growth or self discovery. In addition, if that sense of anxiety is triggered by worrying about all the things that might go wrong, it could also help you to be more cautious, make better decisions and be better prepared. But there are times when too much anxiety can be crippling and paralyze us with excessive worry and the inability to make a decision or take action. In those instances, our mental stress can actually cause physical symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, eating, or even breathing.  Instead of allowing our anxiety to control us, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could harness those negative feelings and turn them around to work for us?


Last year, Florine interviewed Dr. Wendy Suzuki, a successful author and neuroscientist at New York University.  Her book, Good Anxiety, talks about how to take control of our anxiety.  Dr. Suzuki has appeared on both “Good Morning America” and “CBS This Morning” to discuss how this can benefit us. In the past year, Dr. Suzuki has also become the Dean of NYU’s College of Arts and Sciences. If you would like more helpful tips and suggestions on how you can master your own anxiety, check out Florine’s interview and pick up a copy of the recently released paperback version of Good Anxiety.


What You’ll Hear in This Episode:

  • What is the study of neuroscience?
  • What led Wendy to become a neuroscientist?
  • What is “good anxiety”?
  • What are some examples of good anxiety in everyday life?
  • What is Dr. Suzuki’s #1 tool for calming anxiety?
  • What’s the difference between good anxiety and clinical anxiety?
  • Why are so many more young people experiencing anxiety today?
  • How did COVID increase anxiety?
  • How does Dr. Suzuki control her anxiety?
  • How does music impact anxiety and our brains?
  • Why is suppressing or denying our negative emotions a bad thing?
  • What impact does mindset have on anxiety?
  • What are the top 2 superpowers of anxiety?
  • How has Dr. Suzuki benefited from resilience in her own life?
  • Can grief bring on anxiety?
  • What is tea meditation?

Today’s Takeaway:  

When we’re feeling stressed and anxious, we may want to run away as far as we can from the people or situations that trigger us.  But people who suffer from severe anxiety often become even more vulnerable and anxious when they try to remove their sources of stress.  As humans, we crave connection.  The feeling of being supported and understood is vitally important to our wellbeing.  By isolating, the resulting loneliness may make the situation even worse.  Instead, for these individuals, seeking treatment with a licensed professional is one of the best ways that you can handle your anxiety.  There are so many people available to help us all!  


But for everyday anxiety, when we pay attention to how we feel physically and mentally, we may learn to recognize the situations that typically make us anxious.  Dr. Wendy Suzuki says that instead of allowing anxiety to control us, we might become more emotionally resilient and better able to handle our everyday stress by NOT allowing anxiety to control us.  We may learn to channel those negative emotions in ways that might make us more productive, focused, and creative.  So treat every day as a gift.  Breathe, exercise, meditate, put on music...drink tea!  Do whatever you can to make yourself feel good.  Turn your focus to something positive.  We only live once, so every day should be lived to the fullest potential.  I’m Florine Mark and that’s “Today’s Takeaway.”



  • “The best lectures, the best talks, the best presentations I’ve ever given in my entire career, and I’ve given a lot of them, are the ones where I was a little bit scared…I had those butterflies.” - Dr. Suzuki
  • “My number one go-to tool to calm that anxiety is deep breathing.” - Dr. Suzuki
  • “Deep breathing is activating our natural de-stressing part of the nervous system.” - Dr. Suzuki
  • “I can’t think of a more uncertain situation in my lifetime than COVID.” - Dr. Suzuki
  • “I found myself making friends with my own anxiety.” - Dr. Suzuki
  • “I realized that that feeling of anxiety didn’t evolve in our species just to annoy us.” - Dr. Suzuki
  • “It is useful.  It is protective.” - Dr. Suzuki 
  • “Good anxiety is the understanding that, at its core, anxiety and that underlying physiological stress response is evolutionarily protective for us.  (It is good!  It is actually essential for our survival.)” - Dr. Suzuki 
  • “At its core, anxiety is a particular kind of brain activation.” - Dr. Suzuki 
  • “90% of the American public, before the pandemic, raised their hands and said, ‘I experience anxiety.’” - Dr. Suzuki 
  • “As humans we were not evolved to only live in the happy zone.” - Dr. Suzuki 

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Gardner White Furniture


Mentioned in This Episode: 

Wendy Suzuki

Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion