Before we begin, take a deep breath into your belly using your diaphragm for the count of five and then slowly let it out for the count of eight. Does that help? I don’t know, it never works for me but people swear by it.

Sure you have been up since 3 AM pacing the house, counting the hours before you have to be at the day job you hate where you’ll cry in the bathroom over your lunch break. That doesn’t mean you can’t tell others how to live. Below are some helpful hints for telling other people how to overcome their anxiety when you are barely holding it together yourself.

1. Listicles

Even if you are in the throes of an anxiety attack or the depths of a depressive episode you can come up with eight inane and useless pointers to trick some SEO-optimized outlet to print your words and make it look like you actually have your act together. Honestly, they will probably only read the section headings and move on anyway before the site tells them to turn off their ad-blocker. You can write eight words and then a bunch of filler nonsense.

2. Funny Self-Deprecating Story

Nothing will get you more readers than an embarrassing self-effacing story about your struggle with anxiety. Keep it light and try to slip in a light brag, like about how a PowerPoint presentation went awry at work but you were able to laugh at your mistake and power through. Be careful not to get too real and tell them about how you haven’t eaten in two days and are convinced you have cancer.

3. Book Recommendations

Much like quotes, sentences like, “I highly recommend the book When Panic Attacks (The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy Than Can Change Your Life) by David D. Burns, M.D.,” will make your readers believe that you actually did the exercises recommended in the book, or even finished reading it at all. Try to find unknown, esoteric texts or even make a book up, don’t worry the people reading won’t actually look it up. It’s like it says in Dr. Arturo Becker’s 1969 groundbreaking book Don’t Ask Me, I Only Live Here, “No one is going to call you on it because they don’t want to look stupid if they might be wrong.”

4. Medication

Be careful not to disparage psychotropic drugs but almost make sure to mention that you are not taking any, even if you desperately should be. A solid line like, “There are absolutely people who should be on SSRIs but they just aren’t for me,” should do nicely.

5. Sharing Your Published Article On Social Media

Nothing will give you a temporary serotonin boost than posting that something you wrote got picked up by a random blog, even if they didn’t pay you for it. Watching those Likes and Hearts roll in will be better for your mood than therapy. Of course, when no one actually shares your article you’ll be thrown into a spiral of pity and self-doubt.

6. Sending Link To Your Published Story To Your Parents

Who can’t make it as a writer now, mom and dad?! Your eighteen years of psychological abuse is now going to pay my cell phone bill. This is almost as good as #5, but their passive-aggressive reaction will not be what you were looking for and probably make your anxiety worse.

7. Breathing Exercises

Recommend some breathing exercises that you stole from that meditation app you only use when you are having an anxiety attack. 4-7-8 or 4-4-4 or just throw some random numbers at them and talk about the diaphragm. Hell, start your own meditation podcast. No one will think you have your shit together more than if you tell people you meditate.

Oh shoot, I forgot the arbitrary disclaimer that I am not a licensed therapist and my article should not be construed as psychological counseling. If you feel you need professional guidance, I recommend you make an appointment with a psychologist, completely forget you made that appointment, and then get charged for the session anyway.