Anxiety & Buddhism – The Anxious Buddhist

The Anxious BuddhistDownload The Anxious Buddhist (PDF – 1Mb)

Several months ago I started to write a blog article about Anxiety and Buddhism; how buddhism helped me come to terms with my life-long relationship with anxiety. Each time I sat down to write, by the end of the session it never seemed to conclude in a satisfying way. Forty five thousand words later, and now practicing primarily in the Zen tradition, it has become clear to me that I’m writing something that could go on forever!

It is impossible to offer an absolute description of how to overcome anxiety. History has shown that when people try to offer absolute prescriptions for happiness through doctrine or dogma, spiritual or scientific, then suffering has usually followed.Β The most I can do is present my own personal views and findings, and hope that there is enough of my heart in the text to make a connection with yours. If such a connection encourages you to look beyond your present boundaries and undergo some kind of revolution, or breakthrough, then this would be the greatest joy.

p.s. I have tried so hard to make sure there are no typos, but without professional proof reading it is unlikely this is perfect. If you see any obvious errors, please let me know.


22 Responses to Anxiety & Buddhism – The Anxious Buddhist

  1. gawiii June 24, 2013 at 12:14 am #

    hello! i am infinitely grateful to you for publishing this book! thank you very much!

    • steve June 25, 2013 at 9:53 am #

      Thank you so much πŸ™‚

  2. Dave F October 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Have just downloaded the ebook and really looking forward to reading it. Have also really enjoyed reading your website articles… Many thanks!

    • steve December 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

      Thank you David πŸ™‚

  3. John December 1, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    Thanks a lot for providing this great resource for free.

  4. Jenifer February 2, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    Thank you so much for this book! I’ve been suffering with anxiety /agoraphobia/ panic attacks for many many years, and while I consider myself ‘cured’ on a physical level, I still avoid many situations and suffer through the normal anxiety in life, even to the point of bringing back the panic. I’ve read many self help books and noticed that Buddhist principles are often underlying many of their ‘cures’ for panic disorder and so I searched for ‘anxiety and Buddhism’ and came across your PDF!

    Reading it alone has been a remarkably helpful experience, enlightening even! I am already seeing a change in my life, and have sought further information on Zen Buddhism and how to actually ‘practice’ it in my daily life.

    Thank you again for sharing your experience and knowledge, and communicating it so well!

    • steve February 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      Dear Jenifer. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m happy to hear that you are healing your body from the damage that chronic anxiety inflicts. It’s one of the most difficult things to recover from, particularly as you seldom look seriously ill to those around you, and the scars remain invisible. I’m glad you found the book helpful in some way. If you are looking for a beautifully simple introduction on practicing in your daily life (so many books focus on Buddhism – i.e. the theory and scripture – and not so much on how to manage your mind from day to day in practical terms) – then I think “peace is every step” by Thich Nhat Hanh is hard to beat – I also find myself returning to “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki. Both books offer practical advice and observations on mindfulness in everyday life. A lotus for you – a buddha to be πŸ™‚

  5. amoranic January 8, 2015 at 2:03 am #

    I’m anxious to download the book but apparently I don’t have permission. Chrome says : You don’t have permission to access /wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php on this server. While in Firefox a window comes up “A username and password are being requested by The site says: “Administrator Login” asking for a user name and password.

    I have to mention that I’m located in China, some websites seem to specifically block Chinese IPs mistaking them for attacks.

    Anyway, while I’m here I’d like to mention that I enjoy the posts on your website, informative and interesting.

    • steve February 8, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

      Again, apologies for the technical problems! I don’t block countries – just bad robots

  6. Tony January 12, 2015 at 1:43 am #

    I can’t download the pdf, got Forbidden page. Is it removed? May I still get the copy?

    • steve February 8, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

      My bad, Tony – Been so many real life challenges in the past few weeks, it looks like I failed to check this page was still working after some recent back-room tweaks. Please let me know if you have any further problem downloading πŸ™‚ Breathing with you…

  7. Jennifer January 27, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

    How can I download your book? Thank you kindly. Namaste

    • steve February 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

      Dear Jennifer, sorry for the delay in replying – it looks like my recent tweaking managed to break this part of the site – oops! Now fixed πŸ™‚

  8. ask February 22, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    Howdy would you mind letting me know which web host you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet
    browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.
    Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a honest price?

    Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

    • steve February 27, 2015 at 7:11 am #

      I use in the UK – used them for years. A fast blog isn’t just due to the hosting though, make sure you have a good caching setup too πŸ™‚

  9. Paolo March 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    Congratulations for your blog and book. I had browsed your book and I can see very clearly that you know about what you are writing down.

    I had been dealing with anxiety disorders for a long time but only recently I had discovered how buddhism permeates some of the most effective strategies and modern therapies.

    I will follow your blog and read carefully your book!

    Best regards and greetings from Spain!


    • steve May 1, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

      Dear Pablo – thank you very much for your kind words in superb English! Have a wonderful week.

  10. Matthew Alan October 19, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    Hi Steve,

    Thank you infinitely for the wonderful free book. It was one of the best books I’ve ever read! I myself have struggled with anxiety and still do from time to time. I have long been interested in the teachings of Buddha and have read many books on the subject. I believe I have a firm foundation of knowledge and understandings about Buddhism and what its purpose is. I have found it most helpful in my own application to my anxious suffering.

    I struggle sometimes to understand certain concepts and I can get so frustrated with myself that ‘i can’t successfully apply it’ that I become more anxious. This then leads to me becoming ‘lost’ in a maze once more and everything seems so complex. This is often when I lay off the Buddhism and resume life on the other side. This pretty much sums up my life cycles of anxiety.

    This time I’m determined to really stick with the Buddhist way of life and permanently adopt it as a way of living. My problem is, (and with all respect to the Buddhist teachers I’ve had in my life), I’ve have never found a teacher that understands me well enough to guide me on my journey. The ones I’ve had never really understood me when I asked certain questions that often related to my anxious sufferings. The answers I got didn’t really encourage me enough or guide me in the direction I had hoped for….I quickly lost confidence – I think that they didn’t really understand where I was coming from.

    I only hope that one day that I will find a fully understanding teacher who can guide me from time to time. Im a good student and always give my best.Having read your book, I only wish that I had someone like yourself to personally guide me from time to time. Would you be my mentor? I will be happy to pay or donate?

    I understand that your probably extremely busy and I fell rather cheeky to ask, but I thought well I have nothing to lose but perhaps lots to gain.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    All the very best


    • steve February 11, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

      Dear Matthew. High praise indeed – thank you. What you say about the clyclic nature of anxiety, rings true with my own experience. In recent times, my private life has been quite chaotic often having the effect of suppressing my ability to meditate – or at least to meditate in a way that I feel is effective. Turning away from the practice at these times, is probably not a good thing. It’s a bit like trying to lose weight. When the pressure is on, those are the times that you must avoid binge eating – and likewise for anxious Buddhists, when the pressure is on then this is the time that we must forge our practice – not as a chore, but in a way which is kind to ourselves, and most importantly, without any expectation of instant relief – but with the understanding that small, steady persistent steps will help us to transform the patterns of thinking which lead into suffering.

      Of course, as Buddhists we question ourselves so much that sometimes the best thing to do is to just sit still and be quiet πŸ™‚ if I have learnt anything, it is that your practice should fit in with your life regardless of how chaotic it may seem. If you are practising in a way that feels burdensome or difficult to maintain them the wisest course of action is to find a way of practising that works for you. Everybody feels differently, so a one size fits all approach is not always possible.

      Your request for a mentor is touching. I have met certain individuals in my life about whom I have felt the same. However, I could never regard myself as a teacher – no more than anybody else that I meeting my day-to-day life teaches me about the nature of my life. My advice would be to seek out people who are thoughtful and caring (whether or not they are Buddhist) and enjoy heart-to-heart discussions with them. You will often learn more about yourself and life in general through this method than you might in a Buddhist meeting. Although I have not attended my local sangha meeting for some time, I remain in touch with my friends, and still discuss Buddhist topics.

      Please accept my apologies for my extremely slow response. Take care and have a wonderful week.

  11. Leslie September 1, 2016 at 11:44 pm #

    HI ,
    I love your site and the T shirt designs. Was wondering if those images are free to take to put on T-Shirts. Would love to make them for my district.

    Thank you


  12. Jim Aldrich November 28, 2019 at 6:00 am #

    Given the date this was written, I realize that my comments come a bit late. Regardless, I cannot help but to take a moment to applaud you for the fine work done in “The Anxious Buddhist.” Your style is informative while concise. The work you put into this to maintain the heart of traditional Buddhism only serves to strengthen my own path which is that of being an Existential Christian who incorporates traditional Buddhist philosophy in my quest. Thanks again.

  13. steve June 24, 2022 at 7:36 am #

    Oh thank you Lucy, thats very kind. Sorry for my slow response! Hope you have a wonderful year!

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