Dr. Greg Wells

Be Better Blog

Be Better Blog

Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #64: Dr. Kelly Brogan on Mental Health

May, 23rd 2017

Welcome back! About 1 in 5 people will face a mental health crisis at some point in their lives. Having seen the impact of mental illnesses in families, schools and businesses, mental health is now one of my top priorities. To help shed some light on this topic this week I talk with Dr. Kelly Brogan.

Kelly Brogan, M.D. is a Manhattan-based holistic women’s health psychiatrist, author of the NY Times Bestselling book, A Mind of Your Own, and co-editor of the landmark textbook, Integrative Therapies for Depression. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from MIT in Systems Neuroscience. She is board certified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and integrative holistic medicine, and is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms. She is on the board of GreenMedInfo, Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, Functional Medicine University, Pathways to Family Wellness, NYS Perinatal Association, Mindd Foundation, the peer-reviewed, indexed journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, and the Nicholas Gonzalez Foundation. She is Medical Director for Fearless Parent and a founding member of Health Freedom Action. She is a certified KRI Kundalini Yoga teacher and a mother of two.

Click here to view Dr. Brogan’s full list of credentials.

Her website is http://kellybroganmd.com/.

Her latest book is called A Mind of Your Own. Check it out!

Enjoy the conversation!

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my new book The Ripple Effect you can get it here!

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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Cut your risk of cancer up to 40%

April, 18th 2017

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 39.6% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. The reality of cancer is upsetting, but there is hope. You can cut your cancer risk in half by committing to four important areas.  No magic pills, insane amount of money, or all-consuming regimen.  And, the best news is, you will not only lower your risk of cancer, but also improve your overall health and change your life for the positive.

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The Globe and Mail: Greg Wells on how ‘microchanges’ can make a major difference

April, 4th 2017

Toronto physiologist Greg Wells’s new book, The Ripple Effect, makes lofty promises, pledging that we can Sleep Better, Eat Better, Move Better, Think Better. A superachiever himself (Ironman, PhD, researcher at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Kids and professor at the University of Toronto), Wells nevertheless tempers those assertions by sticking to a simple message in the book, in stores April 4. It’s okay to dream big, but start small. Peppered with “1 per cent tips,” Wells advocates staying focused on micro-improvements (using spices, not sauces, to cut calories; walking 15 minutes a day to potentially lower risk of breast and colon cancer 24 to 40 per cent). “Microchanges are sustainable forever,” he says. “When they add up over time, it’s like compound interest for your body and mind.”

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CTV The Social: How simple lifestyle changes can transform your health for life

April, 4th 2017

You know those days when you don’t get enough sleep, so you decide to skip the gym and then you end up eating nothing but garbage for the rest of the day? We’ve all been there. Greg Wells, author of The Ripple Effect, says there are ways we can make small changes to our sleeping, eating, exercising and thinking habits that can transform our health for life.

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #63: All about The Ripple Effect book on What She Said Radio

April, 4th 2017

In this episode I talk to the wonderful team at What She Said radio about my new book The Ripple Effect! We chat about how to Sleep Better, Eat Better, Move Better,  and Think Better!

Here’s a bit more about the show: Christine Bentley and Kate Wheeler have been trusted news sources for Canadians for decades. They interview people for information not sensation and they let you know why you should care about the topics of the day. Whether it’s finance, family, health, estate planning, tech or sex, drugs and rock n’ roll there’s no topic that’s off limits for What She Said!

If you’re interested in getting a copy of the book you can get it here as of today!!!

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #62: Philip McKernan on discovering who you are meant to be and following your mission in life.

March, 28th 2017

Hello everyone and welcome back! This week I had the chance to talk to Philip McKernan. Philip McKernan is an international speaker, author, filmmaker, and it’s been said, “enlightened hooligan” who coaches entrepreneurs and business leaders all over the world. He’s worked with the Canadian Olympic Team, The Pentagon and has shared the stage with other speakers like the Dalai Lama and Richard Branson. Philip helps those seeking clarity about their future and to move through roadblocks, seen and unseen. His most recent film entitled ‘Give & Grow’ helps people to Uncover, Understand, and Unleash their Gift on the World. This is a wide ranging conversation and we dive deep into motivation, drive, living a great life and taking advantage of the power of dreams!

You can learn all about Philip and his great work on his website: http://philipmckernan.com/

He is also on facebook and twitter.

He also has a site dedicated to his new film Give and Grow that I highly recommend you check out: http://giveandgrow.com/

Philip was kind enough to give the listeners of this podcast free access to the movie: http://giveandgrow.com/free/?ref=bebetter

Film Synopsis

Feel you’re destined for more?

Desire to impact others?

Want more meaning in your life?

Come with us on a journey and discover how.

Many of us move through life executing our talent but not honouring our gift. This film explores the difference between the two on an emotional, mental, and scientific level.

In GIVE & GROW, Philip McKernan takes a group of people to India for a social experiment to see if he can help them uncover their gift, and discover their higher calling.

Their results were stunning.

Now it’s your turn.

I hope you enjoy the conversation!!!

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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The incredible supporters of our research: The Fighting Eagle Memorial Tournament

March, 26th 2017

I am honoured to be partnering again with the Fighting Eagle Memorial Tournament to support our Exercise Medicine Research Program at the Hospital for Sick Children. Here’s a little bit about the research program:

Scientific evidence has linked physical activity and nutrition to a wide array of physical and mental health benefits. Unfortunately, despite this evidence, millions of people in Canada and the World remain essentially sedentary. The problem of sedentary behaviour and its negative impact on health is also a challenge for children with chronic diseases that cause exercise intolerance. The inability to exercise then compounds the impact of the disease itself and can worsen outcomes before during and after the disease runs its course.

The benefit of our research is that new interventions are being created that focus on using physical activity and exercise to improve health in children with chronic diseases. We aim to develop the concept of exercise as medicine and implement this throughout the health care system and the world to first save then improve lives.

The donations and support help us to

– Hire and train researchers and other professionals
– Cover research operating costs (i.e. MRI time, exercise testing)
– Purchase new research equipment

The Fighting Eagle Memorial Tournament is held annually to honour the memory of Alex Shapiro. Check out his story on TSN:

Registration for the 2017 tournament is now open! The 4th annual Alex Shapiro Fighting Eagle Memorial Tournament will be on the last weekend in June 23-25.

Come be a part of an unbelievable weekend of hockey, community spirit, fundraising and most of all, in memory of Alex. This is open to 2001/2002 GTHL/NYHL players.

This year our goal is $30,000 but we hope to raise even more and you can help us reach our goal. Your generosity and contributions will make a difference to SickKids and their patients. The funds raised will go to Dr. Greg Wells’ research into the benefits of physical activity for cancer patients while undergoing treatment.

Play ’til the whistle blows!

To learn more about the tournament, to participate, or to support in any way check out the Tournament website.

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Use Science to Become a Sleep Master

March, 16th 2017

The other day, a friend of mine who used to work crazy hours told me about his desire to become a true Sleep Master. He had at long last accepted the science of sleep, which I talked about a few months ago in this blog. Exhausted all the time, his health and relationships were suffering and he was making a change.

He now knows that sleep reduces the risk factors associated with heart attacks, strokes and cancer, strengthens the immune system, boosts problem-solving and creativity, reduces stress, builds muscle, regulates appetite, and helps us to manage mental and emotional health challenges.

My friend’s understanding of the facts is awesome. And his sleep-wake balance is a lot better. But we then talked about another challenge he faces every night: not getting into bed at the right time to clock 7 to 8 hours of sleep, but falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night.

Sleeping soundly gets harder as we age. You may have noticed that you take longer to drift off or wake up more frequently than when you were younger. With age comes wisdom: we have learned from our mistakes. But with age also comes disrupted sleep, which is the last thing we need to stay healthy, succeed at work and be the best for our families.

So what can you do? Below are three science-based methods to become a true Sleep Master and improve your performance at work, at home and with your loved ones.

Sleep Master Method 1: Defend Your Last Hour

Set up a routine that starts an hour before bed that allows you to decompress and relax. Many of my clients who have trouble staying asleep are the ones who work or manage the household right up until they collapse into bed. You can avoid this by finding a calming activity you love and doing it before bed.

Ideally, stay away from screens like your TV, computer or smart phone. Melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate sleep) is produced by your pineal gland, which is located deep inside your brain and is very sensitive to light. The brightness of screens stimulates your brain and prevents the pineal gland from releasing the melatonin you need to be drowsy. Read a novel, take a bath, listen to relaxing music. Choose low-stress, non-pulsing light activities. You will enjoy that hour immensely and benefit from a regular daily rhythm.

Sleep Master Method 2: Keep Your Sleep Cave Dark

Staying asleep requires a dark room. Really dark. As in, no hall light outside your door, no light in the ensuite bathroom, and no alarm clock beaming from the table beside you. As indicated above, light in our environment signals the brain to wake up. As the sun rises, our melatonin levels drop and we pop out of sleep.

If your sleep cave is not dark enough, your brain is signalled to wake up. If you get up to use the bathroom in the night, turning on any lights will disrupt your rest. Other small changes in your bedroom can make a big difference: get blackout blinds, switch off lights around you, and cover your alarm clock. If you would like to use a nightlight, find one that emits red light in the night and blue light in the morning. Red light stimulates melatonin production (think sunset) and blue light turns it off and wakes you up (natural daylight contains blue light).

Sleep Master Method 3: Be Cool

In the evening, increased melatonin levels in the body cause the blood vessels in the skin to dilate, releasing body heat into the environment. This cooling promotes drowsiness and helps us fall asleep. Basically, a cool environment tells your brain and body it’s time to knock off. So keep your bedroom cool — at about 19 degrees Celsius or 66 degrees Fahrenheit. Being cool should help you stay asleep during the night.

Embracing the science of sleep is one thing. That’s when you accept that sleep is needed to maintain mental, emotional and physical health. Embracing the science of the sleep environment is another. But with the knowledge of both, you’re well on your way to becoming a Sleep Master and living a high-performance life.

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on snapchat, twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to my podcast in iTunes!

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CBC.ca: What you should know about the drug that cost Usain Bolt an Olympic gold

January, 28th 2017

This article originally appeared at CBC.ca. Click here to access the article.

Jamaican teammate Nesta Carter tested positive for methylhexaneamine

By Wendy-Ann Clarke, CBC Sports Posted: Jan 26, 2017 1:19 PM ET

Jamaican sprinter Nesta Carter tested positive for a banned substance, but Usain Bolt is taking the biggest hit.

News broke Wednesday that the Jamaican 4×100-metre relay team that won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics is being stripped of its medal after a re-analysis of Carter’s sample turned up the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine.

The failed test by Carter, who ran the opening leg of the relay, spoiled Bolt’s perfect “triple-triple” record — he won gold in each of his three events at three consecutive Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, the ruling by the International Olympic Committee has raised several questions, including: What is methylhexaneamine? How much might Carter’s use of the drug have affected the results of the race? And is there a chance for a successful appeal?

We went to the experts for some answers.

How does methylhexaneamine work?

Blue Jays star Marcus Stroman, former Jay Chris Colabello, boxer Brandon Rios and South African discus thrower Victor Hogan are among the athletes who have been disciplined for methylhexaneamine use in recent years.

According to Dr. Greg Wells, a kinesiology professor at the University of Toronto, the stimulant is similar in composition to drugs like ephedrine which can be found in a number of over-the-counter medications, as well as in athletic supplements that don’t always list every ingredient on their packaging.

The physiological effects of the drug can be compared to those of a non-drowsy cold formula.

“It feels like you have a bit of adrenaline surging through your body,” says Wells. “The effects of that type of stimulant become especially significant in a sport like track and field where hundredths of a second can make a difference.”

While not to be confused with an anabolic steroid, which causes significant structural changes inside the body, Wells says the stimulant can be dangerous, and can put athletes at an advantage because of its ability to:

open airways in the lungs, making it easier to take in oxygen
narrow blood vessels, which increases blood pressure, helping push oxygen to body tissue cause water to be expelled from the body, which can lead to weight loss

Although stimulants like methylhexaneamine can cause an instantaneous boost, Wells says if the drug was in a supplement Carter was using on a regular basis, “he would incur a consistent advantage in training, meaning he could work harder, more often, more easily, which may be a significant benefit.”

Why did it take so long to catch Carter?

Methylhexaneamine was not specifically named on the banned substance list back in 2008, but being caught using it is still considered a doping infraction because the properties are associated with other substances in the stimulant class.

Paul Melia, president and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, says the creators of designer drugs are always one step ahead of drug detection labs, making the ability to test athletes retroactively very important.

“Designer drugs are created in clandestine labs that have the ability to make changes to the molecular makeup of a drug,” Melia says. “The drug-test laboratories need to know the molecular structure of a banned substance in order to detect it.

“Fortunately, now the IOC is storing samples for up to 10 years, giving we in the lab time to identify these new substances that are coming onto the market. Since 2008, the lab has identified this stimulant, giving us the analytical techniques to detect it.”

Can Carter appeal?

Carter could face a ban of at least two years, which may be a crushing blow to the career of the 31-year-old sprinter.

Melia says that if it can be proven that a drug was deliberately and intentionally used to enhance performance, the sanction can increase to as much as four years. But if Carter can demonstrate that he took the drug unknowingly, his punishment can be argued down to as little as a warning.

As far as Carter’s (and Bolt’s) relay medal goes, Melia says that although Carter will have the opportunity for a hearing to presumably try to reduce his sentencing, it won’t have any impact on the decision to strip the gold from his relay team.

“I think it’s a really powerful deterrent for athletes who might be thinking about using designer drugs that can’t be detected today,” Melia says. “It’s not going to give them much comfort when they hear a story like this that goes right back to 2008.”

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Entrepreneur.com: The Science Behind How Sleep Makes You Smarter

January, 17th 2017

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

A good night’s sleep is the foundation of physical health and mental energy.

I’m a science geek. I like to know why a particular approach to life or technique for success works. Otherwise, I tend to glaze over when faced with another “X Ways to Achieve Y Results” article. In the absence of research or evidence, I’m less likely to pay attention and less motivated to make a change in my life.

Maybe that’s just me. But I’ll assume you’re also a “but how do we know that really matters?” person and lay it out for you — on the subject of sleep.

Sleep is free, available to all, beyond good for us and largely ignored as the foundation of physical health and mental energy. It’s the first thing that gets cut when life is busy and the last thing we add back in when a chunk of time comes our way. But if we were smart, it would be our main priority, and the rest of our lives would be built around it.

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Entrepreneur.com: Are You Single-Tasking Yet?

October, 31st 2016

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

You sure should be. Focusing on one, important item at a time will make you more competent and productive.

What are you doing while you read this? Are you dipping into your email while texting, reading tweets and partly listening at a meeting? Do you have your mobile phone, a desk phone, a tablet and a laptop all on the go at once?

Probably. We all tend to do it, some more often than others. After all, multitasking is the sign of a highly effective and efficient mind — right?

Wrong.

It’s time for a reminder about the power of singletasking.

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Rio 2016: The Science of Michael Phelps

August, 10th 2016

This information first appeared in my book Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes.

Michael Phelps is obviously an incredible athlete, but the adaptations of his body may be even more amazing than his performance. His arm span is 2.03 metres wide, longer than average, giving him a greater distance per stroke. This means he has to take fewer strokes than his competitors, which increases his efficiency and saves energy during races. Height and arm length (unlike waist size) are characteristics that are largely determined by genes, but Michael’s commitment to training has had a powerful long-term effect on his body that is not genetic. Most swimmers at the international level will have a lung capacity that can be as much as two times the amount of a normal person’s lungs. No one has published lung-testing data from Michael Phelps yet, but I’d be willing to bet that his lung capacity is beyond limits even for swimmers. So is Michael a product of genetic talent or consistent training over an extended period of time?

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Rio 2016: The Science of Usain Bolt's Speed - Part 2

August, 10th 2016

This information first appeared in my book Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes.

Here is part 2 of my post on the Science of Usain Bolt!

With the Olympics in Rio underway I thought it would be cool to explore some of the physiology of the most legendary athletes. Usain Bolt certainly fits into this category. He’s aiming for 3 gold medals in 3 consecutive Olympics. Now, while you might normally think that his performance is powered by his muscles (and it is), there is one deeper level of physiology we can explore that will help you to appreciate how incredible his performances are. Let’s take a look at the what happens to the nervous system during the 100 m dash.

Let’s look at Usain Bolt’s world record 9.58-second 100-metre dash. Exploring “the start” is fascinating when we consider the lighting storm of electrical activity involved. There are  two critical stages of the run itself: the acceleration phase and the speed maintenance phase and that is what we will be exploring in this post.

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Rio 2016: The Science of Usain Bolt's Speed - Part 1

August, 8th 2016

This information first appeared in my book Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes.

With the Olympics in Rio underway I thought it would be cool to explore some of the physiology of the most legendary athletes. Usain Bolt certainly fits into this category. He’s aiming for 3 gold medals in 3 consecutive Olympics. Now, while you might normally think that his performance is powered by his muscles (and it is), there is one deeper level of physiology we can explore that will help you to appreciate how incredible his performances are. Let’s take a look at the what happens to the nervous system during the 100 m dash.

Let’s look at Usain Bolt’s world record 9.58-second 100-metre dash. Exploring “the start” is fascinating when we consider the lighting storm of electrical activity involved. There are three steps to the start: the “On Your Mark,” “Get Set” and “Go” steps. Let’s take a look at each of these steps.

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Toronto Star: Ice swimmers defy death for the thrill

August, 3rd 2016

Read article at Toronto Star.com

Ryan Stramrood’s “ice mile’” in sub-zero water off Antarctica set the standard for ice swimming.

As he swam against the current in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean among leopard seals and icebergs, Ryan Stramrood’s body went numb.

He looked down, pulling his arms one stroke at a time through the -1 C water, and he thought about how clear the ocean was that day.

“You don’t want to see very far down. It can be quite eerie,” he said.

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Redbull.com: The Learning Curve Episode 3

July, 25th 2016

On this week’s episode of The Learning Curve, we find Drew Bezanson putting in time at the Joyride 150 bike park warehouse, near Toronto, in Canada. With the mercy of a foam pit, Drew hucks his way to perfection as he prepares for competitive action.

Using the foam pit is key because of how fast I have to learn this stuff. If I was going to do it the old-fashioned way, on a regular jump, we probably wouldn’t be filming right now!

Drew Bezanson

The Learning Curve 3

 

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RedBull.com: The Learning Curve Episode 1

July, 13th 2016

Check out a new web series I’m helping with called The Learning Curve.

In episode one of The Learning Curve, we catch up with Drew Bezanson a few months after his release of Uncontainable.

Still riding the high from the success of the film and his own sense of accomplishment, Drew begins looking towards the next challenge – slopestyle mountain biking – and coming to terms with the uphill battle he’ll face if he wants to shred slopestyle with the best of them.

Here’s Episode 1 “Watch Drew Bezanson’s journey to Joyride begin”.

TheLearningCurveEp1

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Latest fundraising efforts for our research @SickKids

June, 29th 2016

Memorial hockey tournament raises $30,000 for Toronto SickKids in honour of 11-year-old Alex Shapiro, ‘the fighting eagle’.

The Fighting Eagle Memorial hockey tournament raised an estimated $30,000 for The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) over the June 25 and 26 weekend.

Since its inception three years ago, the organizing committee estimates the event has raised $100,000 for SickKids Foundation. The two-day tournament, which brings together players of all skill levels, is held in memory of Alex Shapiro, a son, brother, friend, and loyal teammate of the Toronto Eagle’s Hockey Association. His love of hockey persevered even after he was diagnosed with Undifferentiated Sarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, in the summer of 2012.

As a member of the Toronto Eagles’ Minor Peewee AA team, Alex caught the attention of The Sports Network (TSN) when he was supposed to get chemotherapy, but instead, when there wasn’t a hospital bed available, he went home, grabbed his hockey gear and joined his teammates on the ice to score the first goal of the year. It was on that day that he earned the nicknamed ‘The Fighting Eagle’ (watch the clip here: www.bit.ly/1IoP7L9).

Alex continued to play hockey throughout his treatments any chance he could. In April 2013, his cancer returned and he passed away just two weeks after he played his last hockey game at the age of 11.

Established not only to remember and honour Alex and his love of hockey, friendship and competition, the Fighting Eagle Memorial Tournament also raise funds to support research by Dr. Greg Wells, an Associate Scientist in the Physiology & Experimental Medicine at SickKids. Wells is currently focusing on the benefits of physical activity for cancer patients during and following cancer treatments.

Funds raised will help Wells hire and train researchers and other professionals, cover research operating costs, such as MRI time, exercise testing, and to purchase new research equipment.

To find out more about the tournament and how you can donate, visit www.fightingeagletournament.wordpress.com.

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Entrepreneur.com: The Power of 1 Percent Better

June, 24th 2016

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

One of the best approaches I have seen for achieving a dream is to focus on being 1 percent better.

I work with a lot of incredible athletes, but it isn’t always talent that drives achievement. What sets the best performing athletes apart is their dedication to training at a consistently high level. And among that group, there is a factor that sets even the elite athletes apart: lifestyle.

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Entrepreneur.com: The 3-Step Process for Countering Negativity

June, 8th 2016

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

Running your own business has its fair share of nerve-wracking moments. Some people feel the most anxious and uncertain before they take the entrepreneurial plunge. Do I have a chance of succeeding?

Others come across bumps in the road well after the business is established. Perhaps the market is changing or a fierce competitor arrives on the scene.

It is natural to feel worried or nervous at different times in the life of your business. But it’s another thing to make important decisions from a position of anxiety. The problem with negative emotions is that they’re so powerful, they can dominate our thinking and actions.

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