Brand Marketing With Dr. John Tantillo And The Anxiety Toolkit With Dr. Alice Boyes

Forget about the debate speech minutiae. The meteoric rise of political brands like Obama, Trump, and Sanders prove that marketing is the new normal in politics. Sure, communication is still important – but it’s only one part in the political machinery. Marketing satisfies the voter (customer) needs; while branding showcases the personality attributes that get voters to focus on the needs-message. John Tantillo, Ph.D. uses his background in applied research psychology to assess the problems which face businesses and brands, including local/national campaigns. Dr. Tantillo is presently an Opinion Columnist for Newsmax where his column “The Marketing and Branding Lens” analyzes the topics of the day using two essential disciplines. He is also an independent consultant for the NYC Department of Small Business Services.

Self-sabotage in the workplace is a lot more prevalent than you think. It affects people in different ways, whether at work or at home. And for society to recover from self-sabotaging thinking patterns, it needs to assemble a healthy mind toolkit – preferably one that’s prescribed by Alice Boyes, Ph.D. As the author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit and The Anxiety Toolkit, Dr. Boyes helps people learn how to reprogram thinking patterns that often contribute to self-sabotage. She is also a popular blogger for Psychology Today, amassing more than 11 million hits for her articles. Her research has been published by The American Psychological Association. And before making the career change to a writer, Dr. Boyes was a clinical psychologist in her native New Zealand.

TTL 203 | The Anxiety Toolkit

We’ve got an interesting show because we have two PhDs on the show and they both studied psychology but going a little bit in different directions. Dr. John Tantillo is a branding and marketing expert, opinion columnist, and an author. Dr. Alice Boyes is also an author. She’s written The Healthy Mind Toolkit, The Anxiety Toolkit, and she’s a contributing writer for Psychology Today. We’re going to talk about branding, anxiety, self-sabotage, and a lot of interesting topics.

Listen to the podcast here

Brand Marketing With Dr. John Tantillo

I am here with Dr. John Tantillo, who is a branding and marketing expert and independent consultant for the New York City Department of Small Business Services. John is presently an opinion columnist for Newsmax where his column, the Marketing and Branding Lens, analyzes the topics of the day using two essential disciplines. He has worked on local national campaigns. As an applied research psychologist, he uses his background to assess the problems which face businesses and brands. It’s so nice to have you here, John.

Dr. Diane, it’s wonderful to be in the great State of Arizona and the great State of New York. I got family in Arizona in Glendale and I go out there every once in a while.

I was watching some of your videos. You have a lot of personality. I have a good friend who was on the show, Dr. Gilda Carle, who’s from New York. In New York, you guys have a lot of personality and fun going on back there.

It can work for you and against you. In the old days, they would say, “You can’t be too hot. You have to be cool.” You have to be Edward Murrow or Walter Cronkite. You can’t be as animated, but it has changed. The secret in branding is to know your customer and to know who relates to you. Oprah says it right, “Stay in your lane.” No, you’re not going to be able to appeal to everybody. A business friend of mine who is a salesperson once told me, “You got to come to grips. One third of the people you will meet you are going to like you, one third is going to hate you, and one third aren’t going to give a damn one way or the other.” The secret in life is for you to meet as many people as you can, so that the third who will like you will resonate with you. It doesn’t make all mommy’s any happier because they adore us, but nevertheless, this is the reality. In sales, there’s a lot of rejection. You know that. That’s your specialty and you brush yourself off.

It’s really tough. Now, with social media, when you have a third of the people hating you, they can post everywhere how much they hate you.

You got to be tough. You have to believe in yourself. In social media, a lot of people have reservations about it, but you have to embrace it. The secret in social media is not to frontally attack. If you’re going to disagree with someone, disagree in the third person or say, “One would think,” not, “You are,” or “You should,” or “Don’t do this.” That’s where things go awry, and just be aware that today, no matter what you do, you are being watched. I’m not good with this because in New York City, a car almost runs you over. You react to it, “I should’ve never done that.” You never know who’s watching. When I’m in social media mode, what happens is I’m very careful of what I say and how I say it because what I don’t want to do is miscommunicate what my intention is. My intentions generally are to show issues in a fresh new light. That’s the secret. That’s the whole idea. If somebody says or if the gang says, “Something is black,” I might say, “Maybe not. It might be gray.” I guess that’s the teacher in me. I always want there to be a discussion as to what is the best solution.

I teach a lot of ethics courses and I get to do that a lot in those courses because you get very polarized opinions. The teacher in you and your background, you’re a branding expert and you are credited for creating the brand name O’Reilly Factor. You’ve got this background of being on all these great shows. You’ve been on Fox and everything else out there. You’re in the Washington Times, Daily Call, and TALKERS Magazine. You’ve been everywhere, and I want to talk about branding a little bit. How would you define a brand? You mentioned, “Know your customers.” Who’s your customer?

TTL 203 | The Anxiety Toolkit
The Anxiety Toolkit: The secret in life is for you to meet as many people as you can, so that the third who will like you will resonate with you.

I like to read the fine print because it’s bandied about the word ‘brand’ all the time. The way it’s used, it’s a name of something that identifies a product or a service. I like to take that a little bit further. I had this what I call this NAV concept, Noun, Adjective, Verb. A brand is a name, but it’s also an adjective. What comes to mind when I mention Dr. Diane Hamilton? She’s a management specialist. She has a radio show. She has a podcast. She’s the one that brings people together in an intelligent way. Whatever it is, you have to, and I have an expression there, go brand yourself. In three to five words, how would you describe your personal brand or your company?

What does your company do or what needs do your products satisfy to your costumers? The whole idea there is a knowing who your customers are. I have a saying, “You can’t sell meat to vegans.” A lot of people don’t get this. There are some people that just aren’t going to like you or appreciate your brand and that’s okay, move on. Don’t waste your time with people that are going to find fault with you. Engage with people who will appreciate what you do.

You wrote a book, People Buy Brands Not Companies.

I’ll tell you the story about how I wrote that book. It was right around the time when GM was having problems. Some people thought it was going down. My friend from Fox Business says to me, “Doc, is GM going to go down?” I said, “No, Tracy. People buy brands, not companies. People love their Chevys. People love their Cadies. You’re thinking of it from an investor’s perspective.” That’s the problem. In terms of the company, GM made great cars and have individual brands that resonated with customers. She was looking at it as GM financial. She was looking at it from a corporate perspective as opposed to looking at it from a brand perspective. The whole secret with brands is not only about customers, it’s about satisfying benefits or providing benefits to your customers.

When you talk about benefits, it was on your LinkedIn profile. I’ve been in sales for decades and I’m teach sales and all that, you list feature-benefit. I’m going to have to have people look at your profile to teach them.

Being in the business that we’re in, if we go to a cocktail party, we like to self-promote. It’s, “Me, me, me.” The thing is what we should think about, and I have this phrase in marketing, “It’s not about you, it’s about your customer.” You got to take it away from the ‘me’ and to, “Joe Tantillo writes for the Newsmax.” What does that mean? What is that going to do for me? What would it do for me and what it’s going to do for you is give you insight or for you to take a look at something that maybe you haven’t looked at in your business before and give you an added perspective. That’s the reason for being a writer. You have a PhD. What does that mean? That means that I know the methodologies that are going to help you solve problem that you face every day, which we face as entrepreneurs every day. In other words, my suggestion is to take what our features are, “He’s got a PhD in psychology, on marketing, and the rights,” take those features and translate them into benefits because now you’re thinking not about you, but you’re thinking about your customer.

We learned that sales, but most people who aren’t in sales don’t think about that when they go to get a job or different ways of being seen in the world. It’s really important. You’re a branding specialist and you’ve got this background. You have a Wikipedia page, that’s hard to have. Is that a fedora?

Yes, I wear the hat. The reason I wear a hat is it’s ageless. If I don’t wear the hat, I become aged, but when I have the hat, I’m ageless. It’s very strange. Do you know the demographic that I resonate the most with? Under 30. You’d think that it would be people my own age. No, it isn’t. I remind them of their fathers or something, but I go in an airport, I’ll go into Phoenix, and these fifteen-year-olds will come up to me and say, “You look cool. Where did you get that hat?” It’s my secret weapon.

Everybody’s got to have their thing that makes them stand out and their ability to appeal to certain group. You’re pretty known for creating the brand name O’Reilly Factor. I want to know what do you mean when you created that brand name and if he took off with it, can you explain that story?

Bill and I are friends and many, many years ago when I was younger, we would go out. We will go out with a group of guys and gals and he would say to me, “What are we doing tonight?” I would say, “It’s the O’Reilly Factor.” We got to find out what he wants to do because he was always a bigger than life character, and there you have it. He liked it because he then went to Fox and when he went to Fox, they called the show, the O’Reilly Report. He decided, “I’m going to change that,” and he changed it to the O’Reilly Factor. I didn’t name the show. I came up with the name that he used, but it was always a great market tag.

It’s interesting because you’ve been on Fox and different shows and different things associated. I know that there’s lots of controversial things going on with all the politics and the people and the things going on in the news. I watched some of the predictions that you made for Trump and some of the other people in things. Were you surprised by the fact that Trump made it as president because of how he branded himself or did he do a good job branding himself? A bad job? I just like to get your input on that.

First of all, I was totally surprised about Donald Trump. If you take a look at my work, I was always very, very critical of Donald Trump. I was on Fox Radio with the late Alan Colmes and I said that Donald Trump is the greatest promoter since P.T. Barnum. I have to amend that and change it, not to just a promote. A promoter is somebody what I would call a marketing one-note character or one-note musical, because in marketing you have to not only promote, you have to position, there’s so many more things that go on other than the promotion, but I believe what Donald Trump has able to do. He’s brilliant at marketing. I would say he’s brilliant at marketing. “How can you say that when he says all the things that he says?” I said, “You’re missing because you’re not his target market.”

Here we go about branding. He’s not for you. Then the genius would say, “He’s got a pivot.” No, if he pivots, he’s going to lose his people. He’s doing what he’s doing and gradually segmenting the market so that more and more people will appreciate his brand. This fellow, President Trump, is not for all intents and purposes a traditional president. I wrote an article about this in Newsmax. He is what we call an entrepreneur in chief, not the executive in chief, an entrepreneur. If people know anything about entrepreneurs, they’re risk takers. In Washington, you can’t take risks. How can you do that? How can you change the capital of Israel to Jerusalem? You can’t do that. You just can’t. It’s too risky. You can’t be confrontational with North Korea. You just can’t do things like that. There’s a certain way of doing things. With entrepreneurs, the whole idea is to do things so that I get a result. “I’m not worried about the form. I’m worried about the results,” a significant difference between a politician from an entrepreneur or a business person.

The president has evolved into a great marketer and you’re seeing marketing at its best. Say what you want about President Obama, President Obama was a great marketer, too. Just think about what he was able to accomplish. Like I said in a few interviews, we, in politics, are in a different period where I like to say that it’s a new normal in the presidency and a new normal in politics. People today, because of social media, are much more into personalities than they ever were.

You can follow people and find out much more definitely about them. What do you think that Hillary could have done differently to brand herself?

I guess the psychologist is coming out. “I might not be the warmest, but I sure am the most qualified and I can help you.” What was interesting is how Trump played Hillary in the campaign when they said, “I’m with her,” and Trump at the time said, “And I’m with you.” It went wild. I guess she was too cool. She was tool rational. She just didn’t connect. President Trump connects. He’s a connector, as opposed to President Obama was a communicator. There’s a difference. A communicator has a broader range or audience, where a connector is more segmented, and President Trump understands the working man. He is the working man. I was a big fan of Franklin Roosevelt because Franklin Roosevelt understood the people at the time and what was needed at the time. President Trump has that same kind of understanding.

What advice would you give in the next election? Do you think Trump will run again?

I have no doubt about it.

Whoever’s running against Trump, what advice would you give them to stand out?

Satisfy the needs of blue collar people. Talk to them, not at them and not make them feel as if they are not worthy of your vote. That’s what I would say. Talk about issues that are going to resonate.

I just want to know from the branding perspective.

From the branding perspective, they’re missing talking to the needs of the working class. The working class has felt that they have been overlooked. When I talked to my colleagues at Touro College or I talked to people that have graduate degrees, they say, “How can they like that guy?” I said, “Because he’s talking to the people.” How many graduate students are there? How many people in the country have higher degrees? Maybe a million, maybe more than that. Maybe five million. What Donald Trump does and what the Democrats have to do is satisfy the needs of the working-class people, the Trump people that have voted for Trump. It’s going to be very, very hard to do that because they feel that this is crazy, but Trump is one of them.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next election. Normally, I don’t get into too much politics on this show, but you since you talked so much on different shows about that type of thing, I was really interested in your insight and this has been really fascinating. I’m very interested in your writing and I hope your book does amazingly well because people do buy brands and companies and I think that that’s an important thing for people to learn more about. If people wanted to buy your book or find out more about you, how can they reach you?

Just go on Amazon. John Tantillo, People Buy Brands Not Companies, or go to my website, and right on the website is a link. You can hit it and you can buy the book. You can follow me on Twitter, @MarketingDoctor and every day, I have a meme and a today’s meme was, “Don’t let small minds prevent you from making big dreams or completing your dreams.” I do that every day, which gives you some motivation on how to face the world. Don’t worry, we’re all struggling. No matter what you think, everybody’s life has issues that have to be resolved then confronted and overcome.

Thank you so much, Dr. John.

Thank you, Dr. Diane.

You’re welcome.

The Anxiety Toolkit With Dr. Alice Boyes

I am here with Dr. Alice Boyes, who’s the author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit and The Anxiety Toolkit. She’s a popular blogger for Psychology Today where her articles have more than 11 million views and she contributes to various magazines and blogs. Her research has been published by the American Psychological Association and she was a clinical psychologist in her native New Zealand before making the career change to writer. It’s so exciting to have you here, Alice. Welcome.

TTL 203 | The Anxiety Toolkit
The Anxiety Toolkit: The Healthy Mind Toolkit: Simple Strategies to Get Out of Your Own Way and Enjoy Your Life

Thank you very much.

This is going to be interesting because you deal with a lot of psychological issues and I have written my fair share of research on emotional intelligence and different psychological fringe issues in the business world. I’m really fascinated in the work you do. I’m interested in some of the things you write about self-sabotage. A lot of people do that in the working world and their personal lives in different ways, but I’m curious about what you consider self-sabotage and what are some of the common self-sabotaging thinking patterns that people have.

Self-sabotage is about competing in your own way or things that you do that are holding you back. There are lots of common thinking errors that people make that are self-sabotaging. One of the really common ones is when people think, “I can’t do this, and so why?” I can’t go hit that park until I’ve lost weight or something other people do that has causes and consequences. People will say, “When I feel more deserving of pleasure, then I’ll allow myself more pleasure,” without realizing that often behavior is what you need to change first and then your thoughts and feelings will follow. When you allow yourself most pleasure, then you’ll feel more deserving of pleasure. There are all sorts of thinking errors that people get into that are both self-sabotaging and get in the way of overcoming self-sabotage. Patterns of avoidance and procrastination or perfectionism are two particular categories. There are the patterns that are self-sabotaging and then they’d get in the way of people overcoming self-sabotage.

You’re talking about patterns of self-sabotage. We feel like we aren’t deserving of pleasure sometimes. Why would we feel that way?

People will be critical in situations where they feel like they’re not doing enough. People have harsh self-perceptions. Maybe they will often be a workaholic and everyone will fit in as a workaholic, but they’ll see themselves as lazy. Sometimes it’s a case of an accurate perception with people that they’re not deserving of pleasure, even though they actually worked really hard. In other cases, people that just stuck in pits of anxiety-driven avoidance and that’s why they’re not getting much done. Then they get into a denial of binge cycle where they deny themselves until feel worse.

A lot of people probably do that, but a lot of people are overwhelmed because they have so much going on in their lives and they don’t even know how to start to begin with stopping the self-sabotage and they don’t know how to prioritize what’s causing all these issues or what even to begin with first. What kind of advice do you give those people?

I like the phrase, “Too busy chasing cows to build a fence.” You end up at the bottom of the cliff of all of your problems. For example, when people are overwhelmed with too many decisions, they become reluctant to plan. There’s some new research about that. People get exhausted from all this decision making and then they’re too exhausted to plan because both of those cognitive activities take up a huge amount of willpower. Then people get into a state of being really disorganized and in that state of feeling like they’re cleaning up. They’re so caught up beneath this that they’re not able to do that that would improve your workflow, for example. There are ways of getting organized, ways of thinking about the ways you approach your life and how to streamline that, how to make that easier.

That’s the stuff that people don’t have the cognitive energy for when they feel overwhelmed. One of the things that I say is to prioritize with that you can do once that will have an ongoing payoff in terms of your effort and your time. For example, make a backpacking list for travel. Rather than writing a backpacking list every time you go into a trip, that’d basically the same backpacking list. People who are really overwhelmed do all of the time rather than doing that thing that they can do once, they’re thinking about future and have an ongoing effect of reducing the stress over time, so look into those things that you can do. We can do something once, like putting maybe a bill that you need to keep in mind or, “I need to pay that the 20th of every month.” We’ll be putting that on auto pay, that just taking those kinds of things off your mind and when you stop doing that, when you start accumulating those small practical ways, you free yourself up mentally to be able to work on some of the more psychological stuff.

There’s a lot of reinventing the wheel going on in the workplace. I see that kind of thing all the time and I always say, “Create these packing list,” or whatever it is that you need to do certain items. I wish that more employers would do that for every job, have a list for people, so from the last person, because every time somebody comes in, you don’t necessarily have to do things exactly the way somebody else did them, but find the way that works for you and at least you have some strategy or floor plan or something. Look at it if this is how you do things. I don’t think there’s enough of that in the working world. Whenever I’m in a job, I always try to create a handbook of some sort. If in case I ever was not there, somebody could do the job. Do you see that a lot of organizations do this? Is it just my experience has been bad that I’m not seeing this?

One of the things coming from my culture, is that Americans work extremely hard. There’s a lot of what people often refer to as busy work in American culture, so there’s a huge amount of email. What I’ve noticed is that New Zealanders seems to be a few years behind America, so whatever America does, New Zealand starts moving in the same direction a few years after. New Zealand is going in the same direction of getting more email and people being expected to be constantly connected. Americans are extremely hardworking, diligent, conscientious, helpful, friendly, and all of those things, but that cause an awful lot of reinventing the wheel and an awful lot of communicating time sometimes.

There is a lot of reinventing the wheel and it can be frustrating. People don’t know how to fix it. Like you said, there’s a lot of self-sabotage. There’s a lot of things going on that are causing pitfalls for people. Sometimes it’s easier if they feel like they don’t have to do something too much too quickly. When I was teaching my doctoral students, they had to write their dissertation. It was very overwhelming to them to think about writing 100, 200-page document, but if you could think about it in terms of smaller bits, little pieces, “How to eat an elephant, one bite at a time,” kind of thinking. Is there some low hanging fruit that we need to have them to start with to get them to know how to overcome their self-sabotaging and things they can do to feel like they’re accomplishing things?

One of the things that I find really useful is having rules of thumb for decision making. You want to have rules of thumb that help you make decisions and helps you prioritize. Those are beneficial and useful if you’re an overthinker or if you’re prone to anxiety. I have one rule of thumb, “Do a job with $100 or more before any jobs with less than $100.” I apply that generally to my work life and my personal life. Something like, let’s say I bought an item and I need to return it, if that’s an item that costs over $100, it goes in my priority list. If it’s an item that costs less than $100, it’s in the other list. That’s something that I’d always heard about. People talk about how it’s important to value your time. That never worked for me, but when I reframed it slightly to a version that worked for me, then that was one of those light bulb moments where it helps me prioritize so much more clearly. If it means that I don’t have to prioritize in rank order. I can just put them in one category or the other and just start with the one category.

Invariably, I never get to the other category. It’s about developing those rules of thumb for decision making and because decision making is something that drains our willpower so incredibly much, when you have rules of thumb for decision making, you just end up finding that you have so much more willpower and cognitive energy available for everything else. When you do that, you can start getting into and things about your workflow, like making templates, figuring out how you can take it out of your workflow, figuring out tasks that you could batch. Sometimes people will do one, two, three, four, and then again, one, two, three, four rather than don’t get one four times to four times, but when you are overwhelmed and when you’re making decisions constantly, you can get to thinking about that high-level planning and optimizing and reducing the amount of decision making that you do will reallocate to having the energy available for that type of stuff.

It’s interesting how you’ve gotten into this area of how to avoid self-sabotage and a healthy mind and anxiety in all the things you deal with it. You have a PhD, so I’m curious what did you write your dissertation on?

On romantic relationships, on the ways that romantic partners see each other. The idea that romantic partner, they see each other in a biased way, the people will see their partner more than they are or more attractive than they are, but they also know that they do that, so we hold the biased perceptions, but we know that we know that we’re biased.

That’s interesting because you talked about self-sabotage and relationships in your book. Is that from your research?

It’s not directly from my research, but the way that the training in New Zealand is your clinical training in your research training as quite separate. I did my clinical training where I focused a lot on anxiety, depression, eating disorders or this common cold of mental health. I was in a research group for my PhD, which was focused on relationships, and so I had that background as well.

You write quite a bit for Psychology Today. It’s interesting because I wrote for Investopedia for a long time. I know with Investopedia, they wanted us to write about evergreen type stories, top of the news kind of things, forever you could look at and go back to and more of a reference. Is that how Psychology Today is? Is it more lifelong stories that you can go back to and go, “This isn’t for evergreen.”

In Psychology Today, we have almost complete freedom to write what we want and what I can do is write really practical and intended articles. I’ve started how to translate techniques that are used in the therapy clinics, from therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy or the acceptance and commitment and mindfulness-based therapies. There are techniques that are used for clinical problems that clinical anxiety disorders and clinical depression and translate those into more everyday version that people can use for dealing with every day anxiety and stress and those more every day experiences of emotional ups and downs.

Then you have other people who write for Psychology Today that tends to write about new research. A new study will come up that they find interesting and they will write about the study and why it’s interesting. Sometimes people will write an article that they tie to current events that are in the news. Everybody does their own mixture of thing. I’ve been a clinical psychologist in New Zealand in 2013, and since then I’ve been a writer, so I’ve got a couple of books and then I write for various other outlets as well.

That’s a pretty hard way to make a living. Is it really challenging to come up with new topics? I had a hard time coming up with a lot of things when I write for other people’s blogs more, but it was a little easier on my own. You said you get open ideas that you can pretty much share with Psychology Today, which makes it a lot easier. In addition to writing for blogs and magazines, are you looking into more books? You’ve got the ones that you already have. I’m curious what you have scheduled for the future.

The book is The Healthy Mind Toolkit. I’m in the cycle of that where I’m writing for a lot of different platforms, Harvard Business Review or I’m writing paper for lots of different outlets as a way of getting the word out there about that book. I think about the next one. I have been wanting to get this one out into the world for a while. I finished writing it over a year ago, so it’s been an exciting time for it to finally be out there and have to finally talk about some of the ideas that I’ve been pointing out.

TTL 203 | The Anxiety Toolkit
The Anxiety Toolkit: When you allow yourself most pleasure, then you’ll feel more deserving of pleasure.

What are some of the main of The Healthy Mind Toolkit? Is it mostly self-sabotage that you write about or what, what else can people expect to find in the book?

It’s all about self-sabotage. It’s about stopping and getting out of your own way. My book is called The Anxiety Toolkit and that’s strategies for anxiety. My books aim mostly at the anxious overachiever. The Healthy Mind Toolkit is about self-sabotage, but mostly aimed at similar person. The person who’s a perfectionist and that’s critical and overthinks, maybe he’s a taped to match when making decisions, and the certain parts of rumination and their needs to have some strategies to turn the motivation for working hard and thinking hard and making good decisions and strategies to make it more effective rather than them just getting stuck in rumination.

I’ve had other psychologists on who talked about rumination being such a problem. We’re overthinking things. We get a thought in our head and it goes over and over again and you chase your tail. You don’t really get anywhere, but you keep repeating negative things. Is that what that would be?

A good way to think about the distinction of rumination is about the past and worries about the future. They’re worried about you saying things and rumination is where you’re rehashing something that’s already happened. For example, you had an interaction with somebody and they were a bit hostile in the interaction and you’re just replaying that over and over again in terms of like, “Should have, would have, could have” type thinking. The rumination is hugely critical, and avoidance is usually critical. Rumination and avoidance that choke almost everybody up. The trick with rumination are people who ruminate often don’t distinguish between the ruminating and problem solving. People will mentally rehash and rehash them, but the more they think that, the less they actually problem solve.

Let’s say somebody got burgled and they think, “What can I do to stop that happening again?” They feel guilty because maybe they didn’t have security cameras. They think they could’ve done something to help prevent the burglar, but they go over and over all of the different things that they could do, like maybe twenty different options that they could do. None of those would absolutely guarantee them that they would not get burgled again in the future. Because they don’t have that guarantee, that any of them would work and because they’re looking for that guarantee, they’re mentally looking for that, they ended up not doing anything. They’ll think and think about what they could do but then do nothing. That’s a really common thing. Then the other thing is people ruminate on social issues a lot. Situations where people are wondering what other people are thinking of them and they, themselves, ruminate endlessly about those kinds of topics, social anxiety related topic.

How do we stop ourselves from doing that?

There are a bunch of strategies, but one is just do something distracting. Getting on and doing something that gives us the accomplishment is a really good way to combat rumination. When you find yourself ruminating, go and do something simple that something that you would usually put off and it could be as simple as like if you’re someone that end up with old food in your refrigerator and you’re not good at throwing things out, go throw a few things out of your refrigerator.

There are lots of cognitive strategies as well for disrupting rumination. It’s learning to accept that. When someone is strange in an email to you, like they’re usually really friendly in an email and then all of a sudden, you get an email that’s not rude but there’s a tone or something and you go “Why did they become strange? What did I do? What could I have done differently? What should I do now?” All of that that you don’t know and you probably won’t know. My first book, The Anxiety Toolkit, has a lot of strategies for rumination and actually published an excerpt from that book on rumination. If people want to find some really good rumination strategies, they can search my name in and rumination and they’ll come up with an excerpt from that book that has some good strategies.

How did you get involved on Oprah’s site?

That was back in 2015 when my other book came out. It was through the publisher, by Penguin, so they have those kinds of connections that help arranged it.

This has been really helpful. Thank you so much for being on the show. This has been really interesting, Alice. Thank you.

Thank you.

Can you share how people can get your book and your website, anything you’d like to share with people?

The book is available in all the usual places where the books are sold. I have my own website, which is You can sign up to my email list and when you do that, you get my blog articles regularly, but you’ll also get the first chapter of my book. That’s a good way to get an introduction to that. The book is also on the Book Depository, which is a really great site for anyone in overseas because they offer free international shipping to most countries. Everyone I know from New Zealand, for example, tend to order from the Book Depository because it’s a really affordable way to get ahold of my books.

Thank you so much to John and to Alice. What a great show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to

About John Tantillo

TTL 203 | The Anxiety ToolkitJohn Tantillo, Ph.D., is a branding/marketing expert who is an independent consultant for the NYC Department of Small Business Services. Dr. Tantillo is presently an Opinion Columnist for Newsmax where his column “The Marketing and Branding Lens” analyzes the topics of the day using these two essentials disciplines. He has worked on local/national campaigns. As an applied research psychologist, Dr. Tantillo uses his background to assess the problems which face businesses and brands. For Tantillo communication is only one part of understanding the meteoric rise of political brands like Obama, Trump, and Sanders and that marketing is the new normal in politics/life currently. Marketing which is all about satisfying voter (customer) need; while branding is the personality attributes that get voters to focus on the needs-message.

About Alice Boyes

TTL 203 | The Anxiety ToolkitAlice Boyes, Ph.D. is the author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit and The Anxiety Toolkit. She is a popular blogger for Psychology Today, where her articles have more than 11 million views and she contributes to various magazines and blogs. Her research has been published by The American Psychological Association. She was a clinical psychologist in her native New Zealand from 2008 to 2013 before making the career change to a writer.John Tantillo, Ph.D., is a branding/marketing expert who is an independent consultant for the NYC Department of Small Business Services. Dr. Tantillo is presently an Opinion Columnist for Newsmax where his column “The Marketing and Branding Lens” analyzes the topics of the day using these two essentials disciplines. He has worked on local/national campaigns. As an applied research psychologist, Dr. Tantillo uses his background to assess the problems which face businesses and brands. For Tantillo communication is only one part of understanding the meteoric rise of political brands like Obama, Trump, and Sanders and that marketing is the new normal in politics/life currently. Marketing which is all about satisfying voter (customer) need; while branding is the personality attributes that get voters to focus on the needs-message. 

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