Best of the Archives: Buddhist Lessons on Anxiety | Leslie Booker

Ten Percent Happier
January 28, 2022
Best of the Archives: Buddhist Lessons on Anxiety | Leslie Booker
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

All week, we’ve been running  “best of” episodes as part of our Taming Anxiety series – and this is the final episode in that series. 

Leslie Booker (who goes by Booker) is one of America’s leading dharma teachers. She’s worked with incarcerated and vulnerable youth, she’s done mindfulness and cognitive-based therapy work on Rikers Island, and she’s written about best practices for teaching yoga in criminal justice settings. She’s a graduate of three different training programs at Spirit Rock, including their four-year Retreat Teacher Training Program.

In this conversation, Booker makes the case that one of the most important, even life-saving, tools when it comes to dealing with anxiety is our ability to connect with other people. And - like the three characteristics, Booker argues that the experience of anxiety is inherently impermanent, unsatisfactory, and unreliable (or, in Pali, it has the characteristics of anicca, dukkha, and anatta). Understanding this fundamental truth, she says, can help us see our anxiety with more clarity, and therefore relate to it more skillfully. Booker also explains why bringing awareness to our bodies can help settle us in our most anxious moments. 

Just a note: This interview was first recorded in May of 2021, so you may hear a few slightly dated references, but the topic of anxiety, for better or worse, is perennially relevant.  

Join Booker next week as we re-launch the Taming Anxiety Challenge, over on the Ten Percent Happier app. To join the Challenge, just download the Ten Percent Happier app today wherever you get your apps or by visiting If you already have the app, just open it up and follow the instructions to join!

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