The road to success hasn’t been easy for Lucinda Bassett, a self-help author, motivational speaker, keynote presenter and life coach.

Her work focuses on life management and wellness techniques for overcoming anxiety and depression. Her own story of personal transformation starts with overcoming a debilitating anxiety disorder. After discovering the solution to her emotional pain and distress, Bassett was determined to help others do the same. In 1983 she founded the Midwest Center for Stress & Anxiety, the leading provider of self-care, nutritional supplements and personal coaching for people suffering from chronic stress, anxiety and depression.

She has authored four bestselling books and appeared on hundreds of national radio and television programs, including “Oprah” and “The View."

The Malibu Times sat down with Bassett to learn more about her career.

What inspired you to open the Midwest Center for Stress and Anxiety?

I had issues with anxiety and panic attacks when I was younger and went to see our family doctor, Dr. Phil Fisher. He said, “Let’s do something to help you and others.” We started doing outpatient groups and it turned into a program called Attacking Anxiety and Depression. It became very successful and sold all over the world.

You are well known for the “Attacking Anxiety and Depression” program. What was your goal when creating the 15-week workshop?

To help people help themselves overcome depression, fear and anxiety. A lot of people go to doctors and are put on medications and aren’t really getting any better. So I created a self-help program that they could listen to on a CD. It became very successful. I have been on many television shows including AT&T, McDonald’s, LPGA, and the AIDS Foundation, as well as many educational institutions.

What would you say to people who might criticize the program?

I would say talk to the people who have gone through it. I sold the company five years ago and now I do personal coaching for grief, loss, anxiety and depression. I work with individuals doing coaching on really important techniques to help them think proactively instead of reactively. React in a more calm and controlled way. Everybody’s going to go through grief and anxiety at some point in their life. It’s how you handle it that matters.

If you could give one piece of advice only to someone battling depression and anxiety disorder, what would it be and why?

To try really hard to practice being an under-reactor as opposed to being an overreactor. Live one day at a time. Live in the moment. Stop anticipating future things from happening or dwelling on the past. You’ll find you’ll be a lot calmer. Anxiety is worry. And worry is anticipating something from happening in the future. Live in the moment.

When you were 20 years old and battling depression and anxiety, what would you say if someone told you that you would one day end up on “Oprah” for becoming the symbol of hope and strength for millions of people?

I wouldn’t have believed it. Whatever you go through in life that’s been challenging, I try to turn it around and help people. Don’t tell me how to deal with depression unless you’ve gone through it. Instead of whining about it, I turned it around and helped others.

What are some of your hobbies?

I love to write. I’ve written four books. Love to cook. Love to walk my dogs. Love to have people over and entertain at my home. I love doing what I do, coaching people. And I love speaking. I love to get people motivated and wound up about life.

What is your favorite thing about Malibu?

The sense of community. Malibu is an incredible community of people. My husband passed away six years ago and that day 250 people show up at my door for me. Malibu is a very beautiful family community with grounded, good-hearted people who are very protective of the people living in it. I’m very grateful for living here.

How was it having your portrait painted by Johanna Spinks?

Just incredible. She’s an amazing woman. She has a lovely spirit. I’ve never had my portrait painted so I was a little nervous. But when I saw the painting, looking at my eyes and the expression on my face that she captured, she captured my spirit and my soul.

Johanna Spinks paints portraits by commission. Visit johannaspinks.com or call 310.384.7029

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