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Tracy Dennis-Tiwary | Bestselling author of Future Tense | Clinical psychologist and researcher | Digital health technology entrepreneur
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

With stress and burnout spiking, many of us believe that our lives would be better if only we were less anxious. But Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary says our anxiety is actually good for us, even though it feels bad. Anxiety helps us focus, create, and plan for the uncertain future. As a clinical psychologist and author of Future Tense, Tracy argues that we’ve been looking at the anxiety crisis all wrong. In highly practical talks, she provides a radical new framework for managing anxiety—our brains' response to uncertainty—and using it to our advantage. “When we stop rejecting anxiety,” she says, “we will be better able to channel it, manage it, and use it to prioritize what matters to us in life.”

“Tracy Dennis-Tiwary has delivered the riveting read we all need to help us learn to worry well instead of worrying less.”

— Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again

Tracy Dennis-Tiwary is the bestselling author of Future Tense, which offers a revolutionary new way of understanding, managing, and leveraging anxiety. A brilliant psychology and neuroscience professor, Tracy argues that we can’t ever eradicate anxiety completely, and more importantly, that we shouldn’t try to. Anxiety evolved to help us imagine, plan, and prepare for tomorrow—it makes us more future-oriented and persistent so we can chase our goals. If we can learn to experience the healthy aspects of anxiety, and work through the difficult parts, we’ll be better equipped to face our uncertain future with hope, tenacity, and courage.

 

In her book Future Tense: Why Anxiety is Good For You (Even Though it Feels Bad), Tracy makes the case for anxiety: why we need this difficult emotion, how our current view of it is unhelpful, and how we can shift our perspective on anxiety so that we can better use it as the advantage it evolved to be. Tracy draws on real-world stories as well as cutting-edge research to help us adopt a new mindset about anxiety. Future Tense is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to manage anxiety in the workplace, in school, or in the context of digital technology. Angela Duckworth, New York Times bestselling author of Grit, says, “If you’re feeling more anxious than usual and, on top of that, feeling anxious about feeling anxious, then this book is for you. Clear, practical, and incredibly readable!”

 

Tracy is a professor of psychology and neuroscience and director of the Emotion Regulation Lab at Hunter College. She is the founder and CSO of Wise Therapeutics, where she translates neuroscience and cognitive therapy techniques into gamified, clinically validated digital therapeutics for mental health. She has published over 100 scientific articles and delivered over 400 presentations at academic conferences and for corporate clients. She has been featured in a wide range of media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS, CNN, NPR, The Today Show, and Bloomberg Television.

Speech Topics

Mental Health
Flipping the Script on Anxiety Turning Our Most Undervalued Emotion into Our Newest Ally
We tend to think of anxiety as an obstacle at work, assuming that it impedes our focus and productivity. But psychologist and author Tracy Dennis-Tiwary says we’re looking at this all wrong: anxiety is a superpower that we can use to become smarter and more tenacious in the face of challenge.
 
In this talk on anxiety in the context of workplace mental health and burnout, Tracy discusses how our beliefs and discourse about anxiety unintentionally set us up for failure, blocking us from managing anxiety effectively, and preventing us from learning how to leverage anxiety to our advantage. She distills learnings from cutting-edge scientific studies and shares stories from her personal experience as a digital health technology entrepreneur to show how we can create a paradigm shift in our approach to anxiety. She provides practical, actionable advice for “flipping the script” on anxiety, called the FLIP method. 
 
This talk is a must-listen for workers at all levels. You will come away better able to distinguish healthy from unhealthy anxiety, manage and let go of anxiety when it’s getting in the way, and leverage anxiety as an advantage that increases persistence, grit, and creativity.
Happiness & Wellness
The Power of Uncertainty
Uncertainty is the human condition. We can never truly know what the future holds at home or on the world stage. Navigating uncertainty is so crucial to our ability to survive and thrive that the human brain evolved to be an uncertainty detection machine, and we experience stress depending on how much we can predict and control the future.
 
But what if uncertainty wasn’t just something to manage? What if we could leverage our human attunement to uncertainty to be more resilient, gritty, and successful?
 
In this talk, Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, psychologist, researcher, and health tech entrepreneur, details how we can harness uncertainty to make our lives better. First, she distinguishes uncertainty from anxiety, stress, and fear. Next, she shows how our mindset about uncertainty is one of the biggest blockers to using it to our advantage. Finally, she shares actionable strategies for leveraging uncertainty to increase flexibility, innovation, and productivity, a framework called Future Tense Thinking. Applicable to people in all walks of life, this talk will have a particularly powerful impact for those whose lives involve heightened levels of uncertainty, whether in corporate, healthcare, education, policy, or personal contexts.
Grit at School
The Anxiety Paradox Why Helping Kids Feel Bad Can Help Them Feel Good
Educators are at the frontline of kids' struggles with anxiety—whether it's social anxiety, performance anxiety, or just plain feeling overwhelmed. The crisis is only growing—by the time kids turn 18, over 30% of them will have experienced debilitating anxiety. That’s more than 10 million in the United States alone. Isn’t this statistic a clear mandate that we must protect and buffer our youth against anxiety? But this would be a mistake. Research shows that avoiding and "fixing" anxiety-provoking situations may comfort anxious children in the moment, but prevents them from learning to cope in the long run.
 
In this talk on anxiety in the context of education, anxiety researcher and bestselling author Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary discusses new perspectives on child anxiety. She provides a blueprint for how, by challenging our long-held assumptions, we can help kids and teens manage anxiety better, learn from it, and leverage it to their advantage.