Episode 007 - Why am I feeling so anxious and how can I tackle this now
Is it possible to catch anxiety early? The answer is yes, you can can catch anxiety before it becomes overwhelming, all consuming and the consequences kick in.
On episode 007 Dr Ro and Harms put on their group coaching hats and guide you through different stages of anxiety to be aware of and finally solutions to allow you to catch it early:
- How does anxiety play out in our lives?
- How does it show up and impact our lives?
- How can you take back control when anxiety strikes?
- Why it’s important to be aware of anxiety?
- Practical ways to deal with anxiety
All these questions help answer the core topic of this episode, why am I feeling anxious? and how can I tackle it? The full show notes below highlight the processes Dr Ro takes you through in order to take control of your anxiety by slowing everything down. Dr Ro & Harms share various tools to help you tackle anxiety, listen to this week’s episode and use the ones that work for you.
As mentioned in the episode here are some supporting videos by Dr Ro to watch if you have or are facing anxiety:
How to manage stress >>
Anxiety around money? Try this 3 step process >>
How to use powerful mindfulness effectively >>
Why you should meditate >>
Ultimate Guide – How to handle stress – 4 key takeaways >>
Book mentioned in this episode:
Why we sleep: New science on sleep and dreams >>
Please note – Disclaimer – We are not medical professionals and not giving you medical advice. If you are on a type of medication to manage your anxiety. Always consult your doctor first before you practicing some of the tools and techniques we present in this episode/videos.
For a full read of the podcast, here is a full transcript of everything Dr Ro and Harms covered in this episode of the Seekardo Podcast.
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Hello and welcome to the Seekardo podcast it’s Harms here.
And the question we are talking about today is a tough one, it’s a challenging one, but hopefully by the end of the show, by the end of the podcast you have something actionable to take away.
And that question is:
Why am I feeling so anxious and how can I tackle this now?
So that’s the question.
And you’ve got myself and of course Dr Ro online, hi Ro.
Hi Harms, great to be back on and this is a seriously hot topic and I say that in a serious way. It’s not something that is new to the world, but I think it’s becoming more prevalent and people are talking about in a more open way, which is a good thing. Because back in my early days when I was growing up as a young person in the 60s, 70s and 80s people almost tucked anxiety under the table and ignored it and said, don’t worry about it.
But we are talking about it. We here on the Seekardo podcast, let’s bring it on.
Okay, so I totally agree with that Ro and before we get started because we are talking about the topic of anxiety, potentially stress and we are going to be talking about things like meditation etcetera. So just as a disclaimer, we are not medical professionals and please do not treat this as medical advice.
If you are on any type of medication to manage your anxiety or depression or anything similar. Always consult your doctor first before practising some of the tools and techniques that we are going to be talking about on today’s show.
So now that’s out the way Ro I want to kick off with this and just to give it almost a description around the topic of how does anxiety play out. So people can recognise it immediately and I wanted to start with the answer if that’s okay?
Anxiety plays out, if you’re listening to this at home is it plays out in the way of emotional challenges, you’re going to feel emotional challenges around you and internally depending on whatever scenario is going on. And these scenarios can be things like money challenges you could be feeling overwhelmed, you could have a strain on your relationship. There could be a parent-child dynamic, so you could have challenges, either as a parent, or even as a teenager dealing with that scenario. You could have anxiety in and amongst your friendships and you know things like bullying does play a role here as well.
Another two elements could be work issues and also if you’re in school, it could be your teachers. It could be the idea of exams. These are typically how anxiety plays out based on scenarios.
So we are not going to go into the emotional part yet, but Ro would you agree with some of those ways anxiety plays out?
All of them actually Harminder.
I think as we are looking at it, what’s really interesting is the list could be 10 times that if you start to really get subtle on a daily basis. And I know you looking at the list in my mind as you’re reading it out there and I was just picturing it, I know for a fact in the past I’ve experienced each one of those in some way, shape or form. The feeling of anxiety and this is the challenge it’s when do you suddenly call it anxiety. I might have felt a twinge of tightness or something in my stomach in the past and I moved beyond that. There are other times where it’s felt it has really gripped me, almost locked me in my seat. Made me breathe deeper, suddenly feel like I can’t take action.
And when that happens, when I’ve been aware of that. That’s when I know it’s going beyond just a quick emotional response. Now you know this cancerous feeling of anxiety starts to get into your bloodstream, into your nervous system and really locks you down. So I agree with all of those and more.
Okay, so those are like you said, actually they’re quite specific niche topics. And I was watching the video you produced recently on the Seekardo website and you dive deeper. You say anxiety gets to a point of almost critical mass when there is a layer of some of these items. Can you expand on that please.
Yeah the critical mass for me is the feeling of overwhelm. Where it’s gone beyond I’m just anxious about my money challenges or I’m anxious about the situation with my kids at school, that’s one other area, or I’m anxious about work issues. So there’s a slight discomfort, you go into work you’re feeling a bit frustrated, it moves beyond frustration to “oh my gosh how do I deal with this?”
And you can always give it three levels of anxiety. The first level being there is a slight worry there you’re aware of it, but it’s not enough to cause you any major challenges right now. Then there’s another level above that, level two which is essentially where you suddenly realise actually I’m starting to think about this almost every day now. Not all the time, but it’s coming up, when you wake up in the morning, maybe when I’m on the way to work, maybe in my lunch break. I’m relating to this to say that example of the work situation. Or it could be towards the end of the day when you get home at dinner or when you go to sleep. It is not all the time, but it’s coming up.
Then you get this third level where it’s just there present in your mind. It seems to be repeating itself like a movie that has got stuck and it starts to build up. Now individually that situation on it’s own is potentially manageable by most people, not for everybody but by most people. Where the challenge occurs and you made reference to the video, in fact that’s a very good point, I mention this and I go through this process is where you suddenly have not just one thing happening, but multiple things happening.
So for example you realise you’ve got financial difficulties, you’ve not been managing your credit cards properly or you’re late on a mortgage payment. Or you’ve been overspending each month, and somehow you’ve borrowed for the last six, seven to 12 months to make up the extra payments. But now those debts have got to a point where you can’t even afford to pay those debts.
That is getting serious now. You’re getting worried about that but on top of that, you’re suddenly becoming aware that there’s nothing else to pay those debts back. So how do I pay those? My salary has not gone up, and in fact not only that, I’m having challenges at work right now. My boss has put more pressure on me, they want me to do over time, but problem with that is I’m supposed to be looking after the kids on a Saturday and
Sunday during certain periods of time, because my husband or my wife has got something they’re doing and it’s affecting me at home now. So I’ve got problems in my head because when I go home I’m having arguments with my wife or my husband. I’m just switching off in front of the kids they’re talking to me but I keep thinking about the situation with my boss at work putting more pressure on me. And I’ve got these work colleagues who seem to be ganging up. It’s like maybe it’s my mood, maybe it’s my attitude, I don’t know. And I’m a bit worried, actually, because the company is even talking about downsizing and what if I’m on the list of people that are going to be downsized. How do I pay my debts? I am afraid I might lose my job. And on top of all of that there are some challenges at home with my in-laws because we’ve fallen out and my wife really needs some support, or my husband needs some support.
And these things are just layering up and that Harms is when we get to this point of overwhelm.
That’s the third category, where the hell do I start? It’s just complete and utter frustration.
And the other problem on top of all of this is people go on the Internet, they go on to social media, they go onto Instagram. And what do they see? They see frigging people having an amazing lifestyle. They see something on a Facebook page with photographs, “look at me with my kids, look at me and my great job, look at me in my new car, look at me in my new house, look at me on this amazing holiday.”
But what those photographs, those images don’t show is what happened just before that photograph. The argument with the kids, the argument with the wife or husband. The fact that car was borrowed on leveraged money and actually that person is struggling to pay that back. So we start to compare ourselves. This didn’t happen in my day, we talked about this on another podcast I think. Didn’t happen in my day, but I tell you what now you add that to the mix, no wonder people are getting anxious now.
For young people that anxiety is creeping in their teenage years now because they’re comparing themselves constantly against other people. So they’re already thinking they have to have all these things now as a teenager know. No as a teenager you need to be a child, you need to be having fun, just go out and make mistakes.
You don’t have to have everything in your life right now, just go and enjoy these long summer days, go and play in the evenings, go play football, do soccer, basketball, netball whatever it is you want to do. Play tennis. Just enjoy, you don’t have to compete with other people. And sorry I’m having a rant here, but I think what’s happening is young people at an early age are starting to compete just unconsciously. And they’re trying to prove themselves and overloading themselves. Parents are pushing a lot on the kids, after school activities, then you’ve got to take these exams, you’ve got to do these music tests, by the way I want you to learn to sing and tap dance. Johnny’s learned to tap dance; you’ve got to learn to tap dance.
And it just goes on and on and on.
I’m laughing because I thought we would at least go 10 minutes into this before we had a Ro rant. And we haven’t even got to 10 minutes. So, that’s amazing.
I know you’re so passionate about this Ro because you’ve worked with thousands of people, so you see this all the time and we often discuss the impact of social media, so just to quickly encapsulate what I believe you’ve just said there, there’s almost two things happening here.
Number one is everything just seems to be happening to you at once. The whole world is falling apart around you at once and you feel like that’s all on your shoulders, you’re having to deal with all of that internally. So that’s one way this sort of overwhelm can creep up and then there’s almost a second way, which is one thing then leads to another thing, which has a causal effect on the next thing.
So for example you know you’re having a tough time at work like you said, you know your colleagues, there’s a feeling that they’re ganging up on you. So when you get home you’re frustrated and you take that out on your partner, your husband or wife. And, you know because of that the children are looking at you guys thinking, “Oh my god is mum and dad okay, they’re fighting.” Now your kids are a bit wary of your behaviour and attitude, and that’s almost a causal effect and the next thing you know your five stages down the line and it feels like five things are going wrong, when actually the root cause was something at work.
So there’s almost two things that layer up there. So, Ro having worked…
Just on that for a moment when I grew up in the 60s, 70s and going into the 80’s things started to shift. It didn’t feel like, I’m reflecting back and for anyone listening to this and you’re in your 40s, 50s and 60s, it will be interesting to see if you give any feedback listening to this from your experience of that era. Because you’ll be in my generation where things were slower.
I did a bit of meditation last night when I went to bed and it was a Devi prayer meditation. And I was just lying there, all I did was I went back to a point in time when I remember walking and oddly enough it was triggered by me listening to a sting song earlier in the day. Called and fields of gold, if you’ve never heard that song it’s a beautiful song, but I get immediately anchored back to a period when I was walking through fields of just pure barley. There was no noise, no traffic and everything just slowed down. The wind was just blowing in my face and I was calm. And I went to that place last night and I thought, you know what, you don’t really see that anymore. Most of the traffic is just full on, even when you drive by it’s like, that’s a field of whatever. Kids don’t do it, do you have any sense of what I’m talking about there as a millennial? Do you even know what I’m referring to there about just walking through open fields either long grass or barley, wheat where you just reach your hands out, stroke the tops of them. Have some on your face and there’s no distraction. No fucking buzzing in your phone. Nothing.
Do you have any sense of that as a millennial?
I’m sorry Ro, what’s grass? What’s a field of barley?
Okay so in all seriousness, literally we are shooting this podcast in late 2019, approximately a year ago that was the genuine truth. I would be saying 27 years before I’ve ever even experienced an open field where there’s no traffic noise, there’s nothing around. Even the national parks in London, for example, down the south there’s a road you can still hear the car traffic, you can still hear the rumbling of the tyres on the road. Whereas we now live in a small village of about two to 300 people and we are surrounded by pretty much nothing.
So I understand how powerful that feeling is now, but that took me 30 years to actually experience something like that, truly experience it. And we are not talking about a holiday when you’re excited, we are talking about somewhere where there is silence, there is no tourists, there is nobody around. Exactly what you just described there, but I know I did joke about it, but that was up to a year ago that was seriously it.
So I know there’s so many, I mean hundreds of thousands of people who would never have experienced at all what you’ve just explained.
Well the millennials are, I’m just trying to think now are probably the second largest demographic at the moment, possibly second or third sat behind…Well actually okay, so they’re sat behind my generation. So you’ve got the baby boomers, you’ve got generation X and you’ve got the millennials. Soon to be the most dominant group in terms of the ones that are out there. It’s probably going to be generation X, but millennials are big. We are talking millions of people worldwide.
How many of them do you think are genuinely able to switch off from all this noise, the daily pressure, the pressure that’s on them from social media, now wanting to get into the new careers or changing careers. How many of them actually get a chance to disengage from that? What percentage do you think genuinely as a millennial, I know you’re remote from it all now to some extent, but back in that vibe looking around your peer group. What are we talking about? Are we talking 50%, 40%, 30%, 20% that can actually disengage like that?
I think the reality and I mean this is an assumption but it’s more of a feeling is, probably a couple of percent. And that will makes sense because later on in this podcast I’m going to talk about a meditation experience that I went through and the type of people that were there, and the responses I had for going through that process. So that should hopefully make sense of why I personally believe we are talking about a tiny percent.
And to give you some context if you look at the social media tool Facebook, a third of the world’s population is using Facebook and actively using it on a daily basis. That’s a third of the world.
So, what is that? Two to two and a half billion people right now using it?
You’ve nailed it.
You’ve nailed the number.
Roughly two to two and a half billion. There is about 1.9 billion approximate daily users. So when you’ve got one third of the world using a tool which is an example of something that causes anxiety with all this input, overloaded input, then yeah, that’s why I believe it is a tiny percentage of people who are actually have the ability to truly disconnect. And I mean truly.
I know you had a question for me but I need to stay on this point because you’ve raised something. So when you made the move to the area you’re living in right now. What did you notice? Because I remember you sent me a pictures like, oh my god look at what is around me. Now I’ve been fortunate to have that throughout my life. But what did you notice and we are on the subject of anxiety.
What did you notice about your energy, your focus, your sense of vibration in that space? Because in the book Turning Point I wrote back in 2011, I’ve got a whole chapter on this subject, environment. Environment affects how you behave, how you show up, how you operate in the world.
What did you notice about yourself? You and your wife?
You’re spot on in terms of the environmental effects on you know who you are, in terms of who you end up being is massively dependent on your environment. And there are plenty of scientific studies and social studies done on that now. But if you ask me personally, I think it’s just pure calm, it really is pure calm. As an example you know I work from the home office and if I have a feeling of overwhelm knowing that’s almost the first trigger off going down that road of anxiety. I will be straight out there into silence, into the green fields, the cool air. It’s just a different feeling altogether.
So I’d say if I was to describe it with one word, it’s a feeling of calmness.
My experience is it brings you back down to earth literally, and it also puts everything into context. It makes your life, your world in context to everything around you. You’re stood next to a blade of grass blowing in the wind. That blade of grass is part of a field. Human beings are part of a tribe, we are part of a field of human beings. We are just one piece in the whole big puzzle and it kind of makes you feel okay all things will pass, it’s okay. Let me just take a deep breath and then I’m ready to go back in.
That’s the feeling I have.
So on that point Ro I spoke about calm and you spoke about the feeling of being grounded and centred. So that’s the feeling when you’re not anxious.
So I want to ask the question, you’ve worked with thousands of thousands of people and we’ve got a Seekardo meet up coming up soon, and we are going to be working with a whole bunch more people.
The question is:
How does anxiety show up in people’s lives?
How does it impact their life?
How does it manifest itself?
The reason I ask this is because there will be people operating on a daily basis in a state of anxiety, because its has now become the norm. They have now become used to it. But the danger is if you just add another couple of elements of overwhelm on that there will be almost too far down the rabbit hole with anxiety.
We want to get them early.
The whole point of this podcast is if they’re feeling it, we want to get it early.
So the question is how does it show up in people’s lives?
It’s a good question. And the thing is, most people don’t necessarily attach a physical or emotional reaction to the experience of anxiety. So they might be saying, “fuck I feel stressed or I feel anxious”, but not realising all these other things that are going on in their body behind it.
And those things sometimes don’t show up for six, 12, 18, 24 months or longer. And so if you said to me what are these things? Let me try, I’ve got my fingers out in front of me, this shows you the period that I grew up. I’m just going to count these things out. I mean the first thing is sickness. I think most people don’t realise this, but stress levels are triggered by these situations that happen around us. Particularly into an adrenaline burst, we suddenly go into a fight or flight mode and our immune system can very rapidly drop and that comes through the stress reaction of the body.
So people start to get sick, cold, sore throats, feeling drawn, feeling down, feeling energetically low. And of course the problem when people feel stressed they tend to turn to things that are a crutch. So that could be drinking more coffee, more tea, more alcohol for example, those things in themselves in excess certainly again, I’m not a medical practitioner as you’ve said already. But from my experience they tend to lower the immune system.
So what I found is that when people lean on something else like overeating or under eating or whatever it is they do that has a knock-on effect on their body, and that coupled with the stress on the body’s immune system dropping they start to get a physical sickness come into their body. And they sometimes don’t attach the two together.
Other things include just emotional breakdowns, tears. Breaking into tears at random times or trigger words, trigger environments, in front of the kids, in front of your partner. Maybe in the workplace, or maybe you bottle it up in the workplace and then boom you get home or in your car and suddenly tears trigger off. Or you might be watching a movie and just find yourself breaking down into tears and realising that you’re associating with that situation.
Just going to jump in there Ro, if you’ve listened to one of our past podcasts I talk about how I broke down into tears in the workplace many, many years ago and I never connected it. At the time I never connected it. I thought, “oh my god this is happening”. And it just released in the form of tears at the time, so go check that out and you’ll hear about that experience as well.
So Ro you were talking about sadness.
Yeah and it’s a great point.
Sadness and fear, I mean fear is another one that has just come to mind as you’re talking about it, because with the sadness it’s usually linked with a loss or a fear of something. You feel sadness and you fear sadness, or you fear the impact of sadness, “oh my gosh what if this happened?”
So there’s this sickness coming in, emotional tears, there is a heaviness of sadness, you tend to focus on the worst-case scenario and it draws you down. I know this when this has happened to me in the past, particularly if it’s something that is very big. You have to learn to reduce it down and we will come to this in a minute but shrink that feeling down. Because otherwise it just magnifies and it overwhelms you.
The trigger or the reaction to that can be down to anger as you said earlier on. You get angry with your kids, you have pressure from your peer group, I think you mentioned this earlier on in the podcast. And then of course somebody comes home and that is just vented instead of it being emotional tears in the car, you just explode on your wife, or your husband, or your kids. And then that becomes anger.
So even as I’m describing this if you’re noticing these are patterns or are linked, or even several of these happening and you’re aware there is pressure on you, there is no doubt that pressure is having the by-product of that is all these things we are describing here. Rattyness this is a softer version of anger, so you’re short with people.
And I know this.
This is a characteristic my partner has told me on a few occasions in the years that have gone by. If I get ratty it’s usually because I’ve walked in the door and something is bothering me, it’s on my mind or several things. Instead of me leaving it at the door, I’ve brought it through the door and then she says something and I am short with her and she’s like, what’s all that about? And I realise oh my gosh.
And this about being self-conscious, being self-aware, being emotionally developed enough to say, “oh shit I’ve bought all that baggage with me.” So we have to learn to differentiate them.
Ro that’s probably one of the most common ones.
That is probably where it starts out because you know, you don’t necessarily feel sickness, tears, sadness, fear. Because that almost happens down the line, but things like rattyness can happen almost the first day when you have an issue at work, or school, or something with your partner. That is almost the first way you respond in anger, in rattyness, in like “uh”, everything irritates you so quickly and so easily.
So that’s probably a good point if you’re listening to this and you’re actually making notes, at any point you’re feeling ratty, irritated, easily irritable, that’s a starting point.
That’s almost a “oh my God, I don’t want this to escalate let me self-reflect and think about what’s going on.”
That is a great point and actually that rattyness is often just an annoyance, the fact that you haven’t dealt with it and the anger is being reflected internally. You can’t vent it. So guess what, you just vent it to the people that are close to you. The easiest to vent it to. But you really need to do it to your boss but you’re too bloody afraid to do that. So guess what, it comes out somewhere else.
I think that is a great point and as you say, the sickness, the illness that could be two days, three days, two weeks down the line, depending on how consistently you stay in this emotional state of anxiety.
Credit blur is another one where somebody is so anxious about their finances they can’t pick up their bank statements, they can’t look at spreadsheets, they can’t look at their credit card statements. They won’t look at their bank balance and of course it builds up and after two or three months suddenly a letter arrives, saying you’re late on your payments, it’s going to affect your credit. And people get into a complete blur. They stick their head in the sand and that’s another one, it is just putting your head in the sand about anything.
If you start to ignore all these things they’re just going to build up, they’re not going away. You have to learn to just face up to them and we’ve got a few techniques we would like to share with you towards the end of this podcast that I think will really be powerful around that.
Last couple of things that are on my mind whilst we are talking this through are physical outbreaks. And I’ve seen this in people I’ve worked with is, rashes occur, blotches on the skin, spots, dryness of hands, eyes getting dry, dehydration because people don’t drink. They get anxious and don’t drink enough or they drink things that are diuretics, meaning they go through them very quickly like tea and coffee. And so the body reacts and of course when it gets ill, toxicity builds up. It comes out in lots of different ways.
I guess in all of that Harms if somebody gets to a point where they’re at breaking point they will go into isolation, if not before that. In other words they close down. They don’t communicate. They go the opposite way and instead of anger and frustration towards people and other things around them they just lock down. They close down and they going into a little hole, they don’t communicate with other people and that’s a really dark place.
And what worries me is it can happen with teenagers.
And that’s when teenagers start moving towards self-harm because maybe the best thing to do is I’ll just do something before, I become numb before I harm myself, if I cut myself, if I bruise myself. Or I use cigarettes on my skin or pins, or even taking drugs whatever. That self-harm is really a cry for help but they’ve isolated themselves now and they are doing something stupid to themselves. And it’s a growing problem amongst our teenagers.
And for those of you listening at home thinking that’s not happening, Ro I remember we did a closed room event maybe six months ago now. And there was a young lady and she went to a really high-end school and she came out and said to you, how many of her peers… she gave us a number and was frightening.
Out of the small group there was five of them who were self-harming, and this is in a group of 20, 30, 40 girls that she knew. Friends and girls and boys. And when I asked her why she talked about the hours they were working, and I think she was at a boarding school from memory. And they were working long hours after dinner they had to go back and study. Keep studying until nine 9PM, 9.30PM, 10 o’clock at night if they didn’t get results above 70, 75% they were considered to be average. So all of them were pushing themselves and they couldn’t handle the pressure.
Good memory, I remember that.
That’s five young people too many.
And if you think about the reasons that Ro has just suggested, those are all completely avoidable. So I do worry about that as well Ro because you know you do hear the teenager’s who throw strops, I was one of these. Go isolated, but as teenagers, we don’t have a way to process this you know.
So if you’re listening to this and you’re a teenager the reason we’ve listed out all of these elements, like step-by-step from sickness, sadness, fear, rattyness, financial blur, credit blur, the reason we’ve listed those out methodically is because one of those may trigger something for you. You may be like, “actually, I’m feeling that now or I was feeling that last month”, or somebody around me is feeling that.
That’s the reason.
That’s the reason we are listing it out.
And I think if you’re a parent listening to this, that list there needs to be in your mind. You’ve got a great point because this is your chance to stop it early. If something starts to trigger and you see a pattern in it yes, there’s the hormonal changes that happen in young people and the world is changing around them, we know that. I’ve got kids, my ten-year-old I think she thinks she is 15.
So that will happen, but it’s the consistent regular pattern. It’s the change in their natural behaviour patterns and these are a reflection of that. So I think if we can pick it up as you said, people around us, but I’m talking to the parents now, look for it in your kids. Because if we don’t grab it early and show them some tools on how to deal with it, this becomes a serious problem in the future, it really does.
So just to quickly summarise what we’ve spoken about so far, we are tackling the question, why am I feeling so anxious and how can I tackle this right now?
So firstly myself and Ro we’ve talked about how does anxiety play out in people’s lives and that is really situation based. And you know, layering the situations cause a greater level of anxiety in terms of a feeling.
And then secondly we’ve spoken about how does it show up. How does it show up in your life? How does it impact your life and almost how does it manifest it? And that’s the section we’ve just finished.
So Ro now heading over into the third section of today’s podcast.
We just want to quickly talk about, because we are going to present you with some solutions if you’re listening at home. And one of the things we want to make aware is why you should take these solutions seriously.
Why you should almost sit up and listen to what we’re saying when it comes to what we’ve spoken about so far, and what we are going to go into. Because if I just quickly generalise it Ro then you can maybe add some depth to what I’m about to say is the reason you should give this a go, the reason you should maybe pass this on to somebody else, or just like Ro said, be aware of that list of elements so you can immediately spot it.
One this affects you. And if you’re having this feeling, if you don’t tackle this now it just escalates, escalates and escalates. Next thing you know you’re sitting opposite a doctor. So that’s you personally.
Now also if you feel like this the impact of that will affect everybody else. So we spoke about the scenario you come back from work you’re feeling ratty, you take it out on your partner, your kids see that and hang on a minute why is one parent treating the other parent like that. That’s not really fair. Then the parent doesn’t want to speak to the other, one of the children doesn’t want to speak to the parents. Next thing you know you haven’t spoken to your children for two weeks because of the issues at work.
So you not dealing with anxiety does affect everybody else.
So that’s a generalised version of what I really wanted to say Ro, but can you add some more depth to that?
I can but even that alone is sufficient reason if I’m really honest, I think it’s powerful enough. I’m happy to add a bit more to that. I think couple of things that you need to ask yourself number one is:
Because ultimately if you don’t look at these solutions we are offering you, you’ve then got to flip it on its head and say, if I don’t how’s it going to affect me? That’s a question to write down as we are sitting here together around this podcast.
And the other one is if you don’t deal with this now are you being the best you in this state?
Are you showing up on a day-to-day basis as the person that you want to be?
We talk about the Seekardo, the ability to grow in so many different areas of your life, health, relationships, finances spiritually, emotionally, contributory as in giving to a greater cause. But how can you do that if you’re constantly focused in a state of anxiety on something that may or may not be real, or the fears that may or may not be real.
Now some of them may be genuinely real, but we need to manage them. But you can’t manage them if you’re constantly staying in this place because you become less effective.
So, in answer to that question I could almost point you back to all the things that show up as a result of anxiety. But let me just add to it Harms which I think would be useful here.
First of all, think about what you’re going to lose if you don’t find a solution. I think you’re going to lose time; I think you’re going to find sections of time just disappearing a day. “Oh my gosh where has that last hour gone? The last hour I have been going into a dark place, focusing on these problems, not thinking about a solution, but just focusing on the problems. Why did she say this, why did he do that? Why have I not allowed myself to get on top of my finances? Why is it I keep paying every single month but just not paying enough? Why is it I’m not earning more money at work?”
And all these things build up and before you know it, bang an hours gone. Two hours gone. Time with your kids. You start to lose friends.
In a way what we are talking about here are consequences. That is probably a good way to phrase this actually, consequences. So another consequence you are going to lose friends.
Not in the sense that they’re going to suddenly walk away but you’ll find they may not want to go out with you. They may not want to spend time with you. You want to get together for a coffee and they think, “crikey are we going to spend another two hours talking about this bloody problem they keep going on about. They’ve never shown any interest in me in the last two months because all they keep doing is focusing on this problems, problems, problems. And their energy is flat. They seem ill, they seem tired, they’re not the same person I used to know.”
And hopefully a true friend will call you on that, and that’s maybe something we can come towards the end.
You don’t want to become a victim. I know how this feels. I’ve been on both sides of the equation, and most of my life I have been working with other people. But there are times in my history, where something’s happened so emotionally powerful, I went through a divorce. I went through a period where I got disillusioned with my career and all that happened at the same time. I found myself literally living back home with my mum and there was a very short period of a few days where I just emotionally broke down. And this is going back 2 something years now, and I went into complete victim mode. Not like telling everyone I’m a victim but feeling like I was a victim of circumstances and erroneous judgements and all those things I made. And it was a horrible feeling and you can live there and some people do live there for a long time, and with that comes a loss of direction.
That would be probably the other fourth thing I’d say is a complete loss of direction because how can you work purposefully, towards something that you want to aspire to achieve if your head is in a trench digging a hole in a totally different direction? Which is focused on a problem that is not actually moving you towards that future, but just simply taking you down deeper and deeper and deeper. It’s like digging a grave for yourself and it is dangerous. And I have I seen situations where this happens. I know for a fact on a personal level when this has happened it’s not healthy.
I’ve watched people’s relationships break up and I have been fortunate when I’ve done interventional work with them to bring them back together. In fact you were at an event two years ago where we had a couple on stage, you might remember. Where they literally were living in two different places. I brought them onto stage I don’t know if you remember this Harminder but she couldn’t even look at them. And they both were anxious about their own pain. There were both anxious about their lack of connection and all the angry things going on between the two of them. And it had become such a massive thing that, that anxiety was rubbing off on the children. They couldn’t find a way to connect with each other and it was only by getting them to pause in that moment, starting to focus back on ultimately why they got together. Focusing back on the kids and what they loved about each other, did we clear some of that anxiety, pressure and that stress. And we got some direction.
And I don’t know if you remember what happened but there was literally a connection where she was leaning over, looking at him in the eyes and yet for three days prior to that, she hadn’t even been able to do that. In fact months prior to that.
So there’s an example of what can happen if people allow anxiety to overcloud their judgement, lose their sense of direction and sense of purpose.
I don’t know if this is making sense?
Yeah, that makes complete sense.
If you’re listening to this at home Ro is saying simply, if you don’t do this, and by this I mean the things we are going to talk about in the second part of the podcast, there are consequences.
There are negative consequences associated with that and once you then experience those negative consequences, you feel even more anxious, you feel even more anxious you feel even more anxious. It just gets deeper and deeper and deeper.
Soon as you can relate to something we’ve said, as soon as you can say, “oh my god I’ve been feeling sick for way too long. I have spells of sadness.” Soon as you can identify with one of those elements you’re now in a place to work on the solutions.
And like every Seekardo podcast, we give you solutions, we give you actions. So I know this podcast started with a heavy feeling. It started dark, but we are going to be presenting you with a way to refocus your attention now.
I am and I think it’s a good point. Heaviness, it is not intended to be heavy, it’s really just a reality check actually. Because that’s the other thing is that sometime when people are in a state of anxiety they’re just numbed.
A part of I think for me what we’re doing here is just going wake up, it’s okay to be aware of it, but we’ve got to do something about it. Yeah take control.
You just took the words out of my mouth. That’s part of the solution, I’ll certainly like to bring to the table today. So do you want me to kick off with that? I know you’ve got something you’d like to share as well. Do you mind if I start?
So I’ve got two elements and just a quick note for everyone listening at home, we’ve listed out a few things, we’ve thrown some questions and as always, these will be on the Seekardo website as show notes. So www.growthtribes.com and then head over to the podcast section and have a look at the show notes. All of this is listed so if you’re thinking, “oh my God, I’m running, I’m cycling, or I’m going to work and I haven’t had a chance to even process some of this. I connect with this but I need to see this physically.” Head over to the website.
So as always the show notes will be present.
So Ro yes please, if you can kick off with the solutions.
If they’re cycling, running or driving part of this might involve closing your eyes so please don’t do that right now. Anything I describe now If you’re not in a position to do it, don’t do it.
Okay so for me the solution has got three components to it and as you say this is all written down. The first one is if you’re making notes is you’ve got to take back control.
And I’ll come back into this in a minute.
So step one is taking back control.
Previously we have been talking about everything is out of control. You’re feeling lost, confused, feeling angry, frustrated and all the things we described already. Okay, now it’s time to say fuck it. Now it’s time to literally just stick a stake in the ground and say enough is enough. I need to take back control.
And in the process of doing that the second part of the solution is changing the gear in other words, you’re in a runaway state. Literally the car is running away, you now six gears going 100 miles an hour, you can’t process stuff there is too much happening. We need to find a gear that’s going to work for you and literally it’s like in a car you’re going down a hill, and you change down from fifth down to third and the engine going…but you’re forcing the car to slow down.
And that’s the third part of the process.
We change gear but in doing so, the third part is we have to slow everything down, and I mean everything. So if you are making a note of that take back control, change gear, slow down.
Let me see if I can expand on that. Harms can I go into more detail? Just to give them a process.
Yeah please, if you work through the process, then I will talk about my stuff after you’ve walked them through this process. And I agree part of this may require you to close your eyes so definitely be in a place that you can work through this. And even if you’re listening to this you can replay this and work through this process. Just skip to this part come back to this because I have a feeling it’s going to be very powerful.
Yeah, and I think the question I get is, “well I’m not in control.”
Actually you are in control of your mind, your mental state. But if you look at it from a physiological perspective. The one thing that we all have the ability to control is our breathing. You can actually survive for days without water, months without food, but literally only minutes without oxygen our body absolutely needs to breathe. And when I used to run my health events this is one of things we used to talk about is, let’s break down health and vitality into these three areas:
What do we feed ourselves?
What do we give ourselves from a fluid and hydration perspective?
And maybe this is something we can do in a future podcast Harms actually.
And then how do I control my breathing?
And you have absolute control over your breathing, it’s the one thing right now as you’re talking to me you can do. So the problem is when people get into an anxiety state it’s like. They breathe in the top of their chest, our lungs have this amazing bell-shape, pear shape if you like. Where the bottom of the lungs is big there is much more volume there. At the top of the pear, at the top of the lungs there is a smaller volume. So when we breathe in shallow and stress we are only breathing into the top of that bell and it’s like, so we are not giving enough oxygen into a large enough volume of space to be able to get oxygen into the bloodstream.
Whereas if you breathe down into your lungs, not into your chest down into the belly of your lungs, you’re putting a lot more air into a larger volume of space. There is more capillaries there just from by a biological perspective. Those capillaries are just there to take blood in and out, it’s saying to the body we need more air, we need more air. And of course if you’re breathing into the top of your lungs, the bottom of the lungs have got carbon dioxide and it’s like the bloodstream is saying, come on. You get dizzy, that’s why a lot of people get dizzy, you get tingling in your hands, or your fingers get tingly.
So just by slowing down your breathing. I’m in control. I have control of my breathing and just say that to yourself and you take a deep, meaningful, slow breath. There are no rules to this. You can close your eyes if this helps, certainly for me it helps. If you want to put some meditation music on or a tune ideally that is not an upbeat tune. Ideally a tune that doesn’t have words or anything you can attach a meaning to. Because the problem with listening to a song with words is if you hear a word and you happen to be in an emotional state, you can actually apply meaning to those words. Which is why you get emotionally charged if you ever hear a song that links to a breakup in the past, or a financial disaster or at the same time an amazing experience. You hear that song and you go, “oh my god every time I hear that song I feel amazing.”
You need something neutral, something impartial, instrumental so that you can allow your body to go into this deep calm state. And now we are starting to change gear because by breathing slower literally everything, your heartbeat goes from… and now your blood is pulling in oxygen, and your body is going thank you. Just picture yourself sinking down into the seat and allowing yourself to take back control.
And before I go any further are you still with me Harms? You haven’t fallen asleep? Is this making sense to you?
Ro that makes total sense. You can almost feel my voice has slowed down; I was following that process along.
So once we get to this stage, what’s the next step after this?
Okay so remember that at this point I’m trying to move the physiological state to a calmer place because without that we are not going to be able to focus on anything. Now we need to take back control so there’s almost 3 steps within this.
The first step is having slowed everything down I want you to start to look at the situation. So look around you and picture the different components of the stress that you’re in. So you place them in different places. The situation with your boss in one place, situation with your children in another place. Remember you’re almost bringing the image, the movie to a standstill now because we are breathing in such a calm place.
That beat of the heart has gone from…and we are moving the picture of your workmates being frustrated or getting angry with you. We are dealing with the money situation in a different part of your picture, so you’re moving those images to different places.
And then what I want you to do is literally if you can, you can do it two ways. You can either open your eyes, having placed those situations around you with a pen and paper and describe what you’re feeling right now. You’ve got to take that mass of feelings and put it on paper.
For most people, the minute they write something down, it becomes a pressure release. So just taking the words and taking them out your head where they’re jumbled up and you’re feeling stressed and making lots of noise. You capture them on paper and in the process of doing that allow yourself to release them. Every word that falls onto the paper is now not in your head it’s on paper where we can now put it into compartments. We can start to work out a plan and process logically without the emotion of them expanding too much.
So what are you feeling?
What are you focusing on?
This is part of your description. What are you focusing on? “I’m focusing on the fact that my boss is putting more pressure on me. I’m focusing on the fact that my business colleagues, my work colleagues are angry with me. I’m focusing on the fact that my kids are not connected with me.”
Write down specifically what it is you’re focusing on because that is the main problem. Once we have a problem we can work towards a solution but if you don’t have words to describe that problem, how can we work on a solution for it?
So this process allows you to take emotion, identify what you’re focusing on, which is really the main cause of the issue and write down all the feelings that are firing off in your mind associated with this. Anger, frustration, pity, lack of self-worth, confusion, emotional breakdown, feeling energy, feeling sick feeling low, all these things. Capture those words because as you start to look at them what you’ll see there is that most of these are just your imagination. Think of it as a movie if you want to do it to simply, take each one of those images I’ve just described as a movie slowed down. Look at movie number one your boss putting pressure on you, then go through the process I’ve just described there. Okay that’s the end of that movie, put that one aside let’s go to movie number two. “Me and my kids not getting on very well.” Describe that in detail really map it out, put it on paper.
And you know the funny thing is Harms, in the process of doing this for a lot of people when they write it down and I have done this live with people, they go, “oh my gosh I already feel relieved because looking at it on paper, I’m even questioning why am I getting so stressed. This is not as bad as I thought it was.”
Because it’s in front of them, instead of a whole bunch of movies running parallel to each other. Is this making sense?
It’s almost the process of downloading all of this stuff that’s in your mind.
Yes, yes, yes.
Downloading it onto paper and suddenly your mind is clear and you can be like, okay, I can actually see everything that was in my mind for the last two weeks, two months, six months. Whatever the scenario was. So it’s almost a download.
Yes, and in the process of downloading you’ve taken it from the cloud and now it’s down where you can start to organise it.
Okay so, that takes me into the third part of this process. The first part is describing it. What you’re feeling right now. Then part two is what are you focusing on, write this down, capture what you are focusing on. What things are causing you the most pain.
The third thing is what is your greatest fear?
So just in that process. This is step one by the way. So step one a,b,c, what you’re feeling, what you’re focusing on, what’s your greatest fear?
I’ll say that again slowly.
Step one is the download capturing what you’re focusing on, what you’re feeling and what’s your greatest fear. Just get that out on paper, just download it. The second step in this three-part process is then logically, how do you perceive this? What is actually happening?
Now that’s what you’ve described. But what is actually happening, word for word. And simplify it. “My boss is asking me to work weekends.” That is it. Simple statement, it’s a fact. Don’t see it worse that it is, better than it is, just as it is.
“He has asked me to work weekends. Actually, it’s Saturdays.” That’s the fact. There’s nothing else.
Kids. “My kids want more time with me.” That is it nothing else. That’s really what they want. You’ve just blown this way out of proportion.
“My workmates are getting frustrated with me.” Okay great let’s find out what they are getting frustrated about. That is it.
“I have not paid my credit card for the last two months.” That is it, boom, statement. So now we’ve taken a massive description and we have logically broken it down into a simple factual statement. Unfortunately, we have made a bloody great movie out of it. You’re laughing on this but this is typically how it works. You take a statement, capture it. Step two.
And the final step here is what actions now need to be taken? I’ve parked the emotions; I’ve parked the feelings. I’ve looked at the logic. It’s simply my boss has asked me to work Saturdays. Now if you want to put something else against that, you can say what your concern is. Not what your fear is not your anxiety.
So in step two this is the fact, and this is my concern. Fact, wants me to work Saturdays. Concern, takes me away from the kids. There you go, boom.
What are my solutions?
Now we start to work on the solutions on those two factual statements. “Right I don’t want to work every Saturday but I could work once a month on a Saturday, and I’ll let him know that. And also I’ll let my other boss know this that is asking me the same thing. I tell her I can’t work Saturdays but I am prepared to give up one evening every two weeks. I can do it on an evening when the kids are away doing one of their activities. So it doesn’t take me away from the kids. It allows me to have an evening of earning some extra money. The kids are doing something they enjoy and I still get my other evenings and I still get three other Saturdays a month to spend time with my kids. Yeah that could be my solution. Right, let me take that to my boss.”
Boom movie number one, re-scripted, rewritten, re-run a new movie. Let’s go test it.
And you do that for every single one.
I’m going to stop there because I get overexcited about this. Is this making sense? Are you following this yourself?
I followed it myself, I think it is fantastic. And what I’ll say is what an incredible process. This doesn’t have to be done you know if something massive is happening. What I liked about that Ro is you gave really a simple example. Because like we’ve highlight in the first part is from the simple scenario which escalates and escalates and escalates, suddenly you’re feeling massively anxious. The anxiety has gone through the roof, whereas here the example is really simple. So if you can do this for the simple things that make you feel anxious in life and practice the process just as Ro said, step one deal with the emotional part, step two deal with a logical part and finally step three is the actions you can do. I think it is incredible.
So thank you for sharing that with the listeners.
And just to say to that Harms it’s simple for me to describe it. And once you’ve gone through this process you then go back to the boss and there’s a bit of a tug-of-war with, “no we need you for more than one Saturday.”
You’re going to feel anxious again.
Yeah so you just go back, but now you’ve got a process. So I’m not saying by doing this, everything goes away. But by doing this, it simplifies the emotional experience of it. And now you’ve got a rational and logical approach to it when you go back to those people in the situation and you explain to them, if I come in for any longer, it’s going to affect me. I’m not going to be functional for you and these are some of things that are going to affect in my workplace. I don’t want that; I want to make sure that I can do a good job for you. And I can do that by giving up two evenings every month and one Saturday, that allows me to be with my kids and I’m prepared to do that, hopefully you’ll understand that I want to be the best for you and the best for my family.”
And when you approach things that way often what happens is they realise. And they may have the same concerns themselves and part of the reason they’re putting this on you is because they’ve got anxiety themselves. So it’s an iterative process, it doesn’t happen it one-hit normally.
Exactly, so thank you for sharing that Ro.
I will now share, I’ve got to try condense this into maybe five to six minutes but my experience on not necessarily how I dealt with anxiety, but something we mentioned at the start of this podcast show was, how do you feel now? Which is calmness, which is grounded, which is being in a state of it’s very peaceful for where I am in terms of environment. So that’s my environment I’m in.
But I wanted to take it a step further and feel peace for actually within. Feel peaceful you know feel calm inside. Because yes the environment makes me feel calm. But how do I really take control of that? How do I take control of even living in a city because I appreciate many people listening to this will be city-based. How can you bring that calmness and take control of it and actually hold that almost everywhere you go?
So Ro are we okay for me to expand on that topic?
No, no please do. I’m excited because this is a great experience you went through as well.
So to give you some context this is about a meditation practice I undertook and it’s called Vipassana. And it’s almost come from a downline from the original Buddha as such. And before you listen to this, this has nothing to do with religion. This has nothing to do with ideology. This is purely a meditation practice. It just happened to have originated from that part of the world.
So what was the practice about?
It was a 10-day silent meditation practice. So, what does that mean?
That means a contrast to this completely overwhelmed world we live in. So they had some rules associated with it, no phones, no Internet connection, no contact to the outside world. Zero contact to the outside world actually. And you have to behave in this environment, as if you’re there by yourself. So it was genuinely complete silence. They talk about an element called noble silence and ultimately what this means is, it’s not only silence from those around you, but silencing your mind. So if you are having a chit chat in your head and having a conversation in your head, you have to quickly realise this and close this down. And say no we are actually in a place of silence now and that means even silence in my mind.
That’s just to give you some context of the environment. Then what was the practice?
The practice was meditating from 4 AM in the morning to 9 PM and then it’s lights out. So to go from no meditating, so to give you some context I’ve never really, I’ve sort of been aware of it but I have never been to meditation practicer. So, to go from zero meditation to going from 4 AM to 9 PM continuous meditation well, I’ll talk about my experience in a moment.
The challenge I found and this is a challenge that many of you may feel yourself, for example, if you’re going through the process Ro spoke about, there’s going to be a natural resistance around you. When people realised I was going to a meditation practice for 10-day silent meditation retreat. They instantly had pre-assessments, pre-judgements on what I was doing. I had comments like, “I’m so happy you’re going to go find yourself, you’re going to come back as a monk and wow oh my god here is another weird thing you’re doing.” Because it was slightly out of the norm.
Whereas I do not see it that way. As you’ve just heard you can find calmness outside in the environmental sense. Why can’t you find calmness within yourself?
So that was the challenge. It was to go take back control, something Ro has spoken about in this podcast. So this is not and I do joke, but this is not addressing an orange hoodie, like the famous Jay Shetty and putting out quotes on Instagram and reading spiritual quotes on Instagram. This is actually going through a practice and a process that you can repeat yourself time and time again.
So here’s a quick summary and almost an explanation of what it’s about. So typically, there’s a sensation on your body that will trigger a feeling and that triggers a thought, which triggers a reaction. Okay, so that’s typically how a feeling of anger even a positive feeling will almost manifest itself. So if you write this down, number one, it’s triggered from a feeling. Number two it’s triggered from the thought, which triggers a thought. And thirdly, that triggers a reaction.
Now quite often, and this is almost with main mainstream media as well. Quite often we really only focus on the reaction. From the reaction we then dive deep into the thought and then sometimes the feeling. So what we do is we actually analyse it in reverse. But what we really should be doing is going to the core of it.
So what is the core of it?
Let me give you an example before I go to the core of it. An example is, “Oh my God, I’m really angry at that scenario.” So a coach may work with you and the coach may say “okay, so what are you thinking? What’s the thought process that triggers the anger? Okay this is what I’m thinking to trigger the anger. Okay let’s process that thought process and maybe deal with the feelings associated with that.”
So that’s typically and I say the Western world, but that is typically how we deal with it in this part of the world. That can be classed as a form of mindfulness. Mindfulness is paying attention to what’s happening within your mind and saying, okay let me process this. Why are my feelings getting out of control? Why are my thoughts getting out of control? Let me put things into perspective. Let me take that big movie and shrink it and have a very simple script associated with it, that’s phenomenal.
But what if you could take it to the next step and bear in mind this is not something that can be done immediately. The reason I put it out there is for awareness and to show you there’s a lot of work to be done that doesn’t often get discussed outside podcasts like this. And just small discussions which are happening in the world. This is not advertised in the mainstream media. So it may be the first time you’re hearing about it.
Ro so far does that makes sense?
Yeah, do you know what I love about this Harminder that it’s taking the philosophy to another level as well. This raising of consciousness and I think that is bolted together with the approach I’ve just used. This is a very, very powerful tool. And I have to take my hat off to you. I know when you went I said to you this is going to be a really interesting experience, it’s not just going to be an experience on a physical level but you really have to let yourself go. And I love the fact that you went through this. So even if we can take a little bit of this and bring it in the podcast it’s a gift for all of us. So thank you.
Glad that makes sense.
Just to jump back in we now understand mindfulness and that’s essentially processing anything you know that’s going on in our head, any overly addictive feelings or sensations and overly negative stuff. You know, the feeling of anxiety, why has that come about.
Now taking it a step further and this is not me this has come from the lineage of Buddhas. Buddha formed this type of meditation practice which did not attach itself which Ro spoke about, which did not attach itself to any type of meaning. So no type of sound, no type of mantra, no type of an idol. So there is no visualisation of any point at this stage. What he got us to focus on and it wasn’t the Buddha himself, of course. But in this practice what he got us to focus on was the sensation in our body. Because what he said is the sensation, if we can learn on a human level to observe the sensations on our body, it’s actually the sensation which triggers the feeling, which triggers the thought, which triggers a reaction.
So he said let’s go to the core of it and the core of it was a sensation. So a part of the practice was spending 10 days getting our mental awareness to a heightened state so we can physically feel the sensations in our body. Now when you feel the sensation in your body. The aim here is to just simply observe. You just observe the sensation.
So if it’s an irritating sensation you just observe it. If it’s a pleasurable sensation you just observe it. So there’s really two categories, something that is irritating or adverse and something which is pleasurable and addictive. Regardless of what the sensation is, we just observe it.
Why is this useful and how does this play out in real life?
Well, if you can train yourself and make this almost a daily, weekly practice or go through an intensive process like this. What happens is unconsciously and almost automatically when you are put into a challenging situation where normally you would feel anxious or feel a certain way that you don’t necessarily want to feel, your body automatically observes the sensation and says, “hang on a minute let’s just observe this.”
So it doesn’t trigger a certain feeling, which doesn’t trigger the thought which doesn’t allow you to react in anger, frustration, being ratty with your partner, whatever the scenario is. So for example, I’ll just give you a quick example, because it may be helpful. You only have £20 left in your bank account at the end of the month. Panic sets in, “shit what do I do about it? Can I afford the food bill? Can afford to pay the rent this month?” It’s the panic and that feeling of anxiousness which causes the challenge.
So I’m asking the question, what would life be like and what would it feel like if you didn’t have to react in panic? If you could almost always from a heart space just react rationally and just think about it rationally and say actually, this is not bad. This is not good. This is not worse than it is, this is not better than it is and just come up with a solution fairly quickly. Almost working through that process Ro spoke to you about automatically, so that is what this is about.
So without going on a rant and telling people I didn’t come back as a monk and I’m not going to the Himalayas and spend six months there. This is actually about dealing with normal life. This is about dealing with all of this overwhelming stuff that gets thrown at us in normal life. And I’ll give you an example Ro right now, my wife Geena has gone off to do her 10-day meditation practice because she said, that’s incredible I want a part of this. So she’s off to do it. So this week I’m feeling my own form of anxiety completely being alone thinking, oh my god okay so I haven’t had contact with my wife in now five or six days, and that’s creating a feeling of anxiety.
So I these techniques, I’ve slowed down my life thinking okay how am I feeling now? Why am I feeling like this?
So we all feel anxiety. We just feel it in different ways.
So the reason I wanted to share that with you is if you are in a great place at the moment these sort of tools and tactics is almost what we need in the world right now. Because what we don’t need is all these crazy politicians reacting from feelings of anger and pride and we don’t need that. What we need is people to start looking at things rationally.
So was that useful Ro? Do you think the listeners will find that useful?
I think it’s great, because what it’s done is it’s just added that extra dimension and if somebody didn’t relate to my approach it’s a totally, although it’s linked it’s a different way of taking into perspective. And the concept of the silence and reflection has to happen in the madness of everything that is going around us, if people can learn to do it on a daily basis it does not have to be long either, does it? What you’re describing is like a 20-30-minute process, it can be shorter.
Exactly. I mean once you go through it, it is a ten-day process, but in your normal life, and this is meant to be used in normal life, not sitting on a mountain somewhere. This is how we do daily lives? We’ve got money challenges, family challenges, we’ve got career challenges. Had do we do that in daily life?
So, yeah agree Ro it’s like, it can be as simple as five minutes. It can be 30 minutes; it can be an hour if you wish it to be.
So Harms I’ve got a final set of action points before we wrap up. Is there anything else you want to add to your solution number two there before we move on?
Actually, yes please Ro because that solution there I mean it requires a very time intensive approach. So I wanted to give the listeners something that they can actually do quite quickly. I’m reading a book at the moment and it’s actually shaken me to my core and it’s a big strong statement, but it really has.
And it’s called ‘Why we sleep’ you can just pop that into any bookstore, it’s called ‘Why we sleep’. And essentially we spend 1/3 of our life asleep. Yet we so often neglect the sleep for our waking hours and if you’re a business owner if you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer, parent. You know that the days are spent hustling, the days are spent squeezing every minute from the day. The challenge with this, however, is we do neglect sleep and this book which I’m going to have to go back and read a second time, is completely science backed, and the author does a great job of translating that scientific experiments that they’ve done and the data into language we can understand. Officially to be fair Ro, this will be for a different podcast because for example, I know your sleep habit and I want you to have a read of this book as well.
I read another book last year, a couple actually. I don’t know if you remember it started to come to my awareness last year and I’m much more conscious since reading it. But I think it’s a subject we do need to address in separately, in a podcast because it is a growing issue for so many people globally.
Exactly so I’m going to give you two points from the book and then go ahead and read the book. But the main message is to get a good night sleep. So point number one is they have found that the brain actually processes all of these challenge that we have on a daily basis and almost gives you an answer the next day, but this only happens when you get your solid seven to eight hours sleep on a regular basis. So unfortunately we can’t just go tonight and have eight hours sleep and expect there to be a solution tomorrow. But genuinely, the experiments have shown that the brain can process all of these challenges and often when we face these challenges we have a knock-on effect which is poor sleep. When the actual sleep itself could be the answer for your anxiety and that was a big powerful wakeup.
And then secondly, this one for parents and teenagers. Is if you’re a parent and your teenager is sleeping in, please just let them sleep in. And if you’re teenager let your parents know that I am actually going through what’s known as REM sleep. REM sleep at that later time in the morning you know. So their sleep rhythm is almost delayed into the day and again, that was a big wake-up call. So I’ll be having that conversation with my mum.
I mean that’s going to be a conversation for another podcast because it depends if it’s a day they need to go to school and that’s again an issue with even the schooling system.
I’ve looked at a study that was done in last year or the year before actually just changing the hours that kids go to school, and the impact, positive impact it had to the way they studied. So that’s definitely one for a different conversation, love it, I love it.
So the main message there is get a good night sleep and if you can get three or four consecutive good night’s sleep and that means going to sleep at a decent time. Like 10 or 11 o’clock and waking up eight hours later, you will start to feel completely different. And it is all science backed so have a read of the book, ‘Why we sleep’. Anyway that’s for a different podcast.
Yes, I’ve got four last action steps if I could do that, before you wrap everything up Harms. Thank you for all of you listening. It’s been pretty intense and this has been an operationally driven podcast, in the sense that we are really trying to break things down to give you, because that’s the biggest challenge I found when I’m working with people privately or even groups, is people want a tool. It’s like I’ve got anxiety and I’m feeling stressed, give me a tool, give me something. Give me something practical. So that’s why we’ve geared this particular podcast the way we have.
I want to leave you with four things, four actions. Well five actually, if you’ve got a pen and paper there. Four being the main ones, but the last one is really a way of I think bringing in some support around you. And I’m going to simplify this, really simplify this
Number one if you want to do something straightaway after the back of this particular podcast, go and think about the consequences of you not dealing with the current anxiety that you’ve got. What’s the long-term consequences? Think about what I talked about previously. That’s the first thing.
Secondly, having identified the consequences and not what you want, i.e. something has to change. Then number two decide to take back control. We’ve talked about already, literally just say that’s it. I’ve made a decision; I’m going to do something different. I’m going to deal with this differently in the future. That’s not to say you’re going to cure it and fix it all in one go, but you’re taking back control. You’re going to start to work towards that. That’s number two.
Number three is follow the processes that we’ve done today. Either going through the process that Harms talked about. Harms talked about all the processes that I’ve got gone through. But follow something. Have an approach that you are in control with. You might want to do a combination of what we’ve talked about as well. That could be done. Just not when you’re driving.
Number four is in this whole process write down how you want to act. Write down how you want to feel, how you want it to look. do this okay and is going number four is in this poll process. Write down how you want to act, write down how you want to feel how you want it to look. So as you go through the process of identifying how you’re going to do it, starting to apply the process, come out the process write down how you want to feel, how you want to act, how you want to look. You may jump back into the process again and that might be an iteration of several processes, but my point is it is deciding you don’t want to have this habit.
Applying a process, visualising the future. How does it look? Go back into the process again and finally, and this is the fifth step is ideally find somebody you can be accountable to. Ideally a coach, someone objective outside you. Who you don’t know that well that can push you without you getting upset, because you’ve given them permission. Or find an accountability buddy someone that you trust, that is not afraid to challenge you, not afraid to push you and when they do that you don’t get offended by them and get anxious because they’re doing it.
So they are the five steps. Hopefully that makes sense. It is simple, it is effective and it can work if you put the work in behind it. Over to you Harms.
Thank you from myself and Ro for listening to this episode of the Seekardo podcast. I know it was a deep topic but the whole point of this in part one was to almost say, wake up we have to take control. And then part two was showing you exactly how we can take control.
So I hope this was massively useful. Now I know many of you listening to this at home thinking, okay I’m going through this scenario at the moment or I do know somebody who is going through this scenario. Or feeling anxious, it’s building up or you may be in the early stages of anxiety, or the later stage of anxiety. Simply revisit these show notes when needed and leverage the free videos at the top of the show notes.
So on that note that’s myself and Ro signing out, we will see you on the next episode of the Seekardo podcast.
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