Mindset Coping Skills For Stress, Anxiety And Panic Attacks

by | Jun 20, 2024 | Podcasts

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SPEAKER_1: You’re listening to She Grabs The Mic, and I’m your host, Cole Baker-Bagwell.

SPEAKER_1: Every week, we’ll explore what it means to be happy, present, and whole.

SPEAKER_1: You’ll hear from courageous women who are kicking ass in their lives, and leave with actionable tips that you can apply to reset from toxicity, tune into your gold, and live powerfully from the bedroom to the boardroom.

SPEAKER_1: Right now, it’s time to grab your headphones, kick back and relax and get ready to be inspired.

SPEAKER_1: Welcome, Amazing Ones! I am so happy that you have chosen to tune in today.

SPEAKER_1: To carve out a little time to invest in yourself, your mindset and your one fabulous life.

SPEAKER_1: Wow, I’m so glad you’re here!

SPEAKER_1: And Happy Summer to everyone in North America. Big love to all of you, wherever you are in this beautiful world.

SPEAKER_1: I am just so glad that you made it today.

SPEAKER_1: This week, we’re going to be talking how to meet the nasty She-Beast called Anxiety when this girl comes to visit and strikes.

SPEAKER_1: I’m going to teach you how to tame your mind, feel better in your body, and rebound from what can feel like a debilitating experience, a panic attack.

SPEAKER_1: We’re going to talk about the differences between stress and anxiety, and explore why some of us experience anxiety and stress more than others.

SPEAKER_1: I’m going to help you understand what’s happening in your mind and body when you feel anxious and stressed, so that you can become more empowered to meet those challenging moments and rock your life.

SPEAKER_1: And I’ll share my personal story of suffering from a recent panic attack after practicing mindfulness for 30 years.

SPEAKER_1: I’m going to break down the process that I engaged in to tame my mind, shift my mindset, and bring my body back to center.

SPEAKER_1: And I’m going to give you the steps for that process, so you can use them in your own life to shift your own mindset, cope with stress and anxiety.

SPEAKER_1: I’m going to do this with the goal of helping you experience a greater sense of clarity, calm, and overall well-being in your life, because amazing ones, we deserve to live our best lives.

SPEAKER_1: That’s what it’s all about.

SPEAKER_1: So, let’s kick this one off!

SPEAKER_1: If you have ever experienced anxiety, or you are experiencing it right now, I want you to know this, you are not alone.

SPEAKER_1: This is a super important topic, because according to Forbes Health, and I quote, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting over 40 million adults, or 19.1% of our population.”

SPEAKER_1: And The World Health Organization says that 4% of our global population, that’s about 301 million of us, have an anxiety disorder.

SPEAKER_1: This is widespread and, we can do something about it.

SPEAKER_1: Let’s start stepping into our power by understanding the differences between stress and anxiety.

SPEAKER_1: Okay, The World Health Organization defines stress as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension, resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

SPEAKER_1: Stress is this natural survival response.
SPEAKER_1: If you feel stress, you are not broken.
SPEAKER_1: Your body is working exactly as it should.
SPEAKER_1: We were programmed to perceive threats, keep ourselves safe and survive.

SPEAKER_1: That’s the name of the game.

SPEAKER_1: That’s the primal brain at work.
SPEAKER_1: But here’s the thing, stress is usually very short term.

SPEAKER_1: When we feel stress, we are responding to something on the outside, some kind of trigger.

SPEAKER_1: It could be all sorts of things.

SPEAKER_1: It could be an unsavory person that we’ve met and now we have to meet again, a situation at work, driving in traffic, money, a visit from a family member, preparing to host some kind of fabulous party, and “oh my God, there’s so much to do!”

SPEAKER_1: It could be our health.

SPEAKER_1: It could be whether we locked the door before we left the house for work that day.

SPEAKER_1: Any of those triggers can cause us to feel stress.

SPEAKER_1: Sometimes stress is good.

SPEAKER_1: Sometimes it propels us forward and gives us some energy that we need to get things done.

SPEAKER_1: But when we stay in an elevated state of stress, that becomes a big problem.

SPEAKER_1: Stress affects our bodies and our minds.

SPEAKER_1: Going back temporary versus prolonged state becomes the difference maker.

SPEAKER_1: When we feel stressed, maybe we feel kind of dizzy, little sick on our stomachs.

SPEAKER_1: Sometimes we feel a little confused, like we can’t quite get a clear thought. We may feel overwhelmed for a hot minute.
We might even feel super cranky.

SPEAKER_1: The good news is that we can learn how to reduce and manage stress by understanding what triggers stress for us.

SPEAKER_1: And, it’s going to be a little different for every single one of us, but that is a darn good starting point.

SPEAKER_1: Now anxiety, is a whole different kind of Beast.

SPEAKER_1: Healthline defines anxiety as a feeling of fear, dread and worry that creates dis-ease in your mind and your body.

SPEAKER_1: Anxiety is your internal reaction to stress, and it is far more persistent, and it lasts a hell of a lot longer.

SPEAKER_1: Panic attacks fall under the anxiety category, and they can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more.

SPEAKER_1: So the big question becomes this. Why do some of us experience anxiety more than others?

SPEAKER_1: Well, according to The National Library of Medicine, people with high neuroticism, which by the way is defined as a personality trait that is marked by emotional instability, self-doubt, negative feelings, negative thoughts.

SPEAKER_1: People with high neuroticism scores are more likely to feel anxious than those with low scores.

SPEAKER_1: Okay. That makes sense, right?

SPEAKER_1: If you’re a negative thinker and you’re absorbed with like self-doubt and emotional instability, it makes sense that you would be more prone to anxiety.

SPEAKER_1: But there’s more.

SPEAKER_1: Introverted individuals experienced higher state anxiety than extroverted individuals, according to the National Library of Medicine.

SPEAKER_1: Let’s hit the pause button here because this is where mindset becomes a really, really big game changer.

SPEAKER_1: People who are more introverted tend to keep their thoughts and feelings kind of bottled up.

SPEAKER_1: And you keep them bottled up long enough, and those suckers, those deep emotions are going to start building, building, building.

SPEAKER_1: Eventually, they build up a whole bunch of pressure and boom! There you are, with feelings of anxiety and panic.

SPEAKER_1: Emotional instability means it’s really hard for you to regulate your emotions.

SPEAKER_1: You’re up one minute, you’re down one minute. You’re happy one minute, you’re angry as hell another-  mad as a freaking hornet.

SPEAKER_1: When it’s difficult to find equilibrium, it’s really hard to manage stress, to deal with it and to stay in control of your emotional response.

SPEAKER_1: Again, as we think about mindset, taming our minds, like starting with those thoughts is a game changer! A massive, massive game changer that helps you control your emotional well-being.

SPEAKER_1: I will tell you this. I worked with a lot of executives in the corporate world. The best leaders out there are the people who can control their emotions.

SPEAKER_1: As I look around my most favorite people in my life, they’re people who have command of their emotions.

SPEAKER_1: They know where they are, they know what they’re feeling.

SPEAKER_1: Every once in a while, let’s face it, we’re all going to fly off the handle.

SPEAKER_1: But, when we can control our emotions, we can meet every moment of our life with more confidence, more clarity, more certainty, and it is just a power position to be in and absolutely amazing.

SPEAKER_1: It takes some work getting there because anxiety is more than a feeling.

SPEAKER_1: Here’s what’s happening in your mind and body.

SPEAKER_1: The negative thoughts of fear, dread and worry cause your nervous system, your autonomic nervous system to get super maxed out.

SPEAKER_1: Now I’ve talked about the autonomic nervous system during many episodes of She Grabs The Mic, but we forget, and some of us are new, so here’s a little 101 level set.

SPEAKER_1: Think of your nervous system like a super cool, sexy command control center, kind of like the Star Trek Enterprise, and it regulates all of your involuntary functions in your body.

SPEAKER_1: Things like your breathing, your heart rate, your digestion, and oh my God, thank goodness for the autonomic nervous system! If it wasn’t there, most of us would be dead because let’s face it, we’re too damn busy to control our breathing or to even know that we’re breathing in the first place, much less control our heart rate and digestion.

SPEAKER_1: It’s a damn good thing we’ve got this system in place, this big, beautiful command center.

SPEAKER_1: Ok. It’s got these really important jobs, right?

SPEAKER_1: And it has helpers. The vagus nerve is one of them.

SPEAKER_1: The vagus nerve is one of the 10 cranial nerves in this system. It is this wandering, long, gorgeous, never-ending nerve that touches every hollow and solid organ in our bodies.

SPEAKER_1: When your vagus nerve is calm, balanced and well, she feels like a lush, beautiful, soft orchid that wraps around your entire body and makes you feel super groovy, super happy, all is well with the world, balanced.

SPEAKER_1: But when your vagus nerve is on fire, because your nervous system is maxed out from either a trigger that you’re responding to or internal stress that you’re responding to, that orchid turns into barbed wire.

SPEAKER_1: And then, the system that is running your systems short circuits and eventually poops out.

SPEAKER_1: That leads us to feeling nauseous, nervous, edgy as shit, and tense when we’re having a panic attack when we’re experiencing stress or anxiety.

SPEAKER_1: And by the way, elevated levels of stress lead to so many other negative health implications.

SPEAKER_1: Heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure.

SPEAKER_1: We have a very major opportunity for us to get in front of all of these things by learning how to manage this stuff by taming our minds.

SPEAKER_1: It can be really, really, really hard to think clearly when we are in these cycles of stress, anxiety, and panic.

SPEAKER_1: It can be really hard to take a deep breath.

SPEAKER_1: I know a lot of times people will say, “Oh, if you’re stressed, just take a breath, just breathe.”

SPEAKER_1: Well, guess what?
SPEAKER_1: That can be super damn hard sometimes.

SPEAKER_1: So, I created a whole process that allows me to meet anxiety and stress when they come knocking at my door, and then allows me the ability to breathe on the other side.

SPEAKER_1: That’s the stuff that I’m going to share with you, because this process is super, super effective.

SPEAKER_1: I want to walk you through it by telling you my own personal story about that recent panic attack that I mentioned earlier.

SPEAKER_1: I think through doing this, you will begin to understand that breathing is so important, right?

SPEAKER_1: It’s medicine. Medicine at every point in our life, but sometimes taking that breath feels really hard, especially when you feel like your chest is collapsing.

SPEAKER_1: Stick with me here. If f you’ve ever experienced something like that, I’ve got good news for you, and it’s coming right up.

SPEAKER_1: All right, here’s my story.

SPEAKER_1: My husband Andrew and I are going to be making some big life moves this summer. We are kind of big life moves people.

SPEAKER_1: We’ve decided that after two years of living solely in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, we realized that we needed to get back to our fair city of Raleigh, where there’s a little more energy and a little more happening.

SPEAKER_1: We got really clear on our reasons.

SPEAKER_1: There are super solid reasons for making this move.

SPEAKER_1: We took our time.

SPEAKER_1: We were really mindful.

SPEAKER_1: We got super intentional.

SPEAKER_1: We made our list, pros and cons, the whole nine yards.

SPEAKER_1: And we realized as we looked at our list that our prime drivers were career opportunities and more interaction with more of the people we loved.

SPEAKER_1: So all of this was very positive and life additive. SPEAKER_1: It was a really good sound choice for us.

SPEAKER_1: As this choice sort of materialized, we realized that we would be splitting time between the two places.

SPEAKER_1: That meant that we had to find a place to live in Raleigh which is no small thing because the Raleigh housing market is frigging crazy, so stressful, so off the chain nuts.

SPEAKER_1: But we found this really great apartment that checked all of our boxes.

SPEAKER_1: Great location, beautiful space, close to friends, walking distance to parks, all of the wonderful things.

SPEAKER_1: We signed the lease and all of that good stuff.
SPEAKER_1: We were so excited to drive down and pick up our keys, counting down the days.

SPEAKER_1: We got to the office, signed our final paperwork, picked up those keys, and went up to the apartment.

SPEAKER_1: And after a really long day, we settled in for the night on our sleeping bags on the floor because we had no furniture in the apartment.

SPEAKER_1: Just as we were sort of slipping in to REM Sleep, Anxiety came to visit me.

SPEAKER_1: She sunk her claws and her gnarly teeth into me, and oh my God, that was the definition of a rude awakening!

SPEAKER_1: I felt the barbed wire and I knew she was there.

SPEAKER_1: Now, it had been decades since we’d hung out together, and I’ve got to tell you, it’s freaking horrible.

SPEAKER_1: I woke up from this deep sleep, sweating my ass off. SPEAKER_1: My heart was racing.
SPEAKER_1: My mind was spinning from a deep sense of worry and fear. SPEAKER_1: It was super hard for me to think and get a grip. SPEAKER_1: Really hard to breathe.

SPEAKER_1: Even though breath-work is one of my specialty areas, it felt like there was an elephant on my chest.

SPEAKER_1: I couldn’t bring the air in.

SPEAKER_1: Then, after all of that, I ran to the bathroom and I threw up three times.

SPEAKER_1: It was awful. I felt like I was having this crazy ass out of body experience.

SPEAKER_1: To top it all off, I started crying my eyes out, which made breathing even harder.

SPEAKER_1:  realized, “Oh my God, Cole Baker-Bagwell. You’re in a full anxiety and panic attack hell!”

SPEAKER_1: That was my reality until the sun came up the next morning, because my mind became a wild thing the minute that anxiety stepped into that room.

SPEAKER_1: Now, at this juncture, it’s super important to note that I have been practicing mindfulness for most of my adult life.

SPEAKER_1: I have all the tools.

SPEAKER_1: I have taught thousands of people how to tame their minds and rock their mindset by using these tools.

SPEAKER_1: I coach women on this every single day, yet here I was in the middle of this massive panic attack.

SPEAKER_1: I was wrapped in barbed wire, smack dab in the middle of mindset wild thing hell.

SPEAKER_1: And you know what? All of us will experience stress, anxiety, or panic at some point in our lives.

SPEAKER_1: So again, if you are there right now or you have been recently, you’re not alone.

SPEAKER_1: Now, in the midst of this, intellectually, I totally knew what was happening, right? I’m a mindset coach.

SPEAKER_1: My mind had become a wild thing from hanging out with the naughty girls called Anxiety, Fear, and Worry.

SPEAKER_1: The worry and fear-based thoughts in my mind created the anxious feeling that spiraled me into a panic attack.

SPEAKER_1: Knowing why I was feeling what I was feeling took me halfway back to center, and that was major progress.

SPEAKER_1: And then I kickstarted my process that I mentioned earlier in the episode, and these are the steps I took.

SPEAKER_1: Here’s what I want you to know.

SPEAKER_1: You can take them too, and they will help you overcome stress, an anxious feeling, or even a panic attack if you choose to put them into motion.

SPEAKER_1: So if this is important to you, grab your pen. SPEAKER_1: Here we go.
SPEAKER_1: Number one, I met my thoughts.

SPEAKER_1: This is a really important step.

SPEAKER_1: Our tendency when we feel stress, anxiety, or panic is to suppress the thoughts, run like hell as fast as we can away from them, or ignore them, skip over them, miss them altogether.

SPEAKER_1: Meeting the thought helped me connect with what I was thinking and what I was feeling in my body.

SPEAKER_1: I got clear on why I was worrying and what I was worrying about.
SPEAKER_1: I could see it as if it was on a screen in front of me.
SPEAKER_1: And then I got clear on my fears.
SPEAKER_1: I listed the worst case scenarios until I could understand every single one of them.

SPEAKER_1: One by one, this step helped me dismantle my fears and worries and see them with a fresh perspective that minimized the barbed wire and helped me ground in what was real instead of the stories that I had created in my mind that turned my mind into a wild thing and caused me to panic.

SPEAKER_1: I wrote down every single thing that I learned.

SPEAKER_1: My God, I filled up a whole lot of pages in my journal that day, had a big old cramp in my hand by the end of it, but I will tell you that this created an artifact and that is the power of journaling.

SPEAKER_1: It’s a super useful tool when it comes to taming your mind and shifting your mindset.

SPEAKER_1: Number two, I traced the origin of my worry and fear-based thoughts.

SPEAKER_1: I stepped back and I asked myself questions like, Cole, where did you learn to think this way?

SPEAKER_1: Where do these thoughts belong?

SPEAKER_1: Are you time traveling to the past or to the future?

SPEAKER_1: How are these thoughts relevant for you right now?

SPEAKER_1: This step helped me understand that my worry and fear-based thoughts stemmed from the past and lived in a future that did not yet exist.

SPEAKER_1: And the cool part here is that the future is ours to create.

SPEAKER_1: And I realized that by tracing the origin of my worry and fear-based thoughts.

SPEAKER_1: Number three, I looked for my evidence.

SPEAKER_1: This step was the most powerful one, I think, out of the whole process because it helped me focus on what was real.

SPEAKER_1: By doing this, I could recognize that my worries and fears were not valid.

SPEAKER_1: They were not supported by evidence.

SPEAKER_1: They were supported by these stories that I had crafted in my mind because anxiety and fear and worry were present.

SPEAKER_1: My mind became a wild thing, and I spun into a panic attack.

SPEAKER_1: But looking for my evidence helped me understand what was real for me in that moment.

SPEAKER_1: Then I was able to breathe.

SPEAKER_1: My mind stopped spinning.

SPEAKER_1: My heartbeat slowed down.

SPEAKER_1: I stopped sweating, and I was able to drink a smoothie that morning and it went down without any sort of consequence on the other side.

SPEAKER_1: Now, the reason these three steps worked is really, really simple to understand.

SPEAKER_1: Every single one helped me get in touch with what I was thinking and feeling, and I imagined those thoughts like images on a movie screen in front of me.

SPEAKER_1: And I could understand how seeing them created the feelings that I was experiencing in my body that were super, super hellish.

SPEAKER_1: This is mindfulness in action.

SPEAKER_1: Mindfulness is not like some elusive thing.

SPEAKER_1: It is not chanting or, you know, going to a special ashram or any place to practice.

SPEAKER_1: This is the practice of mindfulness.

SPEAKER_1: It is knowing what you are thinking, knowing what you are feeling, knowing where you are in that moment, and deciding what do you want to do with that information.

SPEAKER_1: This whole process that I just took you through disrupts the cycle of panic, disrupts the cycle of stress and anxiety.

SPEAKER_1: Because one by one, these steps dismantle negative thinking that lead to heightened feelings of stress, panic and anxiety.

SPEAKER_1: So here are the key takeaways for today. SPEAKER_1: Stress and anxiety are different beasts.

SPEAKER_1: Stress is your internal response to an external trigger. SPEAKER_1: It comes and it goes.
SPEAKER_1: Stress is normal.
SPEAKER_1: We are wired for stress.

SPEAKER_1: Sometimes it’s good.

SPEAKER_1: Elevated levels of stress for an extended period of time, not good.

SPEAKER_1: So you’ve got to get in control of managing the stress.

SPEAKER_1: Anxiety, by contrast, is your internal response to stress.

SPEAKER_1: It’s rooted in worry, fear and dread, and it can take a hell of a lot longer to clear.

SPEAKER_1: And it can lead to something like a panic attack or even worse, like some really serious clinical conditions.

SPEAKER_1: So as a PSA right now, if you are struggling with anxiety that is negatively affecting your life and your health, please seek medical help ASAP.

SPEAKER_1: You deserve to live your best life, and you can with the right support and tools.

SPEAKER_1: So if this is just really getting you down, please seek that medical help right away.

SPEAKER_1: You are beautiful.
SPEAKER_1: Your life is waiting for you, and you need to get out there and start taming your mind.

SPEAKER_1: So key takeaway number two, if you experience stress, panic or anxiety, you’re not alone.

SPEAKER_1: Hundreds of millions of us, and my sincere hope is that by practicing some of these mindfulness techniques, paying attention to taming our minds, that number will begin to go down, and oh my God, wouldn’t it be such a beautiful thing if we taught our children these practices as well so that we can have less stress, anxiety, and panic as we look to the future.

SPEAKER_1: Number three, the thoughts in your mind directly influence your mental health, physical health, and the way that you manage and respond to challenges in your life.

SPEAKER_1: And finally, you have the power to tame your mind, shift your mindset, and rebound when you find yourself surrounded by one of these she beasts.

SPEAKER_1: Practice and consistency are what makes it possible.

SPEAKER_1: I guide my clients to practice mindfulness every single day to understand what they are thinking and what they are feeling when the stakes are really low, when they are feeling good, when life is going well.

SPEAKER_1: Because when we practice mindfulness consistently, it improves our ability to cope when we are visited by the she beast of stress and anxiety and panic.

SPEAKER_1: When you tame your mind, you shift your mindset, and that transforms your life from barbed wire into that beautiful, beautiful, lovely, delicious vine of orchids.

SPEAKER_1: I hope this has been super helpful for you today. SPEAKER_1: Thank you again so much for joining me.

SPEAKER_1: If you’d like to learn more about me and my work as a mindset coach, please go and visit my website, colebakerbagwell.com.

SPEAKER_1: Before we part today, I want you to remember this. SPEAKER_1: There’s only one you.

SPEAKER_1: And in case no one’s told you yet today, let me be the first one to tell you that that is what makes you simply amazing.

SPEAKER_1: Big, big, big love!

SPEAKER_1: I hope you’ll tune in again and join me next week.

SPEAKER_1: And that’s the end of the show today, everybody.

SPEAKER_1: I hope it has served you well.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you so much for tuning in.

SPEAKER_1: If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, please drop a review wherever you grab your favorite podcast.

SPEAKER_1: Please subscribe so you never miss an episode.
SPEAKER_1: And please be sure to share this podcast with another woman that you love.

SPEAKER_1: If you’d like to learn more about me or my work, check out my website, colebakerbagwell.com.

SPEAKER_1: Until next time, remember to be super kind to yourself and do your very best to leave everyone and everything just a little bit better.

Cole Baker-Bagwell

Master Certified Professional Coach

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