This is a summary article of the the book club conversation and reading of the book DARE. If you want to join in on the conversations check out the Ralphitness Club here.
Hello everybody this is Master Life Coach Ralph Ruiz and today we are going to continue with our reading of the book DARE – The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic attacks by Barry McDonagh.
Before we begin I would like to remind the listeners that on this journey, we do not demonize anything, thoughts, emotions, perceptions. All that good stuff is welcomed. Today’s chapter is focused on how to let go of anxiety and panic.
Last week we explored the exercise of going for a walk every other day about 15 minutes and reflecting on the energy of trust and connection.
The goal is to allow yourself to trust life, to trust other people, and to trust yourself, most importantly.
For those of you who believe in a higher power to believe in is to trust in that higher power.
I also want to remind you guys we are not demonizing the hostility even though we were letting it go for that one week. We are not demonizing so if you missed it, missed being hostile….feel free to pick it up where you left off. You can be as hostile and aggressive and angry as you wish to be.
Just be aware of how different or notice the change you watched reflecting on that week. Notice how much better you felt.
Again it’s not about demonizing hostility and to acknowledge the other end of the spectrum.
Shake it out…to let go of the Anxiety & Panic
The body needs time to flush out stress hormones that were activated.
It’s a false idea that shaking means the anxiety is getting worse.
Shaking is a sign your body is releasing the anxiety.
When fight or flight is winding down shaking occurs and is a positive thing.
Expressing our nervous energy through shaking discharges it faster.
Shaking has been seen as a weakness so repress it and hold ourselves rigidly.
Allow it to shake and even discharge the anxious feelings by encouraging the shaking.
When you feel the sensation of an attack arising best to meet it with:
- So what whatever, you are safe. Your body can handle it.
- Accept and allow the anxious thoughts/sensations to be. Exception to this rule is don’t like to yourself. You could say I am learning to accept and allow these anxious feelings if you are still having a challenge accepting.
- If a wave of anxiety peaks to an attack run toward it…that you feel excited! Demand more!
- After shock feelings allow body to shake to complete and engage fully in an activity.
This is the part where we move our focus somewhere else.
If you can’t think straight during a moment of panic simply remember Whatever I am excited by this feeling and I demand more of it.
I can say that is pretty accurate. Turning to the “okay, let’s do it bring it on!”
The more you practice the better you will become being able to let go of anxiety
Try setting some small goals.
Go to the store if that scares you. Or take a bus ride if that’s out of your comfort zone. Or maybe having dinner with a friend. Jump in.
Set some small goals so that you can push yourself into that panic so you can build confidence faster.
Those of you that are here it’s one of those situations and reason I talk shit about the vegans, the religious, the this, the that.
Part of it is my way of exposing you to certain anxieties that are common in the pain community and further along the healing journey.
I’m surprised I haven’t been punched in the face for that…
So as you go on you develop the ability to handle it.
In fact, here’s a mantra that might be helpful: “I can handle this!”
The resistance can be deep. We will go over what we need to give up and let go of in the coming Chapters to move forward faster.
Questions, Comments or Concerns before we move on to the next section on what we are giving up?
Remember you can use the chat box if you don’t want to unmute yourself while we are recording this part of the session.
Give up thinking you are abnormal. It is not a mental illness and your brain isn’t broken. You won’t go insane.
The worst part of anxiety is the sneaky way it makes you think you are somehow abnormal. It is one of the most common experiences with anxiety, and not being able to let go of anxiety.
You might fear you are the only person in the world feeling the way you do.
We can normalize anxiety as much as possible in order to escape its vicious cycle.
If you are on a special healing journey and it means something special and unique to you, you have to let that go my friend. We will go over this more at the end of the session.
It is part of the healing, we are not on a special journey. Sorry to break it to you but sure the special journey as the spiritual journey is one thing.
But the healing part, the getting rid of back pain and tension and letting go of anxiety or panic and all that good stuff. There is nothing special about that. It’s typical and as common as the most common thing you can think of.
If you want to make it into something special and live your life that way then you will have to dig deeper.
Normalization is due in part to realizing you are not your anxiety. They are thoughts nothing more.
They are the result of stress hormones and your creative mind.
The National Institute of Mental health says 40 millions American adults go through some form of anxiety.
You may be special for other reasons but not because of your anxiety.
Your experience is actually very normal.
The author is giving some examples how certain people who are struggling with anxiety in their own way and the key their is “their own way.” I want to highlight that point for the people pleasers.
The one’s easily offended, easily hurt because of someone else’s response around them. So that one asshole at the bank, in line while you were waiting to see the teller, the asshole that ruined your day and you took it personal. Guess what they are dealing with their own shit in their own way.
You are taking it personal. Why? I guess their anxiety triggered yours.
I just want to add one point to it that part of the healing journey is letting go of that habit and belief, letting go of the tendency to take it more personal than you should have.
This includes things in the past, things that are happening in the present and things you believe may be happening in the future.
All in all many times it’s part of your anxiety as well… “oh my god what it they don’t like me, what if they say this to me. Oh no, this person isn’t very nice and I can’t believe it happened again I’m taking it personal b/c they weren’t as nice as I thought. I did all this people pleasing and it backfired.
Guess what they are dealing with their own thing and their own way and there you are making yourself the center of the entire event when it had nothing to do with you.
So… I just want to point that out for the people pleasers this is part of what you are dealing with.
Sex lives and colon cleansing are easily talked about but not mental health, It seems too personal or the topic too vulnerable.
And unfortunately nowadays just my own observation like a celebrity speaks about it sometimes with intention to normalize it and the people making it special make it even more special. Oh my gosh they have it just like me! That really cool celebrity! And then it adds to the idea that you are dealing with a special thing.
In a way it backfires. It keeps you feeling special.
We will come back to this point at the end of the session.
“Normalizing anxiety I feel less people would fall into the trap with fearing fear.” Barry Mcdonagh
Ralph agrees with the statement.
However, it is a double edge sword though, b/c people who use their anxiety for their emotional needs or other forms of chronic distress could fall into the trap of not being able to differentiate between oh yea, ok wow…guess if that celebrity has it its normal. Not being able to differentiate between that and oh wow that celebrity has it too!!!! So I guess we are like anxiety brothers or something.
You see, then the theme continues.
Questions, comments, concerns? (If you sign up for the Ralphitness Club you can join in on the conversations live.)
Abnormal Thinking is one of the things to Let Go of Anxiety
Let go also of a double life.
Maybe to the outside world you pretend it’s all good but inside you fear you are losing it.
Many would not suspect you have any issue at all portraying an image but inside you feel tormented.
Women are good at it but men are grandmasters at hiding it away.
The author shares a double life story of a celebrity that did not even tell his wife about his inner battle.
People are great at hiding their fears.
Fear of shame and humiliation are key issues.
Many would rather die alone than reach out for help and cause a scene. People can be more afraid of embarrassment than death!
What is behind your anxiety? Embarrassing yourself.
How do we move through this? Let go of the fear buddy. You are just as flawed and as human as the rest of us.
Any questions before we move on?
Someone shares: Yes I have an example of this. Yesterday I was with some colleagues at a restaurant and I was limping. I was embarrassed that someone sees me limping.
Now I see how I should handle it and how I don’t handle it.
I need to be fine with it and I think no one really recognizes it but me.
Ralph says that’s right most don’t even notice it.
You take your time with it. Letting go of these things it can be smooth sailing but for some it can be a rough patch when you face those fears.
Little by little eventually you lose that fear and you get to the point where you are comfortable. When you think oh no what if I embarrass myself, it doesn’t have an effect on you.
Oh embarrass myself? So what. Whoever said I had to be perfect? Whoever I said I can’t make mistakes.
For some there is a history but we not get into in this session. The history can lead you to the roots.
We leave that alone in this session unless the author is going to talk about that right now.
Commentator asks one more question:
Ralph what is your experience when it comes to if someone asks you how you are feeling, and you say I feel anxious. You think in generally people know how to act or deal with that information or do you think it is just making it more uncomfortable to bring that up?
Ralph: For me I don’t care, I don’t care how they take it. Because the thing is that anxious feelings…everyone….everybody and their mother experiences anxious feelings at some point or another.
Some more often than they would like to admit.
When I say one second I’m having a panic attack, I don’t expect anyone to respond to that. Quite frankly I don’t care. I don’t care if they respond or not.
Sometimes just being able to say the words and acknowledge what you are experiencing could be many reasons for it.
Maybe you want to let someone know. For me at first I did it to break the ice, break the tension that I would find myself in.
You feel you are going to faint or go out; you feel like you will be out of your mind for a few seconds and that’s a lot of pressure. So break the pressure and free yourself. Free yourself from that not what everyone else is going to do but free yourself from your own temporary insanity.
You just speak the words. “Oh one sec, I am having a panic attack.”
Wow. You know? Just let it go. The more you fight it and try to pretend you are normal. “Oh everything is good” … nope the worse it gets.
Commentator: Yes I can see that. When you express yourself in that way the awkwardness comes more from what the others are feeling inside.
Ralph: It might but that is none of our business….its their journey b/t them and their anxiety. Only reason for us to break the ice is for our own journey and our anxiety.
That goes with everything else. Here we are using anxiety but that goes for feeling not good enough that’s another thing.
Some people have performance anxiety and that is them showing that belief that they are not good enough or there is competition.
To free yourself is to verbalize, “man I am just happy to be here, this is great.” What do you think Ralph you gonna win this competition? I can try…we heard you are really good at this. I have my moments, sometimes I’m good and sometimes below average. And the key word is sometimes. You know?
If that is where your anxiety takes you that is where it takes you. The point is your words are for you and no one else.
People watching an interview of me might say wow this guy is so humble and not putting himself on a pedestal and it’s like, yea, well sometimes I do. Sometimes I do but as of right now, my mind is telling me I may not be ready for this competition. All in all I am excited to be here.
Wherever my mind is that is what we acknowledge.
Do your emotions reflect reality? Absolutely not.
It can turn out that three minutes of just acknowledging how you feel during the pre-game or pre-performance interview just acknowledging how you feel that feeling moves and next thing you know you are confident as hell you are in a competition. Happy and focused and sharp…boom you come out the champion.
How did you do it..made it seem easy? Well things went my way this time around and I practiced and prepared very hard for this.
I am just glad I got to win this time around. Let’s see how game two goes.
Toxic Shame can Prevent your Ability to Let Go of Anxiety and Fear
Toxic shame delays full recovery and keep us stuck in anxiety.
In order to heal give up the shame about it.
Expose it and see it for the lie that it is.
If we give up the shame and stop being embarrassed about being anxious and that goes for all the other feelings Dr. Sarno mentioned in his book as well.
Give up and let go of the feeling of this sense of shame that you are not good enough.
Give up your feeling of sense of shame that you have no life purpose. Give up your feeling and sense of shame for feeling like that you are unlovable. Whatever it may be. The point is let it go and as Dr Sarno calls them negative emotions but as you can see they are not negative they are just emotions.
They are what they are, the moment you demonize good luck.
Shame manifests in different ways.
- Being weak
- Failing as a mother/father
- Shame of not being able to be out of your safe zone
- Most is just driven by negative self talk.
The fear of being judged is fear of being judged for what is behind the anxiety. So some are comfortable talking about their anxiety but not what is behind it. They can kinda brag or feel special about the almost vomiting and their anxiety but when it comes down to it they have shame on what is behind it.
The anxiety is a coping mechanism and defense mechanism of what is behind it.
Ralph mentions the example from earlier in the book: I’d rather die in a toilet seat than embarrass myself, this is what you are afraid of being judged on.
People hide their greatest fears so deep and suffer in silence.
Ralph repeats a key point of the book for emphasis: “ It is normal for example for such people to be afraid to pick up a knife in case they go nuts and stab someone and get anxious or behind the wheel of a car for fear of swerving to incoming traffic or standing out on a balcony in case the suffer a moment of madness and fall.”
Perverse sex thoughts or doubts about sex identity.
These are clues that are behind the anxiety, ok?
A lot of times there are feelings of shame around those thoughts and those fears.
Many suffer in silence of these intrusive thoughts not understanding they are pretty common.
Any questions on letting go of the shame? Feel free to join Ralphitness if you want to ask questions.
In order to let go of shame you must unmask or admit it first.
Shame is simply an illusion and when you expose it for what it is it truly loses its powerful grip over you.
Let me give you some examples of this:
I was raised by a very Christian Dad, extremely Christian. During my healing journey I was convinced I was Christian too. At some point I realized I don’t really connect with this. This is not it for me.
First I had to admit it. That these beliefs are not for me. Do I believe in a higher power? Yes. But this was not the thing, hmm interesting.
This was one of those moments. I realized this whole concept of living a double life and lying to myself.
Other things came up as I continued. Eventually it became clear to me that I had a strong fear of disappointing my father. I was terrified of the thought that he would not love me anymore if I didn’t live my life the way he wanted me to live it.
The healing journey for me was admitting that was not who I am then took years for me to admit to him. He did not take it very well. To this day it is still a bit of an issue but it set me free from a lot of things from anxiety and depression. It was painful but to expose myself to that feeling of that your Dad doesn’t love you anymore because you don’t live life the way they want you too was a major moment in healing my anxiety and depression.
Some of the greatest minds are believe to have had this same issue like Darwin and Newton and Musk suffered from anxiety problems, some of the greatest minds in the world!
The link between creativity, intelligence and sensitivity with regard to anxiety is high.
A sharp mind can rush to try to figure it all out or a blank mind allows the anxiety to rush in and take over.
This concludes the session on letting go of the shame.
So what I describe is toxic shame for people who have a history of trauma and have unacknowledged shame. The author is alluding to shame around anxiety specifically.
The two can be interconnected.
If your ashamed of anxiety its an easier journey…if you are ashamed of whatever is fueling your anxiety then we start by unmasking that and making peace with it.
In other words be free. Any questions, comments or concerns before we conclude with our recording for today?
Alright, perfect. Our exercise for this week…a grounding exercise.
A very simple one…
To join in on the weekly exercise, join the Ralphitness Club today!
Because quite frankly a lot times people just don’t care and you are imaging it.
Allow others to be who they are that includes parents, family people from the past that have hurt you…and start to move towards forgiveness and while working on that you get glimpses of who you truly are and what you really are into and what you truly feel about whatever it is.
Does it reflect reality? No it reflects how you feel in that moment so it’s ok for others to believe what they believe and its ok for you to believe what you believe no matter how weird and corky the so called norm it is.
Alright guys I will end the recording here and open up for post recording chat.