Podcast Strong Mind Strong Body

Strong Mind. Strong Body: Facing Anxiety in the Aftermath of the Pandemic

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
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Society is filled with uncertainties as we continue to adjust to the current times.
 
From social apprehension and stress from returning to workspaces, to uneasiness in social gatherings, we’re learning to adjust, once again, to the new normal. 
Join NASM Master Instructor Angie Miller, and featured guest Amy Tran, Ph.D Candidate in Clinical Psychology, for an in-depth discussion on anxiety.
 
Let “Strong Mind. Strong Body” help you better understand its global impact, and ways to help clients feel better physically, as well as emotionally.
 

 

 
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TRANSCRIPTION:
 
Angie Miller:
Hi everyone, welcome to our "Strong Mind. Strong Body" podcast. I'm your host, Angie Miller. And I have a great guest with me today we are going to talk about the aftermath of the pandemic, why so many of us are feeling anxious. And I have a great guest, Amy Tran, and she is a candidate in clinical psychology, a PhD candidate in clinical psychology. So we're going to talk about how come we're coming out of the pandemic. Well, sort of, but we're all still kind of wrestling with these anxious thoughts like, what's it going to mean to socialize again? Do I really want to go back to work and sit in long commutes? And what's all this mixed bag of emotion that we're going through? How come the world is opening back up, but I'm wrestling with anxious thoughts? So let me bring my guests in Amy Tran and Amy, I just want you to introduce yourself.
 
Amy Tran:
Hello, thank you for having me. Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning in. So my name is Amy Tran, and I am a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology. I am studying at the University of Windsor, which is located in southern Ontario. And I'm excited to be here and to chat more about this really important topic. So welcome, everyone.
 
Angie Miller:
Thank you so much, Amy. Good. Thanks for reintroducing yourself in case I didn't get the title. Correct. So, you know, actually, I love the work that you do, Amy. And I love that we both love this topic of anxiety. And I do think that it's a big heavy topic right now. And I think it's something that a lot of people don't talk about. A lot of people don't admit to these uncomfortable feelings. And in fact, they're not even sure how to identify them. They're just know that something doesn't feel quite right that they maybe they're not sleeping as well. Or maybe they feel more irritated. Or maybe they feel more uncertain. There's a lot of things. And so what Amy and I are going to talk about today is first we're just going to kind of help define what is this big mixed bag of anxiety because we use anxiety almost like it is a slang term. I'm feeling anxious. But what does that really mean when we talk about people feeling anxious? So we're going to talk about that we're going to talk about the global impact of anxiety. And then we're also going to talk about how do we deal with these feelings of anxiety? And then last but not least, how can we? What are some coping skills so we can implement to feel better emotionally and physically, because we all know that our emotional and our physical health go hand in hand, it's not two separate ends of the bridge. It's the two pieces coming together and meeting in the middle of the bridge. So Amy, I'm going to turn this over to you. Let's start to define what is anxiety other than a slang term that everybody says?
 
Amy Tran:
Mm hmm. Yeah, no, I love that to start off. And I think it's an important thing to talk about. Because, you know, anxiety is a very normal human emotion. But when it gets too intense, that's when we start to see those mental and physical impacts on our health. So when we talk about anxiety in psychology, in the clinical work, we define it as excessive anxiety and worry, that can span for about six months or more. And then also, people find it difficult to control the worry. And the worry is associated with at least three of these six symptoms. So that could be nausea, muscle tension, difficulties concentrating, shortness of breath, difficulty sitting still, or an even numbness and tingling in the feet. So it gets to be a problem, when these types of symptoms start to interfere with your day to day functioning. So your work your school, your family life, for example.
 
Angie Miller:
Right. And you know, Amy and I talked about this, we talked about how we're really pulling the definition from the DSM five, which is kind of the holy grail of diagnosis. And basically what the DSM five says is even though we all use the word anxiety loosely, but the DSM five releases as it is that we're experiencing these symptoms more days than not, for six months for at least six months, right for and so it's not like, Oh, I'm feeling anxious today. Therefore, I have an anxiety disorder. Amy and I aren't here to define anxiety disorders, we're not here to clinically diagnosed anybody is having an anxiety disorder. We're sort of getting a lay of the land of what is anxiety and how does it get diagnosed it from a clinical standpoint, and meaning that it has to be pretty intrusive, like you said, it has to have at least three of those six symptoms has to be ongoing for at least six months, and it has to affect most of our days. So it is really a pervasive worry. So let's talk about that.

Amy Tran:
You need, let's kind of talk about the impact of the pandemic on even those people who weren't normally anxious. Because I find that a lot, even people who would never have defined themselves as having anxious thoughts or wrestling with anxiety. And you know, a lot of times men have a hard time defining this. A lot of times people think, well, if I'm strong, and I'm grounded, I can't admit that I'm feeling anxious. But really, it impacts so many of us. So let's talk about the impact of COVID. And why it is really, really throwing us all into this kind of these difficult emotions, so to speak. Yeah. And you know, before I jumped to that point to you talked about men, I also want to point out that there's something called high functioning anxiety, right? So sometimes people believe that because they're still showing up to work, or they're still excelling, that they can't be anxious, or they may not be suffering from anxiety. And that's not true, right. So, yeah, let's talk about the impact of COVID on anxiety. So, with the pandemic, obviously, a lot of things changed. And one thing that can trigger anxiety as when people feel like they have lost control. So obviously, with the pandemic, so many things were happening, that made us feel like we didn't have control, whether that be our health and safety, our financial situation, the health and safety of our friends and family. And, you know, if let's say you had children, and they couldn't go to school anymore, then you had to find someone to watch over your child. So there was just a lot of things happening. That made us feel like we weren't in control of our situation in our lives. And another big trigger for anxiety is when there is a disruption in our routine. So as humans, we love routine, we love what's familiar, and we have a lot of habits, but with the pandemic and closures that happened, let's say to the gym or your work or school that induced a lot of change, which may have been really anxiety provoking for people as well.
 
Angie Miller:
Yeah, and you know, what I love Amy is I have to self proclaim here, I'm going to do a true confession. Okay, so whoever's listening Promise you won't tell anybody. But I would consider myself a high functioning anxious person. Those who know me are giggling right now they're like, are you sure you're high functioning, but you know, what I'm pretty high functioning that I would consider myself somewhat more anxious during, especially during COVID than ever before working from home has provoked a lot of anxiety. My husband and I are both working from home. This morning, we had internet problems, the computer wouldn't turn on, I couldn't get logged into my own podcast, the dog won't stop barking, the washer is going to get delivered. So thinks could disrupt in any moment now just to warn you all. So again, before I you know, go further with these points, I just want to reintroduce I'm talking to Amy Tran, and she is a PhD candidate in clinical psychology. Amy is coming to you from Canada, I am coming to you from Charlotte. And I love that we can have this conversation be in two different places and and you know, to different parts of the world and be experiencing the same things with our clients within ourselves. So we are talking about how come the world is reopening. But we're still feeling anxious or maybe we're feeling more anxious as it reopens. And so the other thing that I want to talk about is, Amy, you talked about that a lot of times what's really pervasively making people feel anxious during this time is that we feel like we don't have any control. And that is, you know, decisions being made for us and and there was the whole, we get out of a routine. And I just did a podcast recently on building habit because habits really give us a sense of security, they build a solid foundation, they let us know what to expect. And I did a whole podcast on habit. Because I wanted to talk about how if we instill habit into our lives, we feel like we have this perception of control. And you worded it perfectly that really what drives anxiety is feeling like we don't have control. So we have to build these areas in our life because we have more control than we think. So we have to build habits we have to build schedules so that we do have this perception of control. But I think another one Amy you and I made a whole list and we can just kind of go through that. I think another thing that's inviting the anxiety is ambiguity about our future. We're still not certain and with a new variant coming up we're all like well what does this mean? Am I gonna have to work from home for the next five years? That might be what my brain is thinking.

Amy Tran:
Right? Know exactly. When Are things going to open up again? When am I going to go to the gym? I'm stressed out. There is so much what if thinking. Anxiety as a hallmark of anxiety is catastrophizing about the future or tolerating ambiguity is something that a lot of people who are anxious struggle with. So what was more ambiguous than this pandemic? And what's going to happen in the future? Nobody knows. I feel like things changed every couple months. I don't know what it was like, where you're from. But in here in Toronto, I think that things opened up and then closed, like two weeks later, right? So that can be very, very, very anxiety provoking for people. Yeah, absolutely. ambiguity about the future ambiguity, you know, not feeling like we have control over our decisions. And really, I always tell my clients that we all have this kind of false perception of control, we feel like we're in control. But really, we know that when life happens, life happens. But again, I think it's about creating pieces where we can find control, because like you said, we would if ourselves all over the place, what if this happens, what if that happens, and when Amy and I started to deep dive into some coping skills, we're going to talk about how to transition out of the water world into more of a presence centered world, right, any so we can kind of address that a little bit later. But, you know, one of the other things, any that you mentioned was, you know, and that we talked about was this decreased social interaction. And now we are re inviting social interactions. And so I think that social anxiety is another big part of what we're dealing with. And I think a lot of fit pros are like social anxiety. Are you kidding? We're social people. But what about your clients? So let's talk a little bit about social anxiety? Because I think that's a big one right now. Yes, yeah, social anxiety is a huge one. So let's define social anxiety and what it is for people who may not be that familiar with it. So it's anxiety around a fear of being judged, embarrassing yourself being critiqued. And with the pandemic, there's a couple of things that happened, right. So there was a loss of social interaction, since many of us couldn't interact with people in person. So for those of you who may have already been anxious about social situations, this may have been a temporary safe haven for you, right. But as we're seeing now, with things reopening, that is not sustainable, you know, staying home all the time not going out. So with the reintroduction of social interactions, people may feel like their social skills are a bit rusty. And that can be very anxiety provoking with them. Even with people who were not socially anxious before, they may also feel a little bit anxious going back out into the world, right. So that's the social part. Now, there's also this thing where we can't interpret social cues very well, with everyone wearing a mask. So that may be anxiety provoking as well. And a third layer of that is, there are people who have different comfort levels with shaking, hands hugging, vaccine status. So having all of those things like that you have to think about can be really anxiety provoking when people are trying to navigate. So in essence, there isn't a template, we can use a social script where we can use any more to interact with people, right? Because there's so many variables that we need to consider.
 
Angie Miller:
Um, yeah, I think you're spot on. And I kind of want to go a little bit deeper into each of those because I love the way that you laid out the framework there. But the first thing that you mentioned was social anxiety was, we feel like we've gotten a little stale, and and I'm an extremely social person, my bucket gets filled when I socialize. Whereas some people feel like it takes away you know, those who are more introverted. But even for me, I have to laugh because now social situations, I'm like, I guess I need to brush up on my social skills. I am not as used to it. And I'm finding that when I'm in social situations, now, I can almost more than ever before relate to an introvert because I'm like, oh, wow, this takes a lot of work. And I'm not used to feeling that way. I'm used to my bucket being full when I'm in a social situation. So I can very much you know, for the whole thing during the pandemic was those two were introverts were like, yes, I'm used to this those who were extrovert extroverts were like, No, I am not used to this at all. Well, we all are kind of having to figure out what that means as we re integrate. And the second thing that you talked about was when we misinterpret one another when we are online and because so much of our stuff, our interaction with one another, is being done via email texts more than ever before. phone calls, on a good day, it's being done via zoom, where we can see facial expressions. But we both know there's a lot that goes wrong a lot that gets lost in interpretation, or shall we say, misinterpretation when we can't see another person's face, or we're not there to see their whole body language. And you can see where that really drives a lot of anxiety for people, right? Because they don't have all those social cues. They can't watch people and and gauge, they can't see themselves through the lens of other people anymore. Exactly, exactly. We were thrown into this environment, where we were essentially forced to use technology to communicate with each other. And if you didn't have anxiety before, it may have gotten heightened through that experience. Because there is a lot of ambiguity online, people have all different types of styles of communicating, right? So Oh, my God, they used a period, or they're taking so long to respond. Or they seem like they're not really happy, because they weren't smiling at me non stop on zoom, all types of ifs, and all these types of stories that we can tell ourselves can increase anxiety. And then we're now coming back into the world where we're, you know, brought trying to brush up on our skills, and people are wearing masks. So it is a really tough time for people for sure. Yeah. And you know, what's funny is I recently gave a big presentation, and everyone in the room had the option of leaving their camera off. And I would say about 70% chose to leave their camera off. Well, nothing gets in the human psyche, like a lot of black boxes where you can't see someone's face. And so I'm giving a presentation to a lot of black boxes. Well, the mind plays a lot of games, when you see that, oh, they're not enjoying it? Or are they you know, checking their Facebook? Are they painting their toenails? Are they even here? Or are they just like, put their name in the box and pretended to show up? And so we've Do we have a lot of anxiety about this. And if you've ever given a presentation during this time, or had to speak in a group, you know, even if it's a work meeting, and there's 20 people on the work meeting, and 15 of them have their camera turned off and you want to speak up, I think people are less inclined to speak up unless they can see faces, because again, they want to gauge themselves against what other people in the room are indicating based on the words that are coming out of our mouth, right?
 
Amy Tran:
Yeah, that's right. Yeah. And I also wanted to add another thing too, is that, you know, a lot of my work is with young adults and teens. And, you know, trying to navigate these social interactions can be tough at that age. And I think when you can interact with people in person, a lot of things can happen organically, like you bump into someone and they ask you if you want to join them while they're going to the restaurant or the mall or whatever. Now, with all of that gone, if only the social media and the internet and text messaging that's available, so there's less of an opportunity for these organic interactions to take place. So now social interactions and hierarchies are developing. So I think with younger people who are going back to school or going back to these in person meetups, it may be really anxiety provoking, because they don't know how certain relationships within their friend groups have changed or developed over time, because they can't see that anymore. It's all online. And they all they have to make a lot of inferences about what they see online or through, you know, their group messages and those types of technologies. I am so glad you brought that up. I think that is such a powerful point. Because I do think that that even happens with adults think about how many organic get togethers happen in a work environment, where you're walking down the hall, you see a couple co workers go into the lunch. Oh, Angie, do you want to join us for lunch? Whereas as opposed to, you know, you see online that so and so and so and so went to lunch, and automatically you feel slighted or like you weren't thought about but you're right, so much of the interactions that have been taking place have happened organically, or used to happen organically. And now there's just not as much room for that. And so, I think as young people, people of all generations, it's like we have to put ourselves out there even more for people to stay in people's mind space to be included and involved and things and for some people, that's a really uncomfortable thing. It feels very intrusive people feel like oh I'm inviting myself. Not really, you're just helping people remember that you're here. Maybe you're not active on social media, but maybe you still would like to be a part of things that are happening, even if it's a zoom party on Friday night or a happy hour, right? Exactly. Yes, things have gotten much more explicit in the online world, you have to put yourself out there. And you have to invite people or ask to be invited. And that can be a really hard thing. Especially with anxiety in the picture.
 
Angie Miller:
Yeah. So I'm talking to Amy Tran, she is a candidate, a PhD candidate in clinical psychology. She's coming to you from Canada. And we are talking about the aftermath of the pandemic, how come we're re entering the world, but yet so many of us are having a lot of anxious thoughts or a lot of mixed emotions about everything that's going on around us. Everything from what does it mean to be social again to do I really want to go back to work to how do I pick up on social cues to all this other stuff? So Amy, and I were kind of deep diving just now into social anxiety, and some of the things that are coming up with social anxiety. And the last point, anything you had mentioned was, um, people, it's the little nuances like, do I shake hands? Do I have? What are the what's the political protocol right now as we re enter into the world, and it's those little seemingly little things that are creating a lot more anxiety for a lot of us, you know, how do we show warmth? And, and inclusivity when we're really not supposed to get any closer than six feet to someone?

Amy Tran:
Right, totally. And the fear of offending someone or scaring someone. So with social anxiety, that can be a really intrusive thought, am I saying something stupid? Am I offending anyone? So now, we have this added layer of am I standing too close to someone? Right? Or do I shake my hand? What if I don't? Do they think I'm being rude? But if I do, do they think that I don't care about the pandemic? So there's just so much that people need to think about now, which can be really, really hard on our mental health?
 
Angie Miller:
Yeah. Because at the end of the day, the more thoughts that are spinning around here, the more it actually exacerbates anxiety, because it's a lot of clutter going on. And how do we clear away the clutter? So actually, any I'm going to move into that I'm going to move into speaking of clutter, how do we clear away the clutter? How do we manage these anxious thoughts. And again, I want to put it out there that even though I work in the clinical world, and Amy works now the clinical world, we're not diagnosing anxiety, we're defining anxiety, we're talking about what it means socially, what it means for our society. And then we're going to talk about some coping skills. Because whether you've been clinically diagnosed with anxiety, or you just experienced some anxious feelings, we just want to offer some tools at the trade to kind of help get people in a more comfortable space. What do you think, Amy? You're ready to move on to some kind of some coping strategies?
 
Amy Tran:
Yes, I'm totally ready. And I'm glad that you mentioned that these coping strategies are available to everyone. Yeah, absolutely. Even those who just get like, they're a little bit stressed out. I mean, we can all manage these coping strategies, I use these coping strategies every day in my life, whether I'm experiencing anxious thoughts or not. So one of the things that Amy and I talked about is, you know, you have to relax the body before you can relax the mind. And so we were kind of brainstorming some different ways of how you relax the body. And one of the things is we've talked about breathing, there's all kinds of different breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, where it's the tense and a release. And there's there's great YouTube videos on progressive muscle relaxation. And I think it especially applies to fit pros, because fit pros are like, I can't meditate, I can't breathe. But they can do progressive muscle relaxation, because it very much emulates what we do when we're string training, there's a tension and then a release. Right?
 
Angie Miller:
Right. Um, but it's, it's the other thing that before I turn this over for me to give us the next tip is there is the 54321 strategy, which is, um, you know, clearly observing your environment, I think this is another way to relax the body. So, um, a lot of times I find between clients or I'm having a hard time sleeping, I might get up out of bed and I do the 54321. And that is basically I let's say, I walk outside or I walk into a new room. And the first thing I do is I look for the first five things that I see. So you know, I see my screen right now I see my light ring that I'm using, I see my my webcam, and so on, and then for things that you can hear
the five things five, first five things, I lay my eyes on the first four things that I hear three things that I can feel I can feel my desk, I can feel my computer, I can feel the warmth in the air, and then two things that I can smell. So what can I smell, I wish I could smell chocolate. And then one thing I can taste, so it's the 54321. It's just a great way to reset the nervous system. And it's a great way to relax the body so that the mind can clear itself. So Amy, I'm gonna turn it over to you to kind of move on to another coping skill.
 
Amy Tran:
Mm hmm. Yeah. So I love those. Thank you for the awesome summary. So we're going to talk about now are thinking. So our thinking oftentimes can drive a lot of anxiety. But what is really important to remember is that our thoughts are not always facts. So one of the evidence based therapy modalities for addressing anxiety, which we're going to talk about now is cognitive behavioral therapy, which stands for CBT. So I want everyone to picture a triangle. And on each point of the triangle, there's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. So all of these three things influence one another, right? So if you are invited to a party, for example, and you feel really, or you think no one's going to talk to me, I'm going to have such a horrible time, then you're going to feel sad or anxious. And then that's going to influence how you behave at the party, you may feel, or you may act, very closed off and withdraw. So if I asked you right now to think of a purple elephant, could you do it?

Angie Miller:
Yeah. And if I asked you to clap twice, could you do that? Yes, I can. Now if I asked you to stop worrying about the pandemic, and stop being anxious, could you do that? No. And that is not helpful your fire?

Amy Tran:
Right. So it's a lot harder to change how we feel. But it's a lot easier to change, what we do, how we act, and how we think. So one of the important things in CBT is to monitor and change our automatic thoughts. So we have 1000s and 1000s of thoughts every day. And you may not know that because they're automatic, right? So when you notice the shift in mood, when you're suddenly feeling anxious, I want you to think what was I just thinking? and tune into yourself? Tune into yourself, ask yourself what you were thinking. And those are your automatic thoughts that are usually feel feeling anxiety. So you may be thinking, what if this or why were they laughing at me, they don't like me. And part of CBT teaches you to monitor your thinking. But then ask yourself, okay, am I falling into a thinking trap? And I'll give you an example of something in traps. So one is mind reading. We tend to me read people's minds. They think I'm dumb. They think I'm a failure. They don't like me, well, we don't know if these things are true. We're just reading people's minds, right? Another one is future telling, I'm going to have such a bad time. They're going to hate my presentation. I can't even think of one but you get the point, right? So there's future telling there's catastrophizing, where you think of the worst case scenario. And then there's black and white thinking as well, where you think on two extremes. So it's either this or that. So if I don't get 100%, then I'm a failure. But no, that's not really true. There's a lot of gray area in between as well, right. So there are tons and tons of thinking traps. Now I don't have time to go through all of them. But there's tons of amazing resources online. If you just look up thinking traps CBT then you'll see all of these different thinking traps that people can fall into, that can really exacerbate and heighten your anxiety. Yeah, I think you described punted to behavioral therapy perfectly. And you're right it's you know, the thoughts, the feelings, the behavior, it's easy to say I cannot clap two times, but it's not so easy to say. I'm not going to worry about the pandemic and so I think that a lot of us get caught in these thinking traps and another thing you can look up is even Daniel Amen, cause them ants, automatic negative thoughts and he gives you nice, easy, compatible, easy to follow tools to step outside of those automatic thoughts. Right. So, um, it's about you know, not saying that my thoughts are bad but actually challenging my thoughts and saying, just because I have a thought doesn't mean I have to buy in or believe it. It's like going fishing.

Angie Miller:
I don't have to fish for every thought and every thought that I think I don't have to bite the hook and be like, Oh, that must be true, because I'm thinking it, because that's absolutely polar opposite. Our thoughts are not facts. And our feelings are not facts. And our thoughts are not all accurate. So just because we think it doesn't mean it's true. And so it's not like are we're trying to lie to ourselves that these automatic thoughts just kind of build on themselves. And a lot of times what builds is the repetition of them. Because usually, if I have an automatic thought, that's a thought that I think a lot and so my mind starts to believe it because it's constantly repeating the same message like a song that I can't quit playing on the radio. And so, I want to talk for a minute about challenging those thoughts me, and then I'm gonna have you kind of expound on it as well. But challenging the thoughts again, isn't saying that the thoughts are bad, it's just or that they're inaccurate or that they're wrong. It's just saying, What if I looked at it a different way? So any had mentioned in the beginning of the podcast that we work with a lot? You know, what if I lose my job? What if I get sick? What if I get COVID? What if I'm, you know, my marriage breaks up? Because we're together? 24? Seven? What if my kids have to come back from school because of this variant that's kicking in. And we What if ourselves and we create all these scenarios and all these automatic negative thoughts, and it becomes this very vicious cycle, and we ruminate, which means we go over it and over it and over it again, until we really start to believe it. And it's like we're swimming in the muck, right? So one thing to do to disrupt that cycle is to first pay attention, like Amy said, What is the thought that keeps going through your head? In order to disrupt the cycle? We have to know what are those automatic cuts that are interfering? And then we have to ask ourselves, is there anything I can do about this? Where do I have positive control? So with it, what if I lose my job? Well, to some people, it feels like I have no control over that. But that's where I say to a client? Well, let's think about this. Let's think about where do you have positive control? What are some things that you could do? Or think about? Or what are some action steps you could take? So some of my clients have said, Well, I can update my resume, perfect. It's a great time to do that. It makes you feel like you have positive control, you're taking an action step to mitigate the effects of if I lost my job, boom, I'm ready to go. I have a resume ready to go. Because focusing on what if I lose, my job is unproductive focusing on updating my resume now that's productive. Um, so an action step? So what do you think, Amy? I'm going to kind of turn this over to you. And have you expound on this?
 
Amy Tran:
Mm hmm. Yeah, I love that you touched on positive control, because that's something that I encourage the clients that I work with, when we're dealing with anxiety to do is focus on what you can control. And what I say is, if you have a what if thought, instead of thinking, Oh, my God, if I lose my job, I'm gonna not be able to pay my rent or my mortgage, and, whoa, whoa, let's take a step back and actually play the scenario out to the end. So take a step back, take some deep breaths, right, we want to calm the body, then we can call the mind and grab a piece of paper and write Okay, so let's say what if I, what if I lose my job? What can I do to cope, and then play the scenario out in the to the end and pull on your coping strategies, as well as think about the things that you can control? And then look at everything that you have written down and ask yourself, how does this make me feel? Do I feel like I can get through this if the worst case scenario actually unfolded? Could I actually cope with this? Right? Who can I lean on for support? So it's just playing the scenario out in the end can help you realize that you are resilient, you can cope, you do have supports to lean on, rather than getting stuck in this spiral of everything's gonna collapse, and I'm not going to be able to get through this. Yeah, I love that. I absolutely love that plane, this scenario to the end, actually, okay, let's go with it. Let's pretend this does happen. And then another thing that I work with my clients on is, um, you know, doing that, but then also, I asked them, can you think of a time in your life where something happened? That was worst case scenario, like your worst fear came to fruition? Oh, yeah. Everybody can think of a catastrophe in their life, something horrible that they've been through. And then I asked them, What were the tools that got you through that? And then we play them back and I want to know what what were the tools that got you through that situation? What are your strengths? What were the obstacles that gone in your way? And how did you overcome those obstacles? Because remember, you know, we always talk about heroes of the world, but we are all our own personal hero. And so we've all been through these catastrophic times in our lives. And we found a way to get through that. And so whatever we called upon, then that is still within us. In fact, it's even stronger now. Because we're on the other side of that trauma. And so now I can use those skills to deal with what if I lose my job?
 
Angie Miller:
Love that, yes, thinking about the challenges that you had in the past, asking yourself how to cope. And another helpful question to is to ask yourself, what are the chances this might actually happen? Because sometimes we exaggerate the probability of something scary actually happening. And while I'm talking about these questions, I also want to present some other questions that people can ask themselves to challenge their thinking. So some popular questions that are used in therapy include what I already mentioned. So what are the chances this might actually happen? Another one is, what evidence do I have to support this thought? What evidence Am I missing to support this thought? What would I say to a friend or a loved one, going through the same situation? And then like we already talked about, if this actually happened? How would I cope? So these are all some questions that you can ask yourself, to challenge your thoughts. And when you're first starting out, it may be hard to do this in your head. So grab a piece of paper or keep a notes in your phone, or there's even some app CBT apps that you can use as well, that can help you and remember, it's a skill, right? And how do you get good at something is practice. So the more you practice this challenging your thought exercise, the easier it's going to be? And then the easier Is it easier it is to have more helpful, automatic thoughts. I love that. I think that's fantastic. And so I hope that everyone kind of reviews those questions. Um, I jotted them down, because even though I know the questions, I can never, you know, there's lots of different questions, but just a couple of, you know, um, what evidence do I have to support that this is actually true? What evidence do I have to support? That's not true? What would I say to a loved one who's going through this? And if it happened, how would I cope? And so those are really, really powerful questions, I hope to kind of replay this and go through those questions. And so in the spirit of time, any I want to just and again, I'm talking to Amy Tran, she is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology, and we're talking about this is the aftermath of the pandemic, we're re entering the world pocket more anxious. And so I want to talk about just a few ending coping skills. And Amy and I have talked about, and one of them is, you know, scheduling worry time, and you had mentioned that one. And so you know what I'm going to schedule, I'm going to allow myself 10 minutes to worry. And then I'm going to set a timer. And when that 10 minutes is up, then I'm going to move on. And you know what guess what worst case scenario didn't happen during those 10 minutes. And I'm going to let you circle back to that if you want. Another one is journaling. Of course, there's exercise. And I think my biggest one is keep the conversation going. You know, when we use thought suppression when we try to keep it inside, it's like a boiling pot, and our thoughts gain more power, because they really want a place to go. We all need support. We are inherently wired to need the support of other people. So we don't want to suppress those thoughts. We want to keep the conversation going in a safe space with safe people. Because I am telling you to everyone who is listening, if you're feeling it, chances are most of the people in your circle are feeling it too. So Amy, I'm gonna let you kind of roll with that for a minute before we close up.
 
Amy Tran:
Yeah, for sure. I mean, you did a wonderful job explaining them, Angie. The one I will add, though, is exposure. So with anxiety or fear in general, right, we tend to cope by avoiding the thing that we're scared of. And that makes us feel safe. But the thing is, we need to expose ourselves to the very thing that is creating that fear in order for your body to desensitize to it. So I'm not by any means saying you know, if you're afraid of a group of people to go to a big gathering with 50 people, I'm not saying that at all, but start small. Pick something small, like even interacting with the barista or saying hi to someone at the bus stop anything. So start small, and then evaluate how that went. If you're having any of those automatic negative thoughts, challenge those thoughts, replace those thoughts. And then that is going to be how you retrain your body to overcome that fear. So start small and then pick the next thing, then pick the next thing. And then eventually try to expose yourself to the thing that you're scared of the most. And this is a therapy strategy, a modality that's used in therapy, there's a lot of research to back up exposure. But of course, make sure you have the appropriate coping skills that work for you and a supportive person you can reach out to, if you get a bit too anxious, but I do want to add that exposure and challenging yourself to face the thing that you're scared of, is an important piece of combating anxiety and challenging anxiety.
 
Angie Miller:
Thank you, that was phenomenal. I'm glad that you explain that. And you know, I will say to all you trainers out there, here's another way that I think exposure therapy comes into play. I talk to a lot of brand new trainers and brand new trainers, they get their certification, they have the book smarts, but they're too scared to get started and working with clients. And what I always say to them is start with your friends start small start with one or two clients. And so you know, at the end of the day exposure therapy can also work with with that it can work with taking on a little you know, one client at a time until you start to believe in your skills and get comfortable with your skills. So you know what I so appreciate all of you joining us. I want to just say a little thank you to Amy Amy is on Instagram and she is at doodled wellness. And I'm on Instagram. I'm at Angie Miller fitness. And you can reach out to me with questions you can reach out to me with questions. But Amy, I really want to authentically Thank you. I think you did a phenomenal job. I'd love to have this dialogue with you about anxiety, and really just take away the stigma of it for all of us. And just say that, you know, again, if we're feeling it, chances are people in our circle are feeling it. It's not a bad thing. It's not a good thing. It's just that here's some great ways to cope. So thank you. Thank you so much, Amy for being on a thanks to all of you who are listening. keep the conversation going. Let me know if you have a topic you want me to cover. Again, Amy is at doodle wellness. I'm on Angie Miller fitness. We so appreciate your time and for joining us here. We appreciate all of our NSM and AFAA family. So have a great day and we'll see you next week.
 
 

 

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