3 Ways to Quickly Calm Anxiety - Transcripts
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Welcome back to Dear Gabby, my friends. Welcome back. This episode is all about anxiety relief. And I know that so many of us are suffering. I suffer with anxiety. I know so many people on my team that are struggling with anxiety. And I just see it in my friends. I even see it in my kid at times. You know, I see him starting to bite his nails and this is an anxious world we're living in. And we need tools. We need support systems. We need practices to reorganize our nervous system, to calm through our breath, to connect to our body, to live from a presence of peace, not a presence of fear and anxiety.
If we really want to attract what we want into our life, we have to release a lot of that anxiety that holds us back from being in our authentic self. And today's episode is so beautiful. It's a recording from a talk that I gave for my friend Amir's company, Guidely. Guidely is a personal development platform that connects people that are seeking healing and inspiration. And it gives you this connection to experts who can help you transform your life. And I love Guidely so much because they put out such transformational content, including this live talk with me. They were beautifully generous to allow us to share it here on the episode. So in this episode, I share these simple methods on how to release anxiety fast. You're also going to hear about my own journey of healing. And notice that you're not alone in this process. You're not alone in your suffering. And so many of us suffer from anxiety and that there really is a way out, even in cases of extreme anxiety like mine.
This is such a beautiful episode. I know you're going to get a lot out of it. And make sure to listen to it all the way through because I drop a secret at the end that's really beautiful. And it's something I'm currently working on. So listen all the way to the end. This show will be a first step for many of you to start to release anxiety, connect to a state of peace and presence within. And if you know anyone in your life who's struggling with anxiety, I really encourage you to pass this episode onto them. Listen to it with them, practice the practices with them, practice these methods with your children. Please carry the message. I really hope this episode creates a sense of common presence in your life. I can think back to how I lived so differently, not that many years ago, maybe even four years ago, living with chronic illness, chronic gastrointestinal issues, chronic stress, chronic anxiety, all the while running a big business and leading people throughout the world and writing book after book after book. But I was suffering and struggling.
And so much of what I was struggling from, I didn't even know about for most of my life. Because what I learned and what I teach and what I share about in Happy Days is that while I got sober at 25 years old and I had really surrendered fully and completely to my spiritual path, I consistently was plagued with this extreme anxiety, extreme fear, lots of chaotic patterns, lots of parts of myself that were very extreme and scary. And it was only about a decade into my sober recovery that I actually learned why I was living that way. But I actually learned why I had chosen a drug addiction path. But I actually learned why I'd become a workaholic and a love addict and a food addict and a drug addict and an alcoholic. I never understood why until I was 36 years old. In a dream, I remembered a traumatic event from my childhood. Then I woke up from that dream and just did not want to, in any way, shape or form, accept it. A few days later in my therapy, I fully accepted that memory. And what I came to realize that day was one, that this memory was indeed true and that I had been dissociated from that experience from a very young age, so probably three decades of dissociation and literally leaving my memory behind. I had two choices. I could stay stuck in that fear and push it down, not let that fear, that terror, that trauma in any way come to the surface and spend my life trying really hard to manage it, protect myself from it, and push it down.
Or I could crack open to the possibility of what true healing could look like. My commitment to true healing is why I was able to write this book, Happy Days. It's why Amir, who's only a new friend of mine, can say to an audience of people all throughout the world that he does feel that truth in my words and that he can feel connected to me in that brief connection that we've had. Because undoing the trauma from my past is my greatest accomplishment. I continue to work on it, although today I do believe and feel and know I have established a sense of freedom and a baseline of safety that I never thought was possible, but I was going to do whatever it took to get here. So tonight what I want to talk about is some of the ways that our nervous system responds to unresolved trauma, whether it be trauma with a big T or trauma with a small T. Maybe you haven't even identified it as trauma, but you just are living with chronic anxiety. So while this is a whole book on the guided path from trauma to profound freedom and inner peace, tonight I want to talk about anxiety. Because when we have unresolved experiences from our childhood, which we all do, we have a disruption to our nervous system. We have a disconnect from our physical body in many cases. So there's practices that while the book goes deep into methods and therapeutic practices that I strongly recommend, there are also practices that we can apply right here right now to have a very quick shift to experience the grace of what it means to let your nervous system support you, to have the tools to get yourself out of the extreme state of chronic stress and anxiety, allow yourself to get grounded in a more centered and relaxed way. This is by no means the addressing of the root cause condition, which I believe is necessary and can come through books like Happy Days or Therapeutic Support or People in Therapy that you can find in Guidely.
But what I do believe is that these methods can start to help you regulate your own energy and your nervous system so that you can feel more steady as you do the deeper work. And so that's my intention tonight is to give you some of the methods that have been my first responders when I've suffered and struggled with extreme anxiety, the experience of PTSD, going through very, very life-threatening anxiety with postpartum anxiety and depression. And so I know that these methods work. I've lived them and I'm so privileged to be able to share them with you right now. Let's take a quick ad break for a sponsor that couldn't be more appropriate and perfect for this episode. We've all got these anxious thoughts. That's what we've been talking about. We all forget to breathe at times. And sometimes we just don't feel like our best self to prioritize our wellbeing. We have to really focus on our stress levels. And that's where calm comes in. Calm helps you stress less, sleep more and live a happier, healthier life.
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And so I want you to just take a moment to close your eyes and just notice what you notice inside your body. And let's check in with the anxiety from a scale of zero to 10. Where, where is it right now? Turtle being the highest. Just notice what you notice on the inside. Does it have a color or a shape? Does it have a image that comes along with it? Any words that come with it more and more curious where does it live in your body? Is it tight? Does it, does it strangle you? Is it in your stomach? What do you know about it?
How long has it been around? What else do you know about it? Does it have anything it wants you to know? And now just take a moment to check in more completely to the space in your body where that anxiety lives. And just, if it's possible, extend a little bit of connection to that part of you. That anxious part of you. It's not who you are. It's a part of what you are. And just let that part of you know that tonight you're wanting to become a little bit more curious about it. I want to honor it and respect it, and just, just let it know that you're going to be a little curious tonight with a lot of love and compassion and connection. we're gonna just become curious, offering a lot of calm energy to the anxiety, take a deep breath and breathe that in. The willingness to offer that calm energy to your anxiety now.
And when you're ready, just take another deep breath and open your eyes with a little bit more connection to the anxiety giving it the attention and the respect that it deserves. We so often want to just push it down and push past it, ignore it, fight against it. But just for the next hour, let's just find a little time with it. Let's give it a little bit of love, give it a little bit of connection because that part of us is working really hard, protect us from deeper feelings and, let's just for tonight, give it a break, let's just give it a break tonight." Which leads me into the next step, which is a really powerful step for founding yourself in the moment, right here, right now, placing your hand on your heart and your other hand on your belly. This is a heart hold and this hold is on its own miraculous Miraculous, because it can allow you to send that full body message of relaxation, safety, and connection to your body. So whatever hand you feel like you want to put on your heart, whether it's your right hand or your left hand, place that hand on your heart, your other hand on your belly. Maybe you close your eyes again in this heart hold. Let's extend even more love to the anxiety, just letting it know that we have so much compassion for this anxiety tonight and that we're connecting to it, committed to connect to it. You can keep your hand in this heart hold if it feels really powerful for you. I think that it would be a nice thing to consistently do as I add on the next technique. The next method is called a vu chant. And I love this practice because when we chant, we actually create vibrational resonance in our body.
This chant sounds like this vu. And you would go all the way out. I'll give you the whole practice. But you would go all the way out to the full extension of that breath. And what the vu chant does actually sends this message to the vagus nerve that stimulates and support your entire nervous system. It just allows the vagus nerve to relax the entire nervous system. And so by stimulating the vagus nerve, your gut can relax. Your body can relax. Your energy starts to settle. And you can feel every muscle in your body start to relax and release. The woo chant is practiced like this. So you would take a deep breath in and on the inhale, just let your diaphragm extend.
So if you have that heart hold going and your hand is still in your belly, take a deep breath in and hold that breath for just one moment of pause. And on the exhale with me, let's all chant together. Voo, keep it going till the breath is complete all the way out. That voo, when the breath is complete, hold that breath and pause for another moment. Now take another deep inhale in extending your diaphragm, breathing in fully and completely. At the end of the inhale, just take one moment to pause. And then again, in that loop on the exhale, extend that pause one more time and one more deep inhale in. And at the top of that inhale, let's take another pause.
Now that exhale, let's do one last voo.
Hold that pause, take a deep breath in and let that breath go. Now let's check in with your anxiety for a moment. From a scale of zero to 10, where are you now? Zero to 10, 10 being the highest, where are you at? We've done a heart hold, we've done a voo chant. So I'll close with a final anxiety relief tool for children that also works for adults, but I want you to share it with your children. I heard a staggering, horrifying statistic today on NPR that the child suicide rates and the child suicide attempts and emergency room visits have gone up 57%. And it's really scary. And I know that many people watching may have experienced this in their own life. I mean, just yesterday I was talking to a friend whose daughter was threatening suicide. She's six years old. So as parents and caregivers and adults, we have to practice these methods and we have to share them.
So we have to be that energy, that steadiness. And we have to share that energy with our loved ones, with our children. So here is a practice that I love and it's very simple. You place your thumb to your pointer and your thumb to your middle finger, and your thumb to your ring finger, and your thumb to your pinky finger. And you practice this method of a mantra and a mudra. Peace begins with me. Thumb to the pointer with peace. Thumb to the middle finger begins. Thumb to the ring finger with, thumb to the pinky, me.
Peace begins with me. Peace begins with me.
Peace begins with me. Practice that all day long offer these tools to your children. Please, please, please, please, please, please share these methods with your friends, with your loved ones, with your enemies, with your children, with everybody you know. We need a lot of support right now. All these methods are taught inside happy days and I have a lot of other free resources and I'm just hope to support you in any way that I can and continue to support you in our conversation tonight as I get to chat with my friend Amir. Now for a quick ad break. This morning, I was hustling to get out the door with my kid. He had early morning soccer practice. We were rushing out the door. I didn't have any food that I could just whip up for him for breakfast or anything for myself. So what did I do? I opened my fridge and I grabbed my trusty friend, perfect snacks.
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Happy snacking! So amazing, so amazing. So profound, especially to start like that I feel like it brought everybody to together and so I want to start with, do we have to get to the bottom of the barrel to make the change in life?
Or is there another option? I do believe that, you know this I'm one My favorite quotes is the rooming quote. The wound is the place where the light enters you. And I do believe that when we face into our wounds or we have a bottom of some kind, it's often a great opportunity to crack open. But I would pray for people to have higher bottoms, to have those turning points be more graceful, to not have to be faced with addiction, to be the reason for your change. If you're thinking, is this it? Couldn't it be better? That's enough. So when we have those moments of, it has to be better than this, that's a prayer. I was asking the universe for a miracle. So we do not have to have the most radical bottom. Those of us who have those experiences in many ways can wake up even more rapidly because we've hit such a low, low that there's only one way up, truthfully.
But I don't wish that upon anybody because that sucks, it's not comfortable. And so I think that these days we can minimize the discomfort and come out quicker with all the resources that we have now with companies like Guidely, with having access to this material. This is new to the new generations and to even my generation. My parents didn't grow up with this kind of easy access to personal development, no way. My mom was in an ashram trying to find it. Not all other people's parents were doing that either.
No, no. Oh, no. When I went to an ashram, my parents thought that they lost their boy. They wrote me off. So, you know, I think you started your journey more on the spiritual side than got into therapy and you're on the verge of some traditional therapy. I know you're big on IFS. I would love to hear a little bit more about it. And how did you find out the resources you have? What do we know in a given moment? What works for me? What is the right way? And also the voice in my head.
How do I know that it's the capitalist self or another voice on the boardroom? So I know I'm asking more than one question, but I want to incorporate those because I feel you integrate
all the different components so beautifully. It's actually why I wrote Happy Days because I figured it out for you. I really made the commitment to go there, to show up, to do whatever it took to get closer to freedom. I actually remember having a conversation with Deepak Chopra. I was speaking at one of his events. It was shortly after I had remembered my trauma, and he and I were in his office and I was kind of in tears. And I was like, I'm really struggling. I'm doing this spiritual practice and that type of yoga and this type of thing. And I'm taking this kind of therapy and I'm really wanting to move through this trauma. Is it okay that I'm doing all these different things at one time? And in his beautiful accent, he said, do whatever it takes to get closer to consciousness. And I'll never forget that because his words really reiterated my way of living.
Do whatever it takes, do whatever it takes. So if you have the bravery and the courage and the willingness to go there, to do whatever it takes, reading a book like Happy Days, I believe will give you the path. It'll show you, oh, okay, I'm going through this. Maybe I need somatic experiencing therapy or I really resonated when she talked about internal family systems therapy or I want to do more body-based work or EMDR is speaking to me. And so I could sit here and tell you the whole journey that I went on, but I actually wrote it in the book. And that journey of adding on one therapeutic practice after the next, after the next was a spiritual journey because spirit was guiding me throughout the entire process. Once I would crack open more, I would peel back the next layer of the onion with the next practice and the next practice. And I believe that I wasn't guided to these practices until I was ready to receive them. I also know that God gifted me this experience of remembering a childhood experience that was so traumatizing. And all of the suffering in my life has been a gift that I've received as an opportunity to undo the fear and remember the love as you shared in the beginning of the passage and live to tell. I knew that when I remembered the trauma that I was gonna have to write a book about it. I knew I didn't have to, I knew I wanted to but I would not write that book until I was on the other side and here we are.
To answer the question, I hate to be that person, but read the book because it'll give you the guided path and it will tell you all the different results.
I will say here more than you will read the book. This is because it resonates on a deeper level. It provides practical tools. And you talked about the switch from fear to love, which is really Mary Ann Williamson, our dear friend, who we also had here a while back, isn't that her definition for a miracle or maybe close the miracle for when we switch mindset from fear to love?
Yeah. So according to A Course in Miracles, which is what Mary Ann has so beautifully translated for us for so many years, the Course teaches that the definition of a miracle is to shift your perception from fear to love.
And I experienced that in your presence. I mean, again, when we shared our time here, it was like watching you live that is really profound. So one of the chapters in your book is about shame, actually, I think it's called Speaking the Unspeakable. And it's such a big topic that Brené Brown obviously went from her TED talk about first vulnerability, then shame when ballistic viral. And I think it's such a charged topic and I don't know that anybody doesn't have a little bit of shame somewhere built in, and I would love if you are willing to share a little bit more how you look at it, what are the tools, how to best deal with it, because we live in a society where I think part of the challenge of youth is really dealing with shame, whatever it is that they're trying to hide or feel uncomfortable about, it becomes shame very quickly.
Well, shame is a biological response that's necessary in order to keep us alive. So when we're children and our parent turns their back on us and walks away, the extreme fear and the need to attach is a feeling of shame. That's actually a healthy shame. It's saying, I need you. It's when that attachment is not fully established and not cared for that the shame becomes extreme. So shame often originates in our attachment wounds to our parents, whether the parent was not always available to us. And sometimes they're sometimes not inconsistent that can create a lot of an anxious attachment style, which is definitely the shame response of without you, I'm inadequate without that love, I'm inadequate. And then there's the extreme experience of a parent just not being available at all, which creates that full bodied shame of I'm not worthy of anyone's love. And I have to care for myself. That's that avoidant attachment style. And those people out there who had a strong attachment bond to their parents, whether that was healthy upbringing, parents to help them feel safe and seen and secure, they were blessed to have been brought up with a very healthy attachment style and a secure attachment style, but that doesn't mean that they were not vulnerable to shame. Shame is a human condition, but it does originate with what our attachment bond may be towards our parents or caregivers and the more insecure the attachment style, the deeper the wound of shame made well, the stronger the attachment style as a child, the more secure we are, the more flexible we are to self-soothe in the moments of shame and the more resilient we can be.
Now, shame runs the show. So many of our protection mechanisms like addiction or controlling, or workaholism, or fighting back, or blaming and blaming and shaming others are all forms of protection. And those protector parts, as we talk about in internal family systems therapy, those protector parts of us are really protecting us from feeling the impermissible shame that lives underneath them. And so we build up these very extreme patterns, like I said, addiction and work and whatever it is that we do to numb the suffering of that impermissible shame. So the work is not to go straight to the shame that actually takes a while. That's a gentle process. But to first just notice the ways you're trying to protect against it and to become curious about the ways that you're trying to protect against it. And to give those parts of you some permission to relax and to settle your system, the more grounded and settled you get, the more safe you become in your internal system and the safer you feel and the more connected to your own ability to self-soothe, the closer you will get to a grounded place of safety that you can do deeper work therapeutically to touch into that shame. And does it have to be done with therapy? Not necessarily. But I do believe touching into shame is such an extreme, impermissible, exiled part of who we are, that having that therapeutic that therapeutic support is necessary, I think. And for those individuals who don't have that resource, then definitely listen to podcasts like mine, listen to Brene Brown, find free resources like you're getting here at Guidely, use what you've got, but don't rip off the band-aid to the shame too soon.
Because what happens is we have any different shame responses. So what will happen is if we feel shame, then we may shame and blame others because we want to deflect that shame. We don't want to feel it, so we send it out. Another response to shame is to just really take it on and just go so inward with it and to attack ourself. And then another form of shame response is to completely dissociate, check out completely. And then of course, you know, addiction and other
ways to numb it out. Right. That's profound. So subtle and so profound. Thank you. So last question, what are you working on with all the work you've done with all the journey and methods that you're
sharing this incredible book? What do you still work on? Oh, I have a lot of personal growth and development. I'm still working on my friend. I'm working on it in my dreams. I literally am working on it while I sleep. I've got a lot of unresolved PTSD and I'm still chipping away at it. It's a journey. And while I feel really safe in my body and in my life, there is this sort of, I guess I would describe it like a live wire that's still sort of under the surface. That is just not fully processed memories that I don't necessarily believe I have to fully retrieve, but there's resolutions that are required and just a deepening of that connection to that exiled part, the child part that was abused. And all the work I've done to here has given me the safe baseline so that I can go there. You're so courageous.
It's so much courage. Courage is
the word. And self-compassion and commitment. So I adore you for that. What's the next book
before we open it up? I'm selling a book right now. It's about internal family systems therapy and it's making it easy for people to apply. It's about connecting to those different parts of who we are and bringing our self, our soul, our undamaged resourced self to the internal system and knowing that we can rely on that energy that is in us, that self-energy of compassion and courage and calm and creativity and commitment. And so I'm going to take this very big body of work that was channeled and created by my very dear friend, Dick Schwartz, who I admire much like you, Amir. When I met Dick, I was like, you're my brother. I felt like that with you too. It's really lucky I get to meet all these incredible people. And so I'm committed to Dick and to his work, to making it really accessible and democratizing that work to allow people all throughout the world to receive it. Even if they're not in therapy with it. I love it. I know it's really
profound. I love it. You got me on it. I've done parts work, but in different and settings, this is very different, very profound. I wanna tell you one of my insights from your book is I think one of the spiritual lessons is really listening to your tape, a drain and a drain and a drain. That in it by itself is a spiritual practice because you did switch to a different channel. You stayed on that channel until it landed. And I think that's to me a huge lesson, even in that moment of such struggle, being able to stay on that station is profound.
Thank you for seeing me, Amir. I love you, thank you.
I love you and thank you so much. I love you and thank you so much for your generosity and wisdom and sharing yourself so beautifully and vulnerably with us tonight
and in general with all the work you do in the world. I love you guys, there is nowhere I would rather be other than cuddled in my bed, but I'm so happy to be here tonight. So nice way to go to bed.
Thank you guys. I love you guys. I love you.
Thank you. I love you. If you made it to the end of this episode, that means you're truly committed to miracles. I'm really proud of you. If you want to get more gabby, tune in every Monday for a new episode. Make sure to subscribe so you don't miss any of the guidance or special bonus episodes. Your experience at this show means a lot to me, so I really want to welcome you to leave an honest review. And you can follow me on social media at Gabby Bernstein. And if you want to get in on the action, sign up for a chance to be Dear Gabby live at deargabby.com. See you next week.
Gabby. Please note that this episode may contain paid endorsements and advertisements for products and services. Individuals on the show may have a direct or indirect financial interest in products or services referred to in this episode.