BETTER THAN HAPPY – Episode 214

This was really a brilliant episode. And, as we are recovering in Utah from the earthquakes yesterday, I thought it appropriate to share today.

Really, tune in to this. It is worth sharing this episode with those you love, too.

In fact, after spending some hours on this post, I’ve decided that it’s important enough to understand, that I am going to split it into three different posts, one for each point Jody makes today.

Let’s jump into this.

The first few minutes of the episode were sort of disclaimers. Anxiety can be caused by biological factors, poor diet, products we use, hormones, etc. And, of course, we can and should talk to our doctors about our anxiety.

“I want to preface it by saying that there are a lot of factors that affect our experience of an emotion like anxiety… And I am a huge believer in utilizing all the resources we have at our disposal to solve a problem like anxiety. Clinical specialist can prescribe medication that can be useful if you think that you or your child may have a chemical or hormonal imbalance.

I don’t want you to tell yourself, ‘I don’t want to go on medication because I don’t want to be dependent on that for the rest of my life,’ when it’s appropriate and available and useful. That is no different than someone who has poor vision saying, ‘I don’t want to get glasses. I don’t want to be dependent on glasses to see for the rest of my life.’ Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that, even though you may be dependent on those glasses to see for the rest of your life?

So I want you to think about medications, again, if a clinical specialist recommends that for you as possibly the right fit, don’t hold onto shame or whatever else you’re telling yourself that’s preventing you from maximizing and utilizing all the resources that we have available. If you suspect this could be useful for you, please, go see a doctor.”

Jody’s area of expertise is the part of anxiety that is created by the monkey brain. Today we are looking at the emotion, anxiety, a feeling caused by a thought. That is the basis for the rest of the episode. So let’s make sure that is understood. Anxiety is a feeling.

And why are more and more people feeling this feeling of anxiety?

“Why anxiety is on the rise today, I definitely don’t have all the answers.”

Again, she wants to this make that clear. But, my friends, Jody has some thoughts that I found invaluable. Again, I am going to organize this one episode into three different posts, to give each of Jody’s points some space to be understood and applied. Let me start with her first point.

FIRST POINT. The word “anxiety” has become a buzzword or a hot topic.

“What we know is that the eye will see what the mind is looking for. So as soon as we start talking about anxiety a lot, and talking about people that have anxiety or even if we propose our child, ‘Hey, maybe it seems like you have some anxiety,’ then they’re going to start looking for whether or not that’s true.”

Jody uses the example of another hot topic, bullying:

“In (our) elementary school, they taught the kids all about bullying, what it is, what to do if you’re being bullied, why it’s important to not be a bully. I’m all for this. Let’s educate our kids about bullying and how to try and minimize it in schools… But what I noticed was that my daughter started coming home on the regular saying, ‘Mom, I got bullied at school today.’ And she would tell me about a conversation with another child where the child said something that wasn’t very nice. And what I’d tell her is, ‘Well, that was hurtful, right, and you had your feelings hurt because of your thoughts about what that child said and I’m sorry that that child said that thing that wasn’t very nice. I don’t know if I would classify that as bullying.” Maybe that’s kind of just how kids are, unfortunately, and how people are and we have to learn to navigate that and we have to learn how to, yes, protect ourselves, but I don’t know that I would classify that as bullying necessarily.

So, again, any time somebody was or somebody excluded her from an activity, she would come home and tell me that she had been bullied.

So I think, to a certain extent, we do this with the word anxiety.”

Ella, my teenager, listened to this episode with me a few months back. And she won’t let me even use the word, “anxiety” now. Maybe that is taking it a too far. But the point was taken: If we overuse the word, it makes it difficult for us to see what is really going on, right? When is it anxiety and when is it really something else. When is it just a part of the human experience, because being human is uncomfortable a lot of times.

Social anxiety? This is another hot topic:

“It’s totally normal to feel uncomfortable in social situations, especially as a teenager, especially at whatever age you’re at. Especially when you’re meeting new people or especially with whatever’s going on in your situation. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable, to feel like you don’t know what to say, to worry about whether or not people are judging you.

I just think we have an opportunity to pull back on the labeling… The human experience includes a lot of discomfort and it’s actually not a problem. It’s just part of the deal.  It’s there for our own growth. It’s there to provide us the opportunity to understand ourselves and to experience discomfort in order to then experience its opposite, which is joy…

Being human means pain sometimes. It means physical pain. It means emotional pain.”

So, when we are feeling a negative emotion, I think this is an opportunity to get curious.

“I want you to stop and go into your body and ask yourself, what is it really?”

Is it stress? Fear? Indecision? Discontent? Shame? Impatience? Overwhelm? Confusion? Disappointment? Loneliness? Boredom? Frustration? Inadequacy? Uncertainty? Sadness? Heartbreak? Anger? Annoyance? Jealousy? Doubt? Envy? Embarrassment? Distrust? Hurt? Incompetence? Numb? Insecure? Or is it in fact anxiety?

And there are a hundred other emotions not listed on this episode that we could be feeling. But, again, is what we are feeling in fact anxiety? Could my children label their emotions more exactly? Could I?

And then, if it is anxiety, knowing that anxiety is a secondary emotion, what is the primary emotion? More on that in the next couple days.

Pretty interesting, right? And if you thought today’s thoughts were pretty interesting, just wait until tomorrow! Absolutely fascinating! I have a incredible week planned on this topic.