"In rejecting anxiety, you’re rejecting a part of yourself"
Tim JP Collins
Today we’re releasing a special bonus show between Yo Pal Hal and Tim JP Collins. In this never-released conversation, Tim will show you how to look at anxiety from a completely different perspective, so you can learn to manage it and start living the life of your dreams!
Having struggled with anxiety on and off throughout his life and then finally experiencing an uncontrollable panic attack at the height of his career, Tim knows what it’s like to live life in fear.
Tim explored traditional treatments to cope, but eventually realized that his anxiety was thriving because he was trying desperately to hide it. Tim finally learned that instead of running away from his anxiety, he needed to lean in and embrace it. Overtime, he was able to get his life back!
Now, Tim JP Collins is known as “The Breakthrough Anxiety Coach” and has dedicated himself to supporting others who suffer with anxiety, stress and panic attacks. His approach isn’t just about coping, it’s about moving past anxiety and fear to live the life you were destined for.
Tim is also the creator & host of The Anxiety Podcast. Each week he interviews people that have stories that you will be able to relate to. The interviews are raw, real and vulnerable and people share what’s really going on for them.
Tim believes that the more out of alignment we are in our lives, the more anxiety & stress will show up. So he really looks at the bigger picture when working with clients.
- The defining goal that gave Tim the confidence to take control of his destiny.
- Tim walks us through his entire morning ritual, from the moment he wakes up until the time he begins his workday.
- Learn how to increase productivity, lower stress, and take control of your life… all with this one little habit.
- Find out why anxiety can dramatically hinder your ability to set and achieve goals.
- Tim shares the story of when he had a massive panic attack during an important presentation and why the traditional system for treating anxiety completely failed him.
- Find out if the food you eat is a contributing factor to your anxiety.
- What is the #1 reason anxiety shows up for 25% of the population?
- Deliver the best presentation of your life by harnessing the power of nervous energy.
- Discover the 3 C’s to beating anxiety and becoming the best version of yourself.
- Find out how The Anxiety Journal can help you feel less anxiety and more excitement… with only a few minutes per day!
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
If you enjoyed this post and received value from this episode, please leave a quick comment below and SHARE with your friends. Thank YOU for paying it forward! :^)
COMMENT QUESTION: What is your big takeaway? Write it in the comments below.
[00:00:31] Jon: Achieve Your Goals podcast listeners, this is Jon Berghoff with a special episode, Episode 169, with Tim Collins. And listen, here’s why this is special because we have unearthed, we have uncovered, we have discovered, we have dug out of the ground this episode that was recorded previously between Hal and Tim Collins and it has never before been released. And by the way, if you’re turning in and you’re like, “Who are you, Jon, and where is Hal?” you can always go back and listen to Episode 152 to know that I am standing in for Hal while he heals and recovers as he is battling and winning his battle against a rare form of cancer. And if everyone’s wondering, I’m in touch with Hal regularly. He’s doing well. He is going through either his sixth or seventh round of chemo which is a lot. That’s my understanding. And he’s doing really well considering his circumstances. So, his spirits are high. He and I spent most of our time making jokes about life and whatever else we can joke about. So, I just wanted to pass that along and let you know that Hal and his family, they’re champions right now. They’re champions and your thoughts and your prayers go a really long way so thank you for that.
So, I’ve been standing in. Again, Episode 152 is the infamous episode where Hal passed the torch so that I could carry on while he is healing and he will be back at some point here. But again, you’re going to listen in to a conversation that Hal had with Tim Collins who is an anxiety coach so you’re going to hear a conversation about how to deal with anxiety which I think this is a topic that probably can help many of us in many different settings and environments. So, I hope you enjoy and we will see you on the other side. All right. Cheers.
[00:02:16] Hal: All right. Goal achievers, welcome. Welcome. Welcome to another episode of the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your friend and podcast host, Hal Elrod. And today we have a guest that I’m so excited to talk to in that he came very, very highly recommended from someone whose opinion I value very, very much. And first, I’ll tell you who recommended our guest today which is Jon Vroman, the host of the Front Row Factor podcast which if you don’t subscribe to that but you like amazing interviews and great podcast episodes, check out Jon’s Front Row Factor podcast. But our guest today is Tim JP Collins and Jon had him on the show and just said, “Hal, if you’re looking for a guest that is just so insightful and adds a ton of value that my listeners absolutely love and I think yours will too, I got one for you,” and I said, “Yeah. Of course,” and he introduced me to Tim. Tim and I met before but haven’t really connected deeply.
And so a little bit about Tim. He helps people overcome anxiety and stress to consider what is possible in their lives. And obviously, when it comes to achieving goals, anxiety and stress both play a part. And we’re going to find and talk to Tim, the expert, on how does anxiety and stress what part do they play, how do they hinder or affect our ability to achieve our goals. And Tim’s approach isn’t about just coping. It really is about moving past anxiety and fear to live the life you are destined for and Tim is the creator and host of The Anxiety Podcast. And each week Tim interviews people that have stories that you’ll probably be able to relate to. And the interviews are raw, they are real, they are vulnerable and people share what’s really going on for them and then you can hear Tim coach and help people through different situations. It’s really, really cool. So, Tim, how are you doing my friend?
[00:04:07] Tim: I am very well. Thank you for having me. Happy to be here.
[00:04:10] Hal: Yeah. I have to mention, true story, and you don’t know this I don’t think but Jon said, “And Tim’s got a great accent which always adds a bonus to the podcast.” I was like “Oh cool. Yeah, we need more people with that accent on the show.” So, yeah, that gave you a leg up.
[00:04:26] Tim: Extra boost.
[00:04:27] Hal: Extra boost.
[00:04:27] Tim: Having an English accent in England nobody really cares but you come to North America then instant celebrity status so, yeah, I’ll take it.
[00:04:33] Hal: Yeah. It’s great. You sound sophisticated. It’s fantastic. Now, what about having an American accent in England? Are you like a jerk from over the pond or how do the English react to the American accent?
[00:04:43] Tim: Mostly they like it. Yeah.
[00:04:44] Hal: They do? Hope in that.
[00:04:45] Tim: Anything that’s different from the norm is going to be useful. Yeah.
[00:04:48] Hal: It opens up immediately, “Oh where are you from?”
[00:04:50] Tim: Yeah.
[00:04:51] Hal: Well cool. Let’s start here. What was the first defining goal that you achieved in your life regardless of what age that was at but what was one of the first defining goals that gave you the confidence that you can achieve bigger and better goals?
[00:05:04] Tim: I think it was I didn’t go to university. Very much to the disappointment of my parents at the time but I didn’t go to a university and I started out in sales and I just kind of created my own niche and worked hard. And through kind of setting a goal of getting this job, I’m working my way up kind of the old-fashioned way, just start at the bottom and working my way up. As I got promoted and hit some of those early goals, that was what already gave me the confidence that I could do more or ultimately, I suppose another way to rephrase that is to say that destiny was in my hands. My destiny was in my hands. If I wanted a bigger and brighter future I could take it or I could watch TV tonight and not take it. So, I learned early on through kind of setting goals of achievement that if I put some extra effort in, in the short term, it paid off and that’s something which has repeated itself a few times in my life now.
[00:05:59] Hal: I love that. You and I share that in common as my answer to the question is very similar with when I was 19 and started in sales. What were you selling at the time?
[00:06:07] Tim: This was in like the late 90s. I was selling Internet firewalls, email servers, all that kind of stuff.
[00:06:13] Hal: And what age was that that you started?
[00:06:15] Tim: Twenty years old. Yeah.
[00:06:16] Hal: Oh, we started at the same age. Yeah. So, 20 years old started in sales. So, before we get into your expertise, I want to ask you about your morning ritual because I know you have one. Tell us when do you wake up, what do you do for that first hour or so and how has it evolved?
[00:06:30] Tim: Yeah. So, it’s interesting timing so I’ll just come back from Europe and I’m now back in Vancouver in British Columbia and because my body clock’s totally out of it and waking up for like three or four in the morning which is ridiculous even for an overachiever.
[00:06:44] Hal: Sure.
[00:06:45] Tim: But I do love mornings which is good based on your Morning Miracle experience but I’ll tell you the morning ritual in a moment. But there’s something magical about being up early because you kind of feel like you’re getting a head start. But also as I’ve matured, I’ve come to realize that nothing really good happens at nighttime. I used to have a boss that used to say to me bad things happen after midnight or he said, “At midnight you’ll turn into a pumpkin,” or whatever. So, that’s a bit late for me these days but I find like even after like 10 o’clock, I’m not really doing anything productive. So, I do like mornings. Normal time I get up would be around 6 o’clock, sometimes a bit earlier, sometimes a bit later if I’ve been out working on a project or something but normally it’s around 6 o’clock. And a mutual friend of ours, Ben Greenfield, I some time ago adopted his kind of stretching routine.
[00:07:34] Hal: Oh yeah.
[00:07:35] Tim: So, my morning routine consists of about 15 to 20 minutes of stretching so I just kind of start on my head and move all the way down to my toes and stretch every part of my body and then after that, I’ll sit and do some meditation for probably about 20 minutes. So, those two things are my staple. Immediately after those, I take a cold shower which is something which I’ve learned to embrace myself and also use on my clients for a number of reasons but I do love the cold shower to kind of kick off the day.
[00:08:04] Hal: Talk about why that is. So, what are the numbers of reasons? What are the benefits for our listeners that might be on? Why would you take a cold shower ever let alone early in the morning, right?
[00:08:12] Tim: Yeah. So, the cold shower thing is beneficial for a number of reasons. Number one is that it sets off a million dive response which we have. As humans, we’re built with this dive response so it actually stimulates your nervous system when you get into very cold water. And so, when you put the cold water on your face or as you turn on to your body, it stimulates your nervous system and you by calming it down naturally with your parasympathetic nervous system, you’re actually exercising your stress muscle effectively. And so, when people jump into cold showers and they hyperventilate and they’re like, “Oh,” that’s kind of what it’s like to start with and then over time it’s like an adaption phase. You realize that you actually get better at handling the cold shower and now I can step into it and I don’t even breathe differently or anything.
[00:08:57] Hal: Don’t even react or tighten up or anything?
[00:08:59] Tim: Yeah. Just step straight in. So, that’s the kind of physiological response and I recognize the people who I’ve done this over time have felt that they can handle stress better. And part, too, of it is I think where it comes to making decisions in our lives about moving forward and having the choice to take action, sometimes you stood there in the morning at 6 o’clock in the morning or 7 o’clock in the morning and you’re looking at a stream of cold water that you’re about to step into and you have a choice. You can do it or you cannot do it. So, I think it’s another thing about people when they’re stressed or anxious have to kind of decide to take action to improve their situation. So, if you’re willing to step into a cold shower on a regular basis, at the start of the day you’ve already done something which was uncomfortable. You’ve already embraced a difficult moment and I think that sets you up then for success throughout the day.
[00:09:52] Hal: I love that. It’s kind of the how you do anything, it’s how you do everything. So, you’re developing that discipline to, like you said, do the, “It’s easier not to get in a cold shower.”
[00:10:00] Tim: Overcome adversity, step one.
[00:10:02] Hal: Yeah. Awesome. All right. Thanks for sharing that and diving on the cold shower bit. I know like Jason Gainard, he does ice baths and takes it even further.
[00:10:10] Tim: Yeah.
[00:10:10] Hal: But, yeah, really cool. So, all right. So, we got wake up at 6 AM, 15, 20 minutes of stretching a la Ben Greenfield, 20 minutes of meditation. By the way, meditation-wise, is there any specific type of meditation that you do?
[00:10:22] Tim: I just keep it simple. I do guided meditation.
[00:10:24] Hal: Guided? Okay. Is there an app that you use or that you recommend that you prefer?
[00:10:28] Tim: Yeah. There’s one. There’s a podcast that I use called Meditation Oasis.
[00:10:31] Hal: Oh wow. I haven’t seen that.
[00:10:32] Tim: Yeah. I like that one. And I think for me the most important thing of meditation is just finding somebody whose, if you’re doing guided, whose voice that you like the sound of. It sounds kind of basic but yeah.
[00:10:42] Hal: What’s it called again? Meditation Oasis?
[00:10:44] Tim: Meditation Oasis, yeah. If you just google that, you can either go on the app or go on their website and grab some.
[00:10:49] Hal: Oh they do have an app? Okay. Very cool. All right. So, we got cold shower and then what?
[00:10:53] Tim: And then after that, I had a cup of tea. I go back to my English roots. I would start my day with a nice cup of tea. I’ll typically sit down at that point and look at what I’ve got on that day, look at my notes and kind of to-dos and I’m a classic kind of eat the frog type person so I’ll start with whatever the biggest, most difficult task is. Before I get into email, before I check Facebook, before I do anything, it’s like what do I actually need to achieve? And so, it took me a long time to kind of foster that practice but now I can sit down with a notepad and a pen and whether I’m writing a podcast episode or working on some content for a blog post or something, I’d like to do that before I get embroiled in the outside world so to speak.
[00:11:31] Hal: Yeah. I love that and then from there, once you’ve reviewed your daily to-dos, you’ve gotten clear on what the frog is that you’re going to eat, that most difficult task, then you dive in and that’s how you glide into your workday?
[00:11:42] Tim: Yeah. And as I said to you before I start recording, at the moment I’m living a bit of a nomadic life which means that I’m moving around a bit. My kids are often with me. So, the last few days, for instance, I’ve been staying in an Airbnb in Vancouver and I’ll just go to the local coffeeshop and switch my phone off and then just put it on airplane but I’ll actually power it down because again there’s something psychological when you just push a button and instantly be live again. So, I power it down, sit with my notepad and I’ll write out all my stuff by hand and figure it all out in my creative mindset before I actually need to put it online.
[00:12:12] Hal: Got it. All right. I love it okay. Really powerful, man. It’s so funny. I wrote the Miracle Morning obviously and it was probably a month ago or a few weeks ago that someone goes, “Do you ask that like Tim Ferriss always asks his guest for the Morning Ritual, do you do that too?” And I was like, “No. Why am I not doing that?” So, then this is really an example of I’m so glad that I’m starting to do this because it is really enlightening to hear there are so many different ways to start the day and like your rituals and not only does it work for you but I think it could work for anybody and really increase productivity and lower stress and all of that. So, yeah, thank you for sharing. Let’s dive into your expertise which is overcoming stress, overcoming anxiety or maybe in some ways using those to your advantage. Starting with anxiety, how does anxiety relate to or hinder our ability to set and achieve goals?
[00:13:01] Tim: So, on the hindering side, anxiety makes us very introspective. It puts us in a primal place of survival. We evolved to survive, to endure. Without that, our species wouldn’t be here today. So, anxiety is as old as time and we’ve evolved into these very complex beings living in boxes and consuming all sorts of information on demand all the time and our minds really haven’t caught up to us and probably never will from an evolutionary point of view. So, anxiety hinders us because it’s just not on the agenda we wanted to be on a lot of the time and what happens when people are experiencing high levels of anxiety is that basically self-care goes out of the window so we don’t really pay attention to diet, exercise, mindfulness and all the important things which make a huge difference. So, we’re actually compounding it and making it worse.
And the mindset of an anxious person is like, “I just need to get through the day. I just need to survive.” So, speak to somebody with anxiety about what they’re doing next week, next month, next year, they won’t have a clue. They have no idea because anxiety is making you play small. It’s making you get through today and at the end of when I was – and I can go into my story if you want. I suffered with anxiety myself. That’s why I do what I do but I would literally get home from work and be like, “Oh my God, I’d manage to pull it off,” like I managed to keep the illusion alive that my life is all right when on the inside, I’m dying.
[00:14:34] Hal: Yeah. Dive into the story. I love to hear the story.
[00:14:37] Tim: Yeah. So, my story I kind of, as I mentioned, I’ve gone into sales and I did what a lot of people do in sales. I chased promotions and pay rises and I got fancy business cars and then I got fancy business cards and I worked my way up to be Vice President of Sales for a technology company. So, I had a team of people under me, seemingly everything was great, kids were in private school, big house, extra car, all of the good stuff. Looking outside in, people will be like, “That’s amazing.” But inside I felt very disconnected. I felt like I was living a bit of a hollow existence and all of this stuff was kind of building up on my shoulders. The people at work wanted me to travel more, do more and sell more and my family is like, “We want you to be home more and be a dad more and be around more.” And so, I was starting to feel the pressure and one day I went to do a speaking engagement, went to the presentation, got up on stage and had an M&M style meltdown which, I mean, I didn’t even know how to spell anxiety at this point like I wasn’t aware of it as a thing. And I felt like I was having a heart attack. In that moment I thought I was dying. I started to sweat. I got vertigo so I didn’t even feel comfortable standing anymore. My throat felt like it was swelling closed so I had this kind of massive panic attack with adrenaline surging and all that kind of stuff. All these people kind of sat and then crowd looking at me like, “What’s wrong with you?” And I had to walk out of the room. I couldn’t do it. And public speaking nerve is very, very common as you know and most people once they start talking and they have engagement or somebody in the crowd smiles or you crack a joke or something and you’re like, “Okay,” and then you can kind of you forget about you and you concentrate on the audience and the message. But in that case, I totally sensitized myself and I went, had to leave the office that day and I was staying in a hotel, I was traveling and just went into a really dark place.
[00:16:26] Tim: So, I just started going to the worst-case. I almost like I’d switch something on in my body I couldn’t switch off and it was like, “Now I’m going to lose my job then I’m going to lose my house then everybody’s going to find out and I’m weak and I’m broken and I’m…” It’s just a horrible situation to be in. Unfortunately, being the Vice President of Sales, I mean, I had to continue to pretend to be the guy who had all of his ducks in a row and I really didn’t and the system failed me as I believe it fails a lot of people. And that I went to the doctor, they prescribed medication which has its own list of side effects and rarely works anyway. I spoke to psychologists and it didn’t really make me feel better. So, that was fast forward quite a long way of me figuring out on my own, realizing that diet had a huge impact on mental health and the way I felt. And exercise and journaling and meditation, all made a huge difference.
[00:17:17] Hal: What was the diet if you don’t mind sharing any dietary differences from pre-anxiety to what you changed and how the diet affected your ability to cope?
[00:17:26] Tim: Yeah. Of course. On my part, of course, I’ve recently interviewed some experts on ketogenic diets, on gluten intolerances, on autoimmune challenges and what I believe now and this is kind of the latest research and science is telling us that inflammation caused by the foods that we consume has a neurological effect on our bodies. So, there’s a book written by Dr. Perlmutter a few years ago called Grain Brain, talking about the fact that gluten intolerances create inflammation in our bodies which then create inflammation in our brains which causes early onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia, etcetera. And then our linking that to anxiety and depression and all sorts of other things. I interviewed somebody the other day called Dr. Tom O’Bryan and he’s a specialist in this subject and gluten specifically and he says that although only 1% of the population has celiac disease, every human is intolerant of gluten to some extent.
And so, I kind of figured out some of this on my own pre-podcast thing all kind of working in anxiety and just started to refine my diet, started a bit of a paleo diet, started exercising more and just really figured out myself in terms of what made me feel better over time and putting all these pieces together and that was kind of eventually what when I started talking about this to friends and families and on Facebook, people started to reach out and ask for my help. And that’s kind of how I fell into the world of becoming an anxiety-focused person because I just feel that it’s stigmatized. It’s not a funky thing like it’s not a sexy industry to be in but it’s very important and it’s very underserved in terms of – most of the people I work with now work with me because I actually can understand how they feel. And you don’t get that from a doctor. I mean, doctors obviously have to be a specialist and everything or generalist, I guess because that’s the nature of the job. So, yeah, I just love the subject, I love nutrition, I love exercise, I love all of the components that can go into making you the best version of yourself.
[00:19:30] Hal: And I think that what you’re talking about it being underserved, it’s true because so many people, well not just so many people, but everyone at some level I think or at least in certain circumstances we deal with anxiety. And to your point, if you’re a doctor and I’ve got my own thoughts on most doctors, it’s just, “Oh, let me check my roller decks of drugs that I can prescribe for…”
[00:19:50] Tim: Right.
[00:19:50] Hal: “Let me look under A for anxiety. There it is. Okay. Here you need 30 milligrams of this.” So, like you take a more holistic kind of natural approach which was cool.
[00:20:00] Tim: Yeah. And the other thing I was going to say on that is the nutrition in all those parts are absolutely key and I used to have asthma when I was younger, well, for most of my life and then when I cut out gluten, my asthma went away, my seasonal allergies gone away. I’m not allergic to pets anymore. I got rid of a rash that was on my arms. So, it’s not like it’s just mental like there’s a physical manifestation of this for a lot of people as well. But the other piece of the puzzle, once we’ve covered a lot of the foundation, is that I do fundamentally believe that for a lot of people, anxiety is the result of being out of alignment in your life. And what I mean by that is if you’re in a relationship which doesn’t serve you or you live somewhere that doesn’t serve you or you’re working in a job that you hate or there’s something in your story which you haven’t resolved. Disalignment, much like on a car if you don’t put air in the tires and you don’t fix the suspension or put oil in it or eventually, the steering wheel starts shaking and for us, our steering wheels starts to shake. For sensitive people, it’s anxiety. For other people, it might be depression or it might be weight gain. It’s different things to different people but for those one in four, 25% of the population, anxiety shows up when we don’t take care of ourselves first in our own lives.
[00:21:10] Hal: So, if we’re in a job we hate, if we’re in a relationship that we don’t feel good about then the side effect of that is anxiety. It causes anxiety for us.
[00:21:19] Tim: Correct.
[00:21:20] Hal: Got it.
[00:21:21] Tim: So, I believe it’s people who have anxiety and then think a pill is going to fix it searching for a cure like the cure is everything. The cure is you, the cure is what you eat, what you do, who you live with, your life’s work. It’s just some of those things are more significant in terms of change for some people than others but they’re all on the table. When I work with people it’s like, “Right. Let’s start with a blank canvas and see what we’re working with here,” because there’s just so many ways that you can do better.
[00:21:47] Hal: Yeah. So, I know anxiety and stress are kind of two different areas that you have expertise in and help people to overcome. I wanted to know if they’re one in the same or what the difference is between the anxiety and stress and how stress plays. It’s kind of the same question on anxiety, how it relates to or hinders our ability to set and achieve goals. What factor does stress play in our ability to achieve goals?
[00:22:10] Tim: Yeah. I think stress, by comparison, can be useful.
[00:22:14] Hal: Okay.
[00:22:15] Tim: Stress to when you are writing your book or one of your books, I’m sure a deadline as sometimes made you do more work in a focused manner. You’re like, “Oh God, it’s 11:00 at night but if I do another hour then…” That’s stress. That’s a time crunch. That’s you having to do something but you want to do it. It’s positive. And you could also say that interpreted correctly, public speaking is stressful. It doesn’t have to be anxiety inducing. You could say, “Right.” If you ever see professional sports people being interviewed, they always say, “Were you nervous before the big game?” and they’re like, “No. I’m just excited.” So, physiologically it’s adrenaline. It’s sweating. It’s an increased heart rate. You can interpret that as anxiety or you can interpret that as excitement. So, I always say to people with public speaking, “Take that nervous energy, turn it into performance energy,” and that’s when you’re taking anxiety, handle stress in that case and using it for something good.
[00:23:12] Hal: How do you do that? How do you turn nervous energy into performance energy? What is performance energy?
[00:23:16] Tim: Yeah. So, I think first up it’s saying instead of concerning yourself with what may happen from a bad point of view, it’s saying, “Imagine if this was absolutely amazing, imagine if what I said today could impact a person in a crowd and change their life, one person out of 100, out of 1,000, whoever you’re speaking to.” So, it’s firmly saying, “I’ve got to stop making this about me and make it about the people I’m speaking to and serve them as best as I possibly can.” It doesn’t mean without nerves, that doesn’t mean without your voice shaking or you’re forgetting a line or something but it means that you’re going to get through it and you’re going to do it. The other thing I do believe because I’ve experienced this myself and I’ve been on both sides. I’ve done the choke and I’ve also killed it, and if you take that energy, let’s call it the nervous energy and you say in nature this would be the most alert, primed, awake version of a human you can ever find. Your vision is better. Your hearing is better. You’re amped up and ready to fight to the death or run for your life. So, if you’re on stage, imagine if you could harness that energy and include it in your presentation and delivery it to the people watching you, you’re going to be more animated than anybody they’ve ever seen speak before. You’re going to be so engaged and so passionate about your subject that it’s going to blow them away. So, that’s what I mean about performance energy you have. I feel it now talking to you because this is getting me revved up but you can harness it and channel it into good instead of letting it kind of take over the reins and chase it down the rabbit hole.
[00:24:45] Hal: I think you’re right about stress being – what is it? The term is eustress. E-U-S-T-R-E-S-S, right?
[00:24:53] Tim: Right. Yeah.
[00:24:53] Hal: Eustress which I believe a form a positive stress. But like for me before I speak and I’ve given hundreds of speeches, there’s always an element of nervousness of stress but it’s not fear. And so, I think I don’t know if that’s a distinction that maybe anxiety is stress that it’s fear-based whereas performance, what did you call it, performance what?
[00:25:13] Tim: Well, performance energy.
[00:25:14] Hal: Energy, that’s right. So, it can stem from that stress that is just based on the fact that you want to do a great job. So, in fact, even if I visualize it going well over and over and over again, there is still that nervous excited energy which is it really is a form of stress. My body is definitely physically feeling some stress, right, but I think it keeps you on your toes and make sure that you’re ready.
[00:25:34] Tim: I would add on to that just to add one piece on top of that is to say that if you’re not feeling any stress, if you’re not feeling any nervous energy or performance energy, if you’re not feeling it then you probably shouldn’t be giving a speech because you probably don’t care about it.
[00:25:49] Hal: Yeah. I know you’re right and I’ve done that before where I was too confident. No stress and you’re like, “I got this,” and you’re like, “Ah, I needed a little stress to keep me on my toes and give me that edge,” and even just that stress leading up to something to make sure you’re preparing because you got a little stress. You’re like, “I got to make sure I got it. That thing’s coming up. The speech is coming up. The game is coming up. I got to be ready.” Yeah, I think it is a healthy thing. So, to kind of bring this all to a really powerful conclusion here, I know you’ve mentioned a lot of different tips and strategies on overcoming anxiety, not eating foods that cause inflammation for example particularly avoiding gluten which I do us much as possible, avoid gluten, exercising regularly but how would you wrap up like what are your best tips and strategies for people listening to overcome anxiety?
[00:26:34] Tim: So, for somebody who is suffering from anxiety today or is feeling anxious, the first thing I always talk about is leaning into it. So, anxiety makes us want to squirm out of our seats. For anybody who’s listening and who’s experienced it, know I’m talking about. Your stomach turns upside down, your head feels tight, your heart rate increases and so it makes you want to run. It makes you want to avoid it. In some cases, it makes you want to fight it. You get tense, you get resistant and Mike Tyson is like – sorry. I was going to say anxiety is like Mike Tyson. It’s going to be stronger than you, it’s going to be faster than you and it’s going to beat you up. So, we know that, and this is going to sound a little bit woo-woo, but in rejecting anxiety and pushing it away and trying to fight it, you are rejecting a part of yourself.
And in my experience, I’ve learned that the best way to start to heal the anxiety and to recover from it is to embrace it and say, “This is part of me. Only it’s the sensitive side, it’s a way to empathize with people and connect with people through sharing vulnerabilities and I’m going to pick it up and put it in my pocket and carry on.” The only way past it is through it. So, instead of getting agitated and trying to avoid it, I mean, our minds just have a fantastic ability to remember things we don’t want to think about. So, your teacher at school says, “Don’t think about pink elephants,” as an example. You start thinking about pink elephants. That’s just what we do. So, if you’re like, “Don’t think about anxiety, don’t think about this bad thought I’ve got in my head. How do I get rid of it?” Well, it’s going to persist. So, leaning in and embracing is a concept where you tell somebody with anxiety they’re like, “You’re off your tree.” You’re like, “No. Actually, bear with me. This is what it’s all about.”
[00:28:16] Hal: So, it seems like it’s almost the – and I guess this is true with anxiety, probably fear as well or any negative emotion that hurts us or stops us or paralyzes us, it’s almost our judgment of ourselves for feeling the emotion that is harder on us than the emotion itself. If you have fear, and you go, “Well, okay, I have fear. Fear is normal. We all have fear. That’s fine. I’m going to do the thing I’m afraid of even though the fear is there,” versus, “Oh my gosh, I’m afraid, what does that mean? What’s that going to do to me?” So, the judgment of the anxiety or the fear I think can cause us more problems than the actual initial feeling of anxiety or fear. Would you say is that kind of accurate in what you’re talking about like embracing it versus judging it and resisting it?
[00:28:57] Tim: 100%. I mean, when I get on the phone with people, two things are almost always there on my first phone call. Number one is they’re extremely hard on themselves, “I’m broken. There’s something terribly wrong with me.” And number two is they’re fighting it. They’re resistant to it. They’re trying to like to battle it every day and you can’t win against strength from you trying to fight back to it. The second part I was going to mention before was in my coaching and just as kind of a mantra I use this term called the three Cs.
So, the first C and this is what I encourage people to do when they’re feeling anxious when they’re having a panic attack or when they’re just feeling like very high levels of anxiety. So, the first C stands for curiosity and so curiosity means that your anxiety, you’re kicked off by your amygdala. It’s your primal croc brain. It’s just instinctual. So, it could be doing it because it’s an old neural pathway that’s been created or for whatever reason. So, curiosity allows us to say, “Hang on a minute, is this real?” It engages the prefrontal cortex to say, “Is this actually a threat or is this just good old fashioned anxiety trying to wind me up again?” So, it’s kind of like pan and interrupt. “I’m feeling this crazy stuff going on my body. Hang on a minute. Is this relevant? Is it? Or is it just old stuff repeating itself which is often what anxiety is?”
The second C stands for courage and that is courage to stand there and be uncomfortable but actually to feel the feelings. This is kind of like I talked to you about embracing it or leaning in. If we try and avoid the feelings, they’ll get stronger. It’s like a smoke alarm going off. If you don’t go and attend to the smoke and put the fire out then they’ll keep ringing. So, the courage means to be a bit uncomfortable. It’s why I take a cold shower. I’m a bit uncomfortable but I’m stronger because of it. So, stand there, feel the feelings, acknowledge them and they will pass out of you. If you try to fight the feelings they will persist, they’ll come back and they’ll carry on.
[00:30:53] Tim: And the third C stands for compassion. And that’s because anxious people are hard on themselves. We’re all hard on ourselves really but anxious people are even more hard on themselves. So, it’s kind of incorporating those other things while saying like, “This isn’t my fault and it’s going to be all right. If I let time pass and I work on this process and work on myself, it’s going to get better.”
[00:31:13] Hal: I love it. Curiosity, courage and compassion and I think that we could all use a little more curiosity, a little more courage, a little more compassion in our daily lives and in doing so minimize and overcome the anxiety that we’re feeling but I think that just in general, you mentioned earlier, that the whole being out of alignment in our lives, that’s where anxiety as a result of and I think that when you abide by your three Cs and encourage our listeners, write those down, put in your affirmations, right, curiosity, courage and compassion, that would bring us more alignment, yeah, in our lives?
[00:31:48] Tim: Absolutely. Yeah.
[00:31:48] Hal: Wonderful. Awesome. And then also not eating foods that cause inflammation especially gluten. So, that’s a component that you recommend people who are cognizant of and take action on that.
[00:31:58] Tim: Yeah. And actually, I was talking to Dave Asprey about this, of Bulletproof fame, and he put it in a good way which is like, “You could be doing meditation or journaling or whatever but if you’re smacking yourself in your face with your fork three times a day by eating the wrong foods then how can you expect to not be anxious if that’s a trigger for you?” So, we struggle to think how our mental challenge could be affected by food or could be affected by exercise or something else but the more I learn about it, the more it just makes absolute sense why it is totally connected and why it does make a massive difference. I mean, we don’t have time for it on the show today but you can get into obviously like caffeine and alcohol, sugar, all those sorts of things which all have their own different reactions in our bodies. But, yeah, if people want to just look up some nutritional based stuff, I always typically say check out paleo or check out the whole 30 type plan which is what you just eat real food for a period of time. And I think it’s massively relevant in a world where convenience is key.
We’re constantly distracted by technology. It’s about good food. It’s about switching off your phone for a couple of hours during the day and going for a walk in nature with nothing apart from yourself and maybe a notebook to capture any amazing creative ideas you have. But the more that we are connected 24/7 to electronic devices that are pinging us and giving us these little bits of stimuli and chewing off bits of adrenaline in our brains, the bigger challenge we’re going to have. So, all of these approaches when combined just changed the way people live and when they, as I always say, stop coping and start changing. Coping is taking a tablet and hoping that if you take that pill then you’ll be fine. Changing is saying, “Why did I get anxiety in the first place? How can I live with that life and what am I going to do moving forward to improve my situation?”
[00:33:57] Hal: Instead of putting a Band-Aid on it, it’s actually going to the root cause.
[00:34:00] Tim: Right.
[00:34:01] Hal: Before we wrap up, I know you have a new journal that I don’t know if it’s out yet but it focuses exclusively on helping with anxiety. Tell us about the new journal.
[00:34:08] Tim: Yes. So, the point of the journal was I love the Miracle Morning. There’s loads of brilliant books and the stuff I’ve utilized out there but I kind of wanted to encapsulate some of the things that we’ve talked about before, some of the concepts and put them in in a daily workbook type format of people. So, the presale is actually underway now. I mean, we can include the link for that but it’s called The Anxiety Journal just to keep it simple and my podcast is called The Anxiety Podcast. It’s kind of easy to find and The Anxiety Journal is really about noticing how you feel on a daily basis, about investing in yourself. One of the questions for instance on a daily question is, “If I had no fear today, I would do what?” So, it’s like what is holding you back and can you dream about what’s possible in your life if anxiety is in the way? Because for many people, talking about the alignment piece, but for many people actually leaning in to be in a bit uncomfortable and taking those difficult strides is part of the solution. Your future is part of the solution and saying, “Right, I’m going to start a business or start a new relationship or move house or whatever and it’s uncomfortable,” but you’re going to do it anyway because you know deep down that is the best for you. And so, the idea of the journal is to support people in that process and to help them facilitate change.
[00:35:26] Hal: Awesome. And I just found it. It is on your website. For all of our listeners if you want to go pre-order your copy of The Anxiety Journal, it’s TimJPCollins.com and then you’ll see Journal on the right side toward the top. As well as a bunch of cool – there’s the Lean into Fear audio that you use when you’re having panic or anxiety attack, free workshops. So, Tim has got a bunch of great resources on this site. Is that the best way to get in contact with you, Tim, to work with you or thank you or…
[00:35:58] Tim: Yeah. Also, another domain which points to the same place is just AnxietyPodcast.com.
[00:36:04] Hal: Okay.
[00:36:05] Tim: So, that’s maybe easier.
[00:36:06] Hal: There you go.
[00:36:07] Tim: But yeah Tim JP Collins is my name and if you want to find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, it’s just TimJPCollins on any of those platforms. Feel free to friend me or ask questions. And one of my episodes every week is answering a listener’s question. So, yeah, there’s free resources on the site for people for that and then for people who want to do more involved stuff one-on-one with me, we can talk about that as well. But yeah there’s lots of stuff out there for you.
[00:36:32] Hal: So, AnxietyPodcast.com that will redirect to your website?
[00:36:35] Tim: Yeah.
[00:36:36] Hal: Cool. And I just ordered a copy of your journal.
[00:36:38] Tim: Thank you.
[00:36:39] Hal: Yeah. Figured it was appropriate to do while I was talking to you and I tried multitasking.
[00:36:44] Tim: There you go.
[00:36:45] Hal: Yeah. But, cool. Hey, Tim, really, really, really insightful, man. Thank you so much for being on the show today.
[00:36:49] Tim: Thanks for having me. I loved it.
[00:36:51] Hal: Yeah. Pleasure. Well, goal achievers, thank you so much for tuning in. I hope you got as much value and nuggets and wisdom from Tim as I did. And again, I just ordered a copy of The Anxiety Journal. Go to AnxietyPodcast.com. Up at the top, click on Journal.
And if you are not yet registered, signed up, locked and loaded for the Best Year Ever Blueprint in San Diego, highly, highly recommend and invite you and encourage you to check it out. I know a little over 200 spots are taken but there are 400 seats in the room and probably sell very quickly but if you go to BestYearEverLive.com, that’s BestYearEverLive.com, check out the highlight video from last year and if that resonates with you, join us for a few life-changing days in San Diego. I hope to see you there and, otherwise, I will talk to you. Thank you so much for being a listener of the Achieve Your Goals podcast. I appreciate you probably more than you know but love you and appreciate you and I will talk to you. Take care, everybody.
Get Hal Elrod's Course
This course is based on the timeless principles introduced in The Miracle Morning that will allow you to reach your full potential by starting your morning off in a unique way that’s designed to get you actual results, not just make you feel good for a few minutes.