Podcast – Episode 0080 – How To Deal With Anxiety

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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about Joel’s recent brush with death and how to deal with anxiety by finding your inner strength.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • There’s plenty of anxiety around for everyone these days. The source, however, is something we can’t easily alter.
  • During emergency situations, our bodies and systems can feel like such a surprise: we are not fully consciously aware of the stages we go through.
  • People who encountered near death experiences often become speakers and they end up strongly empowered with their lives. They may also experience ego death.
  • We were, for a very long time, acted as “prey”. Eventually we evolved to use tools and suddenly we became predators. However, we became prey for too long that we can’t remove it inside of us.
  • As humans, we’re so much more insecure and anxious of death. We generally have the sense of like it’s all going down at any minute. We almost resemble that more than knowing that we’re on top of the food chain that predators have and yet we’re predators.
  • We’re so much insecure about all these made-up narrative stories, problems and challenges that might not actually be realistic but it seems like we make them up all the time to justify our nervousness or anxiety.
  • But what if our anxiety and nervousness has nothing to do with our actual abilities or limitations? What if we do have everything inside of us – a complex amazing brain that will help us in all levels and saving our lives?
  • Proving ourselves that we can survive as humans can make us feel more secure. It helps us prepare for the future and have radical self-reliance.
  • Is our nervousness and anxiety reasonable?
  • It’s all about mitigating your anxiety and focusing on your ability to take charge of your life.
  • Ask yourself, “Do you feel confident out there?” For example, when starting a business, you might feel anxious thinking if it will work out or not.
  • It’s really a matter of getting to that point where you know that you’re gonna be okay no matter what.
  • What if there’s still anxiety that occurs? Just power through and know that the resources you need will come through. Trust that you have it in you to summon it up whenever you need it.
  • Anxiety is probably the biggest energy sap that humans experience.
  • Ask yourself, “Is there something I can do in order to mitigate my anxiety in general? Is there something I can do to lower my anxiety?
  • Acknowledge that anxiety does not serve you. Let the anxiety hang in there for a second and diminish it as much as you can.

Things we reference in this podcast:



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Showing 15 comments
  • Megan M.

    1. So glad you didn’t die from this Joel! So scary!

    2. If anyone is tracking my comments today, clearly I’m binge-listening to episodes again.

    3. I slept on my floor sometimes as a kid too! And would try to get dressed and do my chores without using one of my arms, or with my eyes closed. Something about knowing that I could still function and survive even without comforts (or limbs or sight..) was oddly comforting and the ideas in this podcasts suggest a really interesting theory as to why that may have been true. Also, I am listening to this because I’m struggling with some social anxiety about an event this evening and this definitely helped put things in perspective, so thanks! (Though if the event turns into a zombie apocalypse I’m with Antonia, I’m definitely dead.)

  • Evelyn Baker

    So glad you are OK! And the podcast had some good ideas. But I do have to mention anxiety is much harder to shake off if you remember your near death experience. It’s in living through it and remembering that the real challenge comes in. In the moments of the experience the mind/body is so full of adrenaline you aren’t truly aware of the fear. Til later. And I’m glad you don’t have to remember! Hope your boys are doing well too!!
    In my near-death experience I was driving and saw ahead a van crossing over into my lane almost hitting two other cars before hitting me head-on. The sound…I opened my eyes and my car was crushed around me. I was having trouble breathing from the steering wheel hitting my chest and landing in the passenger seat. My car started to smoulder and bystanders tried to get me out, but couldn’t budge the door. They waited with me for the fire dept. It took them a half hour to cut me out of the car as it smoked and I assessed my injuries. I was in pain but nothing like I was later.
    Made it to hospital and had long recovery. Every time I dozed I would jerk awake to the sound of the crash over and over again. Once I awoke to see my smashed car on TV on the local news. PTSD was something I also had to recover from.
    It came from a conscious decision to not let the drunk driver take anything more from me than he had. I wasn’t going to live my life in fear and be crippled by it. It was a long road and in a way a gift. When either real or imaginary threats come my way, I can see how ridiculously small in comparison to what I survived.

  • Barbara

    This is so good! Just what I needed to hear.

  • Amber N

    I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life. Again, you’ve given me another perspective to explore. <3

  • Andrea

    Good stuff, as usual. I think there is great power in connecting with physical self reliance.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks Andrea! I do think we have the tendency to underestimate what we are capable of. Imagine how much we could accomplish if we weren’t controlled by our imagined limitations and fears!

  • John Danzer

    You actually were simply lucky. As you mentioned, you were well aware of the dangers. Your intuition was informing you NOT to take an unnecessary risk involving your children and your dog. If you tried that again (which I doubt) you might have a different outcome. Your body/mind didn’t get through that by being clever. Your body/mind was working correctly when you were calculating the risks. The environment (raging waters and slippery rocks) simply didn’t impact you enough to drown you or crack your “processor case” iow skull. The lesson is to only take calculated risks whether in business or recreation. You constructed your narrative of “amazing” powers after the event to confirm your bias about some imagined invincibility.

    • Joel Mark Witt

      Agreed. We all spin narratives that confirm our bias and what we want to already believe. Just like your comment above. I like that we are on the same page and agree on this.

      For me it’s about constructing my narratives to increase my happiness. And that’s my personal choice. I don’t think I came away with an “invincibility” narrative as much as a narrative that allows me to rest into self-trust.

      I can certainly be killed/die at any moment. While I’m still alive on this planet I can begin to trust my instincts and gut more (Something I haven’t done as much in the past).

      That’s the narrative I’m choosing to spin from this event.

      Subjective and personal I know. But it’s mine and I feel like it serves me very well leading me to more happiness/confidence in my life.

      I also fully intend to take my boys to the exact same spot in the near future to talk through the choices that led us to the emergent of me falling in. It’s a great way to go through our decisions together and I believe will be a great learning experience for all of us. (Of course I will have much higher awareness and also wear shoes this time) 🙂

      • John Danzer

        This is the kind of event that at least makes a good story because all’s well that ends well.

  • Travis

    Hi guys,

    Love the podcast ! I can relate very well to the example of the Zebra shaking it off. When I was in high school I was paralyzed by anxiety when I would have a presentation or or speech. Being an introvert (infj) public speaking was waay out of my comfort zone. As I grew up, I found a way to turn it off (anxiety). Its like a switch in my brain.

    I figured this out by jumping off rocks into a lake. As a teenager I would go with some friends to a nearby lake, and there were lots of rocks of jump off of, we started out with the small rocks, probably 10 feet or less above the water. Eventually working our way to the large popular rock that everyone jumped off of. Its was probably 30 or 35 feet above the water, much higher than the smaller ones we were used to. I stood over the water, looking down, trying to jump, but all the thoughts raced through my head, what if I hit the bottom ? What if I trip? how do I get back up? and so on. Then just all of a sudden, I ran off the rock and into the air I went. I don’t quite know how to explain it other than a switch in my brain flipped. Hit the water, came up , and I was just fine.

    Now I am not suggesting that anyone else go and jump off rocks, as its not for everyone and its dangerous. But I use the same trick when I have to do pubic speaking. I can turn my brain off. And I just go. This worked quite well when I had to take a public speaking class in college, and it worked well again when I would have to deliver speeches or presentations at my job. Im now in my early 30’s and this trick still works. In the recent past I had a job where I had to speak to full gymnasiums, I didn’t like the larger crowd, cause thats not really me, but I could turn off the anxiety and all the worrisome thoughts in my head. I can bring out my extroverted side and go with the flow. I became quite good at public speaking, and surprised myself many times by saying things I had no idea that I could even say ! Things that I had not been over in my head previous to the speech. Its been a few years since I have done any pubic speaking so I trying to build it up again. Its when I get out of that comfort zone that the magic happens !

    Thanks again for the podcast !


    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Travis! You take me back to my youth! I used to swim at a reservoir where everyone jumped off a bridge into the water. I always had to screw up my courage no matter how many times I did it. Except for those few times when I decided I wasn’t going to even think about it – like when I was trying to show off to an ex-boyfriend. I would just walk off the edge without hesitating. It was exhilarating!

      I never thought of using that same boldness in other areas of life. Great suggestion!

  • Sandie Dano

    Hi Joel and Antonia,

    Amazing story Joel – something that will always be with you.
    I enjoy all of your PodCasts especially ones regarding INFJ (my MB type).

    One point I pondered as I was listening to this podcast on lessening anxiety is the way I am able to “let go and reset” as you describe in the zebra example. I’m wondering if being an Introverted Intuition is more conducive to recognizing when I am going there and stopping it before it gets out of hand. I find I often try to counsel people mainly friends and family to “let go” when I see that they are overly anxious. I have so many people I know that don’t sleep well and honestly I can’t understand why not – but realize that it has to be some measure of worrying and anxiety that keeps them from relaxing.
    Just a thought.
    Thanks for everything you broadcast.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for your insights, Sandie! Bravo on controlling your anxiety. I assure you, that is not a skill INFJs have across the board. So, I’m not sure if it is a skill of Ni. I think it is likely something you have mastered. It is a work in progress for me. 😉

      As to why some people don’t sleep well – sometimes it is anxiety and sometimes it is overactive minds. My husband is an INTJ and he has always struggled with insomnia. It isn’t about anxiety with him (though that sometimes creeps up), but it is mainly an inability to shut off his mind. I seem to remember Antonia saying that is a common occurrence with INTJs. I’m like you, however, I can usually shut everything off and go right to sleep.

  • Nikki Fisher

    Hi Joel and Antonia,

    I’m a big MBTI fan and I love your podcast. Joel – I’m glad to hear you’re OK! I’m a fellow ENFP who just moved to a new city and is about to teach her first college writing course. Anyway, I want to thank you because this podcast was exactly what I needed to hear to brave all the newness. Your talk reminds me a lot of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” – it reminds me that we have a fail safe system in place should our minds fail us.

    As silly as it is, I sometimes entirely forget this system exists. Especially as a thinky intuitive type, I think, it’s easy to slip into feeling as though we are the sum of our conscious knowledge. In a sense, to think otherwise terrifies me, because as you mentioned Antonia, I also put very little trust in my own physical body. Nevertheless, somehow being reminded of its merit and tacit skill sets helps me put teaching into perspective – it reminds me that I know more than I think I know, you know?

    Anyway, thank you both for everything you do; your conversations always leave me with great self reflections. Keep the podcasts coming!


    • Joel Mark Witt

      Hi Nikki. Thanks for the well wishes.

      Congratulations on teaching your first writing course in college. Is this a dream of yours? Are you a writer yourself?

      Thanks for sharing under this show. I think Gladwell has some very good points in “Blink” as well.


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