The Secret to Stopping Fear and Anxiety (That Actually Works) | Mel Robbins

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you know I've heard a lot of experts say that fear isn't real that is such a bunch of baloney fear is so real in fact there are probably things that you're afraid of doing right now in your life in your relationships at work and the fact that you're afraid that's robbing you of all of the experiences that you want to have in your life I mean if you're afraid to fly that's going to limit your ability to travel and see the world or go visit friends if you're afraid of public speaking that's going to really limit your ability to express yourself and share your ideas if you're afraid of talking to your boss or asking for a raise that directly impacts how

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much money you make or what if you are dreaming of starting a business or you've already started a new business but you're afraid to talk to people and you're afraid to share your business with people I mean fear is something that stops us all and that's why I'm here to talk to you because it doesn't have to fear is real but I am going to share a secret weapon that I have used for years to beat every single fear that used to stop me now first before we get into the secret weapon I just want to cover a few facts about fear what it is what it isn't and some things that you may not know about fear so first thing fear is a physical state in your body

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that is exactly the same as excitement let me say that again fear and excitement are the exact same physical state your heart races you might sweat a little bit you might feel tightening in your chest you might feel a pit in your stomach you have a surge of cortisol it's basically the way that your body goes into a hyper aware state because it's reading for action now what's the difference between fear and excitement really simple the only difference between fear and excitement is what your brain is doing as your body is all agitated if you're excited your rains going oh wow this is going to be

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so cool to ride this roller coaster if you're afraid your brain is going up throughout no way there's no way I'm doing that this is dangerous get out of there don't do that it's saying something different so what's critical about understanding this is that we're going to use the fact that your mind is either working for you for excitement or against you with fear to your advantage I'll tell you about it in just a minute how you're going to do that second thing I want you to understand is that you may have heard the advice feel the fear and do it anyway you may have heard the advice oh just try to calm down think positive thoughts it doesn't work

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does it and there's a reason why it doesn't work let's go back to fact number one when you're afraid your body's in a state of arousal and agitation its heart is racing and you're all like amped up and you're hyper aware of what's going on and you're freaking out a little bit what is it like when you're calm you just kind of chill right you got like this loo arousal state very very difficult to go from a state of agitation of being all jacked up and excited and weirded out look to a kind of state it doesn't work it's like trying to stop a train by throwing a boulder on the tracks it's going to make the Train jump off the tracks it's going

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to cause a disaster in fact they've proven in research that when you try to ignore your fears it actually makes them worse they've also proven in research the positive thinking alone also can make your fears work worse so what do you do what do you do when you're about to go talk to your boss and you feel afraid what do you do when you have to get on a plane and you're actually terrified of flying what do you do if you've got to give a presentation and you are afraid of public speaking here's what you're going to do you're going to use a strategy the same one that I use that has helped me beat every single fear and turn me into somebody that is

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terrific when it comes to a high-stress situation this is how you do it you're going to use my five-second rule in combination with what I call an anchor thought and that is going to reframe what your mind is doing so that your mind goes from feeling agitation and making you afraid to reframing it from agitation to excitement it works like magic now I have used this technique for years literally for years and one of the ways that I want to introduce you to it is I want to take you backstage I want to take you backstage to a speech that I delivered this year and what you're going to see is you're going to see me behind you know the major set I'm about

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to walk out you can kind of hear the crowd roaring my introductory video is playing my body is in a state of arousal I am literally my heart is racing my arms are sweating like it's like you're going to see this I'm going to tell you about it and you're going to watch me use this same technique I'm going to teach you to reframe my nerves into excitement check this out all right I'm about to go on stage they're 7,000 people out there and it's so exciting because of what they don't know if they're about to learn the five-second rule and your lives will never be the same again now I got to tell you my heart is racing

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my armpits are sweating I have the exact same physiological feeling as when I'm afraid but I'm not afraid I'm excited excitement and fear is the exact same thing in your body it's just what your brain calls it here's a trick it's proven by science that I use every time I speak when I start to sweat when I start to have butterflies when I start to have my heart race I say I'm excited I'm excited to get out there I'm excited to talk because I'm excited the share of the five-second rule and what that does is it sends a message to my brain that tells my brain why my body's all agitated and excited and that way I don't feel afraid

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remember excitement and fear exact same thing in your body the only difference is what your brain cause you're good now I want to give you one more example just to make sure that you really get how you can use this so a lot of you have written to me about your fear of fly and I can really relate to that fear because I used to have the exact same fear but I used this same strategy to conquer it here's how you're going to do it so first things first if you've got to do something that really makes you nervous or that you're afraid to do before you're about to do it come up with an anchor thought what's an anchor thought when anchor thought is something that's

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going to anchor you so that you don't escalate any situation into a full-blown panic attack or into a situation where you screw things up it's a way for you to anchor yourself you maintain control over what you're thinking and how you behave so here's an example of flying it's important when you're creating an anchor thought to pick something that is in the proper context of what you're afraid to do so for flying pick an anchor thought that has to do with the trip that you're taking so if I'm boarding a plane to fly back home to Michigan an anchor thought might be a picture in my mind of my mom and I walking on the shores of Lake Michigan

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where I grew up that's a thought that makes me happy it makes me excited and it's also related to the trip that I'm taking if you have a conversation that you need to have with your boss pick an anchor thought about how you feel after having that conversation maybe it's you picking up the phone and calling somebody that you you love and saying oh my gosh it went so well or you know you walking out of the meeting and feeling like yeah I survived that conversation I feel pretty good about myself so now that you have your anchor thought you're ready to beat the fear how you're going to do it is this so let's go back to the example of the plane I'm on the plane

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and flying to Michigan we hit turbulence my body's going to start getting agitated right I'm starting to get nervous when Howard starts to race one of two things can happen I can't trol how my body might feel but I can always always control what I'm thinking about and I can always control how I act and so can you so when I'm on a plane and the turbulence hits 5 4 3 2 1 that's step 1 and it's essential and the reason why using the five-second rule five-four-three-two-one is essential is because that is how you switch the gears in your mind you awaken your prefrontal cortex and you trigger your brain that you're now in control of your thoughts

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you've interrupted the fear you've settled your thoughts and now your brain is ready for that anchor thought so then what I do after I go 5 4 3 2 1 is I insert the anchor thought that I've already come up with before the flight I start thinking about walking on the beach and being with my mom and my dad and I start telling myself I'm so excited to walk on the shores of Lake Michigan I'm so excited to see my parents now something remarkable is going to happen in your brain because you've interrupted the fear and because we've used the five-second rule to assert control and awaken your prefrontal

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cortex and because you have an image that can textually make sense to your brain because you're flying to Michigan you know your brain does your brain goes huh that was excited to go to Michigan because my body is in a state remember the first fact fear and excitement exact same thing what's the difference between fear and excitement what your brain is saying using the five-second rule in an anchor saw you can actually switch the gears in your mind and reframe the thoughts of fear into thoughts of excitement and because you have a vision that makes sense based on what you're doing your brain buys it you just tricked your brain now Dana used this

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technique she says she's never been so calm when she's been flying and Sarah used it too now Sarah Rosa she was petrified of flying but utilizing the five-second rule in 5 4 3 2 1 with an anchor thought check out this photo of her on a helicopter tour in Hawaii not only was the tour amazing but here's what's really amazing if fear stops you this will change your life and for those of you that are afraid of public speaking check out this photo of Carol she also had a fear of public speaking and by using this technique that I've just explained to you five-second rule

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anchor thought reframe your thoughts from fear to excitement something incredible happened she was able to beat her fear and give a speech to her nursing colleagues and that was something that was a life goal and also something she checked off her bucket list fear is real you can't control the feelings that are going to rise up in your body when you're on a plane or when you're talking to your boss or when you see somebody that's attractive and you you really want to go over and talk to that person but you can always control what you think and you can always make a decision about the actions you're going to take so the next time you feel afraid

Key Themes, Chapters & Summary

Key Themes

  • Understanding the Nature of Fear

  • The Physical Similarities of Fear and Excitement

  • Implementing the 5 Second Rule

  • Utilizing Anchor Thoughts

  • Gaining Control Over Fear Responses

Chapters

  • Acknowledging the Reality of Fear

  • Fear Versus Excitement: A Physical Perspective

  • The 5 Second Rule: A Technique to Interrupt Fear

  • The Power of Anchor Thoughts in Reframing Fear

  • Mastering Control Over Fear and Anxiety Responses


Summary

The podcast transcript titled "The Secret to Stopping Fear and Anxiety (That Actually Works)" features Mel Robbins, a motivational speaker, discussing the effective techniques to combat fear and anxiety. Robbins presents a comprehensive guide to understanding and managing these common emotional challenges.


The Reality of Fear:

Robbins opens the discussion by acknowledging the reality of fear. She counters the notion that fear isn't real, asserting that it is a tangible and often debilitating emotion that can hinder personal and professional growth. Robbins highlights various scenarios where fear manifests, such as the fear of flying, public speaking, or even starting a business, emphasizing its pervasive impact on various aspects of life.


Fear and Excitement - Two Sides of the Same Coin:

A pivotal point in Robbins' discourse is the revelation that fear and excitement are essentially the same physical state in the body, characterized by symptoms like a racing heart, sweating, and a surge of cortisol. The distinction, she points out, lies in the brain's interpretation of these physical sensations.


The 5 Second Rule and Anchor Thoughts:

To combat fear, Robbins introduces the "5 Second Rule" combined with what she terms "anchor thoughts." The 5 Second Rule involves counting down from five to one to interrupt the fear response and activate the prefrontal cortex, the decision-making part of the brain. Anchor thoughts are positive and contextual thoughts that help reframe the mind's perception from fear to excitement.


Practical Application and Examples:

Robbins illustrates the application of these techniques through various examples, including her own experience of public speaking and others' experiences of overcoming fear of flying and public speaking. She explains that by using the 5 Second Rule to interrupt the fear response and then immediately shifting to an anchor thought, one can rewire their brain's reaction from fear to excitement.


Control Over Fear:

Throughout the transcript, Robbins emphasizes that while we may not have control over the initial feelings of fear or anxiety, we always have control over our thoughts and actions. By consciously choosing to redirect our thoughts using her techniques, we can transform our response to fear.


In summary, "The Secret to Stopping Fear and Anxiety" provides a valuable and practical approach to understanding and managing fear and anxiety. Mel Robbins' methods, grounded in both personal experience and psychological principles, offer a powerful toolkit for anyone looking to overcome these common emotional barriers.