Podcasts
October 12, 2021

4 Techniques to Harness Your Anxiety with Dr. Chloe Carmichael

How To Harness The Power of Your Anxiety


What Is Anxiety

Dr. Chloe starts by defining anxiety as a healthy response to any challenge. It helps stimulate preparation behaviors such as thoughts, emotions, or body reactions. Anxiety acts as a source of energy and it’s not a negative thing as most of us perceive it. On the other hand,  some also confuse excitement with anxiety, but they’re not the same. According to Dr. Chloe, there’s often an overlap between the two. We get a sense of excitement when we’re invested in something, but there can be a little anxiety when a risk is involved. To learn more about anxiety, go to 00:23

Becoming A therapist in Anxiety And Working With High Performing Individual

Dr. Chloe’s practice is based in New York City and the author of the book “Nervous Energy; Harness The Power Of Your Anxiety”. At 02:53, she shares her experience that inspired her toward becoming a therapist that focuses on anxiety with high-energy, high-performance professionals. As Dr. Chloe worked with successful New Yorkers who were very driven, successful people coming to her for help with OCD, perfectionism, and anxiety, she learned that they didn’t want to get rid of it but manage it. According to her, they knew that at certain levels this was their secret to success and they only needed help to balance it.  From this she found that she was often teaching nine techniques and compiled them into a book.  

How high energy people can harness their energy to go beyond reactive responses 

At 04:58, Dr. Chloe explains what Deepak Chopra’s comment on her book, “Nervous Energy; Harness The Power of Your Anxiety”, meant. From her perspective, we can actually achieve more by doing less, as Deepak commented, by training our brains to work smarter, not harder, and learning how to reconnect with emotions to use them as a springboard for energy and power. 

Most high-achieving and high-performing people have learned to put their feelings aside to get the job done, especially in the early stages of their careers. However, some people get so good at putting their emotions aside that they reach a new echelon in their career where they need more sophisticated skills. That is where Dr. Chloe comes in.

The paralysis from the vantage point of anxiety 

At 06:50, Dr. Chloe shares a classic example of how anxiety can lead to positive cognitive energy and later result in a cognitive rut when it reaches a tipping point. There are no new thoughts or creativity involved, and this increases negative anxiety. To prevent this, they use techniques such as the mental shortlist to help people use their cognitive energy to step back, hold themselves back, or pace themselves in other activities where they can be more productive, such as in their relationship. Etc.

The Impact of Uncontrolled Nervous Energy and Anxiety In Leadership

In the context of her book, “Nervous Energy; Harness The Power of Your Anxiety”, Dr. Chloe explains how teams led by leaders who have nervous energy and anxiety that is not managed tend to suffer. The leaders often act out of anxiety and, therefore, they tend to micromanage, get irritable or snappy with people because they don't know how to take that healthy awareness.  

Dr. Chloe also talks about different techniques from her book for adapting and working with people with social anxiety. This includes thought replacement technique where you challenge yourself to scan the room for five signs of acceptance, such as eye contact and open body language.  The benefit of this is that it not only trains you to start connecting with the people, but it also interrupts your brain from having just a socially anxious monologue. To learn more, go to 09:52

The To-Do List With Emotion Technique

At 13:41, Dr. Chloe shares more techniques using classic examples from her clients on how you can deal with anxiety by structuring it to serve you. According to her, having a to-do list that connects with the why emotions can help you find fulfillment and avoid procrastinating, burnout, or feeling like a hamster on a wheel after doing everything on your list.  Dr. Chloe then explains how you can identify emotional blocks, prepare a self-care plan and address the emotions to help you get the fulfillment and the energy you need around your to-do list. To learn insights from Dr. Chloe, go to 13:41

The Process of Achieving More by Doing Less

You can achieve more by doing less. But it takes some time to learn the techniques, practice them and retrain them as some of your cognitive habits. However, Dr. Chloe says that once you do it, you will find that you’re actually achieving more with less energy because they will be streamlined in your cognitive and emotional processes. 

Dr. Chloe also describes the process of choosing a therapist to help you up your game and the challenges involved. According to her, most of the trainers usually give some pointers that are intended to help you, but if you’re in better shape mentally and functioning-wise, it’s harder to find a good therapist.  From her perspective, high functioning people don't need a therapist; they need good coaches, and for those with little anxiety, self-help works great. To hear more, tune in at 17:24

How Leaders can Create Environments optimized for interactions and collaboration

At 23:08, Dr. Chloe explains how just acknowledging that anxiety exists and that it can actually be something that can be constructive can be helpful.  As a leader, you can model that by acknowledging your own anxiety and working with your team to make sure that they focus their anxiety constructively on things they can all control.

Dr. Chloe also describes a technique “Zone of control” that you can embrace from her book ‘Nervous Energy; Harness The Power of your anxiety.’  The technique will help you break down an anxiety-provoking situation into challenge components that you can control and what you cannot control. This will help you focus your energy on what you can control and stimulate action. 

Handling Anxiety When the Challenge is Gone

Dr. Chloe shares a distinctive technique, “Secondary Gain,” that you can use to help you move forward and not to cling or act out pieces of anxiety from challenges such as COVID when it’s gone. From her perspective, being honest with ourselves and identifying our secondary gains is key. For some of us,  we spent more time with our families, we were able to work from home, or we found more creative ways to generate income. 

The technique will help you constructively plan how to carry those with you in smoother and more willing steps into your new world without feeling like you’re acting out anxiety because you’re clinging to those old secondary gains not to lose them. To hear more about the secondary gains technique, go to 27:00.

KEY NUGGETS

[00:23] What is anxiety

[02:53] Becoming a therapist in anxiety and working with high performing individual

[04:58] How high energy people can harness their energy to go beyond reactive responses 

[06:50] The paralysis from the vantage point of anxiety 

[09:52] The impact of uncontrolled nervous energy and anxiety in leadership

[13:41] The to-do list with emotion technique

[17:24] The process of achieving more by doing less

[23:08] How leaders can create environments optimized for interactions and collaboration

[27:00] Handling anxiety when the challenge is gone

Resources 

Books:

Nervous Energy; Harness The Power Of Your Anxiety

 Dr. Chloe’s 10 Commandment of Dating

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