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Episode Info: Anyone feeling anxious, stressed or worried as we shelter at home for what feels like the 10,000th day? So many of us have experienced a real sense of distress about what is happening and when it will end. We might worry about getting sick or losing our income. There are fears about the economy staying closed, but also fears about safety as we venture back out. Stress, worry, fear, anxiety? Check, we are feeling them. This week’s guest could not have come at a better time. Dr. Jill Stoddard, author of, Be Mighty—A Woman’s Guide to Liberation from Anxiety, Worry & Stress Using Mindfulness and Acceptance, is a psychologist who specializes in anxiety. She is a professor, clinician, entrepreneur, speaker and women’s advocate. Her book is a wonderful tool for any of the estimated 264 million people worldwide who will suffer from anxiety disorders during their lifetime. Her tools are helpful for each and every one of us right now. Dr. Stoddard uses ACT, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, to help people overcome the avoidance that often accompanies anxiety. Anxious people like to stay in their “comfort zone,” avoiding all the unpleasant feelings and thoughts that show up with anxiety. If you have social anxiety and get invited to a party, a few things might happen. You might tell yourself that you will say something stupid and end up looking like a fool. You might experience a racing heart or sweaty hands as you think of what could happen. It follows, that you will feel better if you AVOID the party, so you make an excuse and stay home in your pj’s, watching Netflix. But, at what cost? Be Mighty takes the reader through step-by-step exercises in order to become the “The Me You Want to Be.” It uses mindfulness to create greater awareness of what you are feeling and thinking. The book helps create understanding about the “Inner Critic” and why we all have those mean girl thoughts that seem aimed at keeping us small. You will dig into your values in order to chart a clear path, independent of your thoughts and feelings. You learn to get distance from your negative thinking and uncomfortable physical sensations. Here is an example of one of the tools Dr. Stoddard used with me during the podcast. Take any negative thought that you might have; something your Inner Critic might say to you. Mine was, “I’ll never finish the book I’m working on.” In its raw form, this thought feels pretty bad. Then she had me add a few extra words to the negative thought. My new phrase was, “I’m having a thought that I’ll never finish the book I’m working on.” Or, even better, “I’m noticing that I’m having a thought that I’ll never finish the book.” This beautiful and simple tool creates space and differentiates between the thinker and the thought. We are not our thoughts, but we have thoughts. If you want a clear understanding ACT and how it can help you navigate the weird and difficult time we are all in, I recommend yo...
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