Overcome Your Fears and Anxiety in a Coronavirus World, Interview with Paul Gowin

Overcome Your Fears and Anxiety in a Coronavirus World, Interview with Paul Gowin
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Overcome Your Fears and Anxiety in a Coronavirus World, Interview with Paul Gowin


**MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: This interview / video is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions regarding your medical condition.**

It’s hard to escape news on the Coronavirus and not get sucked in by the latest updates. We have reached a new stage of quarantine, and several cities are now on lockdown. Social distancing needs to be practiced everywhere. We are dealing not only with the Coronavirus but also with the intense anxiety and fear that it brings. But it is important to understand that the anxiety and fear, while 100% real, is also manufactured in our brains. So if we created it, we can also make it go away. Obsessively watching the news also does not help with creating anxiousness. We look and see COVID-19 or Coronavirus news, ads, articles. It’s hard to look away but if you are sensitive, it is important for your health that you don’t get overly consumed.

If you are developing coronavirus symptoms, you want to be able to clear your mind and assess how serious your symptoms are. If you are under distress, it will make it more difficult for you to find the right treatment. Many of us are feeling uncertainty and fear. But it doesn’t have to overwhelm us. Paul Gowin is a former commissioned officer in the US Marine Corps and is now a high performance expert. He has overcome many obstacles in life and now dedicates his life to helping others overcome their fears, anxieties as well as life challenges through his Take Command Program.

Find out more about Paul at www.paulgowin.com

FOR DOWNLOAD: Immediate Action Plan

Organizations to follow regarding pertinent, up to date information about the Coronavirus


World Health Organization (WHO) 

Here is a transcription of the interview if you prefer to read.

Risa: “Thank you so much for tuning in. You’re watching Modern Aging and we are here chatting with Paul Gowin today. Paul Gowin is a former Marine. He is a veteran who has turned into a peace monger and I met him about a year ago at a conference. You have helped a lot of people with fear and anxiety and I feel like that’s very prevalent right now. Clearly with the pandemic. I myself have suffered from it. I usually am pretty calm I have to say, but this has thrown me for a loop. So, I’m hoping we can give people some tools, so we can help them deal with this. Wondering what you’re doing right now for self care.”

Paul Gowin: “Yeah, absolutely. Well, I would say it comes down to taking a deep breath like you’re talking about. Maybe an exercise we can do for your audience is to play with the breath to gain some perspective. This is something I do with my clients. This is something that you and I have done together. Can we start with that? So, let’s start with the opposite of what we want to feel like. If you are driving right now, this isn’t for you, okay. If you’re seated, I want you to collapse your posture. I want you to roll your shoulders forward. I want you to hunch your spine. I want you to epitomize bad posture. I want every chiropractor in the world to just go, ‘Noooo…’ Now, I want you to breathe real shallow, real up high in your throat. Constrict your throat and it doesn’t take long. Few breaths. Shallow that out and maybe you’re gonna feel some emotions or some racing thoughts as you do this. You can kind of feel that difference. Now, I want to show you that peace for your freedom. So, now sit up strong and tall in your chair. Elongate your spine. Imagine there is a thread coming through the top of your head going up to the heavens stretching you out even taller. Now, grow even taller. Balance out your feet and your arms. Use your hands. Put it on your stomach. We’re gonna do what’s called diaphragmatic breath which is Latin for we’re gonna breathe. So, breathing in through our nose, we’re gonna expand out our stomach. We’re gonna count in for five. We’re gonna hold our breath for five and then, we’re gonna push the air out through our mouth through a milkshake straw not a coffee straw because those are useless sticks with holes in them and not a soda straw because yeah don’t drink soda. Milkshake straw.  Nice, big, fat, juicy milkshake straw. Okay so, here we go. Take a cleansing breath. Now, we’re gonna breathe in for five through the nose. Here we go. In. Two, Three. Four. Five. Hold. Two, Three, Four, Five. Push it out through the milkshake straw. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Do it again. In. Two, Three. Four. Five. Hold. Two, Three, Four, Five. Push it out Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven. Last one and in Two., Three. Four. Five. Hold. Two, Three, Four, Five. Push it out Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven. In that space of taking command of your breath—now, you can check in to what is actually on. As we’re faced with the media, as we’re faced with our fears, and as we’re faced with everything else, we may not have created a space for us to figure out what we’re feeling, so it is in your breath that you aim at perspective. So, you can orient yourself and figure out what you want to do next. That is the first thing that I am doing. I am breathing a lot more frequently than I have in the last few months. I had a breathing practice. I had a meditation practice and I’ve increased it drastically as I’m working through my own fears and anxiety. So, I think that was a great way that we started off this call here.”

Risa: “No, it feels great actually. I think I really needed that. It’s been a stressful day, so thank you for that.”

Paul: “Absolutely.”

Risa: “So, what’s happening with the body when we fear—when we have this anxiety—well, oftentimes—it  feels uncontrollable right?”

Paul: “Right, right.”

Risa: “I am someone who is pretty calm under stressful situations normally. I think I’m able to kind of take it out in laughter.  I know when I’m stressed out, when I’m not, but I gotta say my daughter came home with symptoms which we are not 100% sure that it was Covid-19, but she pretty much has all the typical symptoms. We could not get her tested. We tried. It was frightening. She came home with a fever saying, ‘I don’t feel well Mom,’ and I lost it. I was like, ‘Oh my god this thing is real. This pandemic is coming,’ and I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t— like what’s going to happen now? I broke down and then, I kind of got myself together after that, but like it just—I think that’s what it is. It just comes out of nowhere and I didn’t know how to deal with it. 

Paul: “It does. It blindsides you. Right. Absolutely and that totally makes sense. Fear has 3 universal reactions and a lot of your listeners probably already know this. They all start with the letter F and I love to have alliteration in what I do in life because it makes it more fun. As I am going through the frameworks, as I’m facing fear or anxiety having that fun already architected into the system helps me out of the fear and that anxiety. So, there’s 3 universal reactions: fight, flight, and freeze. When you feel like you’re losing it, you don’t know what to do, that could be that freeze and that fight. ‘I want to go get some help, but it’s not there.’ I’m guessing there was a little bit of  rush to the hospital and I don’t even want to guess the look you gave the person who said, ‘We cannot test your baby.’

Risa: “Well, I kind of like—yeah. I mean, it was on the phone and honestly, I was just not surprised which is sad too.”

Paul: “Right, right.”

Risa: “Kind of following what was happening and knowing that we were unprepared and I’m like well,  just pretend—you just have to act as though she has it. Quite frankly, I have a friend now who has symptoms and she can’t get tested because her fever isn’t high enough, so there’s a lot of this going and of course, that creates more anxiety. So, it’s pretty scary.”

Paul: “Right, right and all of what we’re talking to you here is that we don’t know and there’s a universality of fear of the unknown. Whether it’s public speaking or a rollercoaster or our first day on the job or at school, you’re gonna have that fear of the unknown and you said you do well in stressful situations. You’re an international television director. Can you think back to maybe the first time you were calling the shots on a set? Did you have a little bit of anxiety or fear?”

Risa: “Of course. Actually, the very first time I was on a set, I did cry.”

Paul: “You did cry. Yeah. You had that emotional outlet.”

Risa: “Yeah, things were not happening that day and I think it’s varying degrees of anxiety, but this is pretty hardcore what’s going on right now. I don’t really know if there are things people can do to help the chatter in their head and to kind of take them off their life.”

Paul: “There is. There absolutely is and to give a little bit of background. So, as a combat veteran and some trauma from my childhood, I have post-traumatic stress.  I have been at this level of anxiety to where I wouldn’t even be able to leave my house and this was years ago before Covid was even on a distant horizon and so, I’ve developed these techniques for me to come back in with society—manage my emotions. It’s not that I stopped feeling. It’s that I use these tools to guide and direct how I am feeling to express that emotion. In doing so, I gained the ability to take command and that’s ultimately what I teach people to do in my business. I train people to take command in their life and their relationships and their business. When you can follow a prescriptive framework even with the unknown, you can take some sort of action. In doing that, you will be in command. You’re not necessarily gonna be in control. You’re not gonna magic the vaccine for Covid-19. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about taking command of the only thing that you have the ability to take command of which is yourself. So, after you take that breath and you’re feeling these different things and think back to when Covid not only showed up your doorstep, it crossed your doorstep and it went to her room. So, as you think about that, right? That was fear and as you have the courage to acknowledge that fear and state very directly, what is at stake here?  Can we do this? Can we do this right now?

Risa: “Sure.”

Risa: “Love the powerful relationship between courage and fear. Thanks Michelle. Yeah, I mean I see a lot of people that I also know here watching on Facebook and watching on YouTube which is pretty cool. Well, why don’t we go through my example because it was very recent.”

Paul: “Okay.”

Risa: “Yeah, so what do you want me to share?”

Paul: “Go back to that moment when your daughter, your baby, comes up and says, ‘Mom, I’m not feeling good. I have a temperature,’ and you’re connecting her symptoms that she’s reporting to the symptoms of Covid. So, what is the fear here? 

Risa: “Well, it goes from, ‘This pandemic is real. How serious is her illness gonna get? Is she gonna be hospitalized. Oh my god. Am I equipped to be able to take care of her. Are we gonna get it? Am I gonna get it? Now, is my husband gonna get it?”

Paul: “Again, let me jump in. Go direct. Go deep with your daughter. What is the biggest fear?

Risa: “With my daughter? I mean the biggest fear is whether or not she would die from this.”

Paul: “Right.”

Risa: “But, I wouldn’t allow myself to go there and then, I tried to have logic set in that it’s not, you know. It doesn’t have to be that. It doesn’t have to go all the way there. 80% of people I know survived Covid and have mild cases, so I’m like okay.”

Paul: “I’m gonna come from a place of before we allow logic to take an option off the table. Go there. Acknowledge that base fear that you could lose your daughter.You could lose your baby. Do you want to put words to that emotion right now? I promise there’s a really really great step to…”

Risa: “Well, I lost my mom recently, so all this is very raw and so, no I can’t go there. If I put the words to it…”

Paul: “So focus it on your breath now. Go back to that first step with your breath. Did you feel how you’re kind of like cut off? There was that constriction in your throat. When you feel that happen, go back to the first step which is that breath. So, take command of your breath. Start there. Go ahead and put your hand on your stomach. Take that nice diaphragmatic breath which is Latin or German or something for gut breath. I’m from Montana. We just speak simply. It’s a gut breath. Okay. Take command of that breath and for anyone that’s watching and listening in this, give some love to Risa. She is doing this live in front of the entire world.”

Risa: “People who know me, know I cry pretty easily.”

Paul: “This something you can do too as you feel through whatever fear it is. If your loved one has Covid. My mom has a second kidney transplant. She has zero immune system. Zero. She’s on medicine to not have an immune system because otherwise it’s gonna reject this kidney that she has transplanted, so I’m feeling this much with you as I went through this a few days ago. I said, ‘I fear my mother dying.’ She has come through all of these things and now we have ‘Covid? No! I didn’t approve this. I didn’t schedule. Ahhh!’ I was like, ‘No. No. No. Give the discipline. Acknowledge what the fear is.’ Okay and then, several times I checked back in on my breath. So, how are you feeling with your breath now? You took it to a few breaths there?”

Risa: “Good. no, I have to say, the breathing—well first of all, people have to be reminded to breathe because in the moment it’s really hard. It’s amazing physiologically what happens when you do take those deep breaths.”

Paul: “No, no I’ve got a dress shirt on. So, like my nose knows when I go to cry if I have a dress shirt on or not because it will have a competition with my eyeballs for which body part can get rid of more bodily fluids and if I have a dress shirt on, my nose is like. ‘I’m gonna win.’ So, you took that breath. Now, acknowledge that fear again. Say it again because then we’re gonna move on to the next step.”

Risa: “That she could possibly die?”

Paul: “Mhm. Now, this is where we create perspective. Perspective can come from our elders. It’s not that far ago that we had people walking around in braces because they survived polio. It’s still not uncommon for people to have malaria around the world. It’s not that frequent of a case here in America, but it is still abundant throughout a lot of the world. So, we seek perspective and if anything, we can create perspective within ourselves by reverse engineering the serenity prayer. ‘Can I change what’s going on?’ Yes. No. Don’t know. So, can you change your daughter’s symptoms? Yes, no, don’t know?”

Risa: “No, but I want to try.”

Paul: “Right, right. So, let’s explore this a little bit. So, if no, then you create serenity and there’s ways that you know create serenity for you. Maybe it’s meditation or it’s prayer. We definitely know it’s that breath work that we just did. So you come up with three ways ahead of the emergency, ahead of the fear to work and generate that serenity. So, let’s say there is some things you can do. Now, the last time I checked drinking water? I have been pounding water. Holy smokes. I have been drinking so much water. I was getting ready for this call and it was like five minutes out and I’m like, ‘Let me use the bathroom again,’ and then, there’s like three minutes out and I’m like, ‘Nope, let me do the bathroom one more time,’ because I’ve been drinking so much water and we know that that’s gonna help with some of the symptoms, so if you come back with, ‘Well, yes Paul. There is something I can do,’ okay great. I want you to generate the courage to take action and there’s three things that you can think about ahead of time to generate courage at any time. It’s gonna involve activating your voice for one of those steps and where I really focus—my coaching practice is with the power of your words because then, we can calibrate what’s going on with our body and we can take action to align our words, our soul, everything, it’s just a fabulous alignment tool. So, sometimes alignment is like a power pose. Sometimes it’s putting on some really great music. Maybe it’s both of those and going out for a walk or something. I think you had this great instagram post of how you’re bringing care to your daughter and minimizing infection exposure to yourself.”

Risa: “Right.”

Paul: “That’s courage because you’re not going in to make yourself a martyr. You have the discipline to know, ‘If I don’t keep myself safe and she is infected and I get sicker than her then, I can’t take care of her. That’s courage, Risa. So, let’s go back to yes, no, don’t no, Yes, no, don’t know? And, you come back with, ‘I don’t know.’ That’s an acceptable answer and that’s where you create some more wisdom. This isn’t some time to call your boys or your girls like, ‘Oh my god. Can you believe this is happening?’ No. No, you call a sage advisor. You call someone to counsel you. You call that person from a previous generation. You call that coach. You go up to the World Health Organization website. You stay away from the media that is just sensationalizing and ramping up the fear because it works for ratings. You stay away from that. If you want to stay up to date with what’s going on for the economic stimulus package or who said what about what disease today, give yourself a 5 minute window. I guarantee you. If you give yourself 5 minutes, you will get the pieces that are the most applicable to your situation.”

Risa: “100% agree. Yeah.”

Paul: “So, all of this comes from something that my Dad taught me. It’s the cornerstone of all 12-step programs. It’s the serenity prayer and join in if you know the words. ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ So, if we just reverse engineer that and just say it with anything going on in life—Can I change that? Yes, no, I don’t know. If yes, generate courage and then, you have three ideas of how you can generate courage in a moment. If no, then generate serenity and then, create those three ideas. Take action on one or all of those three ideas and if I don’t know then, you can take action to create wisdom. When you do that, the biggest thing is that you take some sort of action and then, go into a little closed loop cycle because fear and anxiety is a closed loop circle of, ‘I don’t know and I’m not taking any action to figure things out or gain perspective.’ When you take command of this, you are gaining perspective, you are educating yourself, and you are taking action. If nothing else, change the way that you’re breathing to create some clarity for your mind and that is the biggest way that we can come together and not just go storm the toilet paper off the hill.  Well, if you’re from Montana like me, it’s called Kleenex on a roll, so whether you’re in the bathroom doing your business or you’re crying because of stress, you can use one sample tool. But either way, we’re stuck here in Phoenix tryna get some.”

Risa: “You’ll be fine.”

Paul: “Yeah. So, how do you feel now? You recognized that you’re having the courage to take some action. You also recognize that you have the serenity that a lot of this is way outside your control and you’re also taking action to create some wisdom, so you’re hitting on three, Risa, not surprising because you are just such an amazing leader. How do you feel as you go through that framework?”

Risa: Well I feel more confident. When I understand what it is that I can do and you are able to differentiate that between what you cannot do, it just makes it easier. It’s just when you just—and  you don’t allow it to overwhelm yourself. It’s also like production for me. There’s certain things that you just realize completely out of your control and you kind of just put that in a certain column, so you can figure it out and look at the things that you can control. So, I applied that to this. I end up applying it, but you know 99% of the time no one’s life is at risk and you also don’t want to make the wrong decision and you also want to be doing the right thing. When the stakes aren’t so high, the stress is not so high, but now for, of course, this pandemic, the stakes are high. People don’t want to be making mistakes and you know when you feel heaviness in your chest even though it’s minor, you watch the news and then you start to spin out of control because you’re like, ‘Is this it?’ 

Paul: “Right, right.”

Risa: “Exacerbating the problem, so that’s the problem. I just want to help people be able to differentiate, right. So, when the symptoms are serious enough because the reality is that you don’t want to be rushing to a hospital right now. They’re overcrowded and they’re full. You know, there’s just so many ways to get it in a hospital. That’s what scares me—when people go in a panic not knowing what to do. So, if they can have some exercises like you say. Sit down and really assess what’s happening whether it’s a family member or themselves to make—that’s the problem that a lot of doctors, you know, because this is so new it’s like the Wild West right now I feel like.”

Paul: “What I love is that you compared this to something that you do have knowledge of like when you’re doing your production. So, in the Marine Corps—the Marine Corps’ sole job is combat. They dress it up really nice and they say that every Marine is a rifleman which is really nice to say that every Marines’ job is to kill. Then, there’s other jobs like my first job was in the marine BAM and then, I was a military police officer and then, I was a personnel police officer, but everybody’s primary job is to kill, so because of that, there’s some universal truths around the primary place that happens which is a combat zone that we were trained at like boot camp. Officer Candidate School that war is going to create an unknowing. They call it the fog of war that you just don’t know. It’s gonna be a very fluid dynamic environment where no plan—there’s so many cliches. If there’s Marines in the audience I hope they’re grinning as they recollect this. No plan survives first contact with the enemy. That doesn’t mean you stop planning. That means that you’re fluid and highly responsive. You take a look at—well based off of what I know now—,’What is the action I’m gonna take? You don’t sit there and be like, ‘Hold on. Can you cease fire right now? They’re on the right plane. I wasn’t anticipating. I wasn’t planning for this. If you could just please return fire in about 200 more meters, we’re gonna have a little bit better covering concealment.’ No, action now and we did this at the very beginning of the call when you can take that action of taking that breath. That is what I have taught. All of the marines that I have instructed for shooting rifles and shooting pistols for over a 15-year career, it starts with the breath, and then you can decide what goes on for there. That is the most important piece. When you have the courage to acknowledge what you’re truly afraid of, then you can take action to solve that fear. Then, you take action. So, it’s that awareness, that acknowledgment, that perspective in that action. I guess if that was an acronym, it would be AKP, almost like a band for the 70s.”

Risa: “So, I don’t know if anybody in the audience has had any issues with anxiety or have had family or friends that have kind of experiences of allowing their thoughts or allowing the news or whatever to spin out of control. I think that they’re those that are—there are people like me. This is what’s crazy is that normally, I don’t suffer from anxiety alright, so I can’t imagine those who do suffer from anxiety and having this on top of it.”

Paul: “I love that you said that. You and I have worked out for a bit, so you know I geek out with words like people are like, ‘What are you? Are you a coach? Are you a consultant?’ I’m a word nerd and I change people’s lives in a conversation and one of the ways that I changed my own life is instead of saying, ‘I struggle with post-traumatic stress,’ like think about this for a second. I have blue eyes. Do you know what that means?”

Risa: “You’re sensitive to light.”

Paul: “I am sensitive to light and I wear sunglasses every time I go out especially in Phoenix. If I lived in Portland or something like that, maybe not. Or in Seattle, where some of my friends are I’d be okay. Does that mean I’m a miserable failure of a human being because I wear sunglasses when I go outside? No. Does it mean I struggle with having blue eyes? I mean I could say that or I could just say, ‘I’m sensitive to light.  I  wear sunglasses.’ So, I took that same approach. Instead of saying, ‘I struggle with post-traumatic stress,’ ‘I struggle with being around people,’ ‘I struggle with anxiety,’ I just started saying, ‘I have post-traumatic stress,’ and that prompted the question, ‘Okay, now what?’ Now what? What do you want to do about it? Well, I want to connect with people. What does that mean? That means I go up and talk to people. ‘Oh my god!’ Panic attack! Exactly. Okay. How can you work with that? What’s the worst possible thing? What do you fear? Well, I fear someone else coming up and touching me from behind. Okay, do something about it then and that’s when initially, Izzy was trained to sit behind me and create that space. So that way, I could move away from the walls, and knowing exactly where all the exits were, and how many people that were in the room and everything else. That helped bring the anxiety down because I changed the word. So, if we change that word—instead of saying you suffer with anxiety—you can just say, ‘I have anxiety with this issue.’ Do you want to try that? See how it feels?”

Risa: ”I have anxiety with this issue. So, you’re owning it. Is that what you mean? I think a lot of people though, it’s really hard to admit that they have a fear or have anxiety., That’s part of the disease right? That they can’t go there and that exacerbates the problem for a lot of people I feel like.”

Paul: “It absolutely does and please know I am the dude that I made fun of like 5 years ago when I got out of the Marine Corps. This is some woo woo stuff, but when I was living the opposite of woo woo—just think about how the word is spell whoo whoo—I was living in this place of ow ow ow. So, as I decided to have the conversation around mental health, then I can use my language to help me navigate what’s going on in my mind. It’s something like 70,000 thoughts per day which means 6 per second which means even as fast as I can talk, I’m not gonna get to six words per second, so if I can slow my brain down by turning on my mouth to answer some very specific questions, ‘What am I afraid of?’ I am afraid that I could get infected and inflect Valerie and we talked about this two nights ago.  Well, what’s our plan? Now that we know what the fear is, what’s our plan? Well, the bedroom is gonna be the hot zone and whoever doesn’t have it gets the short end of the stick has to sleep on the couch. We started coming up with a plan of how we still care for the other person without cross-contamination living in a very tiny, one-bedroom apartment.”

Risa: “Yeah, that’s the New York City reality.”

Paul: “Right, so change your language and take command of what you have control over. It’s not that you struggle with anxiety. If you don’t want to struggle, then quit struggling. Call it like it is. ‘I have anxiety. I am scared of this because here’s the deal….’ I love to go to some of these personal development seminars where I’ll get into a group and there’ll be a bunch of strong women and a not so strong man. Maybe someone will have started crying and the man will be like, ‘Well, men can’t do that,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, the man card game.’ I love this because I was a United States Marine. I was a Mustang Marine which means I served prior enlisted and then, accepted a full commission, and then, in the middle of a combat zone I said, ‘What we’re doing here is not right. We must come up with a plan for immediate withdrawal,’ and I did it. Completely counter. Completely like my career was on the line. I was terrified. I am that guy that I made fun of 5 years ago, but because of that when somebody says, ‘Well, it’s not very manly to talk about your emotions,’ and I’m like, ‘According to which poster-child are you talking about? Jocko the Navy SEAL, he talks about expressing your emotion. Louis How, an accidental football player, talks about expressing your emotions. So, in that confidence, in that strength, you talk about your emotions because we are emotional beings. If you bottle that up, eventually, it blows up and that’s where we have like the midlife crisis, the emotional breakdown, the nervous breakdown, so don’t bottle up. Answer a very specific question, ‘What am I afraid of,’ and then, ‘Can I change it?’ Yes, no, I don’t know. Follow the framework. I call it an immediate action plan because the same thing that we drilled in the Marine Corps—if we have the enemy ambushes us from the right, what do we do? It’s called an IA drill. An immediate action drill and then, we do it and you do it again and we do it again. We do it and then, we do it at night and then, we do it with night goggles on and then, we do it again and then, we do it with the left hand. Again and again and again until it becomes to where somebody says contact right and you don’t have to think about it. So, you can do the same thing. ‘Can I change it?’ Yes, no, don’t know. If yes, I generate courage. If no, I generate serenity. If don’t know, I generate wisdom. If it helps I can give you a link. I’ve got a little handout. I tell all of my clients: ‘Print this out. Post it everywhere. Carry one in your purse, one in your billfold.  Put one in your kitchen, one in your office. Put one everywhere, so that way when that comes up, you don’t have to think. Just pull out the instructions and read them. Would that help?”

Risa: “Yeah, no that’s awesome. I’ll put the link in the description section below after this is over. 

Risa: “I love this whole asking yourself questions and the breathing techniques. Those are super concrete ways for people to—is that what the download is?”

Paul: “Yeah, it’s actually just a big decision flow chart. Life event. ‘Can I change it?’ Then, it breaks off into three. Yes, no, don’t know. If yes, I generate courage and it’s got 3 little bubbles for you to fill in. What are your courageous actions? And you decide on it before you get into the situation”

Risa: “Are there ways to prevent panic attacks? I feel like people who do have it, know it’s coming. You know what I mean? Before it actually…”

Paul: “Oh god, I wish. I wish. I wish. I wish I could. I wouldn’t need my service dog. If I checked the anxiety forecast and I knew at two o’clock I would have anxiety showers with gusting of sorrow and self despair, I could shield against that. Here’s what helps me. More regular meditation and if you don’t have a meditation practice, you do now. You breathe in through your nose for five. You hold it for five and you blow out for seven. By the way, I got that great technique from a great friend of mine. Jenn Goday. I want to give her a shout out for teaching that to me because it’s helped out so many people especially in these last few weeks. I wake up. I do a Wim Hof breathing technique. I go for a run. In my run recovery, I’m not there sucking in wind. I’m very intentionally breathing. In my shower, I’m very intentionally breathing. As I’m getting ready for my breakfast, I’m intentionally breathing. As I was getting ready for this call with you, I went through some breathing techniques to make sure I could show up with the energy and the focus and the service of which I am capable. So, if you want to be able to get ahead of it and just be able to hold it at bay, increase the number of times throughout the day that you are bringing attention to your breath and that is the basics of a meditation practice.”

Risa: “Because neurologically, you’re actually changing your brain when you breathe. Like that intentionally. 

Paul: “100%. It is. It is and it’s changing you— You have the parasympathetic nervous system  and the sympathetic nervous system.”  When you have the discipline to go through the breathing exercises, you’re keeping your body out of that fight, flight, freeze and if we go back to the very beginning of this live cast when we intentionally like destroyed our posture, made every chiropractor go, “Ohhhhh…” and then we attempted to breathe like that… I felt emotions. It’s my drill. I could feel my brain going, ‘Ahhh. I don’t like this,’ so as you continue to work with that breathing, you are going to change neurologically, you are going to change the hormones and everything that is introduced into your system. Know that if you focus on your breath, that creates the foothold for all other decisions, all other languages, all other action because they’re all linked, but it starts with your breath. So, give yourself that gift of clarity. Give yourself that gift of manned by commanding your breath to slow down and when you hold it at the top, that does stuff neurologically. When you push out longer than you breathe in, that does stuff neurologically. So, there’s a lot of research that goes into the simple saying of, ‘breathe in for five, hold for five, push out for seven, but it works every time.’

Risa: “So, Kathy has a question. Do you have any suggestions for a person who lives alone. How to self care when sick? This is tough because there are so many people who live alone and I actually have a couple of friends now who are showing mild symptoms whatever mild means and they do live alone. I think if you don’t have symptoms yet, I think you really need to stock up and you need to have your team. You need to know your emergency contact and you need to be in constant constant contact with that person because they’re not going to be able to come over. Unfortunately and that’s where you know phones and facetime and all this stuff is really great and hopefully that person should live close to you in the event that you do need to get rushed to the hospital or can call 911 for you or whatever it may be. Maybe to be able to bring some groceries over and just drop them at the door. Be able to order a meal kit delivery thing for you or something if you can’t cook. So, you want to have a team in place whether that’s family or friends or neighbors. We’ve been going shopping for a couple of elderly neighbors next door because they’re terrified of going out and we’re happy to do that. We leave it in the front door. It’s awesome. Luckily, they’re not sick. I know once you’re sick, it’s really hard to do anything, but make sure that you have your team in place before anything happens is my suggestion. I don’t know if you have anything to add to that Paul.”

Paul: Record yourself as much as possible to have some sort of objective feedback for yourself. You feeling yourself to see if you have a fever or not isn’t gonna do you much good. You being able to look inside a journal entry of you recording your temperature once a day or twice a day is going to tell you a lot more than attempting to feel yourself and guessing that you have a fever. Use that journal as a tool to remind yourself to eat, to remind yourself to be active, to remind yourself to do some breath work and some meditation. Get to bed on time and limit your television consumption, Limit it. Especially if you’re watching the news. There’s other things that you can do around your home and there are so many resources that are emerging and I saw a thing. I used the app Marco polo and they had a thing that if I wanted to, click on it to be able to connect with people who don’t have anyone. There are programs out there that are saying, hey we have so many people that are volunteering to check in on people. The app like Marco Polo is saying, ‘We’ll help connect people that way.’ So, I hope that helps her.”

Risa: “Wow. It’s a new form of online dating I guess.”

Paul: “Yeah! I love that, Everybody wants something, a Google search can help put you in contact with that. Yeah, absolutely. I love this. I love the questions. Keep them coming.”

Risa: “Sushma. I don’t know if I pronounced your name right. ‘How’s your family doing in terms of recovery.’ Thank you so much for asking. My daughter is in full recovery. My husband is on day 12 and he’s pretty much good. He broke his fever yesterday. It broke a while ago like a few days ago and then, it came back. So, it’s kind of this up and down and I see that with several people that they’ve had you know. They would have a fever and it would come back, but I think he’s at the end of it which I’m hoping. The coughing subsided. I have actually—we live together in the same apartment, but I physically have not seen him that much quite honestly because he’s been quarantined in his room and whenever we do see each other, we have masks on. So, we text each other in our own apartment. We email each other. We even skyped today actually, so that’s our reality. So, I guess I’ll see him at some point. Kathy, I’m glad that you know—yes I think a plan definitely helps to defuse anxiety for sure. So, I’m about to wrap this up. I don’t know if you have any last words, Paul?”

Paul: Take command. Have the plan and then, work the plan. The best time to have created the plan was like six months ago. The second best time is right now and you have something that can help you. Focus on your breath, acknowledge your fear, gain some sort of perspective and take action. That will help you out so much.”


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