We spend 70% of our waking hours at work, yet so many of us are left dissatisfied and unhappy. It's about time we challenge this and make work a tool for your personal and professional growth.
Join Mindvalley’s Jason Campbell, as he plugs you directly into the minds of the world’s best authors, peak performers, and workplace experts to hack the code of becoming ‘Superhumans At Work’
Charles Linden 0:00
Those are really the four categories if you'd like or main categories of mental illness, anxiety isn't caused by any of those. In fact, one of the biggest misunderstandings in mental health is that depression and anxiety are
Jason Campbell 0:17
plugged into the minds of the world's cutting edge innovators, visionaries, and thought leaders rewriting the rules of high performance at work. It's your time to make an impact. I am your host, jason campbell. And this is superhumans at work, a mind body podcast? Do you tune in regularly to superhumans at work podcast to get your ideas on how to be a superhuman network, I would love to hear from you what has been some of the most transformational ideas that you have heard on this show, and possibly feature you in one of our stories? Be sure to reach out to me at Jason at mind valley.com and send me a quick email about your story of transformation so we can start a conversation and get you future online Valley. Now let's get started with this episode. Hi, everybody, welcome to this episode for Super humans at work, we're going to talk about something that you may have experienced in the workplace. Matter of fact, there's a very high probability that you've been in this condition before. And if not, you've definitely witnessed others that might have been suffering from this condition. Anxiety is something that we have to deal with, as it seems that the pressures within the workplace seems to increase, technology is advancing, companies are shifting, the economy's going up and down. Whatever it is, that is happening around us. anxiety can be a symptom that comes up and can actually paralyze us from being the best version of ourselves, and to be at our highest level of productivity in the workplace. And this is why it's my great pleasure to bring Charles Linden to the show, who is a stress and anxiety recovery consultant. Now you'll learn more about Charles history as he personally had issues with anxiety and found that the typical ways that were being prescribed were not the right way of actually handling it. And what we're going to do in this episode is really demystify this condition as Is it normal? Are we supposed to feel it? And what is it that we can do in a workplace so that we can reduce it and get back to being able to live our lives without having this burden coming to us, haunting us and holding us back from our true potential. Charles, thank you so much for being on the show. You're very welcome. It's great to be here. Hay House recently named you one of the world's most influential authorities on anxiety recovery. And I'd love to just hear about your story because I know this is something that actually was part of your life and you found your unique technique to be able to overcome it.
Charles Linden 2:44
Yeah, I suffered from the age of four, believe it or not, I developed what I now know to be OCD when I was around four years of age. And that mostly manifested around things concerning contamination. When I was eating when I was drinking, I started controlling the way I was eating my food at the age of four, and that carried on till I was 26. During those 22 years, I developed panic disorder, agoraphobia, which is fear of going out into open places. I have mana phobia, which is fear of being alone, I developed other OCD type symptoms, things like ah OCD and our OCD pocd these subcategories of OCD that make you focus on really influential, negative thoughts are so influential, they stop you doing so much with your life. All the way through school, I suffer from panic attacks, I developed a thing called emetophobia, which is fear of vomiting. I had health anxiety, all of the internalization of my fears, humans worst fears really manifested in this absolutely overwhelming anxiety condition. And it was it was horrendous. And as I say, for 22 years, my life was dominated by it. And although I did play sports, I played rugby, I rode for a rowing team. It was all through gritted teeth, I was extremely timid, I felt vulnerable, afraid, all of the time. I just did these things, despite those feelings. And I guess that was something to do with strength of character, and maybe the responsibility to my parents, who were paying for my education, but I just, I'd never think through gritted teeth and got to 26 in a pretty bad state, heavily medicated, I wasn't able to work full time. My doctors and my psychiatrist and my psychologist told me that I'd never lead a normal life. It was pretty horrific. At the age of 26. I, I fixed that, turn my life around completely.
Unknown Speaker 4:36
And this was where you had the creation of the Linden Method. And I'd love for us to dive into that. I guess a question even before is, is it normal? Like is anxiety supposed to be there? Is it a protection mechanism? does it serve a purpose for us?
Charles Linden 4:52
You know what I say it's all in the language. Anxiety is one of those terms like the term stress that is so misused in mental health. For me, knowing now what I know in terms of the physiology and psychophysiology of fear, which is the emotion, I now know that anxiety is the disorder of that emotion. There are only a limited number of emotions. And we all know what they are, we experienced them every day. And fear of is one of those, but they didn't name fear twice. They didn't call it fear. And then when it becomes more extreme anxiety, fear is always fear. Anxiety is the inappropriate manifestation of fear.
Unknown Speaker 5:28
Well, I've never heard it explained that way. And so in the way that you do your teachings, in a way, like as you said, you were getting the medication, you were getting the therapy. But were they miss labeling it? Was that creating a new set of problems? Like why weren't those methods working in your case, because obviously, you were in a case where there was extreme anxiety.
Charles Linden 5:47
You know, I'm 52, I've got the benefit of a bank 48 years of experience work, not only suffering myself, but also working with 10s of 1000s of people who who've recovered. And what you find is that they're very strong picture of the entire landscape of mental health, if you like, is laid out in front of me on a daily basis. And we're talking from children aged four, right the way through to people in their 70s, and 80s, who've always suffered with some level of anxiety, you start to collect data, and that data over the last, certainly the last 25 years, has been collated in our minds, the people that work within the education, and we're able to sort of regurgitate, we've become a lexicon, if you like, of mental health fact. And what you find across the board is that people with anxiety conditions have, like I said, before, the disorder of the emotion of fear, how that manifests is irrelevant. So whether you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, Agra phobia, emetophobia, health anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, puro, self harming, they're all sourced in fear, or the disorder of fear, how they manifest is irrelevant, because they're all based around the risk assessments that are done during the fight or flight response. And that risk assessment, it manifests in people with anxiety as what ifs. And this is kind of a loose term that we give to all the questioning we do as anxiety sufferers, but also a normal fear responses. So in a normal fear response you'd have what if it kills me? What if I jump? What if I get hurt? What if I die? What if I pass out. But in anxiety conditions, those are exacerbated. And so what happens is you have this group of disorders within fear disorder. They're mismanaged because they're misunderstood, and widely use tactics like psychology and psychiatry, and medication, talking therapies. And all of those things that were told to do to address these fear disorders are actually part of the problem. Because actually, when you've got an anxiety condition, you don't need peace, you don't need relaxation, you don't need rest, what you need to do is understand the psychology, the psychophysiology, of that condition. And what we did was reverse engineer a solution that undoes the changes in the subconscious mind. So in order to overcome an anxiety condition, and the ones I listed previously, you have to do with your body and mind what it takes to untwine, the ball of, of twisted string if you like. Because over the years, when you've got an anxiety condition, there aren't medications, there are talking therapies, there are various techniques you can use. But they all form part of the problem because they confuse the subconscious mind and don't allow it to move towards recovery. And it's that block that needs to be removed before people can become anxiety free.
Unknown Speaker 8:37
I love it. And I know by the end of this, we're going to have at least a technique for all of you who suffer from anxiety in the workplace, particularly on how you can apply this new method that really helps relieve because, you know, if we look at the case of the workplace, how common is it for you to encounter patients that are coming in, that are feeling these kinds of anxiety problems when it comes to their work? And are there typical symptoms or things to look out for or typical industries, that anxiety seems to come out more,
Charles Linden 9:04
it's become very evident that there are industries that have a higher incidence rate of anxiety, and that's most of the creative industries. Since 1997, my main focus has been on helping people, young people to reduce their anxiety to get rid of their anxiety conditions, but more importantly, to understand the predisposition and identify who the sufferers might be. Now 25 years ago, I would say it was about 25% of people born, were predisposed to developing these conditions, they have the ability to suffer, not everybody can suffer from these conditions. So what's happened over the years is that there's been a separation between physical and social evolution, where and I'm sure you realize that yourself and I'm much older than you but certainly when I was at school, there was a definition of who you had to be in order to go through your life successfully to earn money. To interact socially on a level that was acceptable within society, and we just accepted that moved on. But as time has progressed, what we've seen more than anybody else, I mean, obviously, social media. And technology as it is now, as well, is there's been a splitting off of physical and social evolution, people have become much more data hungry. And when you become more data hungry, you get much more tuned to need high level sensory input. And since that's happened, we've seen a massive explosion in the amount of people suffering from anxiety conditions, and certainly in the workplace, because those places where people who have that creative type of intellect, gathering numbers, so the creative industries, I've helped a lot of people, for example, who are actors and actresses, I've helped a lot of people who work within Design and Technology architecture, you know, you do occasionally get people working within the the financial services industry, who are there not because of a natural bent towards those subjects, but because that's the way they've been led through their academic career. We're actually their interests lie elsewhere. And they have this kind of creative intellect. That is that exacerbates the anxiety condition, we've seen a huge explosion in the amount of people who suffer from anxiety conditions in the workplace, because the workplaces just aren't conducive to and don't provide them, their brains and bodies, what is needed to to undermine the ability to suffer. But also then to fix the problem once it's activated.
Jason Campbell 11:29
It seems like everywhere I go within the workplace, there's just more data, more things to do more information flying faster. And I have to admit, like when I was in my early 20s, I had a moment where I had these, this panic attack happen. And in the moment of it, like I can look back in hindsight, I was like, Oh, yeah, I was overreacting. I think this was back in 2012. And I remember I was running a business, and I was so stressed about how the product will turn out, and how happy people would be with the product. And I was like, Oh, my God, is this going to be okay? It's not going to be okay. Oh, my God, I need to read more. And this is what I would do is I would go towards more data, I think I remember reading an entire document on tax compliance for a real estate transaction across borders, which is another life for me. But at the same time, I just became obsessed with just gathering data. But it was just almost fueling the anxiety on more, and to a point that I had to make a stop. And I did seek professional help at the time. But I'd be very curious to know, you know, what can people do in the moments that they're gripped and excited, because it seems like you're so tunnel vision. And your method seems to be something that can allow that destruction, so I'd love to dig more into it.
Charles Linden 12:34
Yeah, it's gonna be difficult for me to communicate exactly what the method is, because it's a multi faceted approach. Like the human body itself, obviously, we have various entry points into the human body. We all know about the mouth and the nose and the ears, we know how we collect data. We know how we take on fuel and the fluids that we need. But what we never really give much thought to is the data that's going in through our senses. Because we're data gatherers by nature, our eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and skin, we can't stop it from happening, it's constant, even when we're asleep. And so to be able to control that danger is actually quite difficult. Now, the most important thing to understand really about anxiety is that it is a disorder of the emotion of fear, and therefore, it's a systemic disorder. So in order to fix that, there has to be a multifaceted approach, you have to put the right data, and the right brain food, if you like, into your brain in the right quantities in order to overcome any kind of life skills. If you're unfit and you want to become fit, there's a set way to do that there's a mechanism to teach your body to reprogram your subconscious and increase your levels of fitness. And it's the same with anxiety. So it's quite a sophisticated process. It's easy to do. But it isn't the same for every person. Now, if you're suffering with anxiety, so if you've got an anxiety condition, and it's in the absence of external catalysts, let's say. So if you're in the workplace, and you have an anxiety condition, you've been to the doctor or you've spoken to a psychologist, and they've, they've said, You have panic disorder, or OCD or Agra phobia, or whatever. However it manifests, you have an anxiety condition, which as I say, is a systemic disorder. In order to fix that, you have to do what your brain and body needs. Now in the instance, so if you're in a workplace, and you're doing the method, you will be undermining removing the autonomic responses that cause your anxiety condition. It's almost like we act like pts in a training facility. So we give people a set of tools to apply to their lives, in order to undo the changes that the anxiety conditions made to them, and therefore remove it permanently. And the happy coincidence of this all is that by doing that you program your brain to recognize and deal with stressors differently in the future. So once you've got rid of the anxiety condition, and you've removed disorder, you then move forward in your life, able to deal with all of the ordeals that life throws at you. But whilst you're in the work place with an anxiety condition, there's very little you can do to subdue it enough so that you are symptom free. But there are things that you can do in the moment as first aid techniques. For example, if somebody is feeling specifically, very anxious before giving a speech, or before entering a particular situation, you can remove the high level fear responses by doing things like sipping cold water. Another good idea is to eat a cold Apple, anything cold in the mouth activates the dive reflex. And in doing so it will slow the heart rate, because that's the way the body has developed to activate the dive reflex. When you dive into water, it slows the heart rate, it prepares you to be underwater for an extended period of time, and therefore reduces the stress response. So there are tactics like that you can do I mean, the old paperbag techniques, they just don't work. When people say, you know, breathe your way through it. Your breathing, again, is an autonomic response that's preset in your deep neurology, changing your breathing isn't going to change, emotional response. It's very difficult to do. And not only is it difficult to do, but it's neurologically unsuccessful at reducing fear levels. And again, relaxation or meditation. You know, for people that don't suffer from anxiety conditions, they can be a way of relaxing the body, removing tension. But for somebody with anxiety, they're actually just a way to focus on the way they feel. And that very often exacerbates the way they're feeling. So you have to be very careful about what it is you recommend to people.
Unknown Speaker 16:33
Like at least this one trick, which is a bit of a band aid that drinking the cold water having that quote Apple, that's I had not heard of that before. But that seems so logical to be able to slow down the heart rate a little bit. I did want to dig into more about this idea. You talk about disorder and creating order. What is the relationship like? What is this disorder and like, with a moment of feeling this disorder? This is obviously the anxiety, this is not considered normal fear response? What's happening there? Can we dig more into that?
Charles Linden 17:03
Yeah, it's really simple concept. There are very few things actually that has happened during human evolution to create this kind of disorder, that the problem lies not in the because, obviously, anxiety conditions are often defined as mental illness, but they're not mental illness. And I'll tell you exactly why. mental illnesses are things like degenerative disorders, things like Alzheimer's, things like real clinical depression, so bipolar disorder, manic depression, things like schizophrenia. So psychosis, and obviously brain injury, those are really the four categories, if you like, or main categories of mental illness, anxiety isn't caused by any of those. In fact, one of the biggest misunderstandings in mental health is that depression and anxiety are closely related, or that they can coexist and co morbidity, it's actually absolute nonsense. And if you think about this, logically, you know, we have one set of synapses in our brain, with a very complex brain that produces very low level output, and so moved from happy to sad, or from Santa jealous, but you can't be both successfully simultaneously. And it's the same with happiness and sadness. You know, anxiety is hyper vigilance, it's when your body is primed looking for threat, waiting coil to respond to threat. And if you think of people with true clinical depression, they have the complete absence of the ability to create emotional response. They're emotionally dead, and I've met many 1000s of people with true clinical depression, what you find is that they just don't really care about anything. They couldn't care whether they go for a walk, or you offer them a cup of tea, and they just, they're not even interested in living. And this is why I think, I mean, a lot of people come to me and say, I think my son is clinically depressed. And really the defining thing is, does he do anything? Does he have any interest? Does he want to live? And the answer is always, no, they don't want to leave their room. They don't, they're not interested in eating food, or going out meals or seeing their friends. So there's no ability to create that emotional response that would give them the experience of life. Anxiety is the complete opposite. And so when I talk about disorder, the disorder of the emotion of fear, I talk about a lack of the normal ability to retain calm anxiety, because it's the disorder of the emotion of fear. People will sit there I used to sit there and think well, what have adults be frightened off? I'm sat here in my home, I'm watching television, and with my wife, everything's good. But actually, the truth is that my subconscious didn't know that. And because I have no physical way of communicating with my subcon, subconscious or controlling my subconscious responses. There's absolutely nothing you can do about it. You can't think your way out of it. You can't relax your way out of it. You can't medicate your way out of it. You've got to do what your brain The body needs in order to deactivate the disorder part of the fear response. And so there has to be logic and science applied to these conditions. To think that it's logical to think that you can sit and talk about your anxiety, or rate your anxiety levels, or set time aside each day to worry. And that's some, in some ways going to magically affect your neurological responses at a deep level is utter nonsense. You can't do it. It's a physical impossibility. And any psycho physiologist that knows their stuff will say absolutely anything you practice, you get better at not worse, your brain is trying to stop being anxious. It doesn't want to be anxious, it wants to be calm, it's trying to return to its systemic normal, it's preset. But if you prevent it from doing that, you will never return to normal fear responses.
Unknown Speaker 20:52
So it sounds like all these solutions that get provided are actually not even dealing with the root cause of what's causing the anxiety or not dealing with that core need, which is to create order in our lives. Is that it?
Charles Linden 21:02
Yeah, to an extent it is. I think it's more than that though. Jase, I use the analogy earlier of getting fit, you know, fit, we're all born that. Okay. There are some people that aren't born necessarily in total fitness. There are people that are born with genetic abnormalities, there are people that are born in distress and that people have really bad birth. But generally we should be born in systemic balance. So we should be all of our systemic responses should be in equilibrium, working together to support that the machine that is the human body. And if you can maintain that through life, you should have a successful life full of well being and health and happiness, you should be able to maintain your weight at a perfect level, because that's the way you were born. It's about ingesting the right things at the right time, it's about moving as much as you should. And that maintains order, systemic order. But it's when disorder forms when you stop doing those things. When you eat too much when you don't move enough. When you drink too much. This is what causes disorder. And so with fear disorder, again, you have normal fear responses, normal emotional responses, you're born with the ability to create those. Now, if you've got the predisposition to suffering from an anxiety condition. And as I said before, there are a group of people that will never suffer from anxiety, they can never suffer from anxiety. If you're born with that genetic predisposition to be able to suffer, at some point it's going to activate, chances are it's going to activate. Now that could be early in your life, it could be later in your life. And there are moments in people's lives when anxiety does activate, for example, whilst at school bullying, that sort of caustic environment, when you lose a loved one, when you get divorced, when at the end of life, it's usually because you lose a loved one, or because they retire from their workplace, where holes open up these the opportunities really for anxiety conditions to activate. But if you understand the nature of the disorder, and you understand why the disorder happens, and what the predispositions are, you can prevent it from happening. And I've proven this a number of times, for example, with the military, where people have come to me and said, Look, you know, I suffer from anxiety my son's just about to join the army, do you think it's a good idea. So I'll sit down with a son for about an hour, have a conversation. And at the end of it, I will determine whether or not joining the army in being in the armed forces at all is a good move, or whether they could enter the armed forces and perhaps move into a different role within the armed forces. Because if you have that predisposition to suffer, chances are you're going to go to a warzone and end up with PTSD. And then if you activate PTSD, it can be difficult to remove, certainly if you don't have the tools, or we provide the tools, but most people don't bind us. I wish they did.
Unknown Speaker 23:45
So Charles, now that as we're talking about this in the workplace, what about the environment itself? Is there certain elements of the environment in the workplace that can make people that are more sensitive? Or can cause more anxiety that we should be aware of? And is there things that we could remove from the environment of the workplace so that not only we suffer less from the probabilities of having anxiety, but we can prevent it as well for our colleagues?
Charles Linden 24:07
I think it all depends on the person. The thing is, I mean, obviously, I get a lot of anxious people, I had a guy who was a university lecturer, and he could stand in front of 1000 or 2000 people and lecture all day, and not have any anxiety. But if his wife asked him to go to the cinema, or asked him to go to a meal at a friend's house, you'd have a panic attack. The activator of his particular type of anxiety was that close social situation. So it all depends on the person. Now in the workplace, obviously, you're going to be exposed to all kinds of pressures. There are the work pressures themselves deadlines. There are things like targets in sales, for example. And then there are things like you know, giving speeches, the social interaction, you can never predict how somebody is going to respond to anything. But within the workplace. There are definitely factors within anybody's work life that are going to make their work life more difficult and raise their finger levels. we commonly call that stress because it relates to the workplace. But stress is fear response. It just manifests in a slightly different way. And so somebody who suffers from stress in the workplace, for example, might experience sleeplessness, they might have some insomnia, or they might get sweaty palms. Yeah, they could also suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. But it doesn't have to be that high level response. I think the thing to do if you, you know, if you're somebody who knows that they're not dealing with the situation appropriately, they need to get the right advice. It's not about avoidance, avoidance isn't going to help. I mean, avoidance will set you up to panic the next time. And even people who talk about things like flooding or exposure therapists, if you give speeches enough, if you do more of this, you're going to apply amortize yourself and become more adept to doing it. It's just not true. Things like exposure, therapy will work. But only with specific phobias, and specific phobias, a phobic responses in the absence of an anxiety condition. And if you have that predisposition to suffering from an anxiety condition, really, there's very little you can do except cure it, except remove it completely. And as you've already said, we know we have a device that works that you know, with it was tested by the British National Health Service that showed that it had 100% efficacy. So it just shows that the human body will do what it's told when it's told to do the right thing.
Unknown Speaker 26:23
So I wanted to bring it up for everybody here that as we talked about conditions such as anxiety, as you know, this is a very sensitive topic. It's something that has so many different cases that are individualized per person, which is why we wanted to make this whole episode about getting a better understanding about anxiety, as a disorder. And what I really love about the way that Charles presents, the information here is the fact that anxiety is actually an inappropriate fear response. It's often misdiagnosed, it's often mis commonly treated such as the same as depression, which we've already discussed, is completely different. It's really a overly sensitive response to fear. And we've looked at a lot of different cases of how it comes up, how it responds, and what paralyzing feeling that comes up. When you're in the middle of a either panic attack, or CD, all the different lingos that get used to describe any kind of anxiety disorder. I know for myself, as we talk in this episode, I'm reminded of the time that I've had this panic attack moment, and how it was very difficult to be able to settle myself back into the state. And as I'm standing here without anxiety, it's almost like I'm trying to see what is it that I should do when I'm in the middle of an anxiety. But looking back at the moment that I was, I don't know if I would be in a space where I would be rationally thinking because I'm in this moment of anxiety. And so what I would suggest for anybody that's dealing with any kind of anxiety themselves, thank you so much for listening to this episode, if you recognize in yourself do seek professional help. I mean, Charles lindens method is a very proven method. And if it's accessible to you definitely dive deeper into that. And if you recognize possible peers that suffer from that, definitely share them this podcast for them to understand that it's okay. It's something that a lot of people can suffer from in the workplace. And there are ways to treat it. avoiding it is not the answer, having open discussions about it, and really bringing it forward so that we can take better approaches. And considering that in a world where we've had so many changes, so many things that are new, our bodies are physiologies might not have adapted properly to the workplace stresses and anxieties that can come up. But we can definitely take the measures to see how we can find professional help see how we can treat it. And Charles Linden has been on the show here showing us some amazing insights and discussions about it so that we can take our hands back on anxiety and see how we can get ourselves more free, more productive. Charles, thank you so much on the show for opening this discussion with all the listeners hear you very well. You've listened to our episode with Charles Linden, the stress and anxiety recovery consultant, he's worked with over a quarter million people to recover from anxiety. So hope you've really enjoyed the episode. We didn't want to get into clinical diagnosing people with any kind of anxiety disorder, since everybody's case is very unique. We wanted to open the conversation about giving new labels to anxiety, understanding the landscape and seeing how we can actually help those that suffer from it, whether it's ourselves, our peers in the workplace, and really making sure that conversation can happen so everyone can seek proper treatment, do have a look at the large method, the therapy behind the Linden Method that Charles has popularized, and do seek help if it's necessary. And thank you again for listening to this episode. My name is Jason Campbell, and this is superhumans at work. The mind Valley podcast
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