You are listening to the My Freedom Grove podcast with Gretchen Hernandez episode 1.
Welcome to My Freedom Grove podcast. This is where strong people just like you come to have honest, open discussions about anxiety, depression and frustration. But we don't stop there. We go deeper by learning and applying mindset tools to it once and for all break free from the pain so we can actually enjoy our lives. I’m your host Gretchen Hernandez. I'm so glad you joined us.
Hello and welcome to the first ever podcast from My Freedom Grove. My name is Gretchen Hernandez. I'm the founder and mindset coach here at My Freedom Grove. I'm so excited this day is finally here! I've been looking for a way to be able to share the information that I learned and the processes that I followed so that I could free myself from depression, anxiety and frustration. My hope is that you could take some of this information, experiment with it and see if it can provide you some relief too.
I suffered for almost 30 years from anxiety and depression. I tried taking medicine and just pushing through. But the pain just kept getting worse and worse and worse. The pain got so bad that life became unlivable. I didn't want to live like that anymore. I had to find another way.
That's when I learned how the brain processes the world. I learned that our thoughts create our feelings. And that our thoughts are something that could be completely controllable by us. Our thoughts come from our mindset.
I know that mindset has been a bit of a buzz word in the last two or three years or so. People saying “you just have to be in the right mindset.” But really, when we look at what mindset is - it's a collection of thoughts and beliefs that we've had that we collected throughout our whole life. It's not just a buzzword. It's an actual thing that we can work with.
In this mindset we have this collection of all of our thoughts and our belief that we've collected throughout our whole life. There's things in that collection that are causing your pain directly. We don't have to keep all of those. I know that sounds kind of strange. But if you ever even thought about like a closet...how is over stuft with all sorts of stuff. You don't have to keep all of that. You get to keep the stuff that makes you feel good.
And that's what Mindset Management is all about. It's about going through, taking a look at your full collection of all of your thoughts and your beliefs. And then making a conscious decision on if you want to keep that or not. You're going to find the things to keep, that are going to make you still feel good and get rid of all the crap that doesn't. Afterall, you deserve to enjoy your life. You don't have to keep all of this if it's going to keep you in depression or with your anxiety and your frustration.
So how does all this mindset stuff work after all? Well, I like to break everything down into a process map. I've been a business coach for several years. The easiest way to help people understand how something works is to break it down into a series of steps that always happen in the same sequence. We would usually use Post-it notes, write these down and then stick them up on a whiteboard or just even wall in your house. You can even write it down on a piece of paper if it helps.
So in a process map something will always go through. And go through the same series of steps for the brain’s process. Now, there's five steps. The first step is CIRCUMSTANCE.
Circumstance is usually something that just happened. It's a set of facts that anyone could observe. It iis usually as simple as just a noun and a verb. And it's quite possible that we will attach all sorts of other words to it. More than just that noun and verb. But that's our brain coming and attaching some thoughts. And we want to try to keep the distinction between a circumstance and a thought completely separated. Because when we fuse those two together that's when we start creating a lot of unnecessary pain.
So Step One is a circumstance. It's set of a facts that anybody else can observe. It’s usually just a noun and a verb.
Then Step 2 is our brain attaching some THOUGHT to it. From our thoughts, our brain generates our FEELINGS. That’s step 3.
So we have:
Step 1: CIRCUMSTANCE
Step 2: THOUGHT
Step 3: FEELINGS
Our feelings always generate some type of an ACTION for us.
Step 4: ACTION
And then step 5 is we get some type of a RESULT.
Step 5: RESULT
Circumstance ---> Thought ----> Feeling ----> Action ----> Result
Alright, so a simple five-step process. It is really helpful to write that down.
Where does mindset come into all of this while?
Back up on Step 2 you saw thought. All our thoughts have to come from somewhere. Our brains are these highly sophisticated, efficient machines, so to speak. That have benefited over the years by having this collection of thoughts that it can pull from automatically. That's our mindset. Mindset, you can think of this is just a big old bag of thoughts if you want to.
We've been collecting these thoughts and our beliefs throughout our whole life. We started as infants not knowing anything about the world. And so those people around us, they donated a bunch of thoughts to us. As kids we didn't have any reference to either decide that these were true or not true. We trusted whoever told us these thoughts. That they had it right. So we put that in our bag and held on to it for later.
Then as we grew up, when we got into our formative years in school,we were around a whole new set of people. And they donated a whole bunch of thoughts to us too. So some of those we just accepted as they were and we stuffed it right into our bag of thought. Into our mindset. And then once we hit about junior high school... then we started to question everything, right? That probably ticked off our parents to no end. And that's when we started to question... was it right, was it wrong? Is this really what I believe? And then so on and so forth throughout our whole life. So as you can imagine, this mindset... this bag of thoughts, is just huge and stuffed full, right? This is years of collection.
When our brain is trying to process things, it's going to see a circumstance and it immediately goes into that bag... grabs a thought, slapped it on there, and you're Off to the Races! But how often have you actually stopped to take a pause? To go “Wait a minute. Is that really the thought that I want to have right now?”
I know this sounds really strange that you would slow your brain down then you pick and choose your thoughts. But now that we know that our feelings are caused by our thoughts, that is exactly where you want to slow things down. Because you can pick and choose which thoughts you're having Then you can control what kind of emotion you're having.
If you've been suffering from depression for years and years and years it's probably because your brain keeps grabbing that thought or a couple of thoughts, for whatever circumstance, and those thoughts are the things that are causing you pain. Now this is what I like to call a Default Thought Pathway.
Have you ever found yourself coming up with the same exact thought, no matter what the circumstances?
I know that I had one popping up all of the time. “I'm a bad mother.” That one always seemed to pop up. I had school-aged children and anytime that I get feedback from the school...all of a sudden I would find myself thinking “Oh, they're saying I'm a bad mother.” “I'm a bad mother.” And then I just started this downward spiral that would sometimes take me out for a couple of days. It was pretty awful. But what that was, was this channel of thoughts. It's kind of like water going down the bank of the sand at the beach, right? It (water) always just starts going down and goes right back into the same channel. But what I found, these same thoughts were causing me so much pain over and over and over again. And it had nothing to do with the actual circumstance. It was just always going back to that same thought that was causing all of the pain.
Once I started to realize that I could slow down and pick my thoughts, that gave me a little bit of Hope.
But I was like “How the heck am I going to do this?” Right? Our brains are so fast. How am I going to interrupt that whole process so that I could get a hold of it? And then taking it a step further...those things, all of those thoughts that were in my bag of thoughts in my mindset...did I really want to keep those thoughts? The answer is No.
I am looking at my life. I had caused myself so much pain over the decades. If there was a chance that I didn't have to feel that way anymore, and all I had to do was try to figure out how to get those thoughts out of my mindset, I was going to do it!
So that's what I started to do in a process that I call Mindset Management. I took a full inventory, as much as I could, of what thoughts actually existed in that bag of thoughts. That is what I want to try to help you through.
Is there stuff in your mindset that is causing you a lot of pain?
Those thoughts...they don't have to stay in your mindset forever.
You don't have to live a life of pain.
You can absolutely take these things out of your mindset. You can change those Default Thought Pathways. Create new Default Thought Pathways so that you don't have to feel this pain anymore.
You deserve to live a life that you can actually enjoy!
So where do we get started? Are you like me, where you'll go to the doctor, you'll be in all this pain, and then once the doctor walks in with their white coat, you just forget everything? I call that White Coat Amnesia.
What I want to do is help you out with these podcast. Each podcast is going to have a brand new topic. I'm going to come up with these topics based on things that I've encountered, but I want to make sure that I'm not missing out on the topics that you need to hear most. What I'm going to ask from you is for you to go to my website at www.myfreedomgrove.com, scroll to the bottom of the front page, where you can send me a message directly. Tell me what it is that you're struggling with, so that I can try to take that topic, and I'll find some examples either from my personal life, those of my clients, or from my friends, to try to help coach you through it. So that we can get rid of that thought that you're having and help you to get some freedom from your anxiety, depression or frustration.
I want to clarify one thing before we go too much further. When I mention that I want to share examples, I want to make it really clear that I value everybody's privacy and I will completely protect you. My idea is never to expose anybody. You'll share your stories when you're ready. But, I can take those examples and I can form them into something that is...I don't want to say generic, but it's something that's common, that’s a better way of putting it. It's something that we can all relate to because we've all been in circumstances very similar to what that is.
I will always share my examples and I'll probably be a little bit more vulnerable. Because I know that there's power in being vulnerable. When I share some of my deeper, more painful things with you, and then show you how I was able to change that around to get to a spot where I'm not suffering anymore...I know that sharing those very vulnerable stories Paves The Way for other people to be able to speak up about what they're going through. Because sometimes talking with another person is where you can help to get a little bit more of that objectivity that will help you free yourself from the pain that you're having.
Let's dive deeper into today's topic of Creating a Pain Free Mindset. I'm going to go over two examples. Just two, today, because we've already spent a lot of time talking about where mindset comes from and I want to be mindful of your time.
With these two examples I want to demonstrate how:
-One circumstance can lead to feelings of either anxiety, depression or frustration depending on what thought we're applying to the circumstance
-How you can pick your thoughts on purpose so that you can feel any way that you actually want
In our first example, will consider text messaging.
Have you ever sent a text message to someone and the response was either delayed or didn't come at all? Now, I could just jump right into what was your thought about that? But typically that's not what we notice at first. We don't notice our thoughts. What we do notice is our emotional flare gun going off.
You'll notice that you're having feelings of anxiety or frustration or depression or maybe you're excited, who knows? But in this example, we're going to focus on the anxiety, depression and frustration.
I would probably have my anxiety flare gun go off. Now, I don't like feeling anxiety. My circumstance - just that a text message response hasn't come through. But when I’m feeling that anxiety, I can stop and ask myself what thought is associated with that for me.
Thought: Something bad has happened to the other person.
I don't know when I started to think that thought. I know that it's been at least since I was 6 years old. It causes me a lot of anxiety. Just being aware of what that thought is, is the first step in Mindset Management.
That same exact circumstance - a response text message was not received- can happen and cause depression. I've been on the receiving end of this where I was the one who hadn't sent the response. A loved one, who told me what he was thinking and how it made him feel.
His thought: I'm not important
That would make him feel sadness and if he had that thought over and over and over again it would definitely lead him down to the trail of depression. His thought on this text message response not being received is - I'm not important- and that leads to depression.
I had a client who I have served multiple times and he expressed to me what his thoughts and his feelings were. He was feeling a lot of frustration. He would send a text to someone, again not get the response.
His Thought: They should respond immediately
Now this, of course, is going to lead to feelings of frustration. Anytime that you have the word “should” involved...that is automatically going to cause you frustration, because they're not doing what you think they should be doing.
So here we have the same exact circumstance with three different thoughts being applied. Each generating an undesirable feeling.
How can we change our outcome? We don't want to be having these undesirable feelings. What can we do because we know the circumstance is going to come up again?
This is where we start doing some Thought Shopping. We try to find believable thoughts that we can have instead, that would generate a feeling that we do want.
It's really important that whatever this new thought is-- it something that we can totally believe.
I found that when we put ourselves in the shoes of being the person who didn't respond to a text message (it doesn't matter what the text message is, just think of a random text)...what are all the different reasons that you might not respond to a text message?
These are all really good, believable reasons for why someone wouldn't respond to a text message. I don't think any of those would generate those negative responses that we were having.
In fact, I was thinking that if it was pretty much so many of them I would feel pretty peaceful. OK, this person didn't respond to the text because their phone was probably dead or they were in a work meeting. All of that I could feel peaceful about.
When I think about someone putting their phone away and actually being present with another person and engaging in a conversation, I actually feel pretty proud of that person. And my heart gets warmed up a bit. Because I think if this is their standard way of dealing with their phone when they want to interact with other people, that's how they're going to be with me too. When they're there with me, I would like them to put their phone away and interact with me too. So I can feel pretty good about either of those situations.
Once you try on this new thought, you're going to want to test it. Wait for the next time when a text message response isn't received, cuz you know it's going to happen. Then try out your new thought on purpose and then see how it feels. If it is giving you the feeling that you actually want to have, it's going to help to start to collect that evidence for you (to reinforce the thought). You're going to have to practice that thought the next time it happens, and the next time it happens, and the next time it happens. Eventually you're going to replace that old thought with this new one and it will become your new Default.
I'm going to ask you something that might come up a little weird. But this is a good time to ask.
Do you really want to not feel anxiety, depression or frustration?
As you have seen from the last example, it's totally possible to feel something else. But sometimes it's hard to let go of feeling anxiety, depression or frustration because it's been almost like part of the fabric of Who You Are.
When you do Mindset Management, you have an opportunity to completely recreate the person that you are.
You can live a life where you don't have anxiety or where you don't have depression or frustration.
You have to decide ahead of time is this what you really want for yourself.
For me, I had to get to a White Llight Moment, where I was ready to end my life because I was in so much pain, that I was willing to give up thinking how I had been thinking my whole life and be willing to take on this process of Mindset Management so that I could live a completely different life.
Now you can choose if you want to do these types of exercises on a case-by-case basis, or if you want to do this to completely overhaul your whole way of thinking about things.
Let me tell you, it is completely worth it!
Can you imagine living a life where you can just feel Peace and Freedom? It's totally available for you and I'll be there with you every step of the way, if that's what you're wanting.
Alright, now let's go on to our second example. This one's going to be around emailing. I don't know if if you've been like me...where you pour a whole bunch of your effort into creating an email for your teammates, because you thought it would be something super helpful for them. I know I experienced this myself. I've seen other teammates that have done the same thing. And then what would happen is that the co-workers wouldn't actually read the email.
My emotional flare guns for this circumstance tend to either be anxiety or depression.
When I was feeling anxiety
Thought: We were going to fail as a team
That whatever it was that we were doing, we were going to fail because they didn't have that one piece of information.
Depression would show up when I start to have the repeated thoughts over and over that
Thought: They weren't valuing me.
Thought: They didn't want to learn for me
And that was why they weren't opening up their email (the meaning I attached to the circumstance).
In both of those, I wasn't focusing on the end result
Intent: my co-workers would have a piece of information
What I did in the anxiety ones, was I shifted my focus straight to the bigger picture. That we were going to fail. I made this circumstance mean something different. My mindset jumped in, took over and almost like diverted this train of thought right to the big picture instead of the intent of that email.
With the depression, my mindset jumped in, derailed it (the circumstance) to mean something about me personally. That didn't help at all because the actions that I would take coming from those feelings
Anxiety feelings -->Action: Start to do extra work to prevent the failure
Depression feelings-->Action: I tend to just give up or I'd start dreaming about greener pastures or it would just be so crippling, thinking about my own personal worth, that I wouldn't even want to come into work.
None of that had anything to do with that original circumstance. I had allowed my mindset to completely derail and take me someplace totally different then focusing on the intent of that original email. It was just to deliver information to my co-workers. So when I was able to try to create an interruption between the thoughts that I was having and that actual circumstance so that I could get back to what was the intent, then I was able to get right back onto that original path that would lead me to that final destination of them having that information. With that, I could go back to feelings of curiosity. What was some other way that I could get that information to them?
I had a co-worker who would react to that type of circumstance in a different way. Where he would start to feel frustration. I would observe him -- his actions of expressing himself and his thoughts
Thought: The co-workers were not responsible people
Thought: They should check email more frequently
He was getting pretty riled up and frustrated over it. But he was making that circumstance mean something about the employees. His mindset had derailed him and took him down a path on employees and if they're responsible or not. That again, has nothing to do with the original intent of the circumstance - trying to convey information to other people.
If we're able to create that Interruption between the circumstance and our thoughts then we can start to keep ourselves on that original train that leaves us to the result that we actually want. Whenever you start to feel yourself get pulled into these negative thoughts spirals and creating negative emotion that you don't want, your anxiety or depression, your frustration, see it as a flare gun. That all of a sudden something from your mindset has been pulled out, that is not helping you whatsoever. Completely unhelpful thought. It might have completely derailed you or just not even totally derailed you, but put you in a way that you're feeling in a way that you don’t want to feel.
Then you can kindly acknowledge your mindset. “Oh, thank you for bringing up this thought, but this is not the thought that is helping me at the moment.” And try to pull yourself back to the circumstance. See it for just the noun and the verb that it is.
Now just to recap, I gave you two techniques of Mindset Management that you can use to try to help give yourself some freedom from your pain.
Example 1: Find a new believable thought to think instead of the default thought from your mindset.
Example 2: Create an Interruption between the circumstance and your thought. Focus on the intent, so you get the result you actually want.
This is just the tip of the iceberg my friends. There are so many different instances that are leading to our depression, our frustration and our anxiety. My goal is to try to give you all of the coping mechanisms that you can have so that you can rewire your mindset.
You don't have to feel this way anymore.
I'm speaking from experience. I was able to go through and do almost a complete rehaul of my mindset. I'm still working on it. New things pop up every day. But I have gotten to a point where I'm about 98% anxiety-free and my depression, which has held onto me for three decades, is finally letting go. I haven't felt any depression for about two months or so. I don't know if it's gone. I’m holding my fingers crossed but expect that new things will pop up. But, using these different techniques, I know I'm going to be able to get myself back to this new normal, where I'm not feeling the pain anymore.
I want those same kind of results for you. I'm going to continue to create these podcast for you every week so that I can be there to try to help you through your journey to getting to a pain-free existence. Where you can feel freedom again.
I'd like to hear some ideas of course topics or podcast topics that would be helpful to you. Go to my website www.myfreedomgrove.com, scroll to the bottom of the first page, send me your suggestions and your question. I would be more than happy to create some podcasts just for you. To help you out. Also, you'll notice on the website, that I've created a free online course for you to take. Free Yourself from Anxiety with Mindset Management. Go ahead, give that a try. I want you to have some visuals in front of you, because most of us are visual Learners. That will give you some more, specifically how to free yourself from anxiety.
Alright, thank you so much for investing the time in yourself! I hope that you found all of this information helpful. I look forward to talking more with you. Have a good one!
Thank you for listening to My Freedom Grove podcast I hope this podcast provided you some relief and some inspiration. If you know somebody else that can benefit from this podcast please share the link with them. Together I know we can make a difference! To access more podcasts and offerings please visit www myfreedomgrove.com. Until next time, take care of yourself, this world needs you!
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Free Yourself from Anxiety with Mindset Management is an online, self paced course that uses visual aids and more examples to show how Mindset Management can work for you.