Episode 269: Unpacking my panic attacks & emotional wellness tips with Natty Lewis

This episode came at such a divinely inspired time, two days after my second panic attack. And I couldn’t imagine anyone better to talk about it with than my friend Natty.

Natty is a highly-sought after speaker and coach. She has spoken on stages in over 38 different countries around the world and worked with over 200 different companies, CEOs and executive teams. For the last 4 years she has dedicated her time to educating high-achievers on the power of their emotions. That they do not need to be afraid of them, but they can understand them, control them, and use them to build true and lasting success.

Natty has 25 years of marketing and sales background. She’s studied human behavior for years — why people start, but don’t finish… what makes a high achieving person successful.

She’s built companies, worked with all kinds of professionals including athletes, business owners and influencers. With each person she has worked with she discovered the power of raising your EQ. Everything else raises with it — increased revenue, productivity, purpose, better relationships, more intention.

In short, a better life.

She has been married to her best friend for over 26 years and they have 4 kids ranging from 22 to 11. As a wife, mother, speaker, coach, entrepreneur and teacher she knows what it takes to balance life and business, with vision, purpose, identity and passion and it CAN be done. You really can have it all.

IG @natti.o.lewis https://www.instagram.com/natty.o.lewis/

Website https://ascendeq.com/

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Okay, Natty, it is such a pleasure and a joy to have you here today. I'm so excited to talk to you again, selfishly, all because I just love to learn from you, but also because I can't wait to share you with my audience. So for anyone who's not familiar with you already, can you just give us a brief rundown of who you are and what you do?

Yeah, so I'm Natty. My full name is Natalyn Lewis, but no one ever gets that right. So we just own Natty and we love it that way. Um, I work with emotional intelligence and emotional performance and my background is as a speaker and a trainer and a coach. I've actually had the privilege Of speaking all over the world, um, spoken 38 different countries to over a million people, um, and have written a book and have engaged in this kind of work of really understanding human performance and what drives it.

And, um, it is, it's my work and my passion and it's personal and it's spiritual. And it's just something that I get full fulfillment out of is working with individual people every day to help them understand. What they feel, um, so that they don't have to be afraid of their own life. And so that they can go build something that they really, really want.

And they can start to feel a little bit of empowerment that they can happen to life instead of life happening to them. I love that. And you are so talented at pulling that out of people. Like I watched you do that. We went to Mexico a few weeks ago and the transformation that you created in the room of women when we got really Particular and specific about who we are and what we're doing was really just, I've never seen a shift in energy like that before in a group of powerful women, the way that you, you know, led that.

So maybe let's start there. Um, and I was fascinated by how much you focus on. The identity of a person. So why is that important to you? Why is that something that you start with when you're teaching? Or maybe you just started with us, but with our group, it was very powerful. Yeah. Well, I, I love to start with identity because really identity is the root of motivation, all motivation for why we do anything that we do really stems from identity and whether we're conscious of that identity and we're doing it on purpose, or whether it's just something that's been.

Bled into us over time. We tend to act in alignment with who we believe truly that we are take the person who wakes up and believes. Absolutely. I am tired. How do they act? Yeah. Tired. What do they believe about themselves? That life is exhausting. What's the picture they hold in their mind that, that everything is going to take a long time, that everything they're doing is hard that day, that nothing is going right.

And they own, I am tired. And There's no motivation. Where's the motivation when we're owning, I am tired to be like, Oh, I want to go to the store and I want to get this and I want to finish this project and I want to play with my kids. I mean, you can't even get motivated talking on this podcast about playing with your kids when you're owning, I am tired.

Like you just want to go take a nap, right? And so, so much of our identity, that's a super simple example. And yet so much of it filters in with everything that we do. In life and just what starts to happen, whether we planned it that way or not. Yeah. Well, that's, that's so true. And I think that also when I hear some, so I was on bedrest for six months with my last pregnancy and I heard so many women say like, Oh, that sounds dreamy.

Like to just sit in bed and have an excuse. And I was like, this is a sign that so many of you are experiencing burnout or something very unhealthy that you would want to be. Change to your bed, you know, for months at a time. And so it's, it's surprising how many women I feel like that I know who are running on that empty tank all the time and probably reinforcing it with what they're owning.

Like you say. Oh, a hundred percent. I would say that with the most women that I work with one word, there's one word that almost every single one of them claim is identity and it's busy. I am busy. And I want you to just think about that for a second. When you think I am busy, what does the picture of that look like?

Does it look like running ragged? Does it look like trying to keep up with multiple schedules? Does it look like constantly coming and going? Does it look like never the never ending laundry cycle? That's just infinite in its potential, right? Like, does it, what does it look like when we claim I am busy and what does that make you act like?

Yeah. How do you feel about yourself when you're busy? And if the feeling is fatigue and exhaustion and overwhelm, well, how motivated are we to really get up and go really do when we feel exhausted and overwhelmed. And I would say, I don't know that I've actually had a single female client. Or worked with a single female group where the word busy has not been a predominant piece of identity.

Interesting. So if someone's listening to this and they're going, Oh, crap, I'm both tired and busy. What do I do now? Exactly. What's next? Yeah, the, the root again, motivation is that the root. Of identity. And so when we really look at that and say, well, it's not like you woke up this morning and thought, you know what?

I'd really love, I think a great day for me would be to claim tired and busy all day long and just see how miserable I can make myself. We don't do that on purpose, right? So what is waking up on purpose? It looks like intentionally approaching a day, claiming what you do want. So my first, my first step would be what's the picture you do want.

If you were to think about tomorrow. And what you want tomorrow to look like, what do you want it to look like to engage with yourself? How do you want to feel when you get out of bed in the morning? What do you want it to feel like when you go for a walk or a run or exercise? Or do you want to exercise?

What do you want it to look like when you engage with your family, with your kids, with your spouse? What do you want conversations to look like? What do you want your home to look like? When you start to create that picture, I want you to think, what does that feel like? What does that picture feel like?

Because if it feels like peace, if it feels like excitement, if it feels like joy, then you're onto something because what does that make you want to do? And if that first next thing that you want to do is just like, I actually just want, I want to go to bed early. So I sleep well, then go to bed early.

That's the step because you could stop and carry all that away and go back to the identity of I am tired and I am busy. And here's the fascinating part. I am tired and I am busy. Do you know what and want to know what their number one behavioral issue is? Can't go to bed at night. Oh my gosh. Yes. This has been a struggle.

Yeah. This has been a struggle for me for years. Yeah. That too, where like, I'm so tired. Why can't I sleep? That's a problem. But also before I really started disciplining myself to get up at five 30, I am a way better version of myself. When I get up at five 30 every day, it was like, the kids are in bed. I shut down the laptop and this is the first and only time of my entire day where I don't, someone doesn't need something from me.

And so then I felt like this starvation of, I need me time. And the only me time that I'm getting is this like one to two hour wind down of sit and watch Netflix, which there's nothing wrong with that. But it was, I was filling that cup at night when I was Exhausted and depleted instead of starting my day, filling my cup with what I needed.

And when I flip flopped those and started doing it in the morning, I became a completely different person. Oh, absolutely. And one of, one of the things I want everybody to pay attention to here is this. We think I'm so tired, I'm exhausted, I'm busy. If that's what we're claiming, is there any wonder we can't go to bed at night and we can't fall asleep when we go to bed?

Because if we're telling our body. I'm tired. Then our body, in order to live up to being tired, guess what it can't do? It can't get a big, deep gust of rest. That can't happen right now, right? Right. I can't get a big gust of rest right now, because if I get a big gust of rest right now, I won't be tired.

And if I'm not tired, I'm not being true to who I am. And if I'm not true to who I am, then who the heck am I? And no one's thinking this consciously though. This is all in the subconscious, all in the subconscious. And what's really important and really powerful in this situation is when we look at that and we say, huh, what do I want?

Because if I want vibrant, if I want energetic, if I want, If I want engaged, if I want present, if I want focused, if I want powerful, if I want any of those things. What do I want to do because the body that's like I'm energetic, then the body is like, Oh, we're energetic. We need sleep to get energy. So I want to sleep vibrant and I approach life on purpose.

Well, then I want to get up in the morning because that's what a vibrant person does. We ask ourselves, why can't I get into bed at night? And then the next question that always comes from women. I have such a hard time waking up. Oh, I have such a hard time waking up during the day. And I'm like, well, when I am tired is trying to get out of bed.

What does that look like? That's a struggle. When I am busy is trying to get out of bed. What does that look like? Dread. Yeah. So I am tired and I am busy is trying to get out of bed. Is there any wonder we can't get out of bed? Lady, when we claim who we want to be, everything changes. So what does that look like in the inverse?

What does it look like when someone is claiming who they want to be intentionally? Yeah. So I'll give you a personal story in this. I struggled. I used to struggle so much getting out of bed in the morning. And just like you, I found myself, I wasn't giving me time in a space of time. When I could do something about it.

Right. My me time was coming late at night and the whole thing was a disaster. Yeah. It was like, okay, how do I get out of bed? But then everything became about getting out of bed. Well, what's the picture of what I really want? What I don't want to just get out of bed. No one wants to just get out of bed.

So I started changing that picture of actually what I want is I want, I want a peaceful morning. I want time when it's just me. And God and thought and peace and calm. And I want to take care of my body in that time. And I want to take care of my spirit in that time. And I want to fill my bucket. And that picture started to say, who is that person that does that?

And I started claiming this word, unstoppable. Started to claim this concept of being an unstoppable woman of God. And then it became like, how does an unstoppable woman of God start her day? Oh, she starts it with God. That's for darn sure. So what does that look like for me? Does it look like prayer? Does it look like meditation?

Does it look like study? How does an unstoppable woman of God treat her physical body? Does it look like a going for a walk? Does it look like going for a run? And I created a little morning routine, just a small one that was attached to this picture of how I wanted to start my day because of how I wanted to live my day.

And it attached to this word of unstoppable. And. It the next morning came my eyes popped open and I was getting out of bed because I got a morning appointment with God. I'm not missing that. Yeah, I got a morning appointment with myself that lets me show up for the rest of the day. I'm not missing that.

And the picture of get out of bed because I'm tired. And because I'm busy and so I have to get up to face another busy day as a tired mom, I was able to change that picture in its entirety to what it looks like to be an unstoppable woman of God and live life on purpose. And then the motivation to get out of bed.

It's just what I wanted to do. I didn't have to try to force myself to wake up in the morning. I wanted to get up. Right, right. I feel the same way. I feel like when I changed my morning routine, I've never had a hard time like getting out of bed, but definitely feeling like I can't go to sleep and I'm having insomnia to the end.

When it is time to wake up, I was waking up to somebody needing something from me. That was the first thing that I was waking up to. That was a problem. And I knew it was a problem that the very first. You know, brain activity that I had was somebody needs something from me. And I was doing that and like on purpose, like waiting until a kid woke me up was such a problem that when I changed it and started waking up when I wanted to wake up and doing what I wanted to do before anyone else.

And I did it for a long time and then kind of got out of the habit with having the last couple of babies that I had. So when I finally got back into that habit, it's like, I crave that time. I crave the time to be by myself, to read the scriptures, to talk to God, and to not have to even worry about the possibility of anyone needing anything from me.

Yeah. For the first hour to hour and a half of the day. Yeah. As you think about why you crave it though, do you, do you notice how it changes how you show up the rest of the day with every, do you need something? Yeah. And that's what ends up being what you crave, right? Is this, this is sets me up to show up in all the ways I wanted to show up down the road.

True. I think women sometimes struggle with this feeling of selfishness. Well, if I'm going to wake up earlier, well, that just gives me an extra hour and a half. I could be getting some other things done. I could be getting some things done around the house that keep slipping. I could get this done. That is not done.

My kids needed me to do this. My kids needed me to do that. And my, my challenge to women would be the ever so classic airbag challenge, right? Like put that mask on first and really allow your best self to approach the day. And it is not a bad thing or a selfish endeavor to want to be the best version of you.

Because kids came to you for a reason. Right. The best version of you has the best shot at raising the best kids. And when we show up that way, we realize that hour and a half is, it sets me up to succeed in everything. I actually want to succeed. It is what kicks me into being able to live a life on purpose and the life I want that hour and a half becomes so profoundly important.

That getting out of bed is not a challenge. It's a joy. Yeah. That's so true. And I feel like my body just automatically remembers like it's time to get up. It's really weird. Even when I don't set that alarm, yeah, it just, and it will because of the kind of person you've claimed to be and the kind of man you live your life with and the kind of intention you live with.

And that's why that doesn't, anyone can program that there may be people listening right now. They're like, Oh man, I wish. I wish my body would just pop up. You can have that. Every single person has the capacity to program that and it has to start with at the root of identity. Yeah. I would love to shift just for a second to male identity because, and maybe if you're willing to tell that story about, so you work with prison inmates and which is fascinating to me.

And when you told that story about. The kid that, you know, I don't want to take away from, from your storyline, but that was super powerful for me to hear. And I think that a lot of men, they feel like they need to approach the world with this front of like, Oh, I know exactly what my purpose is in life.

Like I know exactly who I am. And actually, I feel like I know a lot of men who are struggling with what is your true identity? Yeah. Well, I've, I've got two really profound, uh, prison stories. I think that juxtapose this really nicely for, for men and women alike. And one was, one was a young man who I asked him who he was back with his prison number.

It was like, seven, four, two, three, six. And it was like, no, not your number. Like, who are you? And he came back with his last name. I was like, no, not your last name. Like, who are you? And then it was his nickname, which was given to him based on his crimes. I said, no, not, not your nickname. Like, who are you? And I could, if seven times I had to ask him to just get his name.

Wow. By the fifth question I asked him, he said, why do you want to know? You don't want to know me. I'm the scum of humanity. I'm the worst that's ever existed. I'm a thief. I'm an addict. I, I steal things. I hurt people. And he had completely framed his identity based on what he had done in his life, not who he was.

Everything about his past, he was owning as this identity. And men and women alike, we do this, we, we latch on to the things that we have done and because they're things we have done, then we claim them like big labels. I'm, I'm an addict and, and frankly, sometimes we claim labels, roles in our life as these same labels that are just as painful and just as limiting.

I'm a wife. I'm a mom. I'm a dad. I'm a, I, I'm, I'm the, I'm the breadwinner. These labels can be so damning because they don't take note of who we are and how we want to approach life. They, they limit us based on what we've done and the circumstances of our life. On the flip side of that, we had another gentleman who was like, well, I'm not, I don't need to tell you about, about who I am and what I want, because I just know who I am and what I want.

And I said, well, really, what does that look like? And he said, he goes, I, he goes, I am an inmate. It's who I am. It's who I've always been meant to be. And I'm never getting out of here. And so it's who I will always be. I said, well, an inmate might be a label you've been given and it's not who you are as a man.

So who are you as a man? And, uh, we pushed him pretty hard to create vision. He said, why would I, why would I think about something more? I want my life. I'm stuck in here forever. And we said, just what do you want? So finally he came back to me one day and he said, I want to be helicopter pilot. And I think he told me that because he thought I was going to push back on him because he's serving six consecutive life sentences.

And I said, okay, let's lean into that. What does being a helicopter pilot mean to you? What does it feel like? And he started to express a feeling of what it felt like to fly that a chopper and how it felt free. And we started to talk about what he wanted to do. When he was free, and he started to talk about what kind of man he was as a free man and what his life would look like as a free man.

And we watched this man start to change his behavior. He had spent most of his time in max because he had massive behavioral issues. And he went from being one of their worst to one of their best. He had no write ups. He had no behavioral issues. He came off of all depression, anxiety, medication. And he started teaching everybody around him what it looks like to be free and what it looked like to treat people in such a way that free people treat others.

Wow. And then he came in. Tell me more about that really quick. Yeah. So he, he started owning this concept of freedom. And he said, a free man treats other people with dignity and respect. A free man treats people like, like he's not a criminal. And so what that looks like to him was they're kind. And they're gracious.

And they, they are looked at like they're not a criminal and they don't look like anybody else is a criminal. And they don't take things, they work for things. And he just started making a list of what it looked like to be a free man who never, who never broke the law. It was a, it was a simple exercise that most of us are like, well, that seems kind of like second nature, but he'd been in a gang since he was 12.

He didn't even know what it looked like to live. A law filled life and to be okay. And the gang was probably his identity, right? That's why people join gangs is to have some identity to belong to something. Oh yeah. He, he belonged to it. He, he was known for it. What are you owning? What are you thinking about?

What are you claiming? And he'd been in there since he was, I mean, he'd been in a gang since he was 12. He didn't even know what life looked like. And so for him to claim freedom, even though he knew he was never going to get out of there, it started to change the picture in his head as to who he was as a man.

Right. What became very, very cool is a few months later, he came back in and we were talking to him that this has been about a year after he started to claim this. He came back in and he said, I figured out what that picture of being a helicopter pilot is. And he said, it is, I will never fly out of here to freedom and I can pilot.

Every man in here to freedom on the outside world. If I teach them how to be free on the inside. And he said, because I am free, I can teach others to be free. And while I will never experience freedom on the outside, I am experiencing freedom every day on the inside because I'm helping others to be free.

And his purpose, his vision, his intention, his life, everything started to change. And he's become someone that is just, I mean, he's, he's just someone that is making a massive impact in the lives of others on the inside because he chose to figure out who he really was. And he won't let anybody call him his nickname anymore.

I know. I love that so much. Number anymore. And he's owning something different on purpose. Yeah. Oh, I love that. Like I just felt all the warm and good feelings while you're telling this transformation story. That's incredible. Well, and I think that, I think the important part is that it's, it's available for anyone, anyone who's just sitting in a hard spot in life, which are so many people, anyone who's experiencing, just life is hard.

And it's heavy and there's parts of my life that I don't love anyone who's in that same space, I would just challenge you to look at life and see if you're claiming it as a part of who you are, or if it can be something you're going through, something you're feeling, something you're experiencing, and on purpose, claim who you really are and start to live life from that space and see if you can't just let go of a little bit of the heavy.

So good. Okay. Natty, tell me what led you into this line of work? Like why, why this? Yeah, I had, I had a life altering experience. I had had my, I'd had my fourth child and I had been on bedrest with that child for seven and a half months. Um, I went into labor really, really early. And so I'd been on bedrest a long time and just, I think the process of stress and, you know, And, and I was a collegiate athlete and now I'm sitting in a, in a chair and not being able to take care of my other three kids.

And just, I think it was a combination of all of those things led me to one morning I woke up when my, when my newborn was only about four or five months old, I woke up one morning and I couldn't move my arms and my legs. And it, it really freaked me out. I, I didn't know what was happening to me. I knew I couldn't move them.

I, I forced myself to like roll out of bed and kind of crawled and scoochie like a snake my way into my closet. And from there I was just completely stuck. I was paralyzed. I could not move my arms and my legs. I've never been so scared in all my life. Uh, I, I didn't know what was happening to me. My husband's calling an ambulance.

I'm being rushed to the hospital. I'm telling these people I can't, I can't move my arms and my legs. They're running test after test after test. And eventually a social worker comes in to see me to evaluate my ability to raise my children. And I was like, what's happening right now? And she said, well, there's nothing wrong physically with you.

And so we think maybe you had a psychotic break. And we want to evaluate whether you're, you're capable of raising your kids. And it was like something in my brain that I've never experienced before, where it was like every circuit in my brain turned on at the same time and every part of me was mobile and functional and I was, everything was moving and I got up off of that table and it was all of a sudden I just stopped and I thought, what just happened?

Why is everything working again? And I didn't understand why everything was working again. And I didn't, um, I could not figure out what in the world happened in the first place. And so I went, I went home and they were, they were sending with me like all of these layers of medication and pills and prescriptions and telling me like, you know, your option really is that you're going to need to be on medication probably for the rest of your life.

You have anxiety disorder and you've had a panic attack and they were laying all this out on me. And I just thought, hi, I can't do this. Um, I, I don't want to be on medication for the rest of my life. I don't want to be in this space. I don't, this is not a space I can be in. And, um, I, I started studying. I was like, okay, something happened to me in that hospital when the lights went on, what happened?

What turned? And I started studying the brain. I started studying what anxiety actually was. Because the second they told me I had anxiety disorder, I was so scared. I was freaking out. And I thought, why am I so scared of anxiety disorder? I don't even know what that is. I just have heard it enough times that I'm freaked out.

And so I started studying what anxiety actually is, what that emotion actually is, how the brain actually processes these things, and started, and in that study, I started to understand. And in that understanding, I was able to actually meet my, my body and my emotions with its actual needs. And in meeting those needs, I was able to completely overcome anxiety with no medication and no, no additional hospitalizations.

And I, I feel grateful every day for that experience because it led me to this work. And this work is so fulfilling for me. It is so joyful for me. I see lives blessed every day when they get an opportunity to not be afraid of their emotions. When people really truly understand something they didn't understand before.

And because of that, they recognize their ability to like, I can, I can understand what's happening. I don't have to be afraid of it. Yeah, that it like wakes up the lights turn on and we start to realize I do most of what I do every day Subconsciously, like how many of you guys had can wake up this morning?

You're even listening to this podcast and you think holy moly I haven't thought about what I've been doing for a long time. Like I woke up when I wake up I want followed the normal process I followed drove where I was going without even thinking and when when all of the things in the brain wake up There is an opportunity right then To remember who you really are, not what's going on in your life, not the circumstances of your life, not the processes of your life, not the trials of the life, not your past, not the things that you've done, not everything you've experienced, but truly remember who you are.

And from that place, you have the power to overcome. And I, I love that. I, I love teaching it. I love working with people and I love it when people's own lights go on and they remember who they are and they start to show up for their life differently. And things change. Yeah. Well, so tell me more about, you said just a second ago that people are afraid of their emotions.

What did you mean by that and, and what do you teach people about that? Yeah. Well, I noticed people all the time, I think because there's, we live in a society that likes to throw labels on emotions, like anxiety is an emotion, it's a feeling we have. Um, and people are afraid of it, number one, because there's a label attached to it.

And with that label comes some picture of the kind of person we must be if we have anxiety. It also attaches to the word have. Which makes it part of something we, we're like, it's like a disease and not an emotion. And so we get afraid of it. What really happens, what I've found where people get afraid of emotions, and it's what happened to me, was that every single emotion we have stemmed from a thought, a thought that kicked out in our brain, a chemical or a hormone that created a physical, very real, very physical, very tangible impact to our body.

And so we have a thought, That produces this chemical. And next thing you know, our heart's racing or it feels like stomach, our hamsters got less loose in our stomach, or we've been riding an elevator for a long time, or all of a sudden everything's really tight and constriction and we can't breathe our throats closed off.

Or are we start to sweat or heat or headaches or, or palm sweaty, or we start to get really cold and shaky. And because there's a very real physical impact to that emotion and that thought, it freaks people out because nobody teaches that. Everybody else says, well, it's just in your head and you're sitting there thinking, well, this does not feel in my head.

This is very real. I can't move my arms and my legs. That's not in my head. So for people to say, well, that's just all in your head made me feel like a crazy person, right? Increased the fear. When we really understand that every single thought we have will produce the truth. Uh, a chemical or a hormone, every chemical or hormone is very real, physical and tangible in our body and has incredibly real physiology attached to it.

So having a thought that makes you feel something physically, whether it's sweaty palms or a racing stomach or a racing heart or a constricted heart or, or faintness or a headache or whatever that physiology might be. You're not going crazy. You're not broken. You're not diseased. You are having thoughts that are releasing chemicals that are releasing hormones that are releasing emotions that are very tangible and physical in nature.

And you are experiencing the physiology of your thoughts. That is what's actually happening. And when we really understand that, we can stop being afraid of this physiology. We can stop being afraid of the constricted heart. We can stop being afraid of the racing tummy, we can stop being afraid that it's hard for me to breathe when I'm having a thought and we can actually recognize, Oh, I'm having some thoughts that are leading to a release that are creating physiology.

This physiology is happening for me, not to me. This is my body's way of saying you don't feel safe right now. It's my body's physiology actually trying to protect me in a state of fight or flight where it says, Hey, right now something's going on where you don't feel very safe. And when we recognize that and we stop fighting against them, we're like, okay, what am I feeling?

I'm feeling this. Okay. If that were a real physical symptom in an everyday world, how would I treat it? If I wasn't trying to talk myself out of it, if I wasn't trying to tell myself I'm crazy for having it, how would I treat it? Well, I'd probably take some deep breaths. I might even go for a walk. I might wrap myself in a weighted blanket.

I might drink cold water because I'm hot and sweaty. I might have some peppermint because my stomach's upset. I might, I'm feeling this massive release of energy. I might actually let it release. I might get down, do 10 pushups as fast as I can, see how that feels. This, our ability to physically and tangibly respond to the physical, tangible impact of our emotions that are coming from our thoughts puts us in a position of control.

And so instead of being afraid of them, we can understand them, then we can control them. And there is a great, great power in that, that makes us, that takes away that fear that these emotions are just running my life and I feel out of control. Yeah. Well, this is super interesting to me because I had, you know, similar to what you, it's interesting that they told you in the hospital that it was a psychotic break.

Um, what, when you look back at that, you call it a panic attack, right? So a couple of weeks ago I was taken to the ER with an ambulance because I thought I was dying of a heart attack. I literally, I, I never experienced physical pain that intense in my life. Um, not contractions, not, I mean, nothing I've had five C sections and this was the most physical pain I've ever felt.

And I couldn't breathe. And um, when I got to the hospital, just like you said, they ran all the tests. They said, there's nothing wrong with you. And then he sent me home and then it happened again, two nights ago. And I was almost grateful the way that it happened because I was able to identify, Oh, that was a panic attack or an anxiety attack, whatever you want to call it.

And I was almost like offended when people said that at first with the first one, because I was like, no, I was. Woken up from a dead sleep in pain. I didn't go to bed stressed. I, I wasn't like feeling, uh, a lot of anxiety because I am that person that can't fall asleep if I'm thinking about something too much, or if I'm stressed about something.

And so at the time I was like, no, this was so, so much physical pain. And in my mind, I had always thought of a panic attack as somebody who gets so wound up about something and like a child that starts hyperventilating because they're like. You know, just overreacting almost that the thought that, that I would be woken up out of a dead sleep with physical pain that felt like I was literally dying.

I was like, no, that wasn't a panic attack, but. experiencing it again two nights ago where I was finally able to calm down because I was just praying and praying like, please, Heavenly Father, tell me what to do. And the thought came to me like squeeze Neil's hands. And I did. And that finally, that was the only thing that finally started to calm me down.

And then I had him like hold me really tight. And then, you know, that finally like completely got rid of all of the pain and feeling that I couldn't breathe. Um, so I guess what I'm getting at with all of this is I feel like I'm pretty good at leading my life, not, not by fear and not feeling like I, you know, I'm identifying with all these negative emotions or whatever, but there's clearly there's something going on.

I mean, there's a lot going on with my life, but there's something that's happening that's causing me to feel that. intensive physical, like that level of physical pain where I feel like I'm literally dying. Like if I hadn't gone through the experience two weeks ago of going to the hospital and having everything tested, I would have had Neil take me to the ER again last night for how much physical pain I was in.

Well, so one of the things that can happen and this I think is really important for people understand our body's alarm system. Like, is it just if I were to use my hand as an example, and like, let's say this is our brain and let's say this is our hippocampus where we store our pictures and our thoughts and our memories.

And this is our amygdala and it's our body's alarm system to trigger whether we're safe or not. At this point, This is our prefrontal cortex where we're logical and we're rational. Our amygdala, when it, when the alarm goes off that we're not emotionally safe, its job is to quite literally kick the prefrontal cortex off of the brainstem so that we can't think.

Now, why would it do that? Cause if we're at fight or flight, we, we need to not be thinking, we need to react to our situation. Right? So let's say we're walking down the street, bear jumps out of the woods. It's not a time to think it is a time to either fight or flight. Right? So this function is designed to keep us safe.

The problem is when it comes to emotional safety, let's say this alarm was going off for a while and you weren't paying because you're pretty good. Breathing and calming yourself down. Oh, something doesn't feel very good, but we breathe and we calm it down. Something doesn't feel very good and we breathe and we calm.

Something is really not feeling safe right now when we breathe and calm it down. When this alarm system gets ignored. Meaning we don't pay attention to it. We don't physiologically recognize what it's doing. It gets loud and it will get as loud as it must to make sure you've, you create safety intentionally.

And so what happens is sometimes that is like, it's like a compounding interest situation that's going on where it's like, it's just getting louder and louder and louder because we've been kind of dealing with it, but not necessarily dealing with it. That's what happened to me. I was pretty good about being active and pretty good about moving my body and pretty good about doing things that very naturally regulate emotions.

If I just ever intentionally paid attention to what I needed to really close my lids, so to speak, and like shut the alarm off and let it know I'm safe. And so in those spaces where we kind of get a little bit of compounding, sometimes that happens a lot of times that happens with really high achieving people like yourselves, like, and women listening to this podcast, they're like, Oh man.

I, I have to keep my crap together all day long. I've got kids, I got a spouse, I got a business, I've got a family. And so we work so hard all day long. Just keep it together. I got to keep it constantly hearing the sound of the alarm and constantly telling it like, not now, not now, not now I don't have time, not now.

I don't can't deal with that right now. I got stuff to do right now. I cannot deal with that right now. I got stuff to do right now. And sooner or later, that alarm is going to get so loud that it's going to be like, okay, if I have to, I'm going to do it. I'm going to hospitalize you to make you pay attention that there's a feeling here.

We need to address. Yeah. Well, that, that rings true for sure. And yes. And I was telling my mom yesterday when I called her to tell her about what happened Sunday night. And she's like, well, tell me everything that's going on. She obviously already knows that our kitchen is there's, it's been torn apart for a month and that we thought it was, All done, and then they realized that they didn't put a drain where they needed to.

So they had already dug up our foundation, you know, and then poured concrete over it, did brand new floors over it, did brand new, um, cabinets, and then realized that there was no drain when they went to hook up the plumbing. So they had to re drill, like, I don't know how many feet. I know that it's a really deep foundation.

So I'm listening to people, jackhammer my foundation for the second time in one month all the way down and expose this long line of plumbing. So I think that that may be had something to do with it. Also. So I'm telling my mom, like, I can't ignore that. It's in my house. Like, I can't run away from it.

Although I kind of tried to, when I went to Mexico, um, but And then also, you know, end of school year stuff. I can't just be like, well, let's put off the kids end of year piano recital till next month. Like you, you don't have the option to do that. And then we're running two businesses. And so all of these things are all stacking up at it and none of them are.

Things that I have control over. And it's funny because I feel like I'm this master of like, you say the serenity prayer, you let things go that you can't control. Like I, I feel like I know those things better than the average person, but what you're saying about like, I kept ignoring it, kept ignoring it makes a lot of sense.

Yeah. Well, and, and to your, to your point here is you do know some tools like the serenity prayer and like, okay, I'm going to acknowledge that and breathe. I'm going to do it anyways. It's not in my control. There was an element there where you were acknowledging it. We just weren't, if you were to, if you were to think about it as the lid flipping, you were, you were getting it to here, but never getting it all the way.

So tell me about that. Tell me about what, what's missing. Yeah. What this looks like is like when, when the fight or flight alarm is going off and it's telling our system, like we're not safe. Like our job is to basically be like, okay, what I acknowledge this alarm is going off and I'm going to turn it off on purpose.

If we can turn it off on purpose, it can go back to doing its job and we can function with whole brain, with logic reason and everything's fine. What does it look like to, to bring that thing down? What does it look like to shut that alarm off? Looks like a recognition. Of the physiology that's actually sounding off.

It looks like a recognition of the lack of safety that's being acknowledged there. So for you, for example, um, one of the things I like to teach people is there is a space where our, where our autonomic function kicks in. So when this, when, when our lid flips, because the alarm's going off, everything that's automatic in your life keeps happening, you keep breathing.

Moving because you don't have to think about it. So what I really want you to think about is how do I bring intentional thought to things that I never think about, because that's what will shut this alarm off. Oh, interesting. Okay. It's supposed to funk it when this alarm is going off, it's meant for you not to think.

So when you bring intentional thought or pattern change to things that are automatic, it's like, Whoa, wait a second. How are we doing? Oh yeah. We're not, we're not in danger. Cause if we were in danger, we could not be doing that. So breathing, so breathing intentionally does that because normally we breathe automatically breathing patterns that are irregular.

Like we normally breathe in, we breathe out, we don't think about it. So that's why when people do breathing exercise where they breathe in. And hold it actually is super regulatory because our body's not designed to do that. You have to bring intentional thought to an automatic function to do that. What works better is breathing in.

And then after I've held at the top to spike air again, because we never do that. And then to release. Making a sound through my throat, because that is not how our normal pattern of air intake or release happens. Just those simple dynamics are basically sending a message to the amygdala to turn off the alarm, because we're not unsafe right now.

Mm. And literally. Bring some. And so people, when you'll do this, if you do this for real, you will feel like somebody hit the decompression valve on your head and everything goes. So I want you to pay attention to what your head feels like after you do that. If you breathe in old and then spike and then release.

You'll feel a difference in your head. And when people do that, like, oh my gosh, wow, whoa, that feels so weird. And it's because your entire, you're resetting this whole brain situation to honor the emotions, turn off the alarm, reset the table and be able to move forward and manage stress different at a different layer, different level.

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. What else? Breathing. Walking. Like the one thing, like people try to outthink this. You cannot outthink it because it's physiological. The emotion, the thoughts led to a chemistry. The chemistry led to a physiology. You have to do something physically. So move your body, go for a walk. Tense and release your muscles.

Um, if you're experiencing a lot of energy, like if you're the kind of person that gets angry or aggressive, or you feel like your temper is going to blow or anything like that, that is the body's nervous system, sending the fight response, send blood flow to the extremities, be ready to fight or take a hit, and Release that energy somehow in the same fashion.

Get down, do 10 push ups as fast as you can. 10 air squats as fast as you can. 10 sit ups as fast as you can. Do some burpees. Move the body with intensity. And it only takes 90 seconds to three minutes, by the way. So move with intensity and do it on purpose. If you, if you feel like you're the kind of person where when you start to feel that stress, all you want to do is just grab your phone and start scrolling.

You need to intentionally move your mind. So move your mind, move your body, go for a walk, and while you're walking, think of five things that you can see that you're grateful for, four things you can hear that you're grateful for, three things you can touch that you're grateful for, two things you can smell that you're grateful for, one thing you can taste that you're grateful for.

Because if you'll engage movement and the senses, The amygdala's other job is to be in charge of the senses. So when we give it a new job, it shuts that alarm off and lets it come down. I'm getting a cold. A lot of people get really hot, getting a cold glass of water will regulate that. If people get sweaty, if people get, if people tense up, Weighted blankets, snuggling in a weighted blanket makes a big difference, but we need to address it physically because the chemical and the hormone that's being released in the thought is physical.

And so we tend to stop and rethink and we're like, Oh my gosh, I can, I can do this. I can do this. I'm going to breathe. I can manage this. I'm going to do this. And we try to process the whole thing in our head, which will get us part of the way there, but the, but the experience we're having is physical.

And so when we give a physical experience to counteract it, Oh man, you will be fascinated. You'll be like, wow, I feel like a new woman. I got, I got a new lease on life. Like my, my, I'm honoring my emotions. I recognize what I'm feeling. I'm releasing it. And then I feel like I can function with my head on straight and I'm not losing my, I'm not losing it all the time.

And I don't feel out of control. And so powerful awareness. Wow. Those are so amazing. Thank you for, I'm going to be. Practicing all of those things. And it's important for everybody to realize it. Your's your thing that will work great for you will be different for what works for me. It'll be different for what works for somebody else, because it's your physiology with curiosity, not judgment.

Do not judge yourselves in these moments with curiosity, engage, try different things and see what works for you. Yeah. I wanted to talk to you about that too, because before we started the recording, you were telling me. When we were talking about how like squeezing nails hands, then having him hold me really tight, it was, I was just like, I can't believe that that instantly made it all go away that like feeling of just intense physical pain, like I was going to die and you said that doesn't work for everyone.

So if you, if you observe someone, Who's having a panic attack, Maddie, what do you do? Like, how do you help someone in that moment where they're like, I feel like I'm dying. Yeah. So the first thing that I do is I look them in the eyes and I, and then I asked them to just breathe with me and I set the pace for the breathing.

And I just asked them to follow my breath movement. And so I'll hold, I'll breathe in and I'll hold my breath and I'll breathe out. And once I can see them locking eye contact and breathing with me, the very next thing I'll do is I'll say, I'm so sorry. Did you hear that? We got to cut that out. It's fine.

Sorry about that. No, no, no. It's fine. You can start anywhere. Okay. The very next thing I'll do after they have made eye contact with me and they're following my breathing is I will tell them, I want you to answer the following questions as quickly as you can. Two times two, one plus two, three times four, two plus five.

And I'll just give them some math questions as fast as I can for about 30 seconds. And then I'll say, what's your favorite color? What's your favorite number? What was the name of the street you grew up on? What was the color of your bedroom when you were a little kid? Because if we can intentionally engage the brain back into conscious awareness, the amygdala will turn off the alarm.

The panic attack is being caused by that alarm going off and screaming for attention from a lack of safety. When we can establish safety with breath and eye contact, and then we can actually turn on the conscious awareness, the And engage in a way that can create safety. We can, we can close the lid. And once we've done that, they'll come out of the panic attack.

Oh, that's so interesting. Well unpack this for me because the first time I had one two weeks ago and that, and I read last night, cause I was like, I need to understand this better. So I was trying to read about panic attacks and they were saying like, Oh, they usually last 20 to 30 minutes. Both of mine were more than an hour.

Like an hour and a half. And I thought it was just coincidental that Neil called. I asked him to call my parents. He had to call twice because middle of the night, you know, it was like 1am for them. Um, second call, they finally, you know, it went through and answered and he was talking to them for a while.

And then he said, do you want to talk to your parents? And I said, yes. And they could hear the distress. Like after my mom told me, I've never heard you like that before. And I was crying and telling them how much physical pain I was in. And then, you know, just talking to my parents, I thought that the pain medication that they gave me must have kicked in when I was talking to my parents.

But by the time I was done talking to them, it had gone away. Like it, it was probably like, You know, it went from like a 9 or 10 out of 10 to like a 2 out of 10 by the time I was done talking to them. And then, you know, I, so I just thought like, Oh, that was when the pain meds kicked in, but looking back, I'm like, something happened there.

What happened? Yeah. Well, what happened really was that you activated your conscious awareness in conversation. And so when the conscious brain is activated, I like to call it, we woke up it. Remember when I told my story about all those lights turned on, I woke up and it's not because I woke up from being asleep.

I It's because I woke up from being consciously incapable of driving the bus because my lid was flipped. And so when you, when you became conscious, when you started talking, when you started verbalizing, when you had to actually think to answer a question, You really started to regulate the emotions and calm that down just through the very act of communication.

I do it a little more intentionally when I'm working with people who are experiencing that, just because I've found that, that math works really well, then colors work really well, then numbers. And again, it's a sensory experience, but it also ties a little bit into some of their automatic functioning. So it's like a, it's an easing in, if you will, because a lot of people memorized their times tables when they were little or memorized things.

Super small math equations are almost automatic for us, but they pull from a different part of the brain. And so it just activates and turns on that conscious mind kind of interesting, like a crock pot, right? Like slowly turn that thing back on. And within a minute, minute half, I want that conscious awareness back into driving the bus again.

And, um, it was really funny because on the way to Cabo, this actually happened on the way. I remember them. Yeah. It's somebody mentioned that I wasn't with you guys, but I heard that it happened on the airplane in front of us, had a full on panic attack and her husband stood up. He was freaking out. He didn't know what to do is he was yelling for help.

And, um, I did that exact thing. I stepped into the seat. I looked her right in the eyes. I got her attention. I asked her to breathe with me. And then I started to ask her those questions. And then I started to ask her additional questions. And then she was able to really calm down. And then I asked her like what she was feeling physically.

And she talked to me about, she felt really, really hot. So we got her some ice water and then I asked her how her heart was. And then we addressed the racing heart rate. And then we talked about her stomach and we addressed her stomach. And then we addressed the head and we basically just addressed the physiology one piece at a time while we turned on the conscious mind.

And as soon as we were, we were ready to go and she, she was great and was super, super grateful because, and, and a little bit embarrassed, right? Because when we're in the middle of that, we don't have any awareness and all of a sudden she's super aware she's in the middle of an airplane and she's made a scene.

And so I also needed to provide a little safety for her that it was going to be okay where we were at was fine. Everybody else was fine and nothing else mattered other than getting her what she needed. Wow. And how did you know that that's what was happening? Um, I could actually see her kind of enter into a phase where the lights were on, but no one was home.

Like I could see her, she was clenching up. She had put her back against the thing. She was here. She was talking about how she couldn't breathe, but she wasn't showing the signs of a traditional heart attack. And the reality is. Until they were to get a doctor, I was going to see if we were dealing with a panic attack anyways, because a doctor is going to check a heart attack.

I'm not a doctor, right? Those things. I'm not going to diagnose her with anything because I'm not a medical professional. And so I'm just going to work with calming while we wait for medical help. And by the time they found a doctor, she was already calmed down and, and like ready to go. Wow. That's really, I mean, I just don't believe in coincidence with things like that.

So. That's really neat that you were right there. And also just, I, I was thinking today, like, I'm so grateful that we have this episode or recording, you know, on the calendar. The first working day after that happened to me for the second time. Cause there's just no coincidences sometimes, right? It's just what people need.

And I, It's my hope that as people that are listening to this, if they've experienced it, even if you're the kind of person that just has those, I had, I had experienced the feelings of anxiety before I ever went through that. I just didn't realize that's what I was experiencing. I felt tight my chest a lot.

And I've always felt like, or I had shortness of breath and I didn't know what that was and I was scared of it. So I didn't really want to know what it was. And I would just encourage anyone, like. Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid of the emotions you're experiencing. You don't have to put a label on it.

You don't have to, you don't have to turn it into something. It's not just be aware of what you're feeling. Be super curious, identify the physiology you're experiencing, identify the emotions you're experiencing, recognize that this is how our body actually works to protect us. It's not trying to hurt us and recognize that and work with our body to create safety.

Instead of trying to fight against our body, things start to move in the right direction and we can start to regulate those feelings and those emotions and start to feel a lot more in control. And there's an opportunity there for us to, to experience a lot more peace when we do them. That was so profound and super helpful to me.

So thank you for all of that. I have one last question for you, Natty. If there's one message that you want the people listening to this episode to remember, what do you want that one message to be? I want it to be, fear not, wake up and remember, fear not, don't fear your emotions, understand them, wake up your conscious brain, don't go through life subconsciously in patterns, feeling like life is happening to you, you can happen to life, you just have to do it on purpose, and remember who you are.

Not what you've done, not your past, not your circumstances. If you'll remember who you are, you're, you're capable of accomplishing anything. I mean, you ultimately at the foundation of it, all the root of identity is that you are a child of God. And from that place, you have his power and his authority to do things on this earth, which is why you're here.

With your beautiful physical body and your beautiful spirit that drives it and engage in life from a space where you fear not wake up and remember. I love that so much. Where can people find you, Natty, if they want to learn more from you or work with you? Yeah. So they can find me on Instagram at natty.

o. lewis is my Instagram handle or my website. That's where we do all of our coaching and all of our courses where we teach all of this kind of material. Awesome. And we'll link those in the show notes too. So thank you again so much for being here today. Hey, thanks Karin.

📍 Thanks so much for listening to Mint Aero Messages. We're so grateful that you spent time with us today. Make sure you go follow us at Corinne Stokoe or at Mint Aero Messages on Instagram. And then if you have a second and you love the show, I would love it so much if you'd leave a rating or a review on Apple Podcasts.

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