Dear You - Personal Development & Mental Health

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Lessons on mindfulness and dealing with anxiety w/Katy Bandy

by Nabeelah Munshi
July 13th 2021

Katy Bandy is an anxiety specialist helping women destress and reconnect with themselves. You can find her on Instagram @Katy Bandy. 

She talks about how you can start practicing mindfulne... More

mm Hi and welcome to the episode of Deer. You thank you for listening. So today I have a very, very special guest and her name is Katie. Hi Katie. Hello, Thank you for having me. Of course. Do you want to tell us what you do, how you started all these things? Yeah, absolutely. So I am a licensed mental health therapist and I've been working in mental health for about 14 years now. So last year I started my own private practice and my own online business and I support women in managing stress and anxiety and I'm super passionate about mindfulness and helping women just be the best version of themselves. That is so amazing. So, okay, so I have a question um how did you start? Like how did you, how did you know this was your passion? Well, in terms of getting into mental health and therapy, you know, I've always wanted to give back, I don't know, even as a kid, I loved like animals and um taking care of animals and I'm a people person and I just wanted to do something that felt like I was contributing and giving back to the world.

I'm super passionate about the environment. And one thing that kind of dawned on me is that we're not going to protect the environment unless we can take care of ourselves and our own mental health kind of starts internally with us. I have some I have actually so many good questions for you. How do you feel about like therapy being so like, stigmatized, is that the right way to say that people think because I go to therapy, I love it, but it's not like I'm going crazy or anything or have such a crisis, but I just love it because you explore yourself in such a deeper way you like. I also like one of my my therapist is like an I. F. S. Trained therapist and I loved it because you get to know yourself so much better. You're becoming better version of yourself. Yeah. You know it really is such a shame. I think it goes way way back in history where mental health has been stigmatized. I mean back in the day were demon possessed or something, right? Um but still in some companies, if you have a brain you have mental health, we're humans and we have emotions and thoughts.

I love that. You said national. Yes. Exactly. And that's why I always preach mental health because this podcast is really around personal development and mental health because I feel like people don't talk about it, especially with women. I think now it's getting better because like me and my friends will talk about therapy and we'll be like yeah it's so amazing. But around men is still an issue, you know, totally. Yeah, well there's all these things were socialized to believe, right? So men are taught to be tough and not talk about their feelings and blah blah blah, but they have the same stuff that we do. So, you know, I think we're making progress in terms of these stigmatizing mental health come a long way in the last 30 40 years or so, but we've still got a long way to go. Yeah, definitely. So I have another question for you. So if you feel, okay, what are some of the best mental health tips that you have for somebody who has anxiety?

But okay, let's first talk about anxiety because like what is it, how do you know you have it? Because, you know, sometimes I think like sometimes a mom will call me because I guess our parents like we're older and like they don't have that much information. Like she'll be like saying all these things and I'm like mom, you know, this is anxiety and she was like, she doesn't even know. Yeah, totally. So anxiety is built into our nervous system and it's the system in our body that protects us and keeps us alert and aware for danger or threats. So when our brain detects a threat and whether that's a tiger that's coming after us, or whether that's getting up in front of people in speaking, what are people thinking about me? It activates this part of our body where heart rate increases, are breathing rate increases adrenaline and cortisol flood through our body and our muscles get tense so that we're ready to fight or run away. Um and so our body is trying to help us because it thinks there's danger and so we need to activate and get ready to protect ourselves or whatever.

Um It's not telling the difference between a tiger and a speech at work. It's just activating. Yeah. And so what are some of your tips that you would say that somebody could with anxiety? How could they identify it? I think identifying it is like a big thing and then yeah, I mean you know it's it's part of that you feel in your body, right as you feel like that heart racing, you feel getting flushed and overheated. Maybe maybe your mind is racing and you can't stop thinking about something, you're worrying a lot. Um And so it's this discomfort that you can start to feel right. Maybe you start avoiding things, avoiding social settings or places because it triggers it. Um So once you start to kind of notice that that's kind of your cue, like okay, maybe I need to get some help around this and figure out what to do because there is help always and I feel like it's best to ask for help because a lot of people never ask for, they'll go like, oh, if I say that people are gonna think I'm crazy or something and I'm like, no, but everybody's crazy.

No. Yeah, absolutely. It's so common. It's actually the most common diagnosed thing. Yeah. And it's probably even underrepresented because like you said, people don't want to talk about it or save their experiencing it. Yeah. Like something that I always think about and it's going to be like so deep, but like sometimes I always think about how when I'm seeing my friends too, I actually don't know what they're going through. Like they could have been like having like major crazy things happening in their life just last night, they probably were breaking down or something, but when I see them their normal, we're all like normal. Yes, totally, and that's another reason why I'm so passionate about working with women and helping them like really connect to themselves and then be their own like authentic version of themselves, which means communicating with other people about what they're going through and how they're feeling and just being really real about who they are and not feeling like they have to hide their identities or pretend to be this or pretend to be that right?

And okay, so I want to come back to you said you help people connect to themselves, So I think that's so amazing, you know, connecting to your authentic self and being able to like kind of step into who you are and like all these things, even though they sound like super, super cheesy and everybody says that like a million times, but I want to ask you, um how can somebody like start doing it and how can like little practices that could help people into being able to kind of be more authentic and not, not fear like judgment a lot because again, obviously going back to the prehistoric times, again, if you were judged or like dad died and all these things, but tell me like if you get kicked out of the village, you're gonna die right? There's this human instinct to belong and fit in, it's based in our survival, right? So I think the very first thing is gaining this understanding of how the way we were raised and socialized shapes us into, you know, feeling like we have to look this way or act this way or be this thing.

We're taught all these should what we're supposed to be. And so I think the very first step is kind of unlearning and de conditioning from a lot of that and realizing that these are just things that were taught we're supposed to be but really is coming back to internally connecting with what do I feel, what do I think? What do I need and trusting that and not judging that and letting it be what it is, trusting your intuition and building yourself where it's too, because I think especially for women, I guess because we're in such a patriarchal society, like even when when they want to do something there, like so hesitant and they they're usually the ones okay first because I work with a lot of women and like first they hate selling. So it's like yes, but why and then they also overwork and under charge and it's like, it's a lot of things, but I also think it's because of all these patterns and things that were taught when we're younger and I still have to go to therapy so I can understand that you've been doing this for so long and there's so many different parts of you that protect you and all these things and I really, really love it and it's just like, I recommend it to everyone.

I'm like go life. Yeah, totally, totally. I know I was raised in a really religious conservative family and I'm not religious at all now, but we're taught like is women hold things in be subservient, like make other people happy, you know? And so it starts from your when you're little and that's the most mind older. Yeah. Like I can't charge this or and like kind of like don't embrace your femininity or like anything this like all the totally we're giving these mixed signals of like Obi sexy and be this thing, but then also no be modest and don't don't be that thing. So it's confusing. It's all kind of messed up. But okay, so I also want to ask you about triggers, You mentioned something about noticing your triggers and stuff. So I know somebody once, like I read somewhere and I think I believe in like such like in so much like I have so much faith in this thing because I also read in like um, seat of the Soul.

I don't know if you read that book, It's a really good book. And they were talking about how triggers are like your teachers. So the time when you have to like learn something, are you ready to evolve something? Like start triggering you some personal, start triggering their behavioral, start triggering you, some circumstances start triggering you because that part is ready to be healed in a way. And it's like the most interesting concept to me. Um so there's I teach and practice mindfulness which originates in buddhism and there's a concept in mindfulness called using others as mirrors. So when someone does something that triggers us, we look at them like they were mirror reflecting back at us and rather than going well, you triggered me and it's your fault and kind of pointing out at them, we look at ourselves and go, why did this trigger me? What is this activating? It's hard to be self aware because now you just can't blame anybody. You're just like, it's really hard when I talk to people who are like into healing or like you know, they are so self aware, it's like a problem at some point because we're just so self aware.

We're like, is it me though? Well yeah, there's cases where maybe the other person and there are things in our environment that we maybe need to fix or change or. Yeah. Right. So I think that's where mindfulness is a lot about awareness. It's pausing and zooming out and doing a little bit of analyzing rather than just acting and reacting automatically because that's when we start to get into trouble when we just react to things without going like wait a second, what's going on here? Is this me? Is this really something that needs to be addressed or what? Yeah. And I also know like, okay, so with mindfulness I just want to say it's crazy how your brain is always talking like how your brain is always talking like in the middle of the night if you get up to pee, like I realize it's talking, it's still talking, there's like, it's like something that thing in there and then like, and then when I'm eating, like sometimes I'll be like, it's so crazy because I try to be more mindful but it's really hard, you know, like, and I do this like a lot where I would like, you know, let me let's focus, like if I'm walking up, let's focus on the ground, let's focus on how your feet feel.

And then I'll be like, if I'm eating like I'll be like super, super slow and I'll be like, okay, looks like, but it's so like it's like that you don't even notice, you know, it's like, it's gone, totally, totally subscribe bird, the brain described as a thought generating machine. And so literally every moment waking moment is just firing random neuronal synapses, write our thoughts and that's why mindfulness and things like meditation are so important. Because it gives us moments to just pause and notice the thoughts and observe and see the mind jumping around so that we can more often have got awareness. Nobody's mindful all the time. So we can't, you cannot. Like I think a lot of people have like a really like even for enlightenment or like spirituality or like anything or like being mindful people have this really flowery image but it's like it's nothing that pretty because you're actually facing your demons. Like a lot like exactly. We bring our perfectionism into the mindfulness practice right?

I think I should always be this way you can't Yeah, it's just not like that. I think people, people make it sound like I think a lot of people on instagram too, they have like these this like where they kind of make people feel like they figured it all out and like yeah and it's not true because it's just not possible. Yeah, there's a problem with that. And it makes me think of like toxic positivity, right? Where people just hyper focus on on that like being perfect or practicing all these things. But there's this other practice called Shadow Work and the psychologist. Carl jung. Yeah. I love it. To the US talk about it. Yeah, I would love to yeah Carl yun. Was this psychologist who studied the psyche, right? And um he developed these archetypes which are basically like themes and patterns that run through humanity. Um If there's a good girl archetype there's you know the bad boy, it's just like a theme, right?

And then there's also these shadow archetypes which is our unconscious. So things about ourselves traits that we are ashamed of or we don't like that, we suppress into our subconscious um and we don't want to look at them and then that's a problem because they're running in the background there like an operating system, but we're not aware of it, we don't want to look at it. So it could be perfectionism or are wounded child. You know, there's a lot of different ones control the victim. Um and so I love shadow work because it gives us permission to look at those parts of ourselves, gently let go of judgment. And so if we can stop judging those things, it's not so scary to look at them and go, oh, I'm activated in control right now or I'm activated in my victim or by wounded child. And then when we see it we can say, okay, is this effective? Can I transform this into something different?

That's going to be more helpful. I have a question so okay, so for example, um I have some like shadow like hidden behind, right? Um even though like I do like a lot of shadow work and like um because you can also hide really good qualities about yourself in the shadow and all these things. Um but I want to ask you for like somebody who ignores it. For example, like I never did any kind of shadow work and I'm just always triggered or like um all these things like how would you recommend they start, you know, looking at what's so scary about like I don't get it. I'm like I'm so curious about it. Like nothing scared. I'm like bring it on like what is in there. But I mean again, I think it goes back to our social conditioning, right? Yeah. So when we're little kids and we're told, don't be angry or act this way or act that way people surprised to hide, yeah, what to suppress. So it goes back to that deep conditioning and really normalizing these human experiences that we all have. They're not bad.

They're even things, you know? And yeah, Yeah. So okay, so in shadow work, I think something super interesting. It's so interesting to me. And I would love if you could share how people could actually start doing it. Like Yeah, totally. So, you know, I first learned about it just like reading a book, right? Carl Young has a book that he wrote. Um I did an online course once on Shadow Work and the woman kind of went through all the different shadows and archetypes. And so I journals on it and just learned about what the different shadows are. So it starts with learning about the things and what they are and kind of feeling a piece to with yourself like looking at the bad parts of you because just knowing that there are parts and us that aren't so pretty and it's OK. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And not labeling them is wrong or ugly or anything like that, that they're just human things right? And they're usually there for reasons, something happened throughout our life that made us go into control or perfectionism or you know, I feel like a victim and so it makes sense that they're there and how for a reason.

So now somebody's aware of their shadow, like how do they detach themselves? I think the really big thing that people stops people from like therapy or like shadow work is because they don't want to find out something that will scare them. But how do you detach yourself from those things? Yeah. So you know it's not so much about detaching or like cutting them out, getting rid of them because then again that creates this like turmoil within yourself, right? These are parts of ourselves and accepted. I like to use visualization. So for example a wounded child and we all have a wounded child um picture that little seven year old, right? That's scared or whatever picture you're wounded child when they activate and what do they need right now? Why are they scared? Why are they seeking control or why are they feeling victimized? You know maybe the boyfriend's bullying them or So you know, relate to that part of yourself with compassion and kindness and gentleness and you know internally kind of give them what they need right?

If they need some reassurance you reassure yourself or comfort then you comfort yourself. Um So it's kind of this empty chair technique it's called in psychology through that part of yourself sitting in the empty chair next to you. I love it. Yeah relate to them gently. Yeah so okay so recap it's basically if you find like a shadow part inside of you that's like jealous or like that's like guilty or like that's like angry and all these things. You don't try to suppress it, you show your appreciation for you. You see you go like okay I acknowledge your there then then you kind of visualize and use this empty chair technique and kind of ask them like what do they want? Like why are they protecting me or like what's happening man? That's like some other level of mindfulness now we're so we're so reacted like it's so amazing like I would love to be at that level but like when I'm angry I'm just angry, you know, totally, totally Yeah, get you Me too sometimes, you know?

Like yeah, that's why it's like giving a practice space. Yeah, we're taking a step back and you know, taking some deep breaths and getting away from the person or the situation, giving yourself like props for like when you actually are able to do it because sometimes you're able to do it, you know? You're like okay, I'm not going to send that angry text, I'm just going to put my phone away and take some deep breaths and then we'll come back to this like I don't have to be triggered, but it's the same as mindfulness meditation, nobody's mindful all the time. So there's times when we're not going to be aware of it's just human, we're not going to gamble it effectively and okay, it's part of being human. Okay, so I'm going to wrap up with 11 really good action kind of step for anybody listening. Um So what would be one recommendation for your mindfulness practice? Like if somebody is just getting into this, they're like, oh my brain's always going on, I feel always like, you know, like anti like how do they start?

Easy thing, like something easy, they just start. Yeah, totally. So a lot of mindfulness is coming into your five senses when you see hear smell taste feel and when we're thinking and we're in our busy thinking mind it can help to come into your senses. So if you're drinking something really taste it, put all your attention on the flavor, the temperature. Um you know, if you're outside, feel the sun on your skin, smell the roses literally um like coming into your senses and into your feelings you had of the thinking mind can be something that's helpful to settle that. But you know, it's this awareness of like zooming out from yourself to write. So they call it your observer self, where you kind of zoom out and you watch yourself, you watch your mind, you watch your thoughts, you watch your emotion to separate from them a little bit and gives you a little more and kind of knowing you are not your thoughts, like that's also super important to know.

This is like a whole topic. You can literally keep talking about this like for a really long time because there is such a vast topic. But I love the little mindfulness practice that you gave like whenever you're feeling like really anxious and or like anything, just go out for a walk and feel the ground and smell the roses and feel the sunshine on your skin and just engage all your five senses. Exactly, yeah. Which is really amazing. Do you have any last thoughts that you would like to share? Um you know, I think the main thing I like to say to people is to just be patient with yourself, you know, like this, taking care of yourself, learning to know like, and trust yourself and it's possible journey and I just want to exactly like, I think something that people that stops people from therapy are looking for help is that they think that they're like, gone cases or like, no, no, nobody's gone, comes ever. Like, it's always there's always a way out. And there's like, Yeah, and that's why they should look for professional help because if you're feeling stuck or like, feeling you're doing the same toxic pattern, you should you should look for help.

So where can we find you totally. So, I'm on instagram at the mindful therapist and her my links there. One of the things that I did as I created a couple online courses, self study courses, amazing people are often afraid to go get help, right? And so this is a way for people to just learn some of this stuff from the comfort of their own home. I've got one obtaining anxiety, mindfulness practice. Love it. You know, covered both accessible. That's amazing. So, you should definitely go get Katie's courses and follow her on instagram. She posts really sweet posts. And that's how I found her. And I was like, I needed to call her because I think something about your post was like, not toxic positivity, which I loved. I think it was very real. Like, you weren't like, you know, like, oh my God, just meditate and everything will be fine your life like. No, that's amazing though. Flies and rainbow is out there in the world. No, but thank you so much for being here, giving your time and um I really, really appreciate it and it was so much fun.

Thank you for having me of course, by bye.

Lessons on mindfulness and dealing with anxiety w/Katy Bandy
Lessons on mindfulness and dealing with anxiety w/Katy Bandy
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