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  • Valerie Hope

Ep. 67- Time To Come Alive: “From Fear To Resilience” With Dr. Scott Mills, A Brain Freedom Finder

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Time To Come Alive: “From Fear To Resilience” With Dr. Scott Mills, A Brain Freedom Finder

I want you to take a moment and think about all the emotions and thoughts that have been running through your head over the last few weeks. Maybe even months depending on when you are aware of what was happening in our world. countries. communities and perhaps even in your homes. Bring to mind what emotion was there and what beliefs showed up. More importantly, think about what impact those thoughts or beliefs and emotions have on your behavior.

We have a special guest as we do in every episode. I have an opportunity to have a conversation that is conscious, to connect and then as a result, I get to be even more creative. This episode is no exception. I have the honor and privilege of having Dr. Scott Mills as a guest on the show. I met Dr. Scott through a Mindvalley program called Money EQ. He was responsible for rewiring my brain.

Scott, you were responsible for rewinding my brain and everything that my crazy brain was doing and thinking around money and emotion. One of the things I appreciated about your approach, first of all, the super simple word that comes to mind, although very in-depth and there was a lot of content that you were able to give us in very simple ways. The exercises that we did were approachable. I had some great breakthroughs as a result. We can talk about that some other time for half.

I appreciated what you brought, the practicality that you brought to something that was profound. Our brains is confusing sometimes, especially in times of high stress. I'm grateful that you are taking the initiative and helping us deal with some of the stress that has come up as a result of everything happening around the Coronavirus, COVID-19 and the impact it's had on not only our psyche but what's happening in our communities. What would you like us to know about you?

First of all, thank you for creating this amazing forum to play. I love your spirit and energy. This is exciting to sit down for a conversation with you and see what your brilliance shines on. What I would say is to get us started, so much of the work I do is around helping people find resourcefulness in themselves and to look beyond things like fear, anxiety, overwhelm and all of those emotions that many of us are experiencing a lot of.

I've been noticing this low rumble. I don't know if other people are noticing this too, but it's at the base of my spine. I go out to buy the groceries and you can feel the anxiety. You turn on the news and you feel it. What I'm hoping we get to do is help people feel much more grounded and centered but also expansive because I think one of the things we often want to do in these fearful places is crawl in on ourselves and curl up in the fetal position with a bag full of M&Ms and watch Netflix for all day. I'm okay with that sometimes, but I want to make sure people are resourceful. They're using this as an opportunity to evolve and support other people as well.

M&Ms are not the answer. Got it. Potato chips? No.

They're an occasional answer. I won't take anything away from people. I'll throw this out right now because I think a lot of people think that in a period like this, you should not do any numbing. Just escaping. Here's the thing the world is a little crazy. It's okay to take an hour or two to escape. It's okay to take a little bit of time where you sit and watch silly television. You let your brain numb. You let yourself check out. You can check back in two hours. It's okay. If anybody is telling you it's not okay ever to let yourself rest, they're being unfair to you. At least, it's okay. You can be gentle with yourself right now.

It’s okay to take several hours of escape. Let your brain go numb, then check back after a while.


Let me ask you why you think that there are people who might have the impression that we that taking a rest somehow as bad. There's some judgment around how we numb out if we decide to do that, even temporarily.

I think because our whole culture is designed to do that. What's interesting to me is one of the biggest ones we use is shopping. We go out. We buy something and feel better. It's like our version of hunting. We're exploring or adventuring. We get a little dopamine hit when we buy a new sweater or pair of shoes. We get the same thing when we eat some food. We've had a ton of coping mechanisms. We've had a ton of ways that we've numbed ourselves from what's going on in the world.

When 90% of what we're doing is numbing ourselves from the world. We want to decrease that. when you're home potentially by yourself or with a partner and kids which I've seen a lot of my folks have been doing, you might need a little break. This is one of those places where it's okay to take some time[1] . When I was in Portland before this all got as crazy as it's gotten, I was going through the grocery store. I had this woman near me over into my right. She was literally filling her entire cart up with wine. There were wine pretty bottles of wine in her cart. I was like, “I know what she's going to be doing for the next couple of weeks.”

That's probably too much. We want to be compassionate. I've been loving with my mom's doing. I came home to stay with my family and take care of them. They're making surgical masks. They realized one of the agencies that helps older people feel connected and does like home visits was shut down. She's a part of an organization. They said, “We can call people. We can reach out and connect. We can check in on these people who are not getting calls.”

There are opportunities to do some numbing out but also do some work in service. Part of the reason I am always encouraging people to do work in service is because fear lives right here in this tiny little bubble of ourselves. As soon as I start to think about you or the people who need masks or the people who need food. I expand my container, the anxiousness and overwhelm the fear. Even though it might still be running in me, it has a much bigger playing field so it doesn't need to take over all the space.

I love this imagery about using our vessel, our body as a container. There's a contraction of it like you mentioned in fear of being stress, we have some choices that we can make and actions that we take that will help us expand it. I found even for myself, and that we talked a little bit about this before we started recording, but I wanted to bring this up around the reaction to fear often. I said, “Fight, flight or freeze,” and then you added a new one to the mix for me and that was faint.

I wanted to hear more about that because there are many pieces of information flying from places where it's like, “Chill. It's fine. We're handling it,” to there's no ventilator and you can get it from the air. There's so much information out there. Some are helpful. Some are not, but all of it has some emotional or physical physiological reaction to it. I'm curious about how you break that down for us and what might be happening internally.

I've got lucky and got to study with Katie Hendricks to is the brilliant wife of Gay Hendricksx. They've written tons of books together and books on their own. Katie is smart. I was working with her down in LA before all this stuff broke out. She's the one that introduced me to faint and I was like, “This is smart.” Anybody who's reading and wants to go look for her work, she has a course on fear, the Foundation for Conscious Living. You can get this whole course for free. It's amazing work, but what she was sharing with us and this is something that I think is helpful for people to know is we all have different ways we processing fear. Fear comes from our bodies. That's the first thing to know.

It's not usually in our heads first. It's some triggered response where we have a sense of danger. That's going off for everybody a lot right now. Part of what we have to do is get grounded back in our resourcefulness so we can realize, “Is this something I can be afraid of and I need to be afraid of? Is there something I can do?” If you're sitting home watching CNN all day long, you're going to be probably freaking out and you're going to need that 40 bottles of wine. You probably go through it in the day.

If you're maintaining some distance like I only read the news instead of watching it because it decreases the emotional response, the triggers. Back to this question of the fear signature, we've got a couple of things we can do. We can fight. If you get afraid there are some of us who come out swing in, “Don't mess with me. I'm afraid I'm not going to show you. I'm going to be like a little mouse that's going to fight you.” My little dogs are like that.

We can freeze which a lot of animals in the wild will freeze.

Part of why they do that is there are other animals that can't see unless you're moving. If you have a snake and a stick. If the snake isn't moving, it looks like a stick. We might freeze and flee, which is to run out and we might get away as fast as we can. We can do that internally as well. For some of us, like if we're sitting there and I'm talking to you and you say something that upsets me, I might completely disconnect, float off into space and I'm here with you, but I'm not.

We've all done that sometimes like, “I'm not going to listen to this bozo anymore.” The last one is faint which is famous in Katie’s system is when we give all our energy away. We collapse. Usually, that’s like you look at me and you might notice but it's all of the managers dropped out through the floor. I think that's happening a lot for people. One of the things Katie taught and I'll give you a quick version of this is each 1 of these, usually they have 2 that go in order, but they have physiological responses, things that you can do to get outside of them.

For me, I tend to freeze first. Sometimes we look like we're freezing, other times, we're shutting down. In case if you get into freeze, just wiggle, shake, and move your hands, feet and toes a little bit so that you can remind your body who's in charge. You remind your body that your conscious mind is running the show. Your Critter brain doesn't need to be in charge right now. What does she do for fighting? It's soothing yourself. That's not one that I do. I'm not a fighter. Soothe by yourself to calm down a little bit for flee which is another one that I tend to fall into she does which causes sumo wrestlers and you ground down like you've seen in those wrestlers.

Not Quite Strangers | Global Weirdness
Global Weirdness: If you get into a moment of freeze, move your hands and feet a bit to remind your body that your conscious mind is running the show.

You let your feet ground into the Earth your knees bend a little bit and then you can move. If somebody were to push you'd still be in balance. My brain is blanking on what she said to do with faint because that's not what I relate to either, but each one of these has physiological responses you can do. One of the ones that I taught and you and I were talking about that anybody can do no matter what's going on for them is a very simple self-soothing gesture.

If you're reading, try this on for a minute. It takes two minutes to get your body out of fear and back into a resourceful place. If you take your hand and I usually start at my neck right below my little collarbone here and I move down all the way to below your belly button and you just breathe. This seems like it would do nothing. You're like, “Why am I telling you to do this?”

You're tracing the vagus nerve. That's right under here. Your person's getting nervous system is able to go, “It's okay. Everything's fine,” and we get a little reset. You can probably notice that there's part of you that wants to have a big breath. If you're feeling in a fearful place, this is one of the easiest resets that anybody can do. After two minutes of doing that, I set my phone. I have a little timer that goes off with Chimes. It's like, “I did my two minutes. Now, I got to do two minutes again.” Anything we can do to move the energy in the body is going to help us.

I love what you're saying because you're giving practical ways for us to address the human instinct to protect ourselves, which is what those four elements in the system are. What I'm curious about is sometimes we're not even aware because there is so much cognitive dissonance. Perhaps, there are many messages coming in quickly. We are connecting to social media. We are watching CNN, reading the banners and we're getting the newspaper. How do you know that you're reacting to fear? How would we know in our bodies, mind or emotions that is a reaction to fear that we would need to then soothe?

I went grocery shopping right before I left Portland. I was relaxed when I went. I walked down. It's open air and a beautiful day. I was in the Trader Joe's shopping around people being very polite, but I left the store feeling like, “What's going on?” I was almost feeling panic, and that's not something. I'm prone to like. I'm not a panicky person. I'm usually pretty grounded. I got out of the store and it was like, “What's going on?” I was thinking, “I need to move the Costa Rica. I need to get out of the country.” All these thoughts popping through.

I realized what I was doing was reacting to other people's energy, which is something that a lot of people are doing. All those things you said are coming at you. I had to stop for a minute. Usually, if we can have a simple awareness practice, something very simple to check in with ourselves. I asked first, “Is this mine or not mine?” That's the first thing that's useful for you to ask, “Is this mine or not?” In that case, it wasn't mine. Most of that panic anxiety was from people's shopping with the as many carts as they could get as many food things because there's this Primal Fear going on right now of, “Will I survive?” Anybody who's ever had any threat to their survival, any questionable like safety, which is honestly most of us have had a little bit and some people have had a ton whether it's a thimbleful or swimming pool full, all that's getting activated.

It's not uncommon for a little bit of fear of ours to get then all of a sudden, it’s up with all that other fear. Noticing first mine are not mine. The second thing to notice is, “Is this fear something in this moment I can do something about? Is this feeling?” if I get all pent up like, “I got to do something,” a lot of energies usually how this shows up of literally feeling like it's lifting me up, “I've got to run. I've got to do something,” then I can notice, “Is this something I need to respond to immediately?”

That response from the Critter brain is useful. When a tiger is chasing us or we're walking down an alley at night and there's some weird vibe or somebody walks in behind us and you're like, “I don't know. I don't want to be in this alley,” that's the place that's useful. It's running for people all the time, especially for watching these new shows. Noticing it, “I can't do anything about the people in Michigan right now, but I've maybe watched a news report about how they need help. If I can calm myself down and I can notice, ‘This is fear coming up from something. I'm not able to affect in this moment that there's no immediate danger coming at me and can I soothe for a moment anytime.’”

Anytime you do this and it relaxes you, you know it's fear coming up. Something going on. This is a good standby. I can from a much more resourceful brain perspective ask myself, “Is there something I can do to help those people in Michigan who need help right now?” It's got to come from the resourceful place versus the fearful place of, “What if we're next? What if there's no respirators? What if there's no mask? What if everybody I know is dying?” It is terrifying. These are normal thoughts for people to have. That's the other thing.

I can stress enough to be gentle with yourself, to know that this is normal and if you have a little freakout or panic, to go, “This is a time of such global weirdness and instability, but it's okay to have experiences that are feeling unstable.” What you want to be able to do is get back to resourcefulness as quickly as you can because all that's going to do is have those little panics and freakouts are going to drain your energy and make you feel worse. It hurts your immune system. The best way you can stay healthy, taking in all the the social distancing and keeping yourself like hands and all the things that they're suggesting but to keep your immune system safe. The best thing we can do is to decrease our stress to keep ourselves calm and grounded.

I love how you're referring to this as Global weirdness. The two thoughts that came up to me as you were describing this notion of,  “Is this something I can do? Is it something I need to do whether it's mine or not,” is 1) The responsibility that we have and how we nurture a particular thought or a particular emotion. Clearly, there's a purpose for reading the paper or watching the news. When that same source is creating some of that same anxiety, perhaps how do we manage how we nurture being informed, you know balance and being informed and responsible versus perhaps nurturing some of the fear or stress created as a result?

I got good training in the first year of our current administration because for literally one year, I woke up every morning and checked the news all day long, like usually 3, 4 or 5 times because I was convinced we would be in a war by the end of the day. I mean people were thinking I was not the only one who was freaked out. The world stopped making sense to me for a while. What I learned in that process was I was not helping anybody by checking that often.

What I was doing was self-soothing. A lot of us do this. We're thinking like, “I must know what's going on. I'm afraid. Things are crazy.” You had to make a choice to say, “How much information do I need?” The choice I made and everybody's going to make their own choice, that I could read the news once a day that. If something calamitous happened like big, probably my cell phone would have blown up a text. Somebody would call me.

First of all, I sarted only reading the news because most of our news is designed to activate every fear center you have. It's designed to be addictive. one of the funny things I think about watching a lot of the news channels is if you watch them and then you go to Vegas, you'll notice they run in the same principles, bright lights, all kinds of things moving because our brains are trained to pay attention to things that move things versus still, things that are bright versus things that are not.

Most of our news is designed to activate every fear center you have.

We've got sounds coming up, sound effects and special effects. All of these things are designed to get us to keep like, “I've got to be closer. I've got to know what's going on.” The first thing is to notice that watching was increasing anxiety. It was better for me to read. I read three aggregate sources every day. I look at Google News, HuffPost, CNN and Apple News. Apple News is a little less likely because of the way they're organized. I look at those sources in the morning. A lot of times, there are repeats but sometimes there's coverage. I look at Google News because it covers my hometown a little better. In about 45 minutes, I can get pretty informed.

I found myself in the same state. I don't have a television anymore. It's been about a few years. I gave that up. I do have several other devices though. I have the tablet, the laptop and all that good stuff. NPR is generally my source. There's a fifteen-minute podcast that gives me the top-of-the-day news. I also love to see the humor side of you. I'm a huge Trevor Noah fan. I watch The Daily Show daily or The Daily Social Distancing Show as he's calling it now because regardless of what people's politics are, I find that there's got to be something to be joyful about in anything we watch and all intellectually stimulating.

I love the clever humor and that's one of the reasons I have those two as a balance. I would probably get my phone will blow up the moment that something crazy happens, “Did you hear?” What I've had to manage is my fear of missing out where I'm like, “Why didn't I know this?” You said something about Michigan down. I'm like, “I haven't heard anything about Michigan was he using that as an example. There's something happen.” I had to just chill. You'll find out if something happened when we get off this session.

There are a couple of things that I want to point out here that I love that you're saying is 1) Anywhere we can introduce a little bit of lightness is going to help us be less stressed. I want people to know I'm not saying ignore what's going on. I'm saying you can be informed and you can still tell a joke at dinner. You can still read a funny comic. You can still watch a fun movie. It's important for us to continue to allow light to come into our lives because it would be very easy to feel glum, dark and the world is ending but we've had periods of that many times in our history. We can support the efforts to make things better without having to collapse underneath the horrible news in many places. That's one piece.

The other piece I want to note with here is it's important to find the places we can be grateful. I've been doing this little experiment which has been very interesting. I drove out to Florida from Portland. I hadn't had a car in years. I decided to buy one so I could bring stuff. I could be here for however long this lasted. I'm used to having this much bigger place with lots of stuff. I've been looking to see, “What is it that I need?” I've been having this gratitude practice where I say, “How many running shoes do I need?” This is an example.

I was thinking, “If I were to need to run 1 pair of running shoes, but I have 3, I'm grateful that I have 3 pairs of running shoes.” I looked at the T-shirts. I'm like, “How many t-shirts do I need to live comfortably?” There are 40 with me because I felt like this might be the end of the world one has packed in a few hours and shirt, “I don't know what I'm going to be doing and I'm going to be here,” which is an easy place to get into. I need to nice outfits to wear during quarantine. Who the hell needs that?

For some reason, I needed that. I decided to come back on a Monday evening when I bought a car and left by 2:00 the next day for a five-day car trip to get across the country. It's pretty crazy. I'm like, “What are the things that I have?” Many of us have gone so far over enough that we have forgotten how abundant we are and how much gratitude we can express. For every person who's reading who has a healthy body, there's so much to be grateful for. Just sitting here going, “My body is healthy. I can breathe without assistance. I'm alive. If I started, there as a baseline.” We have so much to be grateful for because there are people who cannot say that's true for them.

We can move to like, “I have a place to stay. I have people who love me. I have people I love.” All of these things. One of the things that in the midst of this pandemic that I've been hopeful about is as I've been talking to people around the world and since before it hit as strongly in the US, I keep talking to people who are saying to me, “I'm reevaluating life. I'm starting to think about what's important.” What my fifteen sweaters are not as important as spending time with my family or all of these things that I'm used to buying because we're having this huge pattern interrupt in our culture. All of these ways that we've organized our life are for at least a temporary period being set aside.

When that happens, we get a chance to say, “Is this important to me? Is the way I've been living important to me?” I talked to a phenomenal woman from Denver who said, “I work at a car dealership. I hate the work I do. It doesn't make me happy.” She's now saying like, “On the other side of this, I want to be rethinking what I'm doing in my life.” I'm hearing that from many people. I'm hearing people say, “I'm realizing how vulnerable we are as humans. I want to spend more time with people I love. I want to be more connected. Things that I'm doing aren't important. They're just noise.” To me, that's one of the hopeful moments when we have an opportunity to reevaluate and decide what's noise and what's important.

I love that and what I understand is the appreciation that we would have to consciously choose that. We get to consciously choose gratitude and be in service. Those are all choices that are generated from us. You don't have to go purchase it. You don't have to order it on Amazon and be on backorder. In an instant, we can decide those.

I want to switch gears a little bit because we're talking about the health portion of the fear, but as a result of some of that fear, our economy has taken a huge hit. I think about the leaders in our organizations who have to make decisions about who to keep and who to let go. You're talking about how many t-shirts you should take for people having to decide, “How many staff members do we need to keep? What do we stop ordering? What services do we provide?” Talk a little bit about how all of this could also be applied to those types of decisions that leaders might be able to benefit from.

That’s a huge question. I don't know if I have any answers. I was excited to see a couple of CEOs make a choice to decrease their pay. REI is one of the companies that's doing this. I've seen a couple of companies have now followed suit, but REI’s CEO said, “I'm going to take $10,000 a year salary,” and they kept the employees on. I'm seeing companies that are making hard choices in favor of their workers. New York Life seems to be doing something similar. I'm not tracking a ton of companies, but the companies that have been seeing where they're holding both their employees and the bottom line so that they're not saying, “This is the financially risk expedient decision.”

This is such a hard place to make these decisions. I've seen this with small business owners.

I've seen this with larger companies. Because we don't know what's happening, it's hard to make choices. Somebody asks me what I'm doing next week. I'm like, “Hmmm.” It's hard to know because we don't know where this virus is going to be. We don't know how the whole culture is going to change.

The best advice that I can offer is A) We have to find ways to be gentle with each other and recognize that these are hard decisions for everybody and it's a hard place to be. My heart particularly goes out to people who are folks in the service industry and who have lost jobs and income. they're in a super bind. What I keep looking at is how can I be in support of people who are in a place that feels much more precarious than me.

Find ways to be gentle with one another. Everyone is making hard decisions just to survive.

One of the great things about America, and it's interesting to see the things that I do appreciate is we have a culture of helping each other and we've had a long history of that. For a couple of years, we've been fighting with our family at the table. We're saying, “You like this. I like this.” I feel like we're in the Doctor Seuss book a lot of times the butter side up and down the book. We're arguing about things that are important.

Ultimately, what I'm seeing people do is come back to the table and say, “What is important as health, family, connection and knowing that our friends have food to eat right now and have places to stay.” That's where I go more than the big picture on how people make economic decisions but rather, “How do we support each other?” I still continue to believe there's enough for all of us. We may have to distribute some of that a little differently and most of it like said, I have like all these t-shirts. I could give some of those t-shirts away. I could support other people with some food. All of those are options.

What I'm getting from you is the fact that whether we're making decisions that will impact an entire industry, organization or the whole community, it comes back to that individual and the state of mind in which that individual makes the decision. If we're making it out of someone of those fear systems that we mentioned the fight, flight, freeze and faint, the decision is not likely to be very empowering for the individual or likely for the people that they're hoping to support but it sounds like there's also a measure of gratitude that one could stop and say, “What are we grateful for? What have we achieved? How can we serve each other?” All the stakeholders are involved. I think that's what I'm getting in here.

Switching gears to those individuals who are impacted. I had a wake-up call the other day because I've been working from home for the last many years. I'm a coach a lot of my work can be done remotely. There are some impacts on how much I get to do outside and meetings or events that have been canceled as a result of this. Essentially, my system hasn't changed that much. My day-to-day is fairly simple.

When I have conversations with friends who've been laid off that from one day to the next, literally their entire livelihoods have been compromised and now have to make different decisions for their family and themselves to survive this, what can we all do when we're having to make some of those financial decisions when people are flooding all sorts of lines trying to get bills, put on hold and make payments? How do we get to a space in our brain and physiologically where we can be empowered in those situations?

The first thing I think that's important is sometimes what happens to us in a time of crisis changes into chaos is this moment collapses into every moment. Meaning, that this moment feels like the entire rest of our lives. We literally don't know what's happening this week. To make any big picture thought like, “My income decreased. I feel like I'm going to get thrown out of my house. I'm not going to have food,” that may or may not be true. What I know is we can hang with 60 Seconds.

This is one of the tools I use. When people are in a place of panic and in a place of super stress, if we can do 60 seconds at a time, which seems a little crazy but we honestly don't know what's going to happen next week, we do know that there is support coming. I feel like a lot of it is too slow and people need some help right away. Here's[2]  what I want you to think about. When I say resources, it doesn't mean money necessarily.

It means we all have a lot of things, like not everybody, but those of us who do if you can do an inventory of your time, energy, and food stocks, it might be that you're going to make some food and share it with somebody. It might be that you're going to reach out and call a friend who feels like they're in crisis. It might be that you loan somebody $25 that can help them pay the rent this month or cover something. It's easy for all of us to get into this mode of survival thinking where we better not share anything because it could be the end of the world. It's our toilet paper dilemma.

I was hoping you'd bring that one up.

I better not share because this is making sure I'm okay, and I get it. I want people to be gentle with themselves when that comes up because that's our critter brain going like, “I got to make sure I'm safe.” That is a very normal response. The choice is, do we want to hang out in that place or do we want to step into more resourcefulness because it's open to us? My invitation is when you hit the place where you feel like that critter brain is taking over, if you can get out of it, let yourself be gentle and not judge yourself because it's easy to be like, “I can't believe I did that on being awful. I should be giving more,” instead of saying, “I had a momentary lapse. I had a moment of feeling scared. I had a moment of wondering what might happen next because none of us know.” I think the more we can be gentle with each other and with ourselves the easier we can come out of that place and we can recognize the ways we can support others.

That's what I was saying about the US is one of the beautiful things. It's not just the US. I think many countries are amazing at this but what I have seen like I lived through 9/11 like many of us did, the 2008 recession like many of us did and Hurricane Katrina. All these times when there's a crisis, we are good at giving to others. I got to interview Lynne Twist. He wrote this beautiful book.

It’s a powerful book. If people haven't read it, it's worth reading. Lynne Twist was telling me that something like 78% of the giving in the US is done by people who make less than $100,000 a year. It’s not the 1%. It's not foundations. It's not the super-wealthy. It's people who are making $25,000 to $30,000 a year who giving a few dollars at a time and who have donated some canned goods. They generate 87% somewhere around there of charitable giving. We're good at giving when we know what to do. Some of the panic, if we can drop down and say, “What's mine to do in this moment? How can I be of service?” I was thinking earlier, that expands us.

We're not just focused, we call it Naval gazing sometimes or focus on ourselves and our own survival. We can think like, “Can I help make face masks?” if you're able to sew. If you're able to make calls, “Can I make phone calls and check on people?” There area lot of people who are much older and I can go get groceries for them when the service isn't there. I can drop it off of their door. You can do it very safely. Don't even meet them outside. That's something I could do that they may not be able to do. Even the simple actor calling a friend and reaches out to them if they might be in need, especially if they're they're not used to working from home.

We were joking a little earlier that you and I are both Gen Xers, we've been out. We're home. We came home. We turn our little key in the door and watch TV. That was our thing. There are many people who are Millennials, Boomers or any of the generations that have not been used to that. If you know somebody who's an older person or a younger person, just reach out and make a connection. I've witnessed many beautiful things.

I share one. My dear friends, the Koren brothers. Isaac and Thorald Koren have a band called The Kin. The Kin is phenomenal. They toured with Pink and Coldplay. They've been doing a 5:00 concert every day. It's not super long but they're doing a concert online. Jimmy Fallon's been doing his show from his home. I'm watching people do meditation with people. I'm watching another friend, a star Latin who's this phenomenal human being who has done in LA has been doing this social hour for people. You could get together and work if you're not used to being home by yourself. There are many opportunities that don't require money. They require attention, compassion, kindness and love. The cool thing is as soon as we're focused on other people, we expand. We move a little bit.

Not Quite Strangers | Global Weirdness
Global Weirdness: So many opportunities do not require money. They just need attention, compassion, kindness, and love.

I have a very diverse group of friends. We call ourselves an international party crew because we are all from many different cultures and backgrounds. We had a happy hour on a Friday evening for two and a half hours. We hung out on Zoom in our respective homes. We had someone as far as Korea. We chatted. People's kids came online. We said hello, and it was wonderful. Some people had their meal. Some people had their wine. It was an opportunity for us to connect. In our conversation, we all shared, “What are we doing? How are we handling this?”

What came up for me was I'm great at having conversations with people. I want to go have some conversations. My policy has been, “If I think of your name, you're going to get a phone call or text from me.” Whoever shows up, even if it's somebody that I haven't talked to in months or years perhaps, not all get offended if I don't reach to out everybody. It doesn't mean that you haven't been on my mind. It's that right now there's a limited amount of time but I love the notion that we all have something to offer.

It doesn't necessarily have to come from a place of lack or that survival mechanism that we can look at where we can be generous with our time, energy and our physical ability perhaps or talent. One of my coaching clients loves coloring books. I learned this about her because I called to say hello. She took some pictures and I'm like, “You colored this? It looks like a work of art.” I ask her. “Can you make one for me? I would love to have one.” That is a way of service. There's a gift like you said the concert.

I want to mention something specific here around this texting versus calling thing. I was working with somebody. I said, “I want you to think about calling a few people. He said, “I don't call anybody. My friends just text.” That's apparently very common for younger people. I'm getting old. I remember before we had text. We telegraph people which is what that would have been my day. What I know is for people who are used to texting I want to encourage you to break that mold a little bit because what we know about the way people receive connections is at the very bottom. We have phone calls and video calls where we can see each other, and then we have an in-person connection, which is obviously the top.

If we're missing a lot of in-person connection where people have been going to work and if you go to work all day you're at school all day, it's different to receive text back and forth because you're the ton of social connection happening, but if all the sudden people who are used to being in those environments now have nobody to talk to, if nobody to get on a phone call with. It makes an enormous difference to get of fifteen-minute call from somebody like you who's saying, “I just call to check up on you.” Even if it's weird and I told him, “Risk being weird in the middle of a global pandemic. It’s everywhere. Let's let ourselves be a little weird in support and in service of our fellow humans.”

I think that t-shirt you should create 1 of your 40 T-shirts, “Risk being weird in the face of a global pandemic.” If there's any time in the world where we can be weird, go outside of our comfort zone and explore how to be creative and how to make something work, this is a time to do it. I totally feel you. I do feel that there's some opportunity and a lot of the ways in which we work, parent and connect with our friends. There are many opportunities to start doing things that are unconventional and unorthodox. That might be outside of our own sphere of comfort. That’s huge.

I keep wanting to touch every subject with you because I'm like, “You're an expert at all things related to emotion and brain.” Let's talk a little bit about those who are perhaps in close quarters with others whom they're not accustomed. You mentioned people who are used to getting social stimulation outside. They're meeting different people and they're able to choose those places. Now, you're home, the majority of the time and you're trying to get work done and you have children with you or you have your spouse and all these things are happening. How does one soothe or how does one connect with themselves in a way that can then be effective in all of these different relationships?


That's a tricky one. Part of what I've been watching is couples particularly. If you both leave your home and you're working somewhere else and you might have friends afterward, you are not spending all your time together. All of a sudden these couples have been thrust together and they're like looking across going like, “I’m not used to spending nearly this much time.” You add children into the next, you're used to going to school and this can get tricky. In my mind, there are a couple of things that we can do.

1) Start at the center of being gentle with each other and recognizing everybody is feeling some tension and anxiety. Everybody is wondering what's going on in the world. Nobody's going to be graceful and perfect right now. Nobody's going to be graceful and perfect all the time anyway, but this is a time when we need to be soft with each other. That's the first place. It's to recognize what we're all going through a lot. The second thing is to find ways that you can self-soothe, even if they're very small.

One of the things we talked about at the beginning of the cause is it only takes two minutes to get us back into a place of groundedness. That might be two minutes in the bathroom where you go, “I'm going to go in the bathroom for two minutes. I'm going to do myself soothing I'm going to do this. I'm going to do some breath.” Maybe you can do a breath in that's 6 breaths, hold 2 and release for 4. You can Google those. There are plenty of breath work folks. You can get that something you do for 30 seconds or 15 minutes, you'll feel better. Finding what works for you and creating little pockets of grounding. That's the second thing we want to offer.

The third thing that I would offer is in families or people, even if it's housemates, who are all the sudden 3 or 4 together, being open in your conversation your communication about how you're feeling affected and what good boundaries are for you. This is an opportunity to ask for more than you're used to and listen to other people. If somebody says, “I need space in the morning.” Help figure out some ways to do that.

Is there a little area of your room you can call the quiet space of your house? There are some negotiations to go on here because our patterns of life have changed radically. We have to start looking for the next couple of weeks while we're home together, “How do we organize so everybody has some of their needs met? How do we have enough wiggle room so that we recognize we can't have all of our needs met and we're going to have a little bit of a balance to go there?”

What came to mind when you said having a space that is out of order areas, like a timeout zone, I almost saw people deciding and negotiating with one another, “This particular part of the house if you're sitting in that chair or if you're in this room, that means that you need to break from everybody. No one's allowed to go in there. For whatever time you're in, that's the time that you need.” I love that notion because it does put the responsibility on the individual to communicate clearly what the needs or the boundaries are which I think is an opportunity for us and never won't before to do that when we were in close quarters.

I'm by myself. I live alone. A lot of my needs are met through connecting on Zoom. I've reached out to my family and I say, “I need to see and talk to you guys at least once.” We do a little family Zoom call on Friday evenings and we get a chance to catch up. Having to express that, even something like that and I do call randomly as needed. I want to give a quick shout-out my my sister-in-law, Eva, who was a student in the Money EQ course. Her husband my brother put online that they were dancing to some Bolero and slow songs.

They livestream for 30 seconds or something. It created such a beautiful picture to see them spending time doing something showing that moment of gentleness that you're talking about. I don't know if they're tearing each other's hair out in between but those 30 seconds showed what one could experience in being together like this.

I want to throw two things into this mix. 1) There's a huge opportunity in this time of social distancing to connect deeper. That's one of the invitations. I think that we have the possibility to listen to each other more deeply. We have a little bit more time. People are commuting. If you take your commute time and you're like, “What I'm going to do with this?” It's funny because I've gotten a few things where I was like, “I'm going to start some hobbies.” I bought a little ukulele and I play guitar already, but I'm learning how to play ukulele. I decided I would start knitting.

Find some things that support you in a way that you can still be created even in your small space. The other thing I want to mention is that it's not just the quiet space because sometimes people need more quiet, but sometimes people in a household need more connection. We might want to have multiple kinds of spaces. One of the things that kids have done on playgrounds, they have what they're calling buddy benches. If you are a kid like  5, 6 or 7 and you need a friend to come to play with you, they've been putting these benches and they literally call them buddy benches. You go sit on the bench and somebody will come and play with you. It's such a beautiful concept.

At the same time, we're looking for places that are quiet areas. I also think we want to say especially if you're in a household that this is the place where we name, “This is the connection area,” because it could be very easy for a lot of families, especially if they're in a home with multiple rooms, you have your bedroom and the kids have a bedroom, for us to go in our rooms and isolate for this period and everybody takes a little screen and watches their Netflix, but there are times where we're going to want to play a game or we're going to do a puzzle. We're going to have dinner together. We've been doing that quite often.

I can hear my family out having dinner now. I said eat with me because it's going to go late. I think we want to make sure that there are spaces where we name, “This is the connection space,” and we're also naming times for that. Whether it's we eat together, even though we've been together all day and people like, “There's nothing to talk about.” That's okay. Let's spend some time with each other.

You could do a little circle around the table of something you're grateful for and something you learned today. Some way that we can be connected because I think that's important in this period for kids who have lost their social network with their friends, for example, for parents or adults who are used to going to work and have those connections. We're missing a lot of our stability. For those of us like you and I those of us who already work from home, we're not changing patterns radically, but for many people, everything got shaken up in the Yahtzee Shaker.

Not Quite Strangers | Global Weirdness
Global Weirdness: Many kids these days have lost their social network. They are missing a lot of their stability.

Somebody went, “[00:52:42],” to throw out the dice of your life and you're going to all the sudden need to figure out things. It's funny because when people start working from home, they're like, “Can I wear pajamas to work?” “No, you still need a schedule. You need to dress so your brain is anchored into working.” Those are a lot of things to figure out and change is stressful. Thinking through all the ways we can support each other.

What you also pointing to is and the gentleness calls out to me, if we can stop judging what should be happening like, “How it should go? How I should work? Who I should connect with?” Pause the judgment and to see, “What's the need first for myself? Am I feeling overwhelmed and stressed? How do I slow it down enough to get anchored, sued and centered? How do I then express gratitude and then serve?” It feels like every layer that you share is almost like peeling off a certain weight or expectation.

The less weight we have psychic, emotional or physical weight the more we're able to then release that container that you talked about. You mentioned that you have some real practical ways for people to mitigate this fear. I know you mentioned the soothing exercise of breathing. Are there any other exercises that you could share with us or even demonstrate that would help?

I have an hour-and-a-half sequence with this. If you go to, that's where I'm putting out most of this. I've been trying to do as many free things with people to help them learn some skills. It looks like it's a signup page, but if you look right below the sign-up you'll see there's a video recording of the last one I did. It's 90 minutes of exercise which I can't do 90 minutes now, but that's a great place to start.

We've talked about the self-soothing here. We've talked about breath, which is important. The third thing I encourage people to do is to have a list in advance of ways that they can take care of themselves. If in case of emergencies, that's thinking through like, “What does let me reset?” If for you a hot bath in a book by yourself is your reset grea, for me, a lot of this has been binaural rhythms that I listen to on noise-canceling headphones, which lets me have quiet space. Exercises are a little tricky to teach. Go to that site and get those exercises.

There's one thing I could teach you that would be simple and easy. One of the things you can do simple thing and it'll sound funny. Most of our fear is thinking about things outside of ourselves. Our body triggers the fear and then all a sudden, what we do is we start thinking about all the things that have happened in the past that we're trying to avoid again and all the things that are happening in the future that like could happen in the future.

Most of our fear is actually thinking about things outside of ourselves.

One of the easiest things to do the immediate is literally like I'm sitting in my seat, and I can put my feet on the ground. I can do what we call simply finding my butt like, “It's on the seat. I have to feel my sense of balance,” then it can take some deep breaths. This is a very simple thing you can do but try it right now. I'd set a timer for two minutes. Check in with every part of your body in this two minute period. You can start at the top of your head.

I like to touch the top of my head. Some people say, “Think of the top of your head. I'm very physical.” I'm like, “I'm checking with my top of my head. Thank you. I can do a little.” We're not supposed to touch our faces. You can put your hands up right of your face if you like and acknowledge, “Thank you, respiratory system. Thank you, mouth.” Check how your chest is doing. Check your belly. You're just checking in with each part of yourself.

I'm checking with the legs, knees, lower legs all the way down to the feet. What you'll notice is as you do this simple thing and I go for this simple things because if I try to teach complex things, quickly people go, “I'm going to remember that and they'll not do it.” You can remember these things like breathing, self-soothing, and checking in with parts of your body.

The reason I have people do these things is because the more we can become present to our body in this moment, the more we can notice we're okay. That's what that's about. It's going, “Cool. My heart is okay in this moment. I might feel a little afraid, but I'm okay. My belly is okay. I've got enough food. My legs are okay. I'm still touching the ground. I'm still connected to my seat.” It's literally back to this notion of 60 seconds at a time. When you're in that place of spin out, if we can get back into this present moment Louise Hay used to say that the present moment is your point of power, it's the only place you have an opportunity to change something. We can back to the present moment and our resourceful bodies, and then we have an opportunity to make some choices that are different than, “I'm going to stay in panic all day. I'm going to land on the couch and drink wine and eat chips all day.”

Do that for 1 hour or 2 if you need to, but then also think about taking a walk, which we can still do in most places. You can get out and take a walk. Practice your social distancing. Breathe in the air from the outside, but particularly one other thing I'll mention is if you can get your shoes off and you can get your feet into some grass, it does a physiological test. It relaxes us. Even looking around your yard and some grasp that's possible for you. We started a little garden for my family while I've been here. We've got tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. A little garden and not growing little pots.

I don't know what my parents are growing out there. Having something to take care of and to be connected to and to watch the growth of. Anything that you can do to bring yourself into the present moment connect yourself into your body so that your brain isn't the one running the show, particularly critter brain will help you to become more connected and resourceful.

Not Quite Strangers | Global Weirdness
Global Weirdness: Do anything you can to bring yourself into the present moment and connect yourself to your body.

I am present right now to my gratitude. I feel grounded in this conversation. You and I have not had a personal one-on-one beyond now. I've seen you in front of others and I am grateful for how approachable and open you are, the generosity with which you want to share your knowledge and your experience, wisdom and guidance with all of us. Thank you very much for taking this extended time when your family's having dinner where you can contribute to me and to anyone reading this.

It’s my pleasure. I appreciate you creating a forum for people to learn more and connect more. The questions you've asked in the way that you've framed them have been such a sweet gentle way that we can approach life. I see underneath all of your questions as a desire to serve to support and to make the world better for people and I appreciate you.

Thank you. It is reciprocal. Thank you all so much for joining us for another episode. Please go to and subscribe so you get this interview and many others right in your inbox. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel and get notifications. If you don't want the inbox message, you can get notifications of this interview. Thank you all so much for joining us. Thank you Dr. Scott and have a wonderful rest of the day everybody.

Important Links 


Stephanie Melish: “Fear is an idea-crippling, experience-crushing, success-stalling inhibitor inflicted only by yourself.”


Does hearing someone sneeze or a cough throw you into a panic? Is the pressure of our flailing institutions and systems manifesting into a headache?


This “global weirdness” can lead to fear that seems debilitating, but we can shift it all. Dr. Scott Mills shares knowledge to empower us physically, emotionally and mentally.


Connect with Dr. Scott Mills (@scottmillsphd) and access his 90-minute meditation session:


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