Our constant, relentless exposure to the news, social media, and stressful environments, and everything else we’re dealing with in our personal lives has a way of making us feel overwhelmed and helpless.
In these stressful times, we are living, developing emotional resilience is a must to manage stress, anxiety, and depression.
But, how do you become resilient?
In this new Real Talk Friday episode, Ted Ryce will share his experience with panic attacks. He will also reveal why we usually crack under pressure, what we can do to prevent that, and how stepping out of our comfort zone can be helpful.
So, if you struggle with stress, anxiety, or depression, and are looking for some proven strategies to develop emotional resilience, listen to this episode now.
- Ted’s experience with panic attacks and how he managed to overcome anxiety
- How extreme adventures helped Ted calm down his anxiety
- The #1 lesson about fears and anxiety
- Why do we crack under the pressure and what can we do to prevent that
- How to train yourself to become resilient to stress
- The importance of facing our worst fears
- How to challenge yourself to get unstuck
- How to get back on the path of the hero’s journey
- Stepping out of the comfort zone to build resilience
- And much more
480: How To Become Stress-Proof: The Secret To A Stress-Free Life with Dr. Mithu Storoni, MD, PhD
142: Ted Ryce: Overcoming Anxiety And Panic Attacks
RTF 106: How to Leave your Comfort Zone and Enter your ‘Growth Zone’
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Podcast Transcription: How To Develop Emotional Resilience To Anxiety And Stress
Ted Ryce:Ted Ryce: How would you like to be more resilient against stress? How would you like to experience less anxiety, less depression, less negative emotions, even if you don’t experience what you might call high levels of depression or anxiety? How would you like to be more solid emotionally or more emotionally stable?
That’s what today is about. So, if you want to take yourself to that next level, to be rock solid in the face of adversity, then listen to this podcast. What is up, my friend? I’m health expert and coach to entrepreneurs and executives. My name is Ted Ryce. Welcome back to the show, and let’s get into it.
So today, I went diving, but I didn’t just go diving in the ocean, I went diving in an underground cave. And this particular cave, I don’t know if you’ve been listening to this show, if you heard me last year, but after my dad died, I went to Playa Del Carmen, the same place where I’m at right now, where I’m recording this right now, and I dove a cave there.
And I should say cavern, because there’s a distinction. You need a special certification that takes nine days and a couple of thousand dollars to complete full cave. But for your purposes, it’s a cave. And I was in this cave last year, and I had a panic attack and I had to stop the dive and end the diver early, and I wasn’t that hard on myself about it. I didn’t beat myself up, I don’t do that anymore. I would say, "Oh, you whip, you should have done this or done that," I didn’t do that."
But at the same time, you better believe that I wasn’t pleased with myself, you better believe that I put it on the list, like, this is something I need to kind of handle here. I had a panic attack. And just in general, I have anxiety levels that are a bit higher than what I’d like them to be.
So today, I went back to the same cave. Except, not only did I do that dive, the one that I freaked out on, I did the other line, it’s called, but it’s the other path, and it’s way more dark. In fact, what they said is it really is a cave, but they drilled a hole in the ground to allow enough light in to use a loophole because there’s laws separating like, what is a cave versus a cavern for diving purposes.
Because again, like I just told you, you need this full certification to do caves. But because they drilled this little hole to allow enough light in, it’s called a cavern. So, you don’t need that full cave certification. But otherwise, it’s a full cave. It’s dark, super dark, and it’s tight.
And we went into this one for the first dives. You do two dives, when you do a cenote dive. It’s very typical. But this was the first dive and it was intense, it was dark, it was being in a cave that’s pretty tight, except you’re underwater. So if things start to go wrong, you can’t just go up.
Now, if you’re in the ocean, you’re not supposed to just go up anyway. But you always kind of feel like I see the surface. But when you’re in a cave, there’s no surface. There’s just the overhead wall of the cave that, or the ceiling of the cave covered in…I can’t remember if it’s stalactites or stalagmites, whichever ones come from the top down.
But these cave formation, these stalactites coming from the top, coming from the ceiling. There’s nowhere to go except forward or back. And I made it through almost the entire cave without incident, and I was having a great time. Very interesting. It’s so fascinating what happens because you’re underwater, your thoughts just start going, and when you’re in a cave, especially.
When you’re in the ocean and you’re seeing fish, and you’re seeing coral, the fan coral waving in the underwater current and seeing sharks, seeing all types of sea life, some sting rays, you’re more caught up in nature, but in the cave, your thoughts just start going, you just start thinking about things.
And then right at the end of the dive, my thoughts kind of stopped for a second and I got present again. And I was like, "Oh my gosh, I’m in a cave right now I’m underwater. It’s dark as hell," and my pulse started to increase. And then it started to increase a little bit more and I started feeling a panic attack coming on.
And if you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know exactly how it feels when it starts to come on. At first you’re like, "Oh gosh, okay. Oh, oh!" But then you start to feel the anxiety increasing, and then you start to feel your heart rate increase as well, and that’s what was happening to me. And the first thing I did was I looked at my air; I looked at my air because I needed to check if I was really in danger.
And I looked at my air, I had plenty of air, plenty of air. I wasn’t going to run out of air. And then I checked in, I was like, "Well, is there anything else wrong here? Is there any real danger that I’m in?" And the answer was no. And then I told myself, "Well, man, look, there’s nothing here to fear, you are not in danger, you have plenty of air, you’re with other people who have air, you’re with your instructor who has an additional tank, in case someone runs out of air.
So, here’s what’s going to happen. If you have a panic attack right now, that’s okay. If your heart starts beating uncomfortably and crazily, and you feel like you’re going to die, that’s okay. But here’s what’s going to happen, we’re not going to end the dive, you’re just going to finish the dive like normal, and you’re going to experience a panic attack, because there’s nothing here to be afraid of."
And not only did I say this to myself, but I embodied it, I believed it. I told myself—my rational mind told my emotional mind and set the rules like, "Hey, man, you can freak out, but we’re not ending the dive. So, we’ll just keep going and you’ll your hearts going to be beating and you’ll feel like you’re going to die, but we’re not going to end the dive here."
And as soon as I told myself that, and I really believed it, the anxiety started going away. And then I covered my light. Now, it’s a very dark space, and we all have torches, or that’s what they call them. But they’re basically high-powered flashlights. And I covered it with my hand. And I could see at the end of, I could literally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
And once I saw that, the anxiety left completely, I’m like, "Oh, man, this is the end of the dive, I’m going to swim a few more feet and it’s done." And the anxiety completely dissipated when that happened. And then the dive ended and we all lived happily ever after.
So, look, the dive ended after that. But I want to talk to you about the lessons that I took away from this. And more importantly, I want to share with you the lessons that I think will be beneficial for you as well.
And the number one lesson is this, we all have anxieties and fears.
If you’re a parent, you might be fearful or have anxiety about your children, that they’re safe, that they’re going to be okay, that they’re going to be okay physically, emotionally, mentally. You probably have some fears and anxieties about yourself as well, about your health, about your relationships, about your finances, about your wealth, about your business, about your career.
And if those fears, and anxieties, if we’re not able to handle them, they overcome us and make our worst fears come true sometimes, or at least ruin a good dive. And that’s what happened to me last year. I had to tug on...what you’re supposed to do when you’re having a hard time, or having a challenge, you move the flashlight up and down very quickly to get the attention of the divemaster.
But I freaked out so intensely last time that I didn’t do that, I swam up to the divemaster, Edu, my friend, and I pulled on his wetsuit, and was like, [mumbling] I gave him the sign I was not okay and we ended the dive. And I had to just hang out and wait around while the divemaster and the other guy who is with me completed the second dive. That’s our best-case scenario.
Worst case scenario, who knows what could have happened. I could have freaked out and Ed would have had to drag me out of there. I could have drowned if I really lost control myself. And all because of what? Was I really ever in danger? I mean, there’s some risk, but it was super small.
In fact, there’s more risk of you getting in your car and driving to work, than me having a problem in that cavern. Now cave diving is different. Three times more people die in cave diving than skydiving, but I wasn’t really deep in a cave. It’s a cave, but it’s not like I had to squeeze through tight spaces, it’s a very easy cave, so the risk was really low.
The biggest risk was if my equipment went wrong, malfunctioned catastrophically. But then again, I could just use someone else’s air. So really, the biggest risk is me losing my cool and somehow drowning because I couldn’t keep a regulator in my mouth. That’s really the big biggest risk.
And what I want to suggest you is whatever that looks for you. Now, maybe you’re not diving in caves, maybe you don’t do scuba diving in general. But we all do things where there’s risk, we all get put in positions where we’re being challenged. And if we can’t keep it together, sometimes our worst fears come true.
So, if that’s true, then what do we need to do so we don’t crack under the pressure, so that we don’t choke, like a soccer player making the winning goal, winning field goal or whatever it is, whatever it’s called, I forget, penalty kick or whatever in football, American football, the field goal, or whatever analogy you want to use. And why do we crack under the pressure?
And I want to tell you this: we crack under the pressure because when the pressure gets on, when the stress gets high, we don’t rise to our expectations, we fall to the level of our training. I want to talk about that a little bit right now. We don't rise to our expectations. We fall to the level of our training, and this is why you're getting your ass kicked. If you are getting your ass kicked in life in an area, your health, with your finances or wealth or business, career or in your relationships, this is why.
So, many of us we…I don’t know about you, but I love watching Marvel superhero movies. I love them. Love them. my favorite is Doctor Strange, but I watch all of them. Now you might like, I don’t know, Navy SEALs, or Green Berets or whoever. You may have someone else, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Or maybe you’re into like, I don’t know, Gladiator. What a great movie!
And we all want to be the hero, in other words, whether it’s a superhero or hero in another way. And we watch these movies, we listen to podcasts, we read books about our heroes, but that isn’t training, that’s imagination. And then we think, "Oh, yeah, well, that’s what I would do. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll rise to the occasion when the pressure comes, because I’m inspired by this story or inspired by this movie."
But the truth is, no, you’re not. It takes more than that. It takes training. The difference between a Navy Seal and a Navy, I don’t know, ensign, who brings everybody meals and cleans toilets, I don’t know what the lowest person does in the Navy. So, forgive me if you’ve been in the Navy and you know, but the difference there, it’s training. It’s training. So how are you training yourself?
Because of what I’ve done today, I’m going to be more resilient under pressure. In fact, I got a little bit of what some people would say bad news today as well. It didn’t even faze me. And am I telling you this because I’m tough, because I’m cool, because I’m special, because I’m different than you? If I am different than you. It’s only because of one reason. I go out and face my fears and do the uncomfortable and you don’t, that’s the only way I’m special.
Otherwise, I’m probably a worse physical specimen than you have worse genetics have a worse life than you, got more things working against me than you. But because I’m willing to step up in train myself and face my fears, I succeed. I don’t crack under the pressure.
And it’s again, not because I’m rising to my expectations, or my special genes or because I watched a bunch of movies or listened to Bink Greenfield’s podcast or Andrew Huberman, or watch superhero movies or Navy Seals doing their thing, it’s because I got out there and did it.
And you might even be thinking to yourself, "Well, I’ve done a lot of things too." And that might be true. But here’s the thing: It’s not a one and done. Number one, it’s not one and done, the training goes on. There is nothing but the endless climb of growth. As we get older, we have different challenges. And if we have the right training, we face those challenges with courage.
And if we don’t, we crumble, then those events become a bad day, which becomes a bad week, which becomes a bad month, which becomes a bad year, which becomes a bad life. And it’s completely preventable.
We’re all the same here. "Oh, Ted, you don’t know my story, or you don’t know what I’ve done." It doesn’t matter, is the thing. We’re all the same, all human beings are the same in this way.
And the reality is most of us, where do we get our training from? We get our training from our parents. Now I love my parents. I know I’ve said some things about my parents on this podcast, and I did it not to throw them under the bus, but to very honestly talk about how they did, and how they prepared me for my life. And they did a terrible job.
Now, again, I love them, they did their best, but I’m just very objectively saying they didn’t do a good job of helping me navigate the challenges of life, especially the challenges that my family faced. And here’s the thing: your parents probably did the same, and that’s okay.
So that’s the first place. Second place is, what do we say? We go to school, we get through college... Oh, man, that helps in a lot of ways, it’s a great experience. I had a very different college experience, probably than you did—dropped out twice, but I did get a lot from it.
But here’s the thing: a lot of us, once that happens, maybe we go and do some additional training, maybe you become an attorney, maybe a doctor, maybe you become an entrepreneur, maybe you become a pilot, maybe you become an engineer, but the training never stops.
Now, I mostly work with entrepreneurs. And I’ll tell you one thing, one of the problems with entrepreneurs, is they really work hard to get to a good place financially. And man, do they put in...being an entrepreneur, it’s a personal development disguised as a way of making money.
Now, you may not get that if you’re not an entrepreneur, but if you’re an entrepreneur, I think you’ll resonate with that, the emotional challenges that you put up with to manifest a vision that you have, is incredible. And one of the things that happens to entrepreneurs is they go through the training, they train themselves... Wow, the things we go through.
And then on the other side, we end up with a bunch of money and a super comfortable life and a big belly, if you’re not careful, or a drinking problem if you’re not careful. Or an addiction to making more money, because hey, I don’t really want to challenge myself to get myself in shape.
I don’t want to challenge myself to deal with my relationship issues, or whatever I went through early in my life that drove me to want to take this path of entrepreneurship, I’ll just go and make more money, I’ll take my business from 1 million to 10 million, from 10 million to 100 million, or whatever it is, whatever path you’re on. But the reality is, you may have to stretch in some ways when you’re growing your business, but there comes a point where it’s just routine.
And I want to tell you this, this is something I heard, I believe it was from Bob Berg, if I remember correctly. And the point of setting goals is to challenge yourself to get out of the side of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. And he said something really important: “If you already knew the steps to achieve your goal and all you knew is ‘Oh, I just have to do these steps. For example, oh, to take my business from a few 100,000 to 1 million, I just got to do these things. I got to hire a sales team. I got to...”
It was just putting in the work, and it was challenging, but it didn’t push you outside your comfort zone, it was just putting in the work. Versus, "Ooh, I don’t want to have that tough conversation with my parents,” or “ooh, I don’t want to have that tough conversation with my spouse,” or “ooh, I don’t want to deal with the fact that I’m making millions, hoping that I’ll get love from somewhere, but it never comes.
You just get people who want to take advantage of your money because they don’t know how to make money and you do and it’s like, "Oh, latch on to that person, they’ve figured it out." Or with your health, "Oh, I can’t be bothered, even though I really want to be in better shape. Even though I really know what’s going to happen to me at the end of my life, it’s too uncomfortable to deal with the challenges I’m having with my health."
But I want to share a quote with you when I’ve said many times, but I haven’t said in a while, so hopefully you’re not too bored of it. And that is: "The cave that you fear to enter, holds the treasure that you seek." The cave that you fear to enter, the thing that you’re the most afraid of is the opportunity for you to level up in your life. And what is level up in your life?
What does that mean? That means having that anxiety, having that depression, having those negative emotions that keep you from being yourself, you’ll get to be yourself. Finally, if you would only get the courage to face those things. And it’s hard. It’s as simple and as hard as that.
Another thing that’s really tricky here is: What do you take action on? What is the cave that I fear most to enter? What is that thing I’m the most afraid of? You.=’ve got to ask yourself that question. But I’ll tell you this: I’ll give you one example, a very self-serving example, but I get some...
Now, some people who sign up with me, they’re A players, and so, "Okay, so what are you going to do for me, Ted? Let’s Talk Ted. Okay, so I did your breakthrough call, okay. What about this, this and this? What do you have to offer? Okay, it’s how much? Okay, let’s do it."
But I want to talk to you people who’ve been on the phone with me and you’ve said now, and why did you say no, I’m talking to talking to a very specific group of people here. You said, "Oh, that’s too much money." And I said, "Well, is that because you don’t have the money? Or because you don’t want to spend the money on this?" "Oh, no, it’s just...No, but it’s a lot of money."
I said, "Do you not have the money? Or do you not want to spend it on this?" "Well, yeah, I do have the money, but I’m going to be going on this vacation soon." "Hmm, so you want to lose like 30 or 40 or 50 pounds? And you want to sign up with me because you’ve seen the results I get, but you have a vacation coming up? Oh, I understand. It’s not a good time, right? By the way, what’s going to happen on that vacation? What are you going to do?"
I don’t actually ask that. But I should, right? Now, I’m going to change gears in a second, if you don’t want to hear me talk about this, if you feel it’s in poor taste.
But here’s the thing, like, I want to tell you, people are afraid to choose themselves over something like a vacation, and what’s going to happen on the vacation? People get fatter, they’re going to drink more, they’re going to eat more, or they’re going to do both.
And look, I love traveling, I love vacations, and you may very well need one. But there’s still going to be that problem. And I like using this example, because, man, I’ll tell you, I’ll be honest with you, it’s challenging. That’s why I only like working with entrepreneurs, that’s rarely an issue with these guys, because they all hire coaches for their business.
But if you want to be an A player, but you’re a B player right now, you’ve got to make that leap. Now, if you’re an A player in the financial successful realm— you know what I’m trying to say if you’re making if money, if money isn’t really that much of an issue, you’re really seeking about value. But the thing is, you’re still feel like you’re not ready.
One of the most common things that happens with entrepreneurs I deal with, and this is an example of going cave diving. But instead of going diving, it’s like, hey, you know when you get in the zone with your business, and you get into working, there are two types of problems that entrepreneurs have with their energy levels.
Number one, they can’t get into the zone. That’s a place where it sucks. They’re operating on automatic, and they’re like, "Man, I’m coming to work every day, I’m doing what I need to do to push my business forward. But ah, yeah, I know I’m not in the zone and it sucks. “
The second one is, “I can get in the zone, but once I’m in that zone, it’s addictive. And I don’t want to stop. I don’t want to stop to make the time to exercise. I don’t want to stop to make the time to eat the right things, because once I’m in the zone, I start to burn out. I start great in the beginning of the day, then burn out about 5pm or so.
And then what do I want to do after that? I want to go eat a steak and drink some wine. So, a little Petrus 2003, perhaps. I mean, what am I working hard for and making all these millions if I can’t have a little Petrus at the end of the day?” And again, stuck in a cycle. It’s okay, by the way.
I’m saying these things. I’m not charging you. I’m trying to help bring awareness to the problem because listen, I’m not one to judge, man. I’ve been stuck in some terrible places in my life, terrible places. They were all my fault, but yeah, I had a big part in staying stuck. I was basically stoned all throughout my 20s until like, 28.
When I started joining jujitsu, started competing in jujitsu, then I started backing off the getting high every day, because it was much harder on my ego to lose because I lost because I was tired because my lungs were all messed up from smoking too much marijuana and drinking too much alcohol, and not recovering from it and losing. It was much harder on my ego than the pleasure and stress reduction that I got from doing drugs basically.
So, I tell you these things because I want to help you gain the awareness because once we have awareness of the problem. Once we isolate the problem, then we can formulate a plan forward. And that’s when we’ve got to ask ourselves, what is the thing that I fear the most here? What are the things that I fear the most here? And then once we figured that out, then we need to figure out the appropriate challenge.
There’s a beautiful graph called The Skills Challenge Ratio. And when we’re trying to get into the zone of our life, if we aim too high with our challenge, if we put too much challenge on us, it drives up stress and anxiety. And if we don’t have enough challenge, we get bored. So, the challenge needs to be appropriate.
For example, if I would have instead gone from this cave that I dove today, to a more advanced cave, where I’d have to dismount my tank, squeeze through a tight space, and then pull my tank through, then reattach the tank and keep going, and then knowing to go out, I would have to do the same thing.
So, if I’m having a panic attack, there ain’t no rushing that, you’ve got to take the tank off, and squeeze through and pull your tank back out if you want to get out of here, that would have been too much.
So, we need the proper challenge. So today was the perfect challenge, because guess what, it was almost a little bit too much, right? It was perfect, actually, I think, because I did have that attack, and I was able to get right back into the zone, and the dive was over. But if it would have been a bit more than that, it might have been too much, I might have the panic attack.
Now, I don’t think anything would have happened to me or whatever. But that’s why they do this in stages. That’s why there are belts in martial arts. That’s why when you’re becoming a Navy Seal, you’ve got to go through Hell Week, you.ve got to go through BUDT, Basic Underwater Demolition Training, then you’ve got to go through Hell Week, and then you got to go do more training.
So, if you want to face the challenges in your life, and handle them with courage and grace, invest in yourself, and you do it through training, you do it through challenging yourself the right amount, through identifying what you need to work on, identify your fears and training yourself on them.
And the more you do that, the more you’re going to show up in life, the more success you’re going to have in every single area: your health, your wealth, your relationships. You’re going to suffer less stress, anxiety, depression, which is going to help your health, which is going to help you succeed more financially, and which is going to help with your relationships as well.
So, I’m going to wrap up now, but I want to ask you, what is the big takeaway from today’s conversation for you? What’s the big takeaway? What are you needing to work on? Where is that cave that you fear to enter? Or maybe caves that you fear to enter? Where is that? What is that? And then what can you do to challenge yourself in that area?
And here’s the great thing: you don’t need to solve the problem right away. You just have to get back on the path of the hero’s journey.
That’s it for me. Hope you enjoy this. If you did and you resonated with it, please share it with someone who you think needs to hear it; shoot this over to them. Have an amazing weekend. Love you lots. Speak to you on Monday!
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