Episode 14 – Managing Anxiety with a Mindset Coach – Paul Sheppard
Anxiety can get the best of highly sensitive people, sending us into a downward spiral. Finding ways to catch ourselves and turn this around is the topic of this episode. To help explore this topic, share his journey, and wisdom, I’ve invited mindset coach, Paul Sheppard.
Trained in numerous healing modalities, he combines these with mindfulness. Paul is on a mission to share his strategies, techniques, and perspectives addressing anxiety, stress, low confidence, depression, and motivation.
You’re in for a treat with today’s episode featuring mindset coach, Paul Sheppard. Paul and I connected recently when I was interviewed on his podcast, Mindset Change. Realizing Paul has had his own journey with sensitivity and listening to a few of his podcast episodes, I knew I had to bring his energy and insights your way. Paul is trained in a long list of healing modalities such as hypnosis, NLP, IEMT – integral eye movement therapy, and more. I was especially intrigued by his admission that traditional therapy didn’t work.
Given the challenges sensitive people face – the tendency for overwhelm, emotional responsiveness, and rumination – anxiety can be a constant companion. The more we can notice it and nurture a positive response, the more peaceful life can be.
In our chat, we explore Paul’s journey from a sensitive child (aka “The Incredible Sulk”) to the proudly sensitive, grounded, and thriving man he is today. I learned about the drama triangle, the physiological sigh, and a series of strategies that really work to calm anxiety.
Enjoy Paul’s calm and encouraging energy and do let us know what you take away.
00:04:47 Sensitivity for Paul: then
00:06:46 The Incredible Sulk
00:08:52 Sensitivity for Paul: now
00:11:55 The Drama Triangle
00:15:12 Bravery is what it takes
00:17:30 Compassion starts with yourself
00:20:41 Paul's journey through different healing modalities
00:25:53 Easy anxiety management strategies
00:31:35 The power of mindfulness
00:34:08 The power of meditation
00:36:00 Moving past shame
"Mindset Change Podcast" - Am I Too Sensitive? - Interview with Highly Sensitive Person Coach - Clare Kumar
Dr. Stephen Karpman - Drama Triangle
Connect with Paul:
Highly sensitive executive coach and productivity catalyst, Clare Kumar, explores the intersection of productivity and inclusivity continually asking how can we invite the richest contribution from all. She coaches individuals in sidestepping burnout and cultivating sustainable performance, and inspires leaders to design inclusive performance thereby inviting teams to reach their full potential. As a speaker, Clare mic-drops “thought balms” in keynotes and workshops, whether virtual or in-person. She invites connection through her online community committed to designing sustainable and inclusive performance, the Happy Space Pod. Why? Because everyone deserves a Happy Space.
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Listen to the audio right here or on your fave podcast platform.
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If you prefer to read, please see the transcript below.
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And don't forget, everyone (including YOU) deserves a Happy Space.
Audio and Video Editing: To Be Reel
Production Assistant: Luis Rodriguez
Song Credit: Cali by Wataboi from Pixabay
Clare Kumar: You're listening to episode 14 of the Happy Space Podcast. Today we're exploring how to better manage anxiety with mindset coach, Paul Sheppard.
Welcome to the Happy Space Podcast, where we talk about designing inclusive performance through the lens of a highly sensitive productivity catalyst. Uh, that's me! Executive coach, speaker, and brand collaborator, Clare Kumar. Join conversations with authors, culture shapers, space designers, and creators of products, services, and customer experience as we highlight astonishing contributions, tempting a more tender world, we know that diversity leads to richer results. So let's accept that productivity is personal and commit to designing with respect for humanity.
I aim to leave you with ideas to better support your family, colleagues, customers, community, and not least of all, yourself, for everyone, including you deserves a Happy Space. Welcome to another episode of the Happy Space Podcast. I'm so excited today to be talking with Paul Sheppard. He's a mindset coach and host of the Mindset Change podcast. We recently connected where he interviewed me on that show talking about sensitivity, of course, and I quickly realized Paul has so much to offer our listeners here at the Happy Space Podcast.
I just had to invite him to be a guest as well. Paul has an amazing training in numerous modalities, such as hypnosis. NLP, which is Neurolinguistic Programming, IEMT, Integral Eye Movement Therapy… a number of different areas have worked for him, but what was really interesting and intrigued me is he said that traditional therapy, CBT, didn't really help.
So he's taken an approach to weave together a number of different strategies, and I'm excited because he is going to share some of that today. Given the challenges that highly sensitive people face, I mean, our emotional responsiveness, our tendency to be overwhelmed, and our proclivity to ruminate, anxiety can be a constant companion.
I know I've had my own journey and continue to work with parking anxiety. It can get the best of me still at times so coming up with strategies to really employ is a real practical evolution in, I think, our journey to be empowered HSP individuals. In our chat, Paul and I explore his journey from sensitive child aka The Incredible Sulk right through till today where he is a still sensitive, a proud sensitive, grounded, energetic, and thriving man. You'll really enjoy meeting him. In our conversation, I learned about the drama triangle, the physiological sigh, and a series of practical strategies that can really, truly work at calming anxiety.
I hope you'll listen in, you'll enjoy Paul's calm and energetic style, and do let us know what you take away. Today's episode of the Happy Space Podcast is sponsored by clarekumar.com. With sensitivity, curiosity, and courage, I serve three groups asking the tough questions that lead to meaningful answers. Number one, I coach ambitious leaders to design for well-being and achieve next-level work-life integration.
Number two, I mic drop thought balms. That's bombs as in BALMS in keynotes and workshops, helping organizations achieve the business imperative that is inclusivity. And three, I collaborate with brands concerned with respect for well-being on product design, marketing, and PR. If any of this piqued your interest, come find me at clarekumar.com. I'd love to speak with you. Designing inclusive performance together will lead to the richest results.
So Paul, I'm so happy to be joining you today to get into a discussion around mindset, anxiety, and all of the good information that you have to share with listeners. But first, I thought I would invite you to share a little bit about sensitivity and how that has shown up in your life, and what that means to you.
Paul Sheppard: I want to say thank you so much for inviting me on your amazing show. I loved having you as a guest of mine and we had such a great conversation. And what a great question to start off with sensitivity, I think… do you know what, from just talking to you and exploring your stuff, I've really reflected back on my past and how often I was shamed for being classed as sensitive, um, as if there was something wrong with me.
No one really guided me to be able to manage my emotions. I think I was, you know, I was classed as an anxious child. No one said, “this is what you do with them”. It was literally, “you shouldn't have them”. And if you, if you're expressing them, so if I was upset, then it was, “you just need to go to your room.” You know? Or there was…
Clare Kumar: Flashbacks! Flashbacks to my parents as well.
Paul Sheppard: Yeah, it's that eye roll of, “oh, he is upset again.” And I used to get called The Incredible Sulk. So when I was a child, there was The Incredible Hulk on TV, and if I was ever upset, it was that, “oh, he's, oh, he's having a sulk again. Oh, here's The Incredible Sulk.
Are you sulking?” So I grew up at home with that sort of shame of trying to keep myself to myself and I mean, I fell into books to escape emotions and to escape my reality. And something else that came to mind was even the kids that I grew up with, my peers who were very bullying in a way, and attacking.
They sensed that sensitivity. So it was easy for me to become a target. And I had no clue, no clue what I was doing wrong. No idea what was happening. I was so confused. So it's been a trait that I have been embarrassed about for such a long time. So you, you try to man up, you know, for us guys, it's, you try and deal with, yeah, it's that, you've gotta, you know, be more masculine, you know, pull your socks up, sort yourself out, don't cry, get on with it. It was that type of attitude which was incredibly damaging.
Clare Kumar: Very difficult to navigate. And the word sulk, really, The Incredible Sulk. What an image there. And I just want listeners to know you, you don't hear it in my voice right now, but if Paul and I hang out for a while, you definitely will.
I was born in England as well, and sulking is, I mean, that word was very prominently used. I don't know if it is here as much in North America. But the way you're describing the reaction and so on is bringing back a lot of memories for me. Yeah, we were, I wasn't given, first of all, I don't think there was an invitation to express the fullness of emotions that we experience.
And then there was an invitation to suppress or shut them down. I remember actually vividly watching a movie, which was very upsetting, and I remember my mom saying, “oh, Clare doesn't cry”. And in my throat was like, I don't know, a volleyball size lump in my throat. And I had no, I was, ugh.
I was, I could get angry. I was modeled anger as a child, but I didn't, I didn't know about expressing sadness, frustration, so many emotions, right? So, how does this, you know, how does it show up for you now as someone who's in touch and so very self-aware? How does sensitivity show up for you now?
Paul Sheppard: Do you know? Something that you just reminded me of was, going back to my parents, something that I used to get quite angry and blame them for not being able to express myself. And it was an, it was an until last year that I had a conversation with my father that took over 30 years to have, I'd had a lot of therapy, a lot of self-awareness work done, and we'd had this conversation and then he expressed to me stuff that he'd never talked about and that was, he found emotions he found the way that I was living, embarrassing because he was a very private person and so was my mother. And I never knew this. So when I was so flashback to me being upset, they didn't know what to do. So they just simply modeled their own parents, their own parents. Yeah, and I think just knowing that has actually helped me a lot.
You know, that's within the past year of developing a self-awareness, of accepting what you're feeling, allowing it to be there. And you can nurture those feelings with a sense of compassion instead of shame. And that allows you to have a full experience of whatever's going on with you.
But I find it moves through the body, it might feel difficult and it might feel uncomfortable, but that's okay. That permission just to sit with it seems to do something where the mind and body begin to let it go. Because I think what I used to do was suppress, suppress, suppress, or express.
And unfortunately all that did was seem to bank it for another time to be able to arise. It's almost like, oh, we're just gooing to bring that trauma back up for you until you actually let it go, so allowing it, expressing it, and nurturing it seems to let it go. That's what's helped me.
Clare Kumar: That’s so powerful. I just want to like, as you did that triggered a thought for me. Thinking about your parents. I think fundamentally it's helpful when we feel like, oh, it would've been better if, or, I wish somebody could do this. This fundamental belief that we're doing the best we can with what we know. And boy do we have an opportunity to know and learn and share so much more.
So when I think about that with my mom, she was doing the best she could and my dad as well. And your parents as well. So that seems to lighten the load and when we can think that no one was there really trying to harm us and really trying to have us carry heavier loads in our lives.
Paul Sheppard: Yeah, absolutely. It takes you off of the victim, you know, the drama triangle. I don’t know if you know what the drama triangle is. So there's Stephen Karpman, um, it's a famous triangle. You've got the victim, you've got the persecutor, you've got the rescuer. And the victim is always the prize. In psychotherapy, you find a way to persecute.
So what I found myself doing was persecuting my father from the victim point of view of look at what they did to me. And then whenever he reacted, I'd go back to being, I'd got my prize, I was the victim, “look how he's treating me”. Yeah. And then I'd feel bad because he was really upset and stuff like that.
Then I'd go in to move to rescue and try and reach out again. So you end up moving around this triangle. And even though I've trained in this stuff for years, I didn't realize I was on that triangle with that dynamic still. It was only through my father getting upset with me again that I realized that I realized, what am I doing?
What is it that I'm doing to upset him? And cause it was triggering me. So by having, you know, by doing some work, I began to realize that actually what I was doing was I was persecuting him. He reacted, and then I would get my prize as a victim. So I kept moving around that triangle. And it was nice when we had that final conversation to step off and that helped lighten the load.
Clare Kumar: So powerful to understand the dynamics. And in that persecution role, it's almost about, I have a valid point and I need to be heard. So I'm going to tell, I'm going to teach somebody what they need to know and then we can overdo it as highly sensitive people too. If our emotional responsiveness is really unleashed.
Well, we can go a little far sometimes and, and I've personally been working on, you know, I was modeled, kind of coming out swinging with a, you know, having a big stick and really claiming my space and this is making so much sense, this drama triangle. To realize and work on noticing my emotions, like you said, and nurturing a better response, nurturing a more thoughtful kind response, which doesn't leave me level two, beating myself up for the way I just behaved.
Paul Sheppard: Absolutely. It's very empowering because the victim wants to blame. And I've been in, in that dynamic with him, I used to call him the, like Darth Vader of my life, you know? And we had this really rocky relationship and I had to take ownership of the fact that I was treating him in a way, which he felt demeaned, so he would react back and one of us had to take, one of us had to have that self-awareness to step away and do something different and it's not going to be him. So I took that road because I'd done the work and now we have a much better relationship. It's not perfect, you know, I'm aware of how he's been and it's a lot that's not quite right, but it's still, um, to unconsciously treat him as someone who's the bad guy, the enemy? Of course, they're just going to react back that way to you.
Clare Kumar: A wonderful way. Was there bravery involved in you choosing that path, or how did it come to you in that moment? That you are going to be changing this dynamic
Paul Sheppard: That took a lot of work because it's 30 years of, I've never had this conversation.
And in how he treated me the way he did, he banned me from my home from 10 years. So we've never had this real conversation as to why, what was that really all about. When he finally invited me back into the home, when I went to have this conversation with him, I was shut down completely.
And my mother was so happy that I was in back in the house that it kind of got moved to one side. He said he had to say I didn't have my side. So with therapy and self-work and learning to manage my emotions, because I, I remember the call to this day and my nervous system was alive, I could sense that I wanted to shallow breathe, my body was in a state of alarm, I felt really, really heightened. So I had to soothe and calm that down. And by doing that and just staying true to, I'm not going to treat him as the enemy. I'm going to gently ask him what I wanted to ask him and keep guiding him onto that path through. He did his best to avoid the conversation, but eventually, he opened. He said, “I'm telling you things I've never told anyone”.
And that for me was quite shocking. I never understood him as much as I do now by having, you know, from having that conversation. He opened up and it was to hear that he was private and that he found these things overwhelming and extreme, gave me an idea of, yeah, I was expecting, you know, quite natural, I was expecting too much. Quite naturally, but he wasn't able to give me what I needed emotionally as a child, and I had that trauma to carry with me. But it's my job to release that trauma so that I don't pass it on or project it onto other people.
Clare Kumar: I hear in this story, incredible self-compassion and compassion for your father as well. And I wonder if it's something you'd like to speak about now, this role of self-compassion in being kind to ourselves, which kind of invites that flow of compassion to others.
Paul Sheppard: Do you know it's one of the things that we're… working with my clients. Inviting self-compassion can feel very hard because sometimes dependent our the environments we're brought up in, or you know, the culture, self-compassion is seen as weak.
It's something that you don't, maybe women do, guys don't do it, or, or even for women. It's, if you're a strong woman, you shouldn't have this going on. You, you know, you're too sensitive. And owning self-compassion as one of the most valuable tools that you can use for self-transformation and change.
So, self-compassion towards yourself, loving yourself, accepting yourself as if you would someone else who was in your vicinity who you loved and they were in pain. It's having the same feeling but towards you and whatever that looks like. It may be different for different people, but whatever that looks like, to keep practicing that.
I had a client last night, reminded me of a client last night. I got him. He was in a very low place. I got him to become very present with me and I got him to put his hand on his head, and I said, “say your name”. And he said his name and I said, “and say, I love you”. And he looks at me in horror and then said it.
And then the tears, the tears flowed. And he said it a few more times and I had a lovely message from him today just saying, “I think last night you saved my life”. I feel so much lighter today. Because that's what we're cultivating was, he had a very angry approach towards himself, which is so common. I had too.
So much anger, so much shame and guilt for who I was, what I'd done, my behavior, because classed as too sensitive and I did know how to manage my emotions, so I didn't see myself in a good light. But the minute you begin, just put your hand on your heart and just, you know, begin to think, feel compassion towards yourself.
That's a wonderful release of oxytocin. Just doing that. By the way. So that's a nice little boost. You can begin to get in touch with who you are. And, you know, I meditate, I do mindfulness. All of those tools help you create that relationship with yourself. Because I think the guy was in my office, he was disconnected.
We began the process of reconnection. I was disconnected. And for more, self work can help. And everything that I've been doing, I became reconnected. And that's when we have a stronger relationship with ourselves.
Clare Kumar: That's beautiful. And I love how you are, it's talking about Yeah, sure. Our minds, our hearts and bodies.
It's all connected and so yeah, putting your hand on your heart, maybe we can dive into a little bit. Well, before we get into some real strategies, people can listen and absolutely employ, further than to the hand on the heart and self-compassion. We've already got some. Can you tell me a little bit about your journey into… so you're trained in numerous modalities, NLP and hypnotism.
I'm seeing on your, when I Googled your website, I'm like, “hypnotherapist Brighton, right!” There's so many talents. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey through these different kinds of healing modalities? and then we'll get to some treasures.
Paul Sheppard: Well, as I discussed from my childhood, I developed an anxiety and panic disorder.
So I was out having panic attacks on a regular basis. So I'm going to do something about it, I didn't really know much about going to a therapist. So bizarrely, I went to a counseling course at the age of seventeen to learn counseling. So I started that process. I had therapy.
But therapy, the traditional approaches didn't work for me. It was all focused on what was I worried about. And there were times when, and this is a confusing thing about anxiety, is sometimes there were times when I'm just simply not worried at all. There was nothing in my mind, but my body was telling me that I was in danger.
There was a state of alarm in my body. And I was trying to explain that to the therapist and they were just looking at me like, kind of strange. So it, it was almost like CBT start processes, but there was no tools or strategies to help me go into social situations where I had social anxiety, I had a raw travel phobia anxiety.
So it was, I really couldn’t do the things I wanted to do because there was no tools of strategies. It was try and think your way better.
Clare Kumar: For listeners who might not know the term CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, so my thought behaviors, actions, you know, making the absolutely connections, right?
Paul Sheppard: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So you question, you can question your thoughts. The thing is though, about that, and so I thought I was a failure and I thought, this is not working for me. I'm doing this all wrong. I even got to the point where the panic attacks were so strong and the anxiety was so strong, I couldn't see a future.
I thought about taking my life and it was a… and I, it was one of those strange things that in that moment when I was, I remember sat in the bathroom thinking, what am I going to do? And I had this strong feeling inside that said, you're really looking at this the wrong way round. And it was, look at it from the bigger picture, a holistic point of view.
So I did some more research and I found out from researching that I was breathing wrong. I was too shallow. I wasn't breathing deep enough. My lifestyle was most likely definitely exacerbating my anxiety. So when I began focusing on soothing and healing the body, so I trained in a lot of different therapies.
Somatic and I really was fascinated with hypnosis and hypnotherapy working with the subconscious mind too. The more I began to heal my body, I found my mind became easier to work with. So it was much easier to then once I began to work with the body, to use a CBT start process was then much easier. So that's why I think CBT in itself, it can be effective, but for a lot of people, they look at me and sort of say, “why hasn't it worked?” And when I show them how to work with the body first and then the mind, they're like, “ah, this makes so much sense”. This makes so much sense because your prefrontal cortex, which is part of the brain that will deal with the CBT disengages when we're in a state of fight or flight.
So your limbic system, your emotional brain takes over and gets you to safety. You're not meant to be rationalizing your danger. So that's why it can feel really difficult. Very, very smart people can go, “why am I not able to get myself to safety in that moment, in a way of rationalizing my danger?
Why can I not do a presentation? These are just people”, but when the brain is in fight or flight, that rational part disengages, and it's so easy to believe the lies of the mind. So when you reconnect those two parts of the brain together again, we can think more clearly, but it has to be done with the body first.
Clare Kumar: Yeah. And it makes me think, when I was parenting, there was no point trying to teach your child something when they were free. Like, or were upset and right. There's no point and now we're going to do this. The mind can't go there. I talk about giving the amygdala a hug, and so how do we do that?
How do we do that? We've got two amygdalas in the brain and they're reacting because it serves us. The one thing I like, and I think we talked about this in our discussion, there's a value in anxiety. So we don't want to say, I never want anxiety in my life. We want, we want some of this as a cue, but then what do we do with it?
So what would you offer to listeners right now who are highly sensitive in an overwhelming world that often can trigger and, I don't know if you have other words for trigger, but can cause or inspire potential reactions that are less than what we're looking for and can send us into rumination or emotional unleashing. What can you recommend?
Paul Sheppard: The main thing that I would say with anything like that: So for me, I learned a system, which when you are triggered by, I call it wave one. So wave one is where you have the unwanted experience. You have the unwanted thought, you have the unwanted feeling.
Whatever has triggered you. The problem isn't wave one, the problem is our reaction to wave one. Wave one's happened or happening. We can't change that. The thoughts happened, the feelings happened, the experience is happening. So what we have the ability to do in wave two is choose by beginning to soothe the body.
Choose how we're going to react to wave one. So by soothing the body some breath work, breathing down to the diaphragm, you can do what's known as the physiological sigh, which is a double inhale and then really slow exhale out. A nice way to remember it is breath in to the belly, then to the chest and then slowly out. This is known to neuroscience.
Andrew Huberman talks about it on Huberman Labs as one of the quickest ways to return your nervous system back to baseline. So when you soothe the body and you can put your hands on the part of the body that feels alarmed. So if you feel sensitive, like for me, I would feel sensitive in my stomach.
If you feel sensitive in your chest, put your hands there if you can. Just begin to soo that part of the body. And as you soothe it, your prefrontal cortex will align with your amygdala, with your emotional brain, limbic system, and we can begin to think more clearly. So we can name it, we can name the experience.
Now, you can even say, this is just some sensitivity right now. This is a false alarm right now. You know, or if someone's doing some form of public presentation, I say “performance adrenaline, that's all I'm experiencing right now.”
Clare Kumar: Yes, name it and rename it.
Paul Sheppard: Name it, name it, call it whatever you want when you name it to tame it. I can't remember the name of the psychologist, but there was an experiment and naming it can reduce the intensity of the feeling by about 50%, which is really, really handy when it comes to just aligning yourself with your mind and body, because we go out of alignment due to the trigger.
And then we come back into alignment just by soothing, allowing ourselves to experience it, being within the body. And we're naming it. And then what we can begin to do is wave three, as in my term, is just beginning to move your attention back to the present moment. Just allowing ourselves to be in the here and now.
Because when we get caught up in overthinking, which is very easy to do, like I would've as a child, tried to overthink things to try to escape the danger.
Clare Kumar: I have no idea what you're talking about.
Paul Sheppard: Yeah. You try and stay up here, but when you move into the body, because it's the body that houses the alarm, we don't tend to overthink if there's nothing going on in the body.
It's so interlinked. If we have a negative thought and there's no alarm in our body, it just turns into a thought. But if the body is alarmed, we're now trying to interpret what's really going on with this, and we can overthink. But by moving into the body, the mind begins to slow down and we begin to develop more clarity.
So wave one is going to happen. Wave two, choose your reaction and not powerless. Wave three, move back to the present.
Clare Kumar: That's amazing. I've been talking about something similar, but I was going right to the head and not starting with the body. I mean, and sort of connecting, you know, tapping into intuition, slowing down and letting the body guide you if you will, is the place to start. Without that, you're not in a position to actually be intellectual about it.
Paul Sheppard: No, and that's the thing, it's, we're all smart people. And one of the things, one of the aspects of shame that comes from being highly sensitive or having anxiety however you are experiencing it, is the irrationality that we experience.
The crazy thoughts, the irrational thoughts, and what can feel like irrational behaviors. And that produces a lot of shame and embarrassment. And my job is to help people feel empowered through anxiety. You know, you talk about, and I love that you mentioned sensitivity is sexy.
It's a superpower because there's so much that a person who's got a highly sensitive nature can tune into to become aware of. That's an incredible gift. Same with anxiety. There's levels of, of being able to tune into things and be aware of future issues and problem-solving that a person with anxiety is a master at. And there's nothing to be ashamed of. Either way, it's an incredible gift. We just need to upgrade society a little bit to get on board with the program.
Clare Kumar: We need the two things. We need society to evolve to be a bit more tender, I would say that's my big invitation out there. But what you're offering, what I hope to be a part of on people's journey as well is this empowerment to be self-aware and love the strengths that come with it, and then navigate through to away from shame and away from discomfort to be able to then say, “what do I have to offer in this situation?” Right?
Paul Sheppard: Absolutely, absolutely. Mindfulness is a wonderful tool for that because mindfulness or meditation gets you to step back from your ego, so our conditioned minds.
It's likely to be a trigger point, and just by developing the skill to be able to step back as your awareness and become aware of the ego wanting to react, wanting to replay past traumas, it's an incredible game changer because now we have a choice. You can see how you want to respond, but you have a choice in how you're going to respond.
And that for me was such a skill. When that began to happen I was blown by the fact that I'm aware I want to be upset by something or I'm aware that I want, there's a part of me that wants to cause an argument so that I can be the victim. There's a part of me that wants to do this and wants…
And the fact that I could just observe it and even just say to someone, “I'm not trusting how I think and feel right now. I'll be with you in a moment”, and be okay with that. It's empowering, it lets people know where they are, but also at the same time, it gives you a chance to choose how you're going to respond instead of just react.
Clare Kumar: Couple of words coming to mind there. You invite this pause, which takes patience, right? And in a world that's not largely patient, there's some bravery in the moment to hold that. That time for the self-awareness to do that check-in and say, “ego, are you, are you wanting to be right now?
Are you wanting to teach someone a lesson? Are you, do you what, where's what's happening there?” And to invite that in. So the patience is there. And also, earlier you mentioned the word practice. So with those two things, how have you made it possible for you to hold onto, to be in practice in this and to cultivate the patience to step into this power?
Paul Sheppard: Daily meditation.
It's a non-negotiable for me. It's a practice that I struggled with at the beginning because I didn't kind of get it and my ego wouldn't let me sit still. It was like, this is boring. I don't want to do this. How long have I got left? I'm fidgety. It, I, and I was too attached to my ego and back then I didn't know that my thoughts were options only.
I believed everything I thought. I didn't know it was an, I didn't know it was a choice. And that was a big game changer when someone said, “you do know that your thoughts are not real, don't you?” And I just looked at them with an eyebrow raised and said, “but I'm thinking it must mean something surely.”
And they're like, “no, it's just your conditioned mind just spouting nonsense and you can step back and observe your thoughts”. So, and that took some practice and then when I got it, I remember crying because it felt so liberating to realize I don't have to believe what I think anymore. I'm not my thoughts, this is just my conditioned mind repeating the past and I can consciously choose as an awareness what I really want to think. So meditation, even if you just begin with just a couple of minutes, 1%, a little bit more each day, in a month, you're 30% better. So it's just a little bit, a little bit more each day of exploring the mind and developing that self-awareness.
Yeah, that's, but that would say that was the biggest thing. Learning to pause. Learning to breathe. Learning to relax and sit still, and then it's accessible to everyone. It's everywhere.
Clare Kumar: Portable, another P word. It's portable too. You have it with you it all the time, which is… yeah. Sort of the last question is something, and it sort of comes back to naming it and, and your wave one, wave two, which I've talked about at level one, level two, we get the first reaction.
So I might feel angry, I might feel jealous, I might feel irritated. And then I've called it level two. I think this is the wave two, where we're, it's the second reaction to it. It's like, now I'm feeling shame because I shouldn't be feeling jealousy. I shouldn't, you know, the second level. I wanted to talk to us a little bit more about shame.
Because some highly sensitive people in our culture of yes, you're too sensitive, you're too much. What do we do with shame as a feeling? Maybe a last thought about that as how we can emerge through that and really stand in some strength.
Paul Sheppard: I think when it comes to the wave system and your level system, by the way, we can incorporate this. Is they would naturally happen on autopilot. You know, there are our conditioned response, so we'd have wave one to trigger wave two. Um, our reactive response to it. Wave three is the shame and the guilt and the fear that a wave one is going to happen again, and then it just repeats in that cycle.
But by being awake and aware, so moving ourselves to the present moment, we begin to choose wave two as a response to wave one and wave three is allowing ourselves to feel what we felt and then begin to move into the present moment. So if we are feeling shame, which is quite natural, a natural response is to begin to try and move away from it, which is an unconscious response and autopilot. But being awaken aware, we can become aware of where it sits within the body.
So for me, shame was likely to sit within the stomach. I can sit there with and think about probably a younger version of me who's holding that shame. So bit of time regression of me in a past age regression of a young Paul who's still feeling ashamed for whatever reason, and I can imagine him there literally in my stomach and that, and just letting him know that he is loved and he's got nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to be embarrassed.
Giving my younger self, something that they didn't have back then. So I'm fulfilling an emotional need that they didn't have back then. And just by, it's all metaphorical of course, but by allowing that feeling to be there within the body and nurturing it, it begins to move, which is a strange feeling.
But when it begins to move through the body, it's almost like you're breathing it out, for some people it moves down, some move up when you move, and when you get that feeling, move on. What you've done is release something that's been holding you down and the more you do that, the lighter you become. And it's just that nurturing of shame of just letting it be there, giving it some love.
Clare Kumar: Yeah. It's back to that self-compassion and visualizing the younger version of you. I often use my three-year-old self or encourage clients to think about little you. And how are you going to take care of “little you” on your journey through the day? Are you taking care of little you as well as present you?
Paul Sheppard: We've all got, we've all got an inner child at various stages within us who has trauma, and through awareness we can get a sense of when it's beginning to arise. And it's a beautiful thing because it's an opportunity to heal and let it go.
It's nothing to be ashamed of. Every time you get that shame feeling, there's nothing wrong with you. It means that you are being given the opportunity to heal. So if you can in that moment, connect and allow that process and you'll feel lighter for it, and the world changes because the way that you see the world changes, it all becomes a different place.
Clare Kumar: And how wonderful to support people on their journey through this exploration of their past and evolving to managing the present so much more beautifully. Paul, it's been just a treasure, a delight speaking with you, learning a little bit more even about you.
And I would like to invite listeners out there to check out Paul's work. Maybe Paul, you can just give a shout-out now and I'll put it of course in the show notes. But if you can give everybody an idea of where they might find you.
Paul Sheppard: Oh, my website address is about to change. So if you pop in your show notes, the website address.
But it's mindsetchangeuk.com. You'll find me, or the best place to come and ever find me is the Mindset Change Podcast. That has all my links in the show notes of where you can find me on TikTok. Yes. TikTok, Instagram, all the places where I do videos and talk about this type of work.
Because I’m on a mission. I’m on a mission to help people feel less anxious and more empowered. Um, which is, goes beautifully along with your work, Clare, because I'm very grateful for what you do.
Clare Kumar: We could talk for hours. I think I might need a private TikTok tutorial because I'm thinking about it, but I'm also hearing that.
Some people are saying, no, no, it's going to be shut down. So I don't, I don't know because of concerns in the US about it being a Chinese company… I don't know, I don't know anything about this, but, but yeah, I might hit you up for a TikTok tutorial.
Paul Sheppard: Do it. Do it. You know, thousands of people can watch a video very quickly.
And it's all about you, you are spreading your work, which is incredibly important right now. Yeah, because there's a, I think the world is moving into a state of transition. We can see a lot of people becoming quite polarized, quite angry, and that makes them more conservative and a bit more, you know, they don't see the world in a healthy way for themselves at times.
And it's just about, you know, we need a lot of people to help others heal. And this is why our work is quite important right now. So yes, do a TikTok, get it out there. I'll support you.
Clare Kumar: Thank you. So listeners out there, you've heard now that Paul has a podcast as well, which definitely I encourage you, as, as Paul will know this as a podcast host.
We love this moment where we're talking to each other and we're thinking about you, our listeners all the time, and we love to hear from you. So please, if you listen to Paul's podcast, which I hope you will, there are some phenomenal episodes I've listened to already. Please leave a review, leave a comment, you know, engage with us.
We'd love to know that what we're doing actually finds a home and makes a difference. So, until next time, be well and make beautiful choices. Thanks so much for joining me, Paul.
Paul Sheppard: Thank you very much.
Clare Kumar: Thank you so much for listening. You can find all of the Happy Space Podcast episodes over at happyspacepod.com. That is also where you'll find a link to our online community. Please leave a review over at Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you tune in, and if you liked what you heard, please share. After all, doesn't everyone deserve a Happy Space?