PP 150: Success Despite Anxiety with Kristen Maxwell

Quick Show Notes: Kristen Maxwell

Kristen Maxwell and I have a meaningful discussion about anxiety, and how Kristen’s own struggle with anxiety led her to starting the business she owns today.

Kristen Maxwell and @thekimsutton have a meaningful discussion about anxiety, and how Kristen's own struggle with anxiety led her to starting the business she owns today. https://thekimsutton.com/pp150 #anxiety #positiveproductivity #podcastClick To Tweet

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Episode Transcription: Kristen Maxwell

Kim Sutton: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. I’m so happy you’re here, and today I’m thrilled to introduce Kristin Maxwell.

Kristin is a life coach and anxiety coach and the owner of Living All-In Now.

Kristin, I am so happy you are here. Welcome.

Kristen Maxwell: Thank you. I am thrilled to be here, too.

Kim Sutton: Kristen, can you give a little bit about your background or tell a little bit about your background to the audience?

Kristen Maxwell: Yes, I am happy to do that. I have had a little bit of a circuitous path.

I started out actually as my career life as an attorney, a litigate… An attorney. And I did that for 10 years. And when I had my second daughter, realized that I was not very good at balancing the pressure of work with being at home and decided to to stay home. And I did that for many years, and I now have three daughters who are teenagers.

Kristen Maxwell: But when it came time to go back to work, I thought about going back to law, and my insides would just… I froze. And I didn’t understand it because I’d left law but I finally admitted to myself, you know, I really, really want to do something where I am working with people and being very… I’m actually giving something to the world.

Kristen Maxwell: And a couple years ago started my own my own business as a coach and I… I work with women who are high functioning, but who are suffering from a lot of anxiety on the inside, which really gets in the way of them enjoying the life that they built for themselves.

Kim Sutton: Are most of your clients entrepreneurs? Or you know…

Kristen Maxwell: It is a mix. I have clients, some are entrepreneurs, some are business women, some are stay at home moms. And I would say the only thing that sort of unites them is that all of them would consider themselves to be successful in what they’re doing in terms of, they either have a really good family life that they’re really happy about, or they’re working in a job. They might it might not be their ideal job and that’s part of what we move towards, but they’re all pretty happy in their situations, but they realize they’re not enjoying it because of the anxiety.

Kim Sutton: Knowing from personal experience, anxiety can be a vicious beast, especially when a lot of us don’t feel like we can share it and share what we’re going through.

Kristen Maxwell: Yes, I, myself, had anxiety for decades, frankly, I would have said that I was born with anxiety. I don’t know if that’s actually true or not, but my earliest memories are being anxious.

Kristen Maxwell: And even though I was very successful from the outside, I was very often in my head with loops of thoughts that were very hard to deal with. And it was not something that you could talk about because people let you look at you blankly like, just get over it. It’s hard.

Kim Sutton: Yeah, I’m embarrassed to admit that before I experienced it myself, my stepdaughter was experiencing it and expressing her feelings. And I said to my husband a couple times, she just needs to get over it because I didn’t realize… I had never gone through it myself.

Kim Sutton: And it was about actually that same time that I started experiencing. And I felt like I was being choked. It was just a constant state of panic and worrying about 5015 different emotions going through at the same time, and I couldn’t understand why or how to deal.

Kristen Maxwell: Yes, I think that is a fairly common, both what you said it’s hard for people who don’t have anxiety to understand what’s going on in the head of somebody who does.

Kristen Maxwell: And when you have anxiety, I mean, one of the things that I kept saying to myself is this doesn’t make sense. We know why my anxiety was in the form of I worried about death I worried about either me dying, or one of my family members dying or I worried about earthquakes or I worried about meteors hitting the earth. I am not kidding. And it was just this constant background noise of wherever I went, Okay, where is this safe? Is this not safe? You know, if there’s an earthquake, where am I gonna go? My husband and my friends, the few friends that knew what was going on. I would cry and say, I am so crazy, but I’m so sane.

Kim Sutton: It’s very hard. Are there any common causes? Root causes (?). Or is it all over the map?

Kristen Maxwell: Well, it’s, I’ve learned so much about anxiety through my own my own path through seeing people in my family and investigating it there. And anxiety, in my opinion is a combination of a number of factors that happen.

(Transcription still being cleaned up. Thanks for checking it out!)

Kristen Maxwell: I think some people develop anxiety, for example, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, that’s after an instance of something that happens. But if there’s general anxiety, which can show up in a number of different forms, it can show up as something that you wouldn’t necessarily call anxiety. It could look like chronic stress, it could look like perfectionism, you know, insecurity, social anxiety, fear of death, I mean, so some of the the forums that are Anxiety you, somebody might not say, Oh, I’m anxious, they’d say I’m a perfectionist. But the type of people where it sort of overhangs their life. I think it’s a variety of factors from diet, to genetics, to nutritional deficiencies, two habits, to having tools to calm yourself down when you start going in, you know, in a stressful situation, and then changing your brain patterns or your thought patterns. So it’s a six different factors, I think, contribute to anxiety. That was a long answer to your question.

But I think it’s really important. And I thank you for sharing. I mean, it’s important that listeners understand that they can be caused by so many different factors. For me, it was lack of sleep was probably the number one yes, probably two years. I’ve experienced this twice. For two years, at least both times I was sleeping two to three hours a night, consistently. And that lack of sleep had just worn me down. Every part of my body was just revolting, and saying, you got to cut this out. Yes, sleep isn’t the answer to everything. But seriously, as soon as I started allowing myself six to eight hours every night, it was like snap. It turned itself around in a matter of a couple of weeks. But I’m I know that’s not typical, or necessarily how it will work for everybody.

Right? It’s right. And that is one of the interesting things about anxiety is everybody is just a little bit different. You know, in some people, it’s the chicken or the egg, you know, they’re not sleeping, so they get anxiety or they’re anxious, so they can’t sleep. For me sleeping is not an issue. Luckily, but it was more living was the issue, living peacefully and joyfully was the issue and being fully present. And, you know, a lot of traditional anxiety treatment has been to go to therapy. And I think therapy is great. My everybody in my family is a therapist except for me. But my experience with therapy is that it was trying to find out what was what had happened in my past to cause the anxiety It was not. Here is what you need to do to change how you’re living now and how your brain is working now. And another factor what you know whether traditional mode of treatment is medication, and medication will work for some people and some medications work for some people and not others and it’s this whole convoluted string, you know, in a knot, but I think it’s really if you can address everything at once, you’re going to have a much better chance of actually overcoming your anxiety and learning how to live in a way that actually really feels joyful and present for you.

I’m glad you brought up medication.

Because both times for me

it was recommended or actually not I think about it both times I was prescribed medication by various doctors. But it wasn’t addressing the root cause of what the anxiety was. So in the end, both times the medication ended up leading to all those lists of certain people taking this medication may have a dot, dot dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. Yeah, I was one of those. It’s like, Okay, well, why don’t you just list on add on to the list of reasons why I’m having anxiety because now you just added 18 more struggles. But again, that’s something that might not happen to everybody.

Right? It my, from what I’ve learned, it’s very interesting depending on, you know, one of the things that I like my clients to do is we look into their genetics, and we look at to see if they have any nutritional deficiencies, because depending on how your what your chemistry is and what your genetics are, that actually can dictate what types of anxiety anti anxiety or anti depressant medicine will work for you. And so they can now tell and I don’t think they could do this even 10 years ago. You know, if you’ve got this type of mutation in one of your genes, this class of SSRIs is going to work well for you and this type is not which I find Fascinating.

That is so fascinating.

And it’s not something that necessarily in my experience again, and I have my limited experience and from, you know, talking to a number of psychiatrists and psychologists, it’s not something that is necessarily well known. You know, these whole genetic factors are actually nutritional and addressing those in addition to looking at the brain patterns and all of that.

Kristin it did you overcome your anxiety?

I did. I yeah. What was that journey like? That was incredible because I was in in my early 40s, and I had pretty much resigned myself to always being to always having anxiety and I could even see myself waking up in the morning and not having anything to worry about and finding something to worry about, because I just was anxious and my brain needed to attach to something. But I, when I began training as a coach, part of the process is to really go through very intensive training. I mean, coaching yourself. And as part of that process, of course, I worked on my anxiety, I thought this will never work. There’s no way it’s going to work. I’ve tried everything, nothing’s going to work. And ultimately, it did. It was a process primarily through the coaching of learning how to change I the way I explained it is like we, the neuro Connect neurological connections on our brain are like pathways. And I had worn such deep ruts into my anxious pathways that no matter what happened, I went down those What if types of paths, and it was a matter of learning. You know, I had to learn a lot and to look at a lot of things, but then it was literally just a matter of retraining my brain. When something happened not to go down those paths, I had to form new pathways. And it went from where I used to think literally, and the sounds crazy. I’ve used to think about people dying in my family or worrying or, you know, 30 times a day, easily. And now, I probably have that type of thought maybe twice a week, and I know what to do with it. And I catch it and I put it away really fast. It has been the most incredible transformation. And so that’s one of the reasons why I actually went into anxiety, coaching because it can change the quality of your life, forever learning how to do this.

Absolutely, I can

And then taking care of your own anxiety. I mean, that opened up a huge door of opportunity, I’m sure for not only you, but your whole family. I can only imagine if I were dealing with your type of anxiety. I would never leave my house. And I wouldn’t want my kids or my husband or anybody else to like, leave either.

Yes, that was one of those. I used to actually have my therapist tell me you shouldn’t have kids until you deal with this, you know, until it goes away. And one of the best things about this is I am able with my daughters to model what it’s like to be anxious about something and to talk it through. So I do a lot of outloud talking. You know, I’m feeling really anxious and very sad about what happened and this is what I’m doing to handle it. And these are the steps that I go through, and I’m getting stuck on this and I talk it through, and they go, Oh, Mom, be quiet, stop doing your life coaching stuff. But then they do it themselves too. And so I love that. Yeah, so they’re learning how to handle. They’re learning real tools for how to handle the stressors that come up in life. real ones, not the imaginary and imaginary ones which was

which I was focused on.

My son’s have seen very different personalities and trains of thought from me and their dad. And we’re divorced now. So clearly, when they’re in my house, it’s, especially with my husband now, we think an entirely different way, but I can’t say how he and his wife thing, but they’re, from what I can see. They’re very much I don’t want to say realists, Kristen. Yes or no? Like, logical, like, what’s going on right now? But I don’t. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m very positive and optimistic and the world is open for any opportunity that we have. So they will get, especially my older one who will be 15. Soon, he’ll get anxious about things. And then also worry about things that happened in the past, especially with friends. I mean, when you’ve got high schoolers, and you have three teenagers, they can dwell. Yes, what I’ve had to remind them, it’s happened already whatever’s happened has happened. So you can either learn and use what you learned and move on. Or you can continue focusing on it. But it’s not going to help. So make today and tomorrow better. How do you handle it with your daughters?

Well, I have because that is hard. It’s normal and human to dwell and it’s especially for hormonal teenagers who are, you know, especially where social situations are so important, and they have no perspective of on how they’re going to survive and still are a good person. And I have learned, and I try to talk them through a process where they’re really, actually paying attention to what they’re feeling in their body, when they’re worried or sad or anxious. And trying to get out of their head. We know with the thoughts that are going in circles and taking them nowhere productive. and teaching them it’s really a form of mindfulness. But it’s where instead of pushing away those scary, ugly thoughts, it’s acknowledging, I feel really, you know, sad or angry at myself that I act that way and Just going in there and sitting with it. And the funny thing is, and I’ve heard somebody say it that fear is the only thing that gets smaller as you go towards it. There’s something magical about acknowledging our feelings without thought that helps your your body, your nervous system and your brain to process them and let go.

Do you have a journal?

Yes, journal, I do journal. I do journal. And sometimes I use a combination of trying to be very you know, feeling my feelings the way I just described, and then also writing out my thoughts because I find that my thoughts start just going in circles.

Do you journal?

Oh, yeah, I, I journal. I try to journal once a day, some days. I’m just so exhausted and I usually end my day journaling. I’d love to get into the habit of journaling every morning when I wake. Yes. And then journal is when I’m closing up the day as well. But I agree, I mean, sometimes, well, not sometimes more often than not journaling my feelings and everything that is going through my head, which sometimes it just seems like the whole world is trying to speak through me. Just getting that onto paper allows my brain peace so I can sleep better, which is why I’ve had it as my end of day routine.

Yes, that is a really good idea to teach everybody, anybody who’s not how to journal and get those thoughts out, and they’ve, you know, they’ve shown that there’s something in writing them down, which has a little bit of a healing power as if you had spoken them aloud. So it’s very Very helpful to journal and a lot of my coaching process with people moving through anxiety involves a lot of writing, and a lot of getting below some of the assumptions that you’ve just been making and beliefs you’ve had your whole life without ever questioning them.

Do you use NLP at all in your practice?

I do not use NLP. So I think it’s great, but I have not been trained in it.

I’ve personally never had anybody. Teacher trainer use, I don’t even know that’s the right expression NLP on me. I’m just very intrigued. So I had to ask.

Yes, yes, I think with a lot of these sorts of modalities of healing, there are modalities that work really well for for different people. And you know, if You’ve got something that’s bothering you, that’s not working well for your life. My, really my philosophy is try anything, do anything and you never know what’s gonna work or not.

Are there any base practices that you

try to establish with your clients when you start working on them? Or does it really and I know we’ve discussed this already, does it truly vary from every client to a next? I guess what I’m trying to ask Are there any similar or same daily practices from one client to the next?

It was more my experience what each person with anxiety is open to doing varies at the beginning, because some people already meditate and some people already exercise and a big part of handling anger. At and keeping your body you know, and this more calm state is to incorporate habits into your body like into your into your daily life, like exercise or meditation or yoga or walking. So I will ask everybody to incorporate some sort of peaceful habit into their life. That’s not going to make the anxiety go away. But it does help teach your body what it feels like when it’s calm. And I have a number of other suggestions that I make along the way, which some people again are more open to than others because it turns out that there if you are eating foods that you have sensitivities to without knowing it, this can inflammation in your body, including in your brain, and then that can very much lead to anxiety and depression. So if the people are open to it, we explore changing the diet and removing some of the more inflammatory foods like dairy, and gluten and soy. So anyway, does that answer your question? Absolutely.

And I think we might have to have you back for another episode just to even discuss how those types of foods could impact that is so intriguing to me.

Oh, it is. It’s fascinating. And the thing is, is it’s some people have been talking about the impact of diet on our health, but they’re really just starting to recognize how much of an impact it can have on our mental health also. So it’s fascinating, and there’s a lot a lot to learn.


Kristin, this has been an amazing chat. Where can listeners find you online and learn more about you and what you do?

Well, if they would like to have a list of the multiple factors that go into causing and aggravating anxiety, I have a list of those factors that all need to be addressed to overcome it, and they can go to living all in now.com forward slash positive, and that will give them the, what I call is the mind freedom formula for anxiety.

Mind freedom formula for anxiety. I love that listeners before Kristin shares more about where we can find her online. Just so you know, all of the links and resources that she’s mentioned plus of the show notes and the full transcription can be found on my website at thekimsutton.com/pp150.

Kristen, where else can the listeners find you online,

I have a website living all in now calm where there are more resources you can look to for trying starting the process of overcoming anxiety. And you can also find me in a Facebook group living all in. And if you join the group, I post links to articles that I’ve come across that I find very helpful in creating and living your best life without anxiety.

Kim Sutton: Kristin, thank you so much again for joining us today. I know I found that really helpful and I’m sure listeners will as well. Do you have any parting words of inspiration or hope that you’d like to offer to listeners?

Kristen Maxwell: I do. If you are struggling with anxiety, you know, even if it comes in it goes if it’s something that is pattern that you’ve lived with. Even if you’ve tried a number of things, it really is possible to overcome that anxiety and learn how to live without it so that you can really fully step into the person you were meant to be. And enjoy your family, enjoy your career and just enjoy life.