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Insights at the Edge
Tami Simon's in-depth audio podcast interviews with leading spiritual teachers and luminaries.
Listen in as they explore their latest challenges and breakthroughs—the leading edge of their work.
Resolving Anxiety At Its Root, Part 1
Dr. Friedemann Schaub is a physician best known for his breakthrough programs for the treatment of fear and anxiety disorders. The author of the Sounds True book The Fear and Anxiety Solution, Dr. Schaub has developed a method of self-empowerment that combines his medical expertise with NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), timeline therapy, and clinical hypnotherapy. In the first half of a two-part conversation on Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Friedemann about how we can develop a language that lets the subconscious and conscious mind work in harmony. Dr. Schaub also outlines the root causes of anxiety and leads us through the Pattern Resolution Process for resolving emotional wounds. (69 minutes)
Tami Simon: You’re listening to Insights at the Edge. Today my guest is Dr. Friedemann Schaub. Friedemann is a physician specializing in cardiology and molecular biology who has helped thousands of people with his Breakthrough and Empowerment Program that combines his medical expertise with NLP, timeline therapy, clinical hypnotherapy, and more.
With Sounds True, Friedemann has written a new book called The Fear and Anxiety Solution: A Breakthrough Process for Healing and Empowerment with Your Subconscious Mind. He’s also created a four-session audio series where he leads listeners in guided practices for tapping the power of the subconscious mind.
In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Friedemann and I spoke about how to develop a language such that the subconscious and the conscious mind can work in collaboration. We also talked about the three root causes of anxiety, and Friedemann led us through a process he’s developed for resolving emotional wounds, a process called the Pattern Resolution Process.
Here’s my conversation with a new Sounds True author that I feel so excited to work with, Dr. Friedemann Schaub.
To begin with, Friedemann, how do you define the subconscious mind?
Friedemann Schaub: The subconscious mind is that part of our mind that is underneath the conscious mind. Someone compared it with an iceberg, the conscious mind being that visible part, that what we usually identify—our brain, our intellect, our analytical capacities—they are all connected to the conscious mind.
The subconscious is that which is underneath the surface. That’s the place where, usually, our memories reside, where our emotions come from. It’s a place where we store those habitual patterns and strategies that we just do without even thinking about it.
The subconscious is also responsible for the function of our physical body. You don’t really think consciously how to breathe, or the digestive system doesn’t really have a conscious control. But your subconscious keeps a watchful eye over everything that happens on a physical level as well and makes adjustments accordingly.
So in many ways, the subconscious is that part of our consciousness that takes care of about 80 to 90 percent of our daily activities. And for me, it appears that in order to really make that part of our mind work for us, we need to be more aware of it and also to be able to consciously guide it, direct it, and give it the input it needs for us to really do that which it needs to do in the most beneficial way.
TS: Well, part of the reason that I’m so excited to talk with you is that I’ve long held the belief that it’s our subconscious that has a lot more to do with whatever we’re experiencing in life than our conscious mind.
So often people say, “Well, you know, I’m engaging in conscious business or conscious relations, conscious this or that,” and I think, “Yeah, but it’s your subconscious that’s really running your business or really running your relationship life.” And I wonder what you think about that idea.
FS: I absolutely agree. The subconscious is like a faithful servant. So if, for example, let’s say, the emotions come from the subconscious mind. You know how you know that? Well, you don’t necessarily wake up in the morning and decide, “I’m going to feel grumpy” or “I’m going to feel excited” or “I’m really sad and depressed.” It just happens, and I can explain later on more about how we actually create those emotions.
But the subconscious creates them. So whatever you do during the day will be basically based upon that set point of your subconscious emotional patterns on that day. So if you feel really motivated, you’re going to go about business with all the enthusiasm that you need.
If you feel grumpy, everything’s going to be somewhat frustrating. If you feel depressed, you probably feel like sitting on the desk and doing nothing. So the subconscious—and especially these emotions that come from it—play a huge role in how we go about life and also play a huge role in how we are experiencing life.
These are the filters we often talk about, the subconscious filters that are in front of our perception. And so we look basically at the world through the eyes of the subconscious, and even though, intellectually, certain things we do don’t make sense, they’re still driven by those subconscious filters and those patterns. And you’re right: in many ways we are running our lives more through the subconscious than through our conscious minds.
And that’s a challenge—because often the subconscious has patterns that no longer serve us, which is the reason why many people feel stuck—because they feel like, “I’m doing the same thing, I’m sabotaging myself, I’m not really living up to my potential, but something holds me back. I don’t know exactly what it is.” And it also has a huge opportunity because if you really know how to work with the subconscious, you can tap into potential that you didn’t even know you had.
TS: Well, and that’s what’s important to me and what I want to talk about, which is how you tap into the subconscious. Of course, in-depth analytical therapy—the purpose of it, at least as I understand it, or part of the purpose, is to help the subconscious become conscious. But how can a book or an audio series help me tap my subconscious mind?
FS: Well, it all starts with, first of all, understanding what the subconscious really is and how to connect to it. There is a language that the subconscious understands and speaks that we have to consciously learn. The language is the language of the emotions.
How many people are not listening to their emotions? In fact, in our society, often, especially so-called negative emotions are really all about getting rid of or avoiding or pushing aside or not really buying into. So we are really ignoring part of the language of the subconscious.
Another part of the language is these inner images, the inner visualizations. The subconscious shows those images, for example, in dreams. But even when we’re thinking—if you would close your eyes and think about an event that touched you, maybe an event of your childhood—in that moment, you would have a little movie running on the screen of your mind, and that’s a part of that language as well.
So if you understand that emotions, these inner images, and also physical sensations are how your subconscious communicates, you can first of all listen and learn to understand more the messages that the subconscious sends you. But then you can also use this language to communicate back to the subconscious and guide it and help the subconscious really to be directed by the conscious mind.
And that’s really what also in this book is so important to understand. A lot of the things that pertain to fear and anxiety or the feelings of being stuck are connected to the patterns that the subconscious, at some point, has learned.
These are strategies that appeared, at some point, important or even protective. And unless the subconscious has good reasons to change those patterns, it will, like a faithful servant, just continue to do the same thing over and over again.
So we have a conscious responsibility to learn to work with the subconscious to change the patterns, get an update on what we’re doing and how we’re thinking and seeing life in ourselves. And that’s the difference between the more, let’s say, conscious analytical therapy.
When you work directly with the subconscious, you are having a communication; you’re creating collaboration. If you try simply to analyze over and over and over again, you may be able to wrap your mind consciously around it, but you’re still often bypassing the subconscious.
You’re not really creating a relationship with your subconscious mind, and that’s why the direct connection, the direct collaboration, is such a faster, more accelerated way of feeling than just trying to solve a problem on a conscious level.
TS: OK, so let’s talk more about this direct collaboration. I think I was mostly with you when you were talking about how the subconscious speaks to me. I didn’t follow, though, how I’m going to communicate back to the subconscious. Can you go over that again with me?
FS: Absolutely. So let’s say, for example, you have some anxiety.
TS: Let’s just choose that, for example. It’s true, but I also think it’s a very important topic for so many people.
FS: Right, right. So let’s say you are anxious, and you are going to work, and you have a presentation to give. It’s Monday morning, and you’re expecting in that moment to freeze, and everybody’s going to stare at you, and everybody’s going to just shake their heads in disbelief. Your boss is going to frown. All those kinds of thoughts may go through your mind.
Now, you are aware of the anxiety. That’s a subconscious message that you’re getting. Consciously, you’re saying, “Oh, I have anxiety. Oh, God, what’s going to happen?” But you’re often not aware of what the subconscious does to create the anxiety, like running this movie, having this horror scenario all laid out. Now, this is where you listen, and this is where you can learn to understand better; “Ah, OK, this is how the subconscious perceives the future.”
And what you can do, as a simple example, is to direct the subconscious into what you want the subconscious to experience instead, what you want to have the subconscious look at instead. So you could, for example, sit down and create a scenario inside of you that would show all smiling faces, thumbs up, you’re in the groove, in the zone while you’re giving this talk, and everybody’s completely happy, and you feel confident and empowered while giving this talk.
In that moment, by doing so, you are—for lack of a better word—programming your subconscious to look for opportunities to do that rather than just falling into the pattern of fear and wanting to hide out and becoming invisible because maybe you’ll get judged—all those patterns that may have been deeply ingrained inside of you.
Now, this is only an example of what conscious/subconscious collaboration can look like. The amazing thing about it is that if you do this over and over again, not necessarily for a long time, but just if you guide your subconscious consistently toward what you want, your subconscious actually sees itself now as having a choice. I don’t have to go down the road of feeling anxiety; I can actually see that there is another path, and that path leads to greater happiness, to greater joy.
See, the subconscious has two prime directives, two major goals for us: one is to protect us, and the other one is to make us happy. And so if the protection is the predominant focus, then the anxiety pattern—which often is a protective pattern protecting you from shame, protecting you from getting hurt or rejected—that’s all the subconscious is focusing on.
But if you tell your subconscious, “You know, I also want to be happy, and this is what happiness looks like,” your subconscious is changing its focus, at least partially, to the happiness as well, and the anxiety will be much less predominant than it was before.
TS: So I’m sending these images of being calm and relaxed and doing the presentation and everything going great. How do I know that I’m not covering something up in the process? I’m now taking over the conversation and saying, “I want it to go this way.”
FS: Well—and that’s a very good point, because it’s not about just telling your subconscious, “You know what? I don’t like what you’re doing. Let’s do something else.” Because—in other words, you are ignoring where this pattern of anxiety started, and you’re not really understanding the root cause of it.
And that’s the beauty of working with the subconscious on the past, which the book really describes. It is about going to those places where the pattern of anxiety began and really understanding, “OK, what can I learn from this? How did this come about? And what confusion has there still been at that time that—once I resolve it, I’m actually able then to grow from the past and truly step into my mature, empowered self?”
So this is important not to overlook. Anxiety will continue to show up. If you just say, “OK, I’m going to resolve my anxiety about giving talks by doing this change of my inner visualization and put all the good energy into it,” well, maybe you resolve that issue, but then the symptom of anxiety may show up somewhere else because you haven’t really attended to that deeper, root cause.
TS: OK, so let’s talk about these deeper, root causes. What’s your understanding of the deeper, root causes of anxiety?
FS: Well, I see that there are usually three deeper, root causes that are all working together. In some ways, our mind is incredibly complex, but in other ways, it’s also something that works in patterns and is therefore rather simple to understand.
The three root causes of anxiety that, in my work, have proven over and over to be what really people are stuck in, are: 1) The emotional baggage that we are carrying with us. And what that basically means is that you go through life, and you have, early on in your life already, experiences of trauma, confusion, situations that scare you.
Now, often we don’t really know what to do with those emotions. And so we either suppress them, we push them aside, we don’t want to deal with them. Now, lo and behold, those emotions are piling up inside of us.
We cannot get rid of emotions by ignoring them. They are still inside of us in the subconscious, and eventually they can even be transferred into our physical body, which is the reason why anxiety, for example, and stress, have so much to do with chronic illnesses like heart diseases and chronic pain and autoimmune disease.
So these emotions that are piling up inside of us make us feel more and more susceptible to having anxiety because it’s like the threshold to the anxiety gets lower and lower and lower. And so we just get anxious by the smallest situations.
Some of you can also relate to this with grief and sadness. If you have a lot of sadness inside, the smallest commercial, or you see a child crying, or anything that doesn’t seem to be a big deal makes you feel all the grief and all the sadness that you haven’t dealt with, and that’s true also for anxiety.
So that’s one big aspect: really knowing that in order to overcome and work through and heal anxiety, you need to create a clean slate of this emotional baggage that you have been carrying with you that weighs you down.
The second root cause is the inner conflicts that people often have, and they’re often battling with themselves. It’s a little tug of war that can have many different forms, but one of the most common ones is that there is a part of a person that feels confident, that feels motivated, that wants to have a better life or reach goals or move forward.
And there seems to be another part that holds this person back: the part that feels anxious, insecure, doesn’t really want to take any risks, would rather hide out or play it safe. So whenever there is a step forward, something seems to pull back. And what people who are stuck—and anxiety is certainly a very common way of getting stuck—feel is that they’re like a car that cannot really move forward.
It may be a powerful car, but somehow the brakes are pulled, and all that happens is just the wheels are spinning, the energy is drained, and no progress is made. And really understanding this inner conflict and which parts are fighting which leads, obviously, once you resolve it, to a greater sense of wholeness and congruency.
And then the third root cause is these core beliefs, these core beliefs of ourselves or the world that in some ways are the laws of the universe, the laws of our own universe. So if you, for example, believe that you are not good enough, no matter how many successes you have, no matter what good you’re doing in life, you will always feel somehow not good enough.
Or when you believe that people are just going to hurt you—you are in a relationship, but you will look in that relationship for signs that the person you’re with is going to hurt you. And automatically, you will not find trust and comfort with that person.
In some ways, you’re even going to see, “Well, maybe I’m provoking the end of the relationship because I don’t believe this person really means well.” And that is not necessarily the truth, but your beliefs shape the truth according to that.
And so when you address the emotional baggage and are able to let it go, when you are able to resolve the inner conflicts, identify your core limiting beliefs, and change them to believe what you actually want to believe in and grow into, you truly have addressed the root causes of fear and anxiety and have created a new foundation of self.
And from that foundation, then you can build new patterns of behavior and new patterns of approaching life, just like we talked about—you know, going to have a talk from a place of confidence—that really will last and will be permanent.
TS: Well, I’m very interested—and I imagine our listeners are, too—in resolving all three of these root causes. They all three seem very rich, very deep, and quite honestly, very difficult.
Maybe you don’t think they’re that difficult, but let’s go through each one, and help me, Friedemann, resolve each one of these. Let’s start with emotional baggage. How do I process and digest a lifetime of unprocessed and undigested emotions?
FS: Yes. Sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it? Especially when you consider that there are so many events that you may not even remember that have caused you to feel anxious, and they’re still stored in your subconscious.
Many people I’m working with came to me because they had—in their 30s, in their 40s—a remembrance, for example, of abuse that they had not had before. It was somehow—whether they had the space to remember, or it was just a certain situation—sometimes even when people have some physical therapy or get an acupuncture treatment, all of a sudden there is this very, very visceral and strong memory coming up of a traumatic event that they haven’t even recalled until that point.
And so you wonder, “Well, how much baggage is there that I don’t even know? How many times have I been scared and have no idea because it has been just like a blur for me, or it has been put in this big bag?”
Now, the beauty about the subconscious: you don’t have to remember all those events, and you don’t have to address them individually. In fact, when you work with the subconscious, you can use the intelligence of the subconscious, the wisdom, to direct the subconscious to do what it can best, which is to look at patterns and extrapolate certain responses or strategies to patterns.
So what do I mean with that? Let’s say there is a reason why we have stored these emotions, like anxiety, and the reason is not just because we haven’t dealt with them and so we just pushed them aside.
The reason is actually that these emotions are trying to tell us something. These emotions are actually like little red flags that are telling us, “You know what? There is something in the past that you need to go back to because this is, for you, still an opportunity to learn and grow.”
Remember, we are here to evolve. We are not here just to survive. We are actually here to evolve and grow, and the library of life, in many ways, is the past. We can go back into the past and learn so much from it. But what drives us back into the past is not necessarily the events, but the emotions that we have attached to them.
And so if you feel that there is an event that you still feel anxious about, that is like this prompting of the subconscious, telling you, “You know, there is a reason why you think about these events or why those events are coming up for you—maybe even in your dreams—because there is still something for you to learn.”
So there is a process called the Pattern Resolution Process, which is based upon different processes from neurolinguistic programming, among those, timeline therapy. The Pattern Resolution Process that I developed is a process that allows you to go back into the past to one of those events where you had anxiety. Ideally, you want to pick an event early on in your life.
You are able to look at this event from a different vantage point—from a point of so-called higher learning, from a point where you don’t feel sucked into the emotions, where you don’t feel that you have to relive the trauma and in this way retraumatize yourself.
From that higher place of learning, you can look at this event and truly understand more: “What is there for me to learn? What confusion was at the core of it? What is the growth opportunity?” There are specific questions that I suggest for you to ask.
Now, when you learn from this event, and when you really incorporate this learning, what happens is that the subconscious will let go of this anxiety, this emotional charge. And you’re going to actually feel—not only this emotion lifting—you can actually see it lifting out of this event. And as this emotion is lifting out of the event, you know it has resolved. And you can even go, then, into the memory and realize, “Wow, I don’t feel anything. I feel I really have learned from it, and it’s done. It’s complete.”
Now, what’s so amazing about the subconscious—if you do this one or maybe two times, the subconscious understands that this is how you are now releasing these emotions, how you can take on the learnings, and how those learnings are actually applicable for all these other events, these many events where you repeated the same pattern of anxiety.
The context may have changed, but what’s the same is how you responded with anxiety, with certain protective strategies that we can get into later on—how you responded to those events with that emotional pattern of anxiety.
And so the subconscious can take the learnings from what you already did in the first step or in the first memory you addressed and then extrapolate them to all those events that followed that event.
The beauty of it is that you can really release decades of emotional baggage in a matter of minutes. Because the subconscious, like in a domino effect, can now take the learnings, take them and install them in your mind, and you will continue to grow as you go through this process. But the emotions are no longer necessary to stay in your subconscious mind and release.
Afterwards, you can always go back and see, “OK, did this really work? Do I still feel anxiety about these events, or is it gone?” And what people usually feel is that they can remember that they had this emotional charge. They can remember that they were scared, but they don’t feel it anymore. There is no physical or emotional response. It’s completely neutral. And that shows you that it has resolved.
TS: Now, Friedemann, I’m going to put you right on the spot here. Is it possible for you to talk us through this Pattern Resolution Process? Could people work with, maybe, a memory that’s not the biggest, hugest memory that is difficult for them, but maybe something small, and actually do this process with you right now?
FS: Absolutely. It’s possible. The only thing that I would suggest is to go through the process later on, either through the book or the CDs, because addressing one event will give you a resolution of this one event, but what you really want is to take that event and then, as I said, extrapolate it to other events. And that probably would be taking a little bit too long, for this program, to do.
But what we can do is certainly work with that one event that you want to choose. And so what you want to do is just to let yourself get comfortable and let your eyes fall closed. So if you’re driving at the moment, that’s not a good idea to do that. But if you are at home or just have a moment to really relax and know that you will not be disturbed, take a few breaths to center yourself. In and out.
And then tap into the emotion that you would like to resolve. For example, the emotion of anxiety. Think about a recent event where you felt scared, anxious, insecure, worried. And notice where in your body you feel this emotion. Is it in your chest? Is it in your neck, in your throat? Is there pressure in your forehead? Just become aware of where this emotion gets transferred into your physical body.
And as you feel this emotion, allow your subconscious to take you back in time, take you back in time to an event that may simply show up for you right now. An event that may simply show up for you right now that you can remember, early on in your life, where you felt similar. And as you are, right now, tapping into an event—your subconscious presents this to you, you don’t have to over-think it. There may be just this one event popping up for you.
Allow yourself simply to look at this event from above. Rather than being in the event, look at this event as if you have the bird’s eye view. Now, I would like you to take the opportunity to ask your subconscious if it is OK for you, right now, to actually go inside the event and look through the eyes of who you were at that time or if it’s better for you just to stay outside.
And if it is OK for you to go inside, just simply tap into the memory. Then look through your own eyes. Quickly remember what you felt and what you experienced. And then come out of this event again, back to the bird’s eye view.
Now, what I would like you to do is to go even a little bit further, back and higher up, looking at this event from an even higher vantage point. Look down onto this event and then ask yourself: was it your fault? Whatever happened in this event, was it your fault that you felt these emotions or whatever was going on in this event? Just ask yourself whether it was your fault or not.
And then ask yourself whether there is anything that you have taken on from the people outside of you; whether, at that time, there were emotions; whether, at that time, there was some kind of maybe anxiety or insecurity that you have sponged up and taken on.
And then ask yourself, if this is the case, is this really in your best interest: to take on other people’s emotions or maybe even their beliefs? And then look down again and ask yourself: if a person who dearly loves and cares about this younger self in that event would look at this situation, how would this person interpret the situation and maybe interpret it differently than you have in the past? So think about if a grandmother or a friend or a loving aunt or teacher looked at this event and saw what happened there, what would this person say about this event, about you and whatever happened to you?
And finally, ask yourself whether there are any other empowering or liberating insights and lessons that you can learn from this memory. Those lessons and insights may come to you directly, or you may actually feel that somehow you’re receiving more subconscious messages that may come to your conscious awareness later on or in your dreams. Just allow whatever you need to learn simply now to be learned.
And then I would like you, in your mind, to address this younger self. And tell this younger self in the event whatever you feel, from your heart, that this part of you needs to hear. Maybe the lessons that you have learned right now. Maybe it needs to hear words of understanding, compassion, and forgiveness. Maybe it needs to hear something about the confusion it had and insights that will resolve the confusion. And while you’re addressing, from your heart, this younger self, send this younger self in this event love and light from your heart.
Imagine that you are able to fill up this younger self with love and light, and as you do so and continue to communicate with reassurance and comfort from your heart, you can see and feel how this anxiety that was stored inside this younger self is lifting out off that person, out of this event, like dark clouds, like a weight that is lifting. And it gives way for you to really see into the heart of this younger self.
Make sure that all this anxiety is lifting from this event. Maybe you could even imagine that this younger self is changing the physical posture, or maybe the facial expression is relaxing. And then take a look into the heart of this younger self, and imagine that you can see in the heart. That’s what was covered up by this anxiety: the essence of its being. We all have that essence, this core energy. You can even visualize it as a light inside of us.
And just imagine that you can see this light inside this younger self, and get a sense of its qualities. Whether it’s love, compassion, joy, innocence—whatever you feel, pay attention to it. Appreciate and love that energy of that younger self, and feel how this energy’s expanding, how it now has the space to expand and expand and expand, until all of this younger self is filled with that energy. Surround it with your love, like a protective shield, where all negativity from the outside is simply bouncing off.
And if you choose to, you can also send understanding and compassion and forgiveness to anyone who was involved in this event, but let them simply become more and more two-dimensional, maybe more transparent, until whatever was going on, whoever was involved there and is no longer necessary for this event to hold onto, can disappear and dissolve, and all you can see is that little bright self, shining the light of its true essence in that moment.
You can even go down now and simply embrace this younger self. Give it a hug. Hold it to your heart. Feel the change that you have made, the change that goes beyond your intellectual understanding. Allow this to happen.
And then float right back up to the higher perspective. And know that this event can be the catalyst for your subconscious to use the information, the healing that you have created, and extrapolate it through all other events that were falling into the same patterns.
But for right now, allow yourself to come back right above now. And then, if you choose, you can peek down onto yourself. Take a moment to look into the heart of yourself in the now. And realize that the same brilliance, the same light is still present inside of you. The same qualities that you have found in that younger self are still with you. Focus on that light.
And then simply let yourself gently drift back inside of yourself, aiming for this light for you to anchor yourself back in, into this moment, into your body, into your now. Take a deep breath in. Exhale. Welcome back.
TS: Thank you.
FS: You’re welcome.
TS: Now, this idea that the subconscious operates in patterns—this process that you began teaching us, the Pattern Resolution Process—can you help me understand that more? Is this a fact, or this just your own observation from working with clients, this pattern?
FS: I think we all make this observation. It’s quite remarkable to think about when you go back to visit the town you grew up in or you visit your parents or your family. How many times do we fall back into those childhood patterns that we thought we had outgrown, but in the context of that environment, you basically just go right back into feeling maybe not good enough, or you’re feeling you have to somehow compete with your siblings or somehow you have to just shut up and be invisible.
So these are patterns that, in this example, you can realize, “Wow, this is where they come from.” And then you can realize, “I’m actually repeating myself quite often. I go to a party, meet new people, and in that moment, I’m like 12 years old and just really feel that I compare myself with everybody else and just don’t feel that I’m fitting in. And I have not fit in or believed I haven’t fit in since I was 12 years old.”
Or you believe that you have to be the pleaser in order to overcome anxiety because you believe: “Only if I make sure that everybody is OK and nobody is mad at me and nobody has any reason to criticize me, I’m truly safe.”
Now, these patterns are often protective strategies that we have taken on to simply—for lack of a better word—survive. Because we believed at that time, “Well, life is not safe. I am not safe. So I have to do something in order to survive that keeps me safe.”
And so we take on those strategies, and the strategies can be being invisible, can be being hyper-vigilant, trying to control every little detail of life. As I said, it can be the pleaser, it can be the perfectionist, it can be the chameleon who just perfectly blends in. Some people become the rebels or become the people that feel they need to be in charge and take the power from others so that they cannot do it to themselves. So there are a whole variety of protective strategy patterns.
The energies that drive the patterns are usually anxiety and insecurity. And the examples of when you lived those patterns and acted according to them—there are probably hundreds in your life. So when you understand that this is where the pattern comes from, this is what the pattern actually teaches me, this is what I can learn from it, then those patterns can resolve.
And you will just learn, then, as a next step, after you don’t feel inclined to respond to certain outside triggers in the same patterns, you can learn to take on new patterns, patterns that feel much more in alignment with who you want to be or who you are than who you were at the time when you really were more focused on “How can I make it in this world? How can I somehow survive?”
TS: Now, Friedemann, you talked about there being three core roots to anxiety. And we began by talking about the emotional baggage and went into this Pattern Resolution Process, which you gave us a powerful taste of. And now, as you’re talking, you seem to be also hinting at these core beliefs that we may have formed early in our lives.
So can you talk a little bit about that, what these core beliefs are? And then, of course, the important thing: how we introduce new beliefs that are more positive, that aren’t as damaging as, perhaps, old core beliefs.
FS: Now, in some ways, you can look at our subconscious and the structure of the subconscious that is based upon the experiences that we had in our lives as a tree. So maybe the furthest branches are the most recent examples of beliefs and more the symptoms of “I cannot speak in public” or maybe “I will not really advance at work” or maybe “I will never get married.” So these are all more like the symptom beliefs.
But if you follow the branches down to the root, you usually find greater core beliefs, meaning those beliefs that basically are at the root of how you perceive yourself and how you perceive the world. And those beliefs are beliefs that are more fundamental. For example: “I’m fundamentally not lovable,” “I’m fundamentally not good enough,” “I fundamentally don’t belong here,” “I fundamentally believe that I cannot trust; the world isn’t a safe place.”
And of course, the expressions can go into all different kinds of specific contexts and situations, but what you need to find first is: “What are my real, deeper core beliefs?” And then from that place, once you change a core belief and really help yourself to release it and take on a new belief, then once again, it ripples out into how you see all these little situations differently.
Many people I’ve worked with have felt unlovable and just not good enough. And so they are expressing themselves in that insecure, sometimes needy, and often really anxious way. And that, of course, gets reinforced over and over again. Beliefs are definitely creating self-fulfilling prophecies.
So as I said, the way that we are shaping our lives is very much in alignment with our beliefs. And then when they are accepting that they are actually able to love and appreciate themselves or that they have all the resources inside that they need to create a successful and happy life, all of a sudden the environment is changing and shifting.
It’s quite amazing how many people have been stuck in relationships that they felt they probably have to leave after they have overcome their anxiety because it’s just not working. But lo and behold, as they were changing and they saw more of their worthiness, their partners were changing. And they became, somehow, more open, more loving, and much more the partners that they always wanted to have.
That’s the same with jobs; that’s the same with even health. It’s quite remarkable how the ripple effect of changing a core belief truly changes your life. Now, how do you do it? Well, first you are focusing on identifying your core beliefs.
And once again, this is a process where you want to consciously collaborate with your subconscious mind—and this is something that you will also do as you’re working through the book The Fear and Anxiety Solution. But then, once you have that, you realize that core belief is creating some kind of an identity inside of you.
What that means is that—you have a belief of “I’m not good enough.” Well, at first glance, these are just words. But the words are translated in emotions, which are, as I said at the beginning, the language of the subconscious. So you feel, with “I’m not good enough,” a heaviness, you feel a tension, you may feel a lack of energy.
And then, if you go one step further, you can ask yourself, “How does my subconscious, and how do I, perceive myself when I believe I’m not good enough and when I have those feelings?” It’s almost like this inner identity, this negative, anxious, insecure identity that you have that, once you become aware of it, you now actually have the leverage to change it.
And by changing it, obviously, you need to, again, learn from those beliefs and learn what they were based upon. Do these beliefs really have any legs to stand on? Are they based upon traumas or based upon imprints from other people, based upon what you were told versus who you really are?
And then you are forming a new belief, and that new belief is what you really, truly believe you want to grow into. Now, a new belief is not necessarily the belief that you already have. A new belief of “I’m successful, I’m lovable, I can create the life I want”—that may still be something that you have to grow into. But you know this is where you want to move forward.
And so you do the same process. You look at the words that really resonate with you that would replace the old belief, you feel the feelings that you would want to associate with it, and then you create this internal representation of that new, empowered self. And then, in the process that’s described, you can actually exchange the old identity with the new one.
TS: Now, Friedemann, a lot of people work with affirmations and have found this to be useful. And some people have found it not to be very useful. What do you think about that, in terms of replacing negative core beliefs?
FS: Well, I think affirmations are better than not. But in general, you can make affirmations certainly more effective if you are not letting an affirmation just be wishful thinking or nice-sounding words without really letting them trickle down into your subconscious—and from your subconscious, letting them trickle down into your cells.
One of the processes that I love to do is the process of actually installing a new belief and a new identity into your cellular memory. It’s called the Empowerment Accelerator. And what you do is basically take a new belief as an affirmation; you feel these very empowering feelings, which, in that case, really are the bridge from the conscious to the subconscious. You see that inner image, which gives the subconscious something to direct, to focus on, to move forward with.
And then you do go through a series of physical movements that then anchor that feeling, that image, and the words into your physical body. What’s amazing is that you really can believe and live and be this affirmation 100 times faster than if you would just repeat it over and over in your mind. And it only takes about two to three minutes a day to do so. The more leverage you have, the more angles you have to work with your subconscious, the faster it changes its mind.
TS: When you’re working with “installing” a new belief, how do you know when it’s all the way installed versus, you know, “25 percent of me believes this new belief, but the rest of me is still attached to the old belief”?
FS: Well, you know, at the beginning, it’s certainly something where you will feel that belief right after going through, for example, the Empowerment Accelerator—stronger. You’re like a tuning fork. You’re vibrating with this belief, you can feel it, you can see it. But then it gets put to the test. Then you go to work, and then maybe your colleague is again not talking to you, or you get some kind of a pile of emails that you feel overwhelmed by.
So that means, in that time, you have to make readjustments and remind yourself: “This is actually no longer my old pattern—to feel overwhelmed or anxious or insecure. This is my new belief.” And then this is the point of expanding from the moment of feeling good, from doing this empowerment accelerator, into your daily life.
And it takes some time. I ask people to do this for 30 days straight and have 30 days of empowerment accelerator every day. It’s a two-minute investment. But then after you do that, at the end of those 30 days, look at evidence where you actually were living this new, empowered self.
See, it’s not only one way to tell your subconscious, “You know, this is what I want. OK, let’s go for it”—but then never really acknowledging when you actually did succeed in achieving what you wanted in living this new, empowered self. You have to give your subconscious positive feedback and really reinforce these patterns over and over again.
And what you’re going to notice is that they will continue to grow, and the timeframes where you can be in this higher vibration of self will be longer and longer. And lo and behold, it’s like second nature to you.
TS: Now, you’re talking about spending 30 days doing a process that could take a few minutes a day, maybe beginning by immersing oneself a little deeper. You know, people have been trying to change limiting core beliefs sometimes for decades. Thirty days doesn’t sound very long to me.
FS: Exactly! That’s what I say. [Laughs] It’s really not very long. And it doesn’t take very long—because you are using the principles that can basically change anyone’s mind.
And those principles are that you have a clear direction on where you want to go, you have the consistency and the commitment to make these adjustments every day, and you have the positive reinforcement that gives you the feeling of success, the feeling of accomplishment. And all that creates that faster and more accelerated change.
TS: As you’re talking, some part of me is like, “I’m not sure if I believe Friedemann that it can happen in 30 days.” I mean, here we have what percentage of the population on anti-anxiety medication of some kind or another, and you’re offering The Fear and Anxiety Solution, and it doesn’t sound that hard, and I can listen to you guiding me on audio through this process? There’s a gap here. Help me understand this.
FS: Well, and once again, it’s not—and this is, I think, what people are often looking for—what they’re looking for is that one exercise, that one tool, that one light switch that you can use, and then everything is changed. The Fear and Anxiety Solution is not that light switch. It’s a journey, it’s a path, and it’s an empowerment program.
So if you were only to say, “Hey, you know what? I’m just going to do this Empowerment Accelerator, and everything’s going to be fine”—as one exercise, it wouldn’t create the same result as when you go through, let’s say, the clean-up process of your past that leads to you recognizing more, “This is actually much more the truth of who I am,” which we talk about as your foundation.
And then on that place of having a clean slate, having a deeper understanding, having the past literally left behind, then you can rebuild new beliefs, and then you have the fertile ground to have a belief also stick and really make it a permanent change. Otherwise, you’re constantly, basically, fighting yourself.
We didn’t talk about the third root cause of fear and anxiety, which is the inner conflict. So there is a part of you, a part of your subconscious that still holds onto anxiety. Let’s say a part of you has learned, “You know what? I have to keep Tami safe, so I’m the one who always makes sure that she’s very hyper-vigilant—because only through hyper-vigilance, or only when she is becoming invisible and doesn’t lean herself too far out, can she be safe. That’s my job.”
So this inner protector has been developed early on in your life, and it will faithfully be your bodyguard. And if you are trying, then, consciously, to force a new belief onto yourself that says, “No, I am safe, I am empowered, I am confident,” that inner protector—because you haven’t worked with it—will say, “No, no, no, this is dangerous. What are you doing? Are you thinking of all of a sudden feeling good about yourself? What if you just get again disappointed, destroyed, hurt? I have to make my efforts even stronger now because you’re putting yourself into danger.”
And so as long as you haven’t created inner peace and wholeness on that level, you will definitely still be in an inner struggle with either feeing anxiety or feeling empowered. This is why it is the solution—because you are setting, basically, the space, creating the foundation to move forward by not ignoring all these little aspects that are important to address before you move forward.
And once you have removed and released the emotional baggage, and you have created this inner wholeness, then you are ready to also release your limiting beliefs—because the limiting core beliefs are no longer fueled by old emotions. They’re no longer held inside of you by the part of you that feels anxious.
The limiting belief, at that time, basically doesn’t have any tether to be really firmly installed in your subconscious and can be released much more easily and replaced much more easily with something more positive and empowering. There’s just not the same resistance inside anymore. You literally have a new start, and that’s really important to see.
This is not about just making false hopes and saying, “Well, it’s so easy. You can do it in 30 days.” No, you also have to really address those issues that, in the past, you may have not been able to address because maybe you just didn’t see them as clearly as you can see them now.
TS: Friedemann, there are a lot of other things I’d like to talk with you about, so we’ll have to have another conversation. But for now, just one final question, which is: it sounds like, from a title like The Fear and Anxiety Solution, that perhaps the goal is to forever banish fear and anxiety.
And of course, I think we all know that certain fears are useful, like if we step out on the street, it’s good to have a fear response so that we jump back on the curb and don’t get run over by a car. So obviously, functional fear makes sense. That’s always going to be with us.
But then I think what you’re referring to is the unnecessary fears that we have of things that might happen. And then, of course, anxiety—all of the ways that we’re anxious about X, Y, Z occurring in the future.
So is your view that when you go through this journey, this program, that there’s never really a point to ever feeling anxiety again? Is it gone forever?
FS: No. Actually, the opposite. You actually don’t want to get rid of anxiety forever because you will understand that anxiety is a very important inner messenger.
Let’s say, for example, your vestibular system—the inner ear balance system—if that would be your anxiety—well, if you are feeling dizzy, if you are feeling something is spinning, it’s not the room that’s spinning, and it’s not the ground that’s shaking. It’s something internally that is not working and needs to have some adjustment.
And that’s the same with anxiety. When we have anxiety, we naturally look for something externally that may be threatening us. We feel that maybe somebody doesn’t like us, or maybe there is a challenge that we will not be able to master, or something horrible is going to happen to us that is not in our control. And we are not looking internally at what the anxiety actually tries to tell us.
Most of our anxieties—those anxieties that are these constant undercurrents, these constant entrapments we feel—are not here to torture us, and they’re not here for us to look outside of us for the resolution. They are actually about reminding us that we are internally out of center and out of balance.
And what I mean by that is, let’s say—and this is something that you can also find in the book—there’s a list, like a checklist, that you can go through that will allow you to look at the most common reasons, the most common triggers for fear and anxiety that have nothing to do with external circumstances but all to do with yourself.
So those triggers can be, for example, that you haven’t really taken care of your physical needs. It’s very common that people don’t have breakfast. It’s very common that people push themselves so hard; they don’t sleep enough.
You create an imbalance inside, and your anxiety tells you, “You know, you better take better care of yourself here. This is not really healthy, what you’re doing.” We don’t interpret it this way, but that’s really what the anxiety tries to tell you.
Or, let’s say there’s a person that you’re struggling with, and you give that person a lot of power by constantly wondering, “What is this person thinking? Why does this person not like me? Why do I feel like I’m always judged?” So you are getting outside of your center, into the mind of somebody else. And the further you do this, the more anxiety you create.
Now, the anxiety doesn’t tell you, “Oh yes, watch out. This person is really somebody you need to be afraid of.” No, the anxiety tells you, “You have left yourself. You’re living outside of yourself. Come back. Go back into your center.”
And so you want the anxiety as this inner guide, this inner compass, that actually tells you when you’re off track, that tells you when you’re losing your power, that tells you when you’re not really living in harmony and balance with yourself.
But what you can do in the future, after you work through all of this, you can look at the anxiety like a faithful friend that tells you, “All right, I need to make some adjustment. I can see maybe I have been chasing after a goal versus really attending to myself. I can see that I have taken things personally or made some assumptions that are not healthy for me.”
And then you address those triggers. You address what’s really going on. And the anxiety completely disappears within a very short amount of time.
So it’s really a wonderful way of seeing anxiety actually as a very helpful sensation, similar to other sensations that are helpful. You know, when you’re tired, you go to bed. When you’re hungry, you eat something. When you’re thirsty, you drink something. And when you’re anxious, you know now what to do and how to respond to it, to stay whole, to stay healthy, and to stay in balance.
TS: That’s very clarifying, thank you. And we will have to talk again. I’ve been talking to Dr. Friedemann Schaub. He’s the author of a new book called The Fear and Anxiety Solution: A Breakthrough Process for Healing and Empowerment with Your Subconscious Mind. He’s also created, with Sounds True, an audio learning course featuring guided mediations for working with the subconscious mind.
Friedemann, thank you so much for being with us on Insights at the Edge.
FS: Thank you so much for having me. It was a great joy.
TS: SoundsTrue.com. Many voices, one journey. Thanks for listening.