An introduction and we chat about anxiety
On this trailer episode of Shower for the Soul, Shane fills us in on what exactly this podcast is about. He also speaks with Karin Gornick, one of the producers of the film, Angst. The film is doing its tour of duty at schools around North America. It focuses on anxiety in young people. Karin and Shane discuss anxiety in the young and old, the medical mumbo-jumbo of what exactly causes anxiety and safe ways of battling it.
Michael Phelps and his battle with anxiety and depression
I struggled with anxiety and depression and questioned whether or not I wanted to be alive anymore. It was when I hit this low that I decided to reach out and ask for the help of a licensed therapist. This decision ultimately helped save my life. You don’t have to wait for things
— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) May 26, 2019
Michael Phelps tweeted in May about his past struggles with anxiety and depression. He tweeted, “questioned whether or not [he] wanted to be alive anymore” before going on to say that therapy “helped save [his] life.”
Another tweet read that the Olympian will be teaming up with Talkspace for Mental Health Awareness Month. “To let you know that getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness.”
“I can tell you I’ve probably had at least half a dozen depression spells that I’ve gone through,” he said in a 2017 interview with Today’s Jordan Muto. “And the one in 2014, I didn’t want to be alive.”
Ways Phelps fights anxiety and depression
Lion breaths. That’s what Phelps calls his way to combat his anxiety and depression. He and his wife, Nicole Johnson, teach their son, Boomer Phelps. Whenever Boomer gets upset, his parents tell him to take a lion breath. At that point, Boomer inhales as deeply as if he were trying to suck all the oxygen out of the universe, then lets out the breath in one extravagant exhale.
“There are times when I struggle with identity because for so many people, all they see me as is a swimmer,” Michael says of the passing judgments he receives. “Honestly, that’s when a lion breath does come into play.”
But how can something so simple — say, simple enough to work on a two-year-old — have such an effect on an Olympic medal–winning adult?
It’s partially the push-to-the-limit environment Phelps grew up in, similar to that of Generation Z. “Because my life was always go, go, go, go, on to the next thing,” he says, “I never had a chance to take a breath. So I don’t really know how to do it, I guess.”
In fact, Phelps had learned a practice called “diaphragmatic breathing” — a type of exercise involving deep inhalation and exhalation. This breathing method was found to be successful not just in stress-relief, but also in commanding sustained focus in adults, according to a study published in June 2017 in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
Helpful links that were mentioned during this episode:
EP001S001 – An Angst-y introduction: We cover Angst, a film about anxiety – listen below.