Today's Be a Better Lawyer is all about feeling good, my friend.
Ever feel frozen by anxiety or stress?
I'm sharing a tool I use with my clients to help them regulate their nervous system whenever they feel an emotion like stress, anxiety, overwhelm, shame, guilt, or any other unwanted emotion.
When you practice processing your emotions with this tool instead of avoiding or pushing them away, you'll be better able to access the part of your brain that problem-solves and takes calm, deliberate action.
One of the reasons I love the work I do is because I get to blend mindset with strategy.
Listen in to learn a mindset piece that will help you strategize your next move with more clarity and purpose.
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Thanks for listening, and I'll talk to you next week.
The Feel Good Episode
Today I wanna do something a little bit different and I'm calling it the feel Good episode because I know that what I'm about to share with you is gonna make you feel really good when you practice it. The other day I was talking to a client and one of the things that I work on with my clients is really helping them regulate their nervous system. Because it's difficult to focus, it's difficult to problem solve. It is next to impossible <laugh> to make change in your life when you feel highly activated. When you're in a high state of anxiety, stress, overwhelm, any of those feelings. Shame when our body is highly activated like that. We cannot think we're in this fight or flight mode. And I've talked about this a lot in the podcast, but what I wanted to do was create a very specific episode so that whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, stress, anxiety, shame, whatever feeling you might label negative, I want you to have a resource so that you can just come to episode 269 and you can pop it in your ears, you can listen to it, you can follow along with it, and you can begin to calm your nervous system and then get into problem solving mode. So that's what we're gonna do here today. But before we do, I wanna ask you a question. Are you on my email list? Because I send out some amazing emails, not just with things that you might learn on the podcast, but also invitations to masterclasses that I have every month or right now what I'm doing is doing an open coaching session. So the last few months I've been sending out invitations in my email list to people. If you wanna come and get open coaching in a group setting, you can do that, but you can't find out about it unless you get the emails. So I will tell you about how to get on my email list and there's two ways that I will offer to you. One is to go into the show notes and sign up for my open coaching session that's happening in July. Or you can go to dina cataldo.com/busy lawyer and download my ultimate time Management guide, which has a beautiful, if I do say so myself, <laugh> training that I have included with it, that includes very short videos to help you implement what you learn in the guide. So you can get that at dinacataldo.com/busylawyer
Before I get started, this episode is very relaxing. If you are operating heavy machinery or you are driving, don't try what I am going to share with you.
You can listen to it and you can get the basic idea of it. But the whole idea of this episode is to help you calm your nervous system. And that may mean that you get extra relaxed. So just keep that in mind before you listen to the rest of this episode.
Before I jump into the exercise, I want to give you some really solid examples of where you can use this and why you need to use this exercise. So let's say it's first thing in the morning, you are starting your workday. You look at your calendar and you think to yourself, oh my gosh, I have such a big day. And somebody walks into your office and you start checking your email, and suddenly, like you find yourself kind of in a tailspin and you just, like, you start feeling overwhelmed and you recognize what's happening at that point.
You wanna use this exercise when you recognize that you're spinning, that you feel overwhelmed, you wanna use this exercise, and here's why. When we are in a heightened sense of that survival mode, right, that heightened sense of emotion, when we begin to calm our nervous system, we can refocus, we can reprioritize, we can start to problem solve.
When we get into that heightened sense of emotion, we can just let the day drag us through. We can let something that, you know, didn't have to take all of our attention, take all of our attention, and just like drag us through our day. And then we're totally off of our calendar, and then we tell ourselves that it's impossible to handle our calendar, that there's no way to use it, that kind of thing.
And then we start to feel really demoralized, really disappointed in ourselves and our inability to handle what's coming at us in our law firm, in our law practice. Another thing that can happen is that you are reading your emails and you get an email from opposing counsel and that opposing counsel says something and your brain gets angry, you get frustrated, and you want to just fire off a heated email at them, or you wanna go to your neighbor next door and you wanna, you know, just vent.
Well, instead of doing that, notice that you're angry, notice that you're frustrated, and practice the exercise that I'm about to share with you. And then you'll be able to get into a much more calm, centered place and be able to problem solve. It will allow you to get perspective that you can't have otherwise. I'll give you one more example. Let's say a client comes in out of nowhere and starts, you know, getting really upset, really angry. You don't even have to go through this whole exercise. But practicing this exercise in other areas of your life will help you in that moment, handle your heightened sense your heightened emotions so that you can
Handle that client with much more grace. And after the client leaves and you still have that heightened sense of emotion, you can come back to this episode and you can listen to it and you can calm yourself down and you can get some perspective on what just happened.
When we don't process our emotions, when we don't have the conversation with ourselves, that I am going to give you a very clear example of in this episode, we fail to problem solve and we put so much blame on ourselves and we are so hard on ourselves and we just can't see clearly.
So my hope is, is that the next time you find yourself in a heightened state of emotion, whether it's panic or overwhelm or anything like that, that you come to this episode. And that was really the conversation I had with my client, which was how helpful she thought it would be just to have me in her ear in those moments where she fen felt a sense of panic, where she felt a sense of overwhelm. And so my hope is that you use this episode just like that. All right, my friend, let's jump in.
I want you to imagine it may not be very hard for you, right?
I want you to imagine feeling anxiety, stress, overwhelmed, just have too much work your brain is telling you it has to all get done at once. I'm never gonna get it all done. I should be better at this by now. These are all really common thoughts that I hear from some of my clients.
I want you to just imagine that feeling of anxiety, of shame, of overwhelm in your body. And you might hesitate, you may not want to. You may think that you're gonna get lost in that feeling. I promise you. I'm gonna guide you through it and we're gonna come through the emotion we're gonna process. The emotion is safe to feel that emotion.
So first I just want you to notice the feeling in your body, the anxiety.
It's a vibration that happens in your body. How does it feel in inside your body? Describe it like you were describing it to a space alien. They've never experienced a human emotion before. What does that feel like? You might describe tension in your shoulders, tightness in your jaw, a knot in your stomach, erasing heartbeat, your breath, feeling like it's gone. Like you're holding your breath. Your shoulders may feel slumped, may feel like you want to roll into a ball. Breathe. This is the feeling of anxiety or whatever feeling you're experiencing right now. Be with it. Don't tell it to go away. Don't tell yourself it should go away. This is part of the human experience. Stay with it. Breathe if you can close your eyes. Breathe in, breathe out. Take a big breath in, hold it at the top. Hold your breath there for 3, 2, 1. Open your mouth and release your breath. Hold the breath down at the bottom. 3, 2, 1. Breathe in deep all the way to the top. 3, 2, 1. Release your breath like a go of all your breath. Hold it out at the bottom. 3, 2, 1. Breathe in one more. Hold it at the top. 3, 2, 1, release. Hold it out at the bottom. 3, 2, 1. Breathe in and now breathe. Normally just keep breathing in and out. Staying with the feeling that's in your body, that vibration that you're feeling. Now you're gonna want to connect with yourself in some way. I like to put my hand over my heart. Maybe you have one hand over your stomach. It's just a nice point of connection. You don't have to do it. But this is part of connecting with the part of you that is in that primal fight or flight mode to calm yourself down. It's actually gonna soothe you that physical touch and calm that emotion. There's two parts of you. There's the primal brain. Also I talk about it as the toddler brain. The part of you that's scared, the part of you that's nervous, that part of you needs to be acknowledged, not ignored, not pushed away. And that part of you that you're acknowledging is gonna be acknowledged by your higher self. Okay? You can call it your prefrontal cortex. Higher self, future self. That part of you that is your essence. The part of you that is observing your mind, going through the emotion, the struggle that it's going through right now. That's the observer brain. And you wanna use that observer to have a conversation with the toddler brain, the parent, right? Talking to the toddler, this is how I talk to myself, honey. It's gonna be okay. It's gonna be okay. Like you will figure this out. You will figure it out. It's okay that you feel this way. Makes a lot of sense that you would feel this way. Of course you're scared, of course you feel anxious, of course you feel shame. It's okay. There's nothing wrong with you, you're normal. It's a human emotion. It's a feeling in your body. Just stay with it. It's okay. Breathe. So what do you wanna do now? Right? Ask yourself that. Like, let's take the next steps here. If you feel overwhelmed, the next step might be, okay, let's think about what I need to prioritize and get done today. If you feel anxious might be like, Hey, it's okay to feel anxious. Why do you feel anxious, honey? And your toddler brain might say, because I'm afraid I'm not gonna get all this work done. I'm afraid I'm gonna fail. I'm afraid that people are going to think badly of me. And then the parent brain comes back in. When you connect with yourself and say, honey, that's okay. What do you want? What do you wanna do next? What's the next best move for us? And it's not letting like the toddler brain run the show. It's the parent coming in and letting the toddler know, look, it's okay. It's okay. But for us, like in our best interest for what we want next in our lives, what's the next best move? It might be uncomfortable, it might not feel good, but it might feel better than the anxiety or the overwhelm or the stress. And just sit with that for a moment and ask yourself, is that the move I want to make? Does that make sense for me and what I want in my life? Breathe, you will be able to make better decisions for yourself to problem solve issues better when you practice this. And the more you practice this, the less time it will take you to calm your nervous system. Like I would literally spend days spinning out maybe weeks, and I practiced what I just shared with you to calm my nervous system and have that conversation with myself. And then I was able to get into action faster. I didn't procrastinate. I decided I made decisions instead of just letting my toddler brain like sit on the couch, right? Like it literally changed my life. Understanding that my emotions were not going to overwhelm me or take over my day if I just felt confident that I could sit with them and be with them and let it be okay. This is what I wanna offer for you, is that next time you feel overwhelm or guilt or shame or any of those kinds of emotions, just to sit with yourself and be with yourself. And I know it's not easy when you have a day full of tasks ahead of you. You may wanna put this off until a lunch break or when you get home or like sit with yourself in the morning. I get it. But if you find yourself in overwhelm, the sooner that you address it, the sooner that you sit with it and maybe just pop this in your ear and go through this practice, the sooner you'll be able to calm yourself enough to make better decisions, and then to take action on them. I'm all about mindset, which this whole episode has been about how to address your mind. But I'm also about strategy. And if you cannot, cannot get your mind on board, you cannot strategize the two go together. You have to be able to process these emotions, these feelings, so that you can strategize better, so that you can take action better. And I've seen it time and again with myself and I see it time and again with my clients. I know this works. So try it. Try it. You've got nothing to lose. You might feel like a crazy person cuz you're talking to yourself. But that's, I would much rather be with myself when I am able to process my emotions than not. And if that means talking to myself, to soothe myself and to make it so that I recognize that my feelings are separate from me and that those feelings don't mean anything about me. And if it means that I can build my business faster and better and that I can connect with more people and help more people, I'm gonna talk to myself. So if that's what you want, if you wanna serve bigger, if you want to help more people, if you want to grow your practice, if you want to change your life in any way, doesn't even matter. It doesn't have to have anything to do with the legal profession. Practice this, do this. You will notice a difference. And if you want someone who is by your side week after week helping you through the growth that you wanna experience, book a strategy session with me. You can book a call with me at dina cataldo.com/strategy session. This is the work my friend. If you wanna expand, if you wanna evolve, if you want to be your best self just for you, right? Just so that you feel good about yourself, so that you feel good about how you're showing up in the world. This is the work, my friend. I hope to see you there. All right, have a great week. Bye.