Ep. 57: Friedemann Schaub, MD, PhD – Resolving Fear and Anxiety on the Subconscious Level

What if we all carry some anxiety?

What if this is something that all humans have in common with the only difference that the source and level, and the way we deal with it, is different? Yes, some of us are more resilient, and some of us are less – but unexpected life events like injuries can throw anyone off balance, and if you’re not used to listening to your anxiety, it can get a lot worse in such situations. And the sad part is that is can end up very strongly affecting your life.

So to nip problems in the bud is a better way, but even those events that seem unmanageable can be resolved.

Dr. Friedemann Schaub, the award-winning author of The Fear and Anxiety Solution, views it as something that needs to be tackled on all levels, but especially by going into the buried roots that we might be less aware of. With thousands of success stories from people he has helped, this discussion gives a truly great insight into how anxiety is formed and stored, and how we can address it.

In this interview, you’ll discover:

  • Why physical trauma and traumatic experience overthrow people so badly and how you can help yourself.
  • How fear and anxiety interfere with your healing, but also how anxiety can be a helper and how to make it work for you.
  • What are the subconscious root causes of negative emotions.
  • Hands-on work: guided meditation to help you release fear and anxiety.

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Show notes & links

The show notes are written in chronological order

00:00 – excerpt from the episode
00:53 – intro (listen to discover a little more about your host. Martin will tell you a new lesser-known fact about Dr. Maya)

01:29
Dr. Maya Novak:
What if we all carry some anxiety? What if this is something that all humans have in common with the only difference that the source and level, and the way we deal with it, is different. Yes, some of us are more resilient, and some of us are less – but unexpected life events like injuries can throw anyone off balance, and if you’re not used to listening to your anxiety, it can get a lot worse in such situations. And the sad part is that it can end up very strongly affecting your life. So to nip problems in the bud is a better way, but even those events that seem unmanageable can be resolved. I became aware of Dr. Friedemann Schaub’s work somewhere in 2019 – I’ve always loved how he explains things and the tools he willingly shares. And then we started talking and he agreed to join me on my summit in 2020. This is the conversation we had with Friedemann that year. Enjoy.

02:33
Dr. Maya Novak:
In this interview, I’m joined by Dr. Friedemann Schaub who is a physician specializing in cardiology and molecular biology, research, personal development coach and the author of the award-winning book, The Fear and Anxiety Solution: A Breakthrough Process for Healing and Empowerment with Your Subconscious Mind. His program has helped thousands of his clients worldwide to overcome fear, anxiety, and self-limiting factors by addressing the deeper subconscious root causes of these mental and emotional challenges. Friedemann, thank you so much for joining me.

03:10
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Well, thank you so much for having me on your Summit. I’m excited.

03:14
Dr. Maya Novak:
I’m so excited as well because we’re going to be talking about something extremely important, and how to overcome it. Now, before we go into that, can you share a bit about yourself, and especially why – what made you leave Western medicine and focus on anxiety and fear?

03:35
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Well, I think fear and anxiety lead way from Western medicine because I was, during my time in a very high powered and very busy hospital, one night waking up with a panic attack and a voice inside of me just said, are you sure that you want to do this for another 25 years. I think that gave me a wake-up call, and it made me realize, well, maybe I’m totally on track staying in this environment. I found, looking back at my life, always a trail of anxiety that was connecting me through the anxiety of my parents, through me dealing with OCD, through me feeling deeply insecure about my abilities and not being good enough. So, anxiety was a driving force for many years. So, I knew it intimately well for myself. But then in cardiology, I saw how many people were actually dealing with anxiety based on what they came in with. I mean if they had a heart attack, they were anxious afterwards, if they had the arrhythmia of the heart they had a lot of stress beforehand. So, there was just the anxiety factor always there, but no one took care of it. No one was really helping people to deal with the anxiety. For me, it was just a question of how can we deal with the root cause of a physical illness, which is stress and anxiety, rather than only dealing with the fallouts and the symptoms. So, I went first into molecular biology and studied more about what our body is actually able to do to heal itself. Which was very interesting because certainly I learned to trust and believe the body way more than in cardiology or in medicine where you kind of distrust the body, and you think like uh, I think it needs a doctor. But in molecular biology, you said wow, we have no idea how much potential we actually have, that’s phenomenal. And then I went off from that because I felt I don’t want to only go into research and not deal with people directly because I love working with people. And so that’s when I got into addressing fear and anxiety. Not in a conventional way of talk therapy or diagnosing people with you have this disorder or you have that disorder because I don’t believe, necessarily, in the diagnosing. I really felt like we need to go more to the heart of the anxiety that is natural, that has a reason to be there, has been evolutionarily preserved, and that comes from deep inner wisdom within which is rooted in the subconscious. So, how can we work with our subconscious mind to understand what the anxiety is trying to tell us and to help the anxiety to either get what it needs or to address where the wounds are that the anxiety is relating to or caused by. So, really going more into the depths of our psyche. That’s, in a long story, basically my journey.

07:03
Dr. Maya Novak:
This is amazing, especially because you are very familiar personally with how it feels, and what the person is experiencing when they experiencing an anxiety attack or panic attack – being in fear. So, you really understand how this feels. Now, sometimes with fear and anxiety, sometimes we think well, maybe I should go to the doctor and get some sort of medication, some sorts of pills. So, can we treat that with medication as well? Are these biochemical problems or not?

07:40
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Well, that’s always the chicken and the egg question. What is first – is the biochemical creating the feeling, or the feeling is creating the biochemical changes? I think it’s the latter. I think emotions don’t start just in some imbalance in the brain. I think it causes – just like fear and anxiety can cause all different kinds of symptoms, physical symptoms, tension in the body, acid, inflammation. And, of course, it can also create some imbalances in the neuroendocrine level in the brain, but I believe it’s more like an effect or a result of anxiety as the root cause. However, if you are dealing with a lot of anxiety and you want to work on yourself but because you’re in so much distress you cannot really focus, you cannot really go internal, medication can be a wonderful way just to take it down a notch so that you are more open to listen. I just had a client the other day that I worked with that was literally suicidal, and he was so fed up with his anxiety and wanted to, like most of us, to run away from it. You want to run away from your own emotions, but you can’t. And so you’re pacing around and you’re feeling like there is nowhere to go, and at some point, you are so pushed in the corner that you, yeah, think about ending your life. It was important for him to have some medication to just get him to calm down. But he was also realizing, the medication makes me more quiet, maybe, but it doesn’t really make me feel any different in regards to what caused the anxiety in the first place. Which is for him, it was a lot of pressure he put on himself. He was comparing himself all the time with other people. He was constantly feeling he needs to please everyone but he couldn’t. So, all of these old patterns, they are still there whether you take medication or not. So, he continued to work on himself and now he just told me the other day how he transformed. He is a better human being because of the anxiety. So, the anxiety wasn’t what really he had to fend off or defeat. It was the anxiety that made him realize so many things that he wasn’t really doing well, and how he wasn’t really relating to himself in a way that brought out the best of him. And so, he’s grateful for both – for working on himself, he’s grateful for the medication. So, it can go hand in hand. This is not something that’s either one or the other.

10:24
Dr. Maya Novak:
This makes my heart sing because, yes, going to the root cause and really figuring out why this is here, why this is manifesting right now, is in my opinion, also very important because otherwise, it’s more like I’m giving my power away. So, I cannot do anything and that’s just it. Let me just wait here.

10:52
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Right.

10:52
Dr. Maya Novak:
Now, here is a question. So, since we talk about the subconscious mind, can you explain a bit more for those who are not very familiar with that conscious and subconscious mind? But also how important is the role of the subconscious mind in healing?

11:11
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Well, the subconscious is that part of our mind we usually try to avoid. It’s the deeper part of the mind. It’s a non-logical part of the mind. It’s the part of the mind that brings up emotions. That has all our memories stored, things we don’t even think about and boom, they’re popping up because we smell something or hear something. It is responsible for how our body functions. We are not consciously really contracting or relaxing our muscles when we lift our arms. It happens just the conscious mind says let’s do it, and the subconscious mind does, basically, the execution of that. The subconscious mind is often compared to an iceberg. So, the conscious mind is the tip, and the subconscious is that huge part underneath. And the reason why that is such a big part is that about 80 percent of our daily activities are run by the subconscious. I often know this for myself, and you probably do this too, where you are subconsciously driving the car while thinking about something completely different and somehow you’re still not having an accident. Or you are in the shower and get out and did I actually wash my hair? Yes, the hair is wet, so I must have washed it, but I have no idea because my conscious mind took me on a ride. So, the subconscious mind is a really dear friend, but it also wants to protect you. When your subconscious has patterns of self-protection, like wanting to avoid anything that is for potentially creating judgment or criticism, so then you go more into the invisibility pattern. Or as a child, you had the role of, oh; I need to be the peacemaker. So, you avoid conflict, and anyone who potentially is mad at you scares you. Or, in my case, it was having to be the achiever and always be the best so that you get some love and affection. So, these patterns are all root causes of the fear and anxiety we carry around, and that is stored in the subconscious. And that is something that, for the subconscious, makes total sense. But for the conscious mind, it doesn’t make sense at all because we’re I’m an adult. I don’t have to worry about what other people are thinking. I don’t have to be invisible anymore. I can go to a party even though I don’t know anyone and say hi. But the moment you’re at the party, you feel like a 10-year-old, and you go in the corner and you don’t talk to anyone and hope it’s going to be over because your subconscious takes over. That is something now with this whole crisis, you have your subconscious be in overdrive because there is no control, there is no normalcy, there is no certainty, there is a lot of change – all the things the subconscious feels like uh-oh, we have to be on alert. And so, the subconscious goes back to old ways of protecting you, which it has done for most of your life. And that maybe that you’re overthinking and constantly having the ‘what if’ scenarios running through your mind so you want to micro-manage everything. Some people that feel out of control, they may appear angry. A lot of couples are fighting right now because they are kind of cooped together, but it’s not real anger. It’s the fear of powerlessness that then drives this angry expression, but it’s still fear. It’s still anxiety. It’s just another defense mechanism. So, understanding those mechanisms is really important because you can then also ask yourself is this the most resourceful way to go through this time? Is this really how I want to be? Is this my best self to still go into self-defense or is there something better for me that I can be? But it all starts with looking at yourself and not looking at the emotion, but looking at what drives the emotion.

15:17
Dr. Maya Novak:
This is fantastic, and you brought a very important thing up, and that is – and please, if you could explain a bit more – so, when we are experiencing fear and anxiety we usually think, oh, I had this accident a week ago or a month ago or how many weeks ago, and now I’m experiencing this. Or right now there is the coronavirus. So, it’s not so much about this specific moment, but anxiety and fear might be driving by something that has been installed in us in our subconscious mind decades and decades ago. Is that correct?

16:01
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Yes. Yes, absolutely. And it just brings back up something that may have been dormant, something that you feel like you have kind of left in the past, but then your subconscious says, oh wow, here it is again. A good example is when people feel that they are afraid of failure. And so they are always in that feeling of, oh, I cannot allow myself to make a mistake. So, they go through life and lo and behold they feel more confident. Lo and behold they feel like, hmm, I can actually trust myself. Then they have an accident, and then something happens that they would blame themselves for. It was my fault. Then the subconscious says, okay, you cannot really be trusted. You cannot really avoid failure. See, this is the proof that you need to make your life more small, or you need to live more in the micromanagement of your circumstances and things like this. So, this is where the subconscious can, in a minute, jump back in and take over and get you right back into the self-defense because the pattern never really was put to rest. It was replaced for a while, but it wasn’t resolved. That’s what I’m working on with clients, to resolve the patterns and not just to make them sleep. Now, I’m not saying that fear and anxiety are completely unwanted. I still have anxiety from time to time, and it’s totally fine. Every time I’m climbing on my horse, I’m feeling a little bit of mmm, who knows, because I fell plenty of times off it. That’s fine. This is just a normal mechanism and I don’t wish my anxiety to ever go away because that would make me a robot. That would make me someone I really feel like has no emotions. It’s just that the anxiety doesn’t have to take over. It doesn’t have to keep you trapped. That’s what you want to be aware of and want to avoid, that you do stay in a place of choice. I acknowledge my emotion. I understand the anxiety is there. Maybe it wants to have some reassurance, maybe a little course correction is important, but it’s not running my life. I have still a choice to make what do I want to do from this one.

18:23
Dr. Maya Novak:
Mhm.

18:23
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
But we are avoiding our feelings, that’s the problem. Right now, with the coronavirus, a lot of people are sitting at home. They are facing themselves for the first time in a long time because it was so easy to run around and be busy, and distract yourself, and now you’re like sitting with yourself, having to stare at yourself, and you may not really recognize who you are. And you may actually be scared by who is this person, I don’t really know myself. And that is, of course, the initial reaction may be to run away again and to avoid and turn on Netflix. But maybe it’s also an opportunity to sit and just observe and befriend yourself, even with the more darker or uncomfortable emotions, and realize that’s a part of who I am. I actually want to learn more about myself and learn more in this discomfort about who I am and what I’m capable of than when I’m totally in comfortable places. And so that’s where the anxiety can also be a nice little navigator that helps you to get closer to yourself, maybe clean up your past, learn more about your patterns. Without the anxiety, we would not be motivated to learn about ourselves. So in that regard, I think anxiety is a wonderful helper to become more whole – just like pain. Without pain, I think we would just discard our body and use it like an old car. We would never really wonder about should I really maybe watch what’s going on in my wrist because it’s hurting? Without pain, you would just have arthritis and not ever do anything about it, and it would just take over. So, pain and anxiety are kind of similar in this regard.

20:16
Dr. Maya Novak:
I could not agree more with you. Right now, these are really transformational times, and I think that so many more people can also understand what those who are injured are going through. So, with serious injuries all of a sudden you are usually stuck at home, you cannot move around, and you sit there and then you go into your mind and, of course, then we have negative thoughts and negative emotions….

20:47
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Right.

20:48
Dr. Maya Novak:
… and all the overwhelming feelings, and everything that is coming onto the surface. You mentioned that. That sometimes people really don’t recognize themselves. So, what is actually then the first step? What can we start doing to also calm our nervous system down so that our bodies can start healing better, and that we give this space for the healing to happen?

21:19
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Well, for me, it feels like always important to know why we do something. So, when we are anxious and we want to heal this anxiety, rather than saying I want to get rid of it, saying I want to learn from it. Like when you are sitting in the situation of an accident, or right now with the pandemic. Just asking yourself, so do I want to face my anxiety because I want to feel more peaceful overall. I want to learn more about myself. Or is it just to get more comfortable? If you want to get more comfortable, pop a Xanax. If you want to actually learn about yourself, look inside and realize that you don’t have to judge yourself for having it. This is the first step. Don’t run away from your emotion, but also don’t call yourself weak or flawed because you have anxiety. This is a completely normal and natural aspect of what is going on right now. So, that would be the first thing. The second thing is to go a little bit deeper underneath the feeling and really ask yourself what am I thinking that causes the feeling? A feeling is not just popping up out of the blue, and you wonder what it actually says. Just like pain doesn’t just show up. Usually, there is something underneath that. So, you’re going to go and ask yourself, so which thoughts, which images in my mind, was I hearing something or watching something and that caused me anxiety. I would just take notes for a few days. Just taking notes and realizing that’s what the common denominator is. That can be an anxiety about feeling safe. That can be anxiety about feeling lonely. That can be an anxiety about the uncertainty of the future. That can be an anxiety about feeling like that you are without an identity right now, and you don’t really know who you are anymore because you’re not working or taken away from your friends. Just notice where your thoughts go, and that helps you then to track back also what’s underneath that. Thoughts come from beliefs, and beliefs come from experiences of the past. When I was always thinking that somehow I need to work harder or push myself more or reach certain goals, I know the thought created anxiety, and the thought came from the belief that if I don’t, I actually prove myself as not worthy and not good enough, and where does this lead to? To some beach in southern France when I was 12 years old and my parents told me that I’m not really smart, and that I probably will not really succeed, but it’s going to be okay. But when I actually had bad grades, I certainly heard it from them, and they definitely showed their anger and disappointment. So, that is installing beliefs, and then really working through that. My book certainly has a lot of processes that can help you, but you can also just, on your own, have compassion with the part of you that is behind the anxiety. I love the image of seeing my anxiety as my 12-year-old self who feels confused, who feels anxious, who feels that he’s not good enough, and all that part of me needs is a wiser self who actually says no, you are great the way you are. In this case, a lot of people are anxious. We’re going to get through this. It’s going to be okay. We have had other bad things happening in our lives. The good thing is we are not alone. Sometimes people face the loss of a job, and everyone else is working. Sometimes people fail in something, and everyone else seems to succeed. Sometimes, people have somebody dying, others have a wedding to go to, and you feel like alone in your grief. Well, right now, the whole world is with you and with us, and the whole world is going the same thing. That in itself can be very comforting. You’re not alone in this, and the whole world has this opportunity. You could say to your little anxious self, how can we make a better world from this? How can we transform ourselves into the best versions of ourselves? And how can we transform the world into something that’s sustainable? Just not giving the anxiety the agenda to defend you, but a purpose to help you grow. Whenever I do this with my anxiety – so rather than making myself feel safe with old patterns, I’m asking myself what can I now teach my anxiety about how I can grow from this. How I can make myself better. How I can gain a sense of confidence that’s not depending on success, but depending on the sense of self within. My anxiety is always calmer because it almost feels like, oh, I have a different purpose. So, right now, a lot of our anxious co-human beings on the planet can ask the same question. What can I do to make myself grow from this situation, and how can I discover more on what’s really inside of me? And the anxiety will feel much, much less intense because you give the anxiety something else to focus on rather than only to make it through another day, or to expect the worst.

27:03
Dr. Maya Novak:
This, I think, already answered a question that just popped into my mind right now, and that is so many times I hear stories or also see on social media when people are sharing, oh something happened to me, and I fractured a leg, for example. And then a lot of people also comment, well, hang in there; it’s going to be okay soon. And hang in there, and just hold tight and things are going to – time will heal everything. So, how does this go hand in hand with also the subconscious mind and what we are talking about here? Is it just let me just hang in here and soon, soon, things are going to better? Or is it really better to do something with it, and like you said, grow with it?

27:59
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Yes, I think this hanging in there sounds very nice and compassionate, but ultimately it’s the same thing as hoping now that summer comes and the virus disappears and everybody can go back to normal, and then we haven’t done anything about growing. I mean, we cannot hold our breath right now and hope it’s going to go back to where we were just a few months ago. The same thing with an accident – yes, you can hope that you can move your body normally after a broken leg and all those wonderful things, but your life has given you a time out. You are literally facing with the disability of doing all the things that you wanted to do, and is that really just a pause that you somehow have to go through or is it a pause that is like a cocoon allowing you to transform into a butterfly? What do we want to see this as? I do feel – and knock on wood, I have never had serious accidents, but I had an accident with my horse and my horse actually got really seriously injured. I helped my horse for two years trying to make it better so that she can be ridden again, and I was doing every day and everything I can imagine. After two years I had to admit I didn’t succeed. She cannot be ridden the way she used to be ridden, and maybe she cannot be ridden at all. But what I learned in the two years was that at some point it didn’t matter anymore to me. What mattered to me was more the connection that I had with her. It was much more about this love and care that I felt for her than putting a saddle on her. And that was a transformation also for me in regards to that relationship and I felt that it was really making me grow from seeing this agenda of, oh, how can I have great rides; to how can I really share these beautiful moments of love and connection with such an amazing animal. What if you could do this yourself if you’re lying in bed or have a broken leg, and just really also feeling it’s not just about getting well. It’s also about getting close – closer to yourself. And that is certainly an opportunity that all of us have right now.

30:28
Dr. Maya Novak:
Beautifully said. Now, a question in regards to anxiety and healing, so is it possible that anxiety and fear interfere with healing? And if so, how can this even happen – if we do not deal with it. So, if we are just like hang in there, or I’m just going to wait for a few weeks and I’m going to be okay.

30:57
Dr. Maya Novak:
We'll continue in just a moment. I wanted to quickly jump in for two things. First, thank you for tuning in. And second, I’m sure you have at least one friend, colleague, or family member who would very much appreciate this episode. So share it with them and help us spread the word. Now let’s continue…

31:18
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Well, on a structural level, let’s say you do have an accident and your skeletal muscle system needs to heal, and you have all tension in your body. Well, your muscles certainly will pull on you in ways that doesn’t necessarily support the healing process, and that’s just anatomically clear that a tense body is not a body that heals. It’s also clear that when we are in the fear anxiety, our sympathetic nervous system is activated and that is usually the fight and flight response. That doesn’t allow healing to happen because the body is not as well profused with blood and nutrition because it’s not about how can we maintain our body, it’s more about how can we protect from some outside danger. So, the body is in a whole different phase. It’s always like on the watchtower looking for what can go wrong, and that’s not a healing. That’s actually a draining state. And then we know that stress also releases a lot of the hormones that are not necessarily creating an environment internally that is about releasing the inflammation that often comes with healing, but also with an injury. Injury has an inflammatory response, and when the inflammation gets too intense, it certainly is not helping with the healing, it can create the opposite. So, being in a place of stress, which is more pro-inflammatory also, doesn’t help the healing process... So, there are a lot of things that I feel like just physiologically make it harder, but it’s also emotionally. If you’re dealing with fear and anxiety, you’re not really putting your mind into the direction of just calmness and peacefulness and patients. Your mind is always on, oh this hurts, this is still wrong, and this is not okay. So, you’re getting a distorted view and your whole experience is a negative experience, and the healing process will take way longer because, in your mind, you are constantly dealing with the resistance to it. You’re constantly dealing with when will it be over? Why is it not getting better? Why am I so much in pain? And that’s, again, just a vicious cycle that makes it all longer. And, again, fear and anxiety is also something that often brings you into the guilt of it, where you’re just creating this feeling of it’s my fault, I did this to myself, I don’t trust myself, it’s subconscious – well that, I have seen many people that actually had chronic pain, and subconsciously – after an accident, for example. But subconsciously the pain was held onto as a way for the person to stay in a smaller world, in a smaller environment, to not let the person go out and have another accident, another injury. So, it’s almost as if the pain was used as the brakes to slow the person down. So, anxiety also, in that regard, can even create pain as a manner of protection, and that’s when we really see – even though it sounds like, wow, why would the body do this, well, if it’s about survival, the body does anything it can, and the subconscious does anything it can to make it through. It’s not so interested in you being able to jog again. It’s more interested in you being alive, and even if it means that you cannot jog anymore. All those aspects are not really helping you to get well, and so that’s why it’s important to not ignore your emotional side when you’re in the physical healing process.

35:09
Dr. Maya Novak:
Wow, this is amazing. And now that we’ve learned all of this, about how anxiety and fear interfere with healing, can you guide us through a meditation so that we can release that?

35:24
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Yes, absolutely. So, the best way to start is just to, of course, close your eyes and take a few nice breaths in and out, and just connecting to the here and now, connecting to this present moment. And whether you’ve had an accident or whether you’re finding yourself right now in a situation where you know you’re dealing with heightened anxiety, just tune into the feeling. Tune into the emotion, notice where it is in your body. Greet this emotion with curiosity but also with an open mind and an open heart, appreciating that it is there to give you a message. Simply ask yourself consciously am I really safer with this anxiety or am I safer when I’m calm, when I’m centered, when I’m confident? Is the anxiety still right now necessary for me to hold onto or can I actually start releasing it? And you just notice if you get permission to let it go. If not, you can continue just to ask the question, if I have been hurting myself on a hot stove, do I need to hold onto the pain of the hot stove once I remove my hand or can I just learn that a hot stove shouldn’t necessarily be leaned on? Am I better off being a deer in a headlight or am I better off when I’m actually not in the middle of the road when a car is arriving? What are better options, the freezing, the running away, the holding onto the anxiety, or letting go? You will feel a letting go will become more and more clear. Then picture yourself going deep inside of your heart, visualizing your heart as the place with a door that has your name on it and that door opens to you calling your name. Behind that door, there is a resting place, a beautiful peaceful warm and familiar place where you can lay down and rest. As soon as you lie down and close your eyes in the resting place of your heart there is a sense that there is a light shining down on you from above, like the sun, warm and nourishing. This light seems to scoop you up, and you’re starting to feel lighter and lighter, like a feather. You’re starting to float up in the air, higher, and higher, and higher, and at some point, you find yourself all the way up there, way up there. You’re looking down and you can see clearly without any emotional attachment, simply seeing your life like a path, like a journey – that is what it is, a journey. You can look down on yourself in this moment and you can see the past clearly, and you can see the future also unfolding. But for right now, ask your subconscious who knows and holds on and keeps track of all those memories to bring you back to the moment of the accident or bring you back to the beginning of this anxiety that you recently experienced. Let’s focus on the accident for a moment. If there was an accident, I would like you just to go above it. You don’t even have to see exactly what happened, but I want you to see yourself once the accident has happened, and you may be seeing yourself on the stretcher. Or maybe you see yourself already in the hospital. But I would like you to see yourself and have the greatest compassion for yourself. Send yourself love and compassion from above. And then notice if there is in that person that you see there injured, freshly injured, if you see any kind of guilt, blame, if there is anything inside of that person that feels like they are still somehow taking responsibility. Then just tell this younger self who had the accident that you understand. And maybe there was something you could have done better, but you can learn from this. You can even ask what the learning can be. Some people have accidents and they learn, oh, life teaches me to slow down. Some people have accidents and they say life teaches me to be focused and not multi-task. Some people have accidents and they realize it has nothing to do with what they did. It was purely the circumstance that they were in or someone else wasn’t paying attention, but this is not personal. This doesn’t mean that life doesn’t like me; the universe has it out for me. It can just mean this happened, and there is nothing that needs to be blamed, or feel guilty or victimized about. So, take a moment just to take in the learnings that you personally want to take from the accident that you feel. Learnings can be about self-forgiveness, about slowing down, about mindfulness, or about trust. Trusting that no matter what happens, you’re okay because something much worse could have happened. Then send to the person in the hospital or on the stretcher from your heart peaceful, loving, compassionate light, envelope this younger self in a warm blanket of this light. Let this light start to permeate and infuse this person that you were, and dissolve and release all negative emotion that was still in the accident, the aftermath of the shock, the confusion, the pain, the anxiety. All can be released, resolved, like little dark clouds rising out of the body of the person that you were at that time. Now that you find more peace in the moment after the accident, you can go right at the accident. You may not remember exactly what happened, and you may not want to, but I want you to search for the part of you that got potentially disconnected from you. Accidents sometimes make a part of us leave the body. It is almost as if a part of us says, oh, this is not safe here, I want to get out of here. Which is why a lot of people feel after an accident that they’re not whole. They feel fragmented, almost as if a part of them is missing. I would like you to find the part of you that may still be at the accident site. It may still look at what happened in disbelief. This may be a younger part of you. This may be a child part of you that got reminded of some traumas of the past. That got reminded of the belief that life is not safe or that you’re not safe. Find that younger self that may have disconnected from you. Lower yourself down to its level. You can ask also what are you feeling, what are you afraid of? You can explain that everything is okay. You’re safe. You’re healing. You have learned from the accident, and that you are here to tell this part that you need him or her for the healing to get complete. This part is needed and wanted and it’s safe to come with you. Spend a few moments with this part of you to really reassure this little self that you will not have anything else happen to it, but you want to really make sure that this part of you is safe and protected and taken care of. It may take a little bit to convince this part, but at some point, you will be able to open your arms, take it into your arms, and bring it back right about now. And together, I want you to look into the future for a moment and see you are healthy, you’re whole, your healed self. See yourself also grown from the situation. See yourself as a person that has not only healed but also has transformed – who will go through life differently, who enjoys life more deeply, who enjoys being oneself with greater mindfulness and greater heart fullness, who enjoys a healthy body with much more appreciation. Have that vision of what is to come, and then with joyful excitement and peace about the past, bring yourself and this little self back into your body, back into this moment, back into the here and now. When you’re ready, you can come back and open your eyes. Welcome back.

49:19
Dr. Maya Novak:
Friedemann, thank you so much. This was an amazing meditation and really complex, but so needed. I’m very, very grateful and I know that participants are also very, very grateful. Thank you so much.

49:39
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
You’re so welcome. It was wonderful.

49:42
Dr. Maya Novak:
It was. I love that at the beginning there was a question of am I ready to let this go…

49:51
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Yes.

49:51
Dr. Maya Novak:
… because it’s important and then you if the answer is no, explore more. Because sooner or later you’re going to come to the answer that yeah, I want to let this go. It’s okay to let it go.

50:05
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Yes, very much so. And it’s difficult sometimes to let go because for some people anxiety is like their identity and they wonder who am I when I’m not this anxious. That’s why it’s a wonderful tool to look into the future and see, ah; there is another version of myself. There is another way of being, and that way of being can actually be also very joyful and fulfilling, but also very safe.

50:36
Dr. Maya Novak:
Mhm.

50:37
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
That’s important. We often associate anxiety with safety, and just realizing, no, it’s actually not creating more safety. It was maybe needed at a time when we were not sure about what else we can do, what other options we have to be safe. But as adults and having gone through life in many ways, we know anxiety is not needed constantly to be our inner protector. And that’s something that we have to remind ourselves of. Sometimes more often than once, but at some point, it sinks in.

51:12
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yes. Now, with anxiety and healing, and a long recovery especially, sometimes it happens that people start losing hope about the future. That perhaps they are never going to be better or okay again. So, what would you say to someone is who right now losing hope about their healing?

51:38
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Well, with my horse, at some point when I found out that I actually was a better steward of – we have several horses – but in general, I was also open to letting something new in. Just to see another possibility. So, I found a horse that is my best friend, I never thought a horse can be so close. And it just happened all accidentally. I think sometimes when we have this whole idea of this is how the outcome has to be and it’s not happening, we are limiting ourselves to see what else is possible, what else is there. Maybe this is not exactly the only outcome that can bring me joy. Yes, maybe I will limp around. Or maybe this will require another surgery. And maybe this is not getting me back to where I want to be. But maybe there is something else there that I just have to be open to, to let in and see that what I’m missing is maybe feeling a purpose. What I’m missing is maybe feeling involved. What I’m missing is may be feeling that I matter. When those things are addressed, how can I feel still purposeful, how can I still feel that I matter and that I am connected even though I have still the healing path to do. Then that urgency and this attachment to only then will also loosen up. So, losing hope is only, for many people, the attachment to one thing they want and if it’s not going to happen, they feel like well, I don’t have hope for that one thing. But that’s okay, there may be hope for many other things, there may be other things that are available right now to you. Many people that have been going through injuries, they have been actually feeling that the receiving of care and the closeness of their loved ones was the greatest gift of all of it. Because they used to be the caregivers, and they used to be the ones that always felt like well, I need to look after everyone else. And so they had to open up to receive and that can be a huge gift to just see, yes, maybe my healing in the body doesn’t happen, but my healing in the heart is incredibly strong. And I always like that when we have to sit still because we can physically not run around there is always an exploration also of our spirituality, that we can really take this opportunity to delve into. What it is about that that is more than the body? I don’t want to digress, but there is a soul that came into this body. We are not our body. We are something that is bigger and more and eternal to this body. So, the body is a vehicle. Yes, maybe the vehicle right now doesn’t work as well, but what is in the vehicle is still perfectly functioning and there for us and that’s maybe something to connect to, to let go of the identity with the physical and going more to the identity of the spiritual. These are only some avenues that we can explore and then the question of hope is not necessarily a question anymore, it’s just something that yes, not this way, but there are other ways for me.

55:12
Dr. Maya Novak:
Thank you. That was so beautiful. Now, we covered a lot and so to conclude this, what would be your number one advice to someone who is right now injured and in the process of recovery? So, everything that we covered, or perhaps something else, what is your number one advice?

55:36
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Well, I think my number one advice is no matter what the situation is, to really see it as a way to fulfill the greatest purpose in life that we have, which ultimately to learn to know ourselves. I mean, the only reason why we’re here is to understand more of who we are. Since our childhood, we are told who we are supposed to be. You’re supposed to be this; you’re supposed to do that. Society doesn’t give us a lot of freedom. Maybe in other more natural societies or 100 years ago, it was maybe easier to just connect to your truth. But that is not something that we are necessarily allowed to do. So, now you’re out of commission, you’re in the healing process. There’s not a lot that you can distract yourself from. Spend some time with really understanding who am I? What is my truth? What are my preferences? Who am I in relationship? What are my strengths? What are my desires? What are things I really want to still explore in life? What do I feel makes me peaceful, purposeful, in love? You can have a hundred questions to get more closely to understanding yourself, but at the end, it’s going to be a feeling. It’s going to be a sensation, and then you feel at home with yourself. And when you feel at home with yourself, you feel like I’m okay no matter what the circumstances are. So, that is worthwhile time spent. Rather than counting the days and biting your nails, just be kind, compassionate, and curious about what that is and who you are.

57:32
Dr. Maya Novak:
It’s a journey. It absolutely is a journey, this life. Now, Friedemann, I have one last question for you and it’s a fun question, and out of the box question. That is if you imagine that you are injured right now and you know that the recovery process is going to take you a while, perhaps even a year or more, and it’s not going to be easy all the time, but right now you have an option to choose one of two gifts or one of the options. Number one is that you go through the recovery process, and do everything that you can in your power to heal in the best possible way, and then at the end, you’re gifted with not being injured in your life anymore. Or option number two is that you can go back in time, prevent the accident, prevent the injury, but then you also take your chances. So, perhaps the next accident is waiting for you tomorrow. Now, the question here is what do you choose, and why?

58:43
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Well, I think the right answer would be number two because you want to learn. I mean, basically, going through the pain and going through the healing because you grow from it, and at the end, it’s not about going back. It’s about growing from it. So, everything we talked about and then having the benefit to not have any injuries again in the future. But I do believe that probably intuitively I would go for the other one because I would feel like I take my chances, and I’m going to maybe not go through the healing process and still have the ability to learn from why I had an injury in the first place. And by knowing that, yes, maybe I was not really mindful. Maybe I wasn’t connected to my body. I can do my best to prevent it. The reason why I would choose this one, which is kind of the opposite of what we talked about, is that I feel like I wouldn’t believe that I can never have an injury! When you do feel that, oh, I’m now invincible; I can never an injury, you also become careless. Then you become more reckless. Then you are not really in that vigilance of I want to make sure that I’m okay and that I’m going to take care of myself. I feel that’s also not a very fulfilling way of living. I mean a part of our living is to really have the tuning in – what is right, what’s the energy like that I’m in. This vigilance to make sure you are well, I think, is a gift of our fragile body and our fragile mind, that we have to pay attention. So, when we know nothing can happen to us, we don’t pay attention anymore, and maybe we are losing connection with ourselves. So, I think I would go with that version!

01:00:44
Dr. Maya Novak:
Great insight! Friedemann, where can people find more about you and your work?

01:00:52
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
Oh, that’s simple. Just go to drfriedemann.com. There is also a YouTube channel, and you can find a lot. I have over 250 meditations, radio shows, and webinars on there. And, of course, all the social media stuff. But go there, and I have certainly a lot of tools for anxiety that are free, that you can just download. I do see people in person, via Skype, Zoom, and phone. And so if you have fear and anxiety and you really want to go that way of understanding the root cause and outgrowing it rather than defeating it, then I can certainly help you with that.

01:01:43
Dr. Maya Novak:
Fabulous. Friedemann, thank you so much for this amazing conversation, and for guiding us through how to release fear and anxiety. Thank you.

01:01:53
Dr. Friedemann Schaub:
You’re so welcome. It was really my pleasure.

01:01:57
Dr. Maya Novak:
Thank you for tuning into today’s episode with Dr. Friedemann Schaub. If you haven’t done it yet, subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you’re using to tune in, and share this episode with your loved ones – it really can change someone’s life. To access show notes, links, and transcript of today’s talk go to mayanovak.com/podcast. To learn more about The Mindful Injury Recovery Method visit my website mayanovak.com and find my book Heal Beyond Expectations on Amazon. Until next time – keep evolving, blooming, and healing.

Love and gratitude xx
Dr. Maya

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