Dr. Shannan Crawford speaking on stage about anxiety

We’ve Set Ourselves Up for More Anxiety—But There’s a Way to Reverse That

Dr. Shannan Crawford, founder/CEO of Crawford Clinics, discusses how the current generations have set themselves up to deal with higher levels of anxiety than past generations had to deal with. She also shares how you can uncover the true source of what is causing your anxiety.

You can listen to this conversation with Dr. Crawford on our podcast, Work, Love, Pray! Listen below or click here to find your preferred listening platform.

A thousand percent, absolutely. There is a lack of margin between our phases of life. You have access to work on your cell phone, your laptop, your watch—every area of your life can be entrenched and bombarded, and there’s not a lot of natural breaks and rhythms. Anxiety is a man-made term for a physiological state. The fascinating thing about our neurology is that when you have high peaks of anxiety, you have cortisol—the stress hormone—in your body, and you perform in a state that’s called eustress. You’re productive, you’re good…but then you need to come back down. And in that valley, your body accrues all of those neurochemicals hormones to rebalance itself and then you go back up. So when we have ebbs and flows, which is the natural circadian rhythm of rest and work, it’s a really healthy thing for us to experience. 

The problem is that we live in a society where we’re constantly being bombarded by something, which leads to data overstimulation. We’re not getting data breaks, which means your brain is still having to work even when you think you’re having downtime. We need moments where we truly just take a cat nap, or go on a five-minute walk to be in sunshine. We need to literally turn the brain off so it can replenish itself, but society doesn’t structure around that practice. You literally have to step out of the norm just to support your natural physiology. 

As a clinical psychologist, I innovated a model called Restoring Self-Cohesion to help people who are high-achievers. Think of your conscious mind as the software of a computer, and your unconscious mind is like the hard drive. The interesting thing about anxiety is it usually has less to do with situational stress and more about your perceived ability to steward the stress effectively.  

I work with CEOs and founders of organizations and they’ll tell me that they know they deserve to be in their positions yet still feel like imposters. I just want to normalize that experience. If you get overwhelmed, anxious, or your mind goes blank in a meeting, that’s not a lack of willpower. There’s not something wrong with you. What you need to do is have an internal board meeting. You do the work on the inside and bring all of your key players to the board meeting. Ask yourself, ‘Anxious me that shuts down, that overthinks and won’t let me sleep at night. I love you, I acknowledge you. What is your core belief? What’s the fear? What are you trying to protect me from?’

So many people are trying to suppress what their inner board is trying to tell them. Any fears based on shame cause your inner world to perceive that you cannot steward the situation effectively. This results in a stress response, which is your soul stepping in, trying to use willpower to keep moving forward. When that happens, your unconscious mind goes into prolonged stress. Prolonged, chronic stress is unhealthy for the body and can actually lead to disease. Distress literally borrows from your immune system, your skeletal system, and your muscular system. This means you’ll have more injuries, you’ll need to sleep more, you’ll get more sick, you’re immune-compromised because your body has been borrowing from other systems to maintain that stress level within you. 

That’s why we do an internal board meeting, to discover the source of your anxiety before it wreaks havoc throughout your body and becomes a bigger threat and problem than it ever should be.

Dr. Shannan Crawford

Highly respected licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Shannan Crawford, founder/CEO of Crawford Clinics a holistic psychotherapy practice with a highly vetted and trained team of mental health counselors who collaborate to provide life transforming psychotherapy for individuals, couples, families, and organizations.

Earning her doctorate in clinical psychology from Regent University, and post-doctoral fellowship in psychoanalysis and Christian integration from BIPACT, Dr. Crawford has leveraged her 20-years studying the breadth of psychotherapy approaches and inner healing models, to innovate the Restoring-Self-Cohesion (RSC) model.

Amidst a society in chaos in which mental health issues are escalating at unprecedented rates, Dr. Crawford passionately equips leaders to learn how to cultivate their internal world to reproduce healthy ecosystems in their external world. As a thought leader interviewed on various media outlets. As an adjunct professor, as a conference speaker, and as an executive coach shares her expertise with the goal of investing in cultivating healthy leadership that translates into thriving economy, family, and culture.  

As the podcast host of Unlock U with Dr. Shannan Crawford, she engages thought leaders on curated topics designed to help leaders and influencers thrive emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and vocationally,

Dr. Crawford also serves on many philanthropic boards including Untrafficked, an anti-human-trifficking organization based out of Washington D.C.