Episode 5: Boost Your Happiness-Creating Community with Dr. Kallie Snyder

Check in with yourself for a moment. Are you experiencing happiness every single day?

Life can be hard; and in tough moments it can be really hard to remember that you deserve happiness. A lot of our lack of happiness comes from being disconnected from our selves, our souls, and each other. 

By connecting with ourselves and one another, we take a powerful step towards being more happy.

Our guest, Dr. Kallie Snyder, has a transformative story to share about how she used anxiety and isolation as a catalyst to improve her wellbeing. You’ll hear about her struggles with generalized anxiety disorder and get her best tips for creating a lifestyle that supports wellness. She’s a flutist, clinician, adjudicator, and music educator in Lexington, Kentucky. She has a doctorate in flute performance and specialized studies in world music from Florida State University. 

If that wasn't enough, she's also the founder of The Sound Musician, an online community for musicians to feel whole in mind, body, and spirit. Kallie says, “by sharing my struggles and challenges of being a classical musician and learning how to feel whole in the process, that my fellow musicians and non musicians, might feel a little less alone in their challenges. And that together we can form a community where we can feel seen, heard, and supported.”

Watch now and join our community!

Here’s Kallie’s top takeaways for boosting happiness, especially if you are facing stress or mental health challenges:

1. Make an appointment with a counselor or a therapist. It can be scary at first, but it makes a huge difference. Just talking to someone that doesn't know you, that has that kind of impartial perspective, they can see at things more objectively.

2.  Make an appointment with your primary care doctor. Many issues can effect mood, including thyroid issues, sleeping disorders, and blood pressure fluctuations. Take a holistic approach and help your body be in tip-top shape!

3. Create a morning routine. This helps you tune in and be more centered throughout your day. Experiment with different routines and see what might be of service to help you create space for yourself in the morning. It can be simple things that nourish you like: journaling, meditation, prayer, a walk outside, a quiet cup of tea. 

Kallie recommends the work of these guys:

Rachell Hollis-and her "Start Today Journal" 

Hal Elrod's book "The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)" is a good read and is a great starting place.

4. Create Community: Talk to people that you trust and you love about what's going on with you. Share it with people that are safe to share it with. It's that connection that will help you to transform whatever you're going through. We all need each other, let’s remember that we’re in this together! 

5. Follow Kallie over at her website, The Sound Musician. You can sign up for a weekly newsletter full of inspirational tips that comes right to your inbox every Sunday.

Let’s increase our happiness and create community! Reach out to someone today and share your heart, the world needs you!

Om Shanthi, Peace to you,


Full Transcript:

Gita: Hey everyone. Welcome to the Gita Brown Show, bringing harmony into everyday life. Today we are talking about how to increase your happiness with one simple step. So hey guys, I'm Gita, and I help creative people from all walks of life understand how to develop a holistic lifestyle, so that they can live peaceful, healthy, and joyful lives. You'll get inspired with practical tips for your creativity and spirit. So if you're a musician and artist or writer, or just a creative-minded soul, you have found your source of inspiration and guidance. So if we're going to talk about how to increase your happiness, chances are, if you're watching this, you would like to be a little bit happier.

Check in with yourself for a moment. Are you experiencing happiness every single day? Are you experiencing a general level of happiness that's like at a pretty reasonable level, where you're like, "Yeah, that's good." Or you want more? Or maybe you're pretty happy, and you think, "I think I could be feeling even better." Doesn't matter where you are on the spectrum, even if you're just really going through a tough time right now, I feel you. I'm here with you. And we're going to talk today about how you can take a step towards feeling even happier. Happy can mean something just is a little more balanced, a little more well, a little more joy in every day. Because let me tell you friends, life is hard. We're born, and then at the other end, we die. So if we're not having some fun in the in-between part, I think we're kind of missing the point.

So I thought it would be really great to bring someone on today to talk to us about how to increase happiness in powerful ways, but that's easy to do. That we all can do, and that we all can start doing right now. Even by me bringing on this guest, I am taking a step towards my happiness. Because so much of our discontent, our anxiety, our stress, all the stuff that covers up our sort of natural happiness we have as kids, all of that arises because we're disconnected. We're disconnected from ourselves, from our souls, and we are disconnected from each other. So by connecting with one another, we take a really powerful step towards being more happy.

And our guest today is a perfect example of someone who has opened up her vault and has shared her stuff with the world, and is looking to create a community of vibrant musicians who are dedicated to health and wellbeing. Her name is Dr. Kallie Snyder. We're going to take a super quick break. On the other side of that break, you're going to meet Kallie, and you're going to hear her powerful story of anxiety, and how she has taken that moment as a catalyst and turned it around, and is now creating this amazing community, of which you are now a part, and you are going to learn how to increase your happiness. So stick with me on this short break. We'll see you on the other side.

Hey friends. This is the Gita Brown Show, bringing harmony into everyday life. Find me online at gitabrown.com and YouTube at Gita Brown. Also on social, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @gitacbrown. See you there.

Hey guys. And welcome back. Oh my goodness, I'm so excited for you to meet our guest today. First off, I have to brag about her a little bit, because I was a little bit of a fangirl with her on Instagram. And we have since struck up a friendship, and I've just got to brag about her. So her name is Dr. Kallie Snyder, and she's a flutist. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a clarinetist. So we share that like woodwind love between each other. She's a clinician, an adjudicator, and a music educator in Lexington, Kentucky. She has a doctorate in flute performance and specialized studies in world music from Florida State University.

And this is the part that I love about this lady. If that wasn't enough, she's the founder of The Sound Musician, which is an online community for musicians to feel whole in mind, body, and spirit. And on that site, this is why I got hooked on Dr. Kallie, because she starts to talk about an anxiety attack that she experienced during an orchestra concert. Which, if you are a classical musician, you know how hard we work to have our appearance be flawless. And to go through an anxiety attack on stage, and then to write about it, and to share her lingering struggles with anxiety, and how she is learning to transform that, is so powerful.

Because her desire, and I'm reading right from her blog here, my friends, her desire is that, "by sharing my struggles and challenges of being a classical musician and learning how to feel whole in the process, that my fellow musicians and non musicians," that's all of you out there, "might feel a little less alone in their challenges. And that together we can form a community where we can feel seen, heard, and supported." Isn't that powerful? So I feel like Kallie and I are community. And now whoever's watching and listening is a community. So welcome to the show, Kallie.

Kallie: Hi Gita. I am so thrilled to be here.

Gita: Yay! Woo-hoo! We're doing a happy dance. Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance. I can't dance too much, because I've got these headphones on, but I'm definitely doing a happy dance in my heart. So I've had anxiety since like the fourth grade. I think, with yoga, I can now say I had anxiety. Every now and then it comes up, but it's in the past for me now. But it's taken a lot of work. And I know that you've had a really powerful experience with anxiety, too. Could you just tell our viewers and listeners a little bit about the process of like how it sort of rolled out for you, and when you knew this was something you had to deal with.

Kallie: Yeah. So I've had performance anxiety, specific to music, for, ever since I've been playing music, basically. I remember being eight years old, at my first piano recital, and playing Jolly Old St. Nicholas, and my jaw was quivering when I was up there playing. So performance anxiety definitely has not been a stranger to me throughout my musical career. But I started to deal with something a little bit more serious, I would say. Not quite a generalized anxiety disorder, even though that's what my doctor, you know, diagnosed me as having. I would say more of a situational anxiety that I was triggering and kind of had some longer lasting effects that I've had to deal with since.

Kallie: So I was at a summer music camp last summer. And I was a faculty member. And that was a really big deal to me because, as you said, I do have a doctorate in music. My plan has always been to teach at a university, but those jobs are very few and far between. And it just kind of hasn't panned out for me yet. So it was a really big deal to me to have that title as faculty and to be in that setting, you know. That was kind of special to me. So I felt a lot of pressure along with that. And being with other faculty members that were actually faculty members at colleges and universities. So I put a lot of pressure on myself. And then we were also playing Daphnis and Chloe, which is really, really hard.

Gita: Oh, can I pause there and tell our listeners how hard Daphnis and Chloe is? It is that piece they put it on an audition, right, to like weed out-

Kallie: Yeah.

Gita: The technical issues.

Kallie: Yeah, yeah.

Gita: It's like that, sort of play it or die.

Kallie: Lots of notes.

Gita: Lots of notes, yeah.

Kallie: Yeah, throughout the whole thing. I mean, the woodwinds are practically nonstop throughout the whole piece.

Gita: Yes.

Kallie: There's not really a break at all. And then I was playing second flute, which has some significant challenges. So I was really freaked out about that, feeling under-prepared for that. And yeah, just a lot of pressure. Mostly pressure that I was putting on myself.

Gita: Of course, yep.

Kallie: So kind of the triggering moment for me was actually the night before the orchestra concert. It had already been a tense week, just with rehearsals. And it wasn't just me, everyone, especially woodwind players, were feeling very tense. And you could feel anxiety from the whole section, just during rehearsals everyone was kind of freaked out. But then I went out to the faculty dinner the night before, and I had something at dinner that did not agree with me. And I felt sick. But I felt like I couldn't leave, because we carpooled together. I was with these other faculty members. I just didn't have the confidence to say, "Hey, I'm not really feeling well. I think I need to go." So I felt trapped. And I was miserable. I felt horrible. So that's kind of where it started, with just that trapped feeling, actually feeling unwell. And then that kind of bled into the last day of camp, which was the same day as the orchestra concert.

Kallie: So I woke up the morning of the orchestra concert, and I was not well. I mean, I wasn't exactly nauseous as I was the night prior, but I just was not feeling normal at all. And I was kind of panicking. I was still supposed to teach classes that day, and I was just kind of pacing around our cabin. My husband was there. He was like, "You shouldn't teach today." I was like, "I have to teach. It's the last day. I have to teach." And I was kind of panicking about that, because I felt unwell, and I felt like I would prefer not to teach, but I felt obligated to teach, because it was the last day. We'd already received our paychecks, and I didn't want them to think I was flaking out, because I already got paid. So I was just really worked up about it. And I ended up going to my first class, but I just could not, I could not teach.

Kallie: So I ended up giving the students just kind of free practice time, and had to get my classes covered for the rest of the day, which really ate me up, because I had some really fun things planned. Fun things planned. This was a middle school group. And I really like my kids, and I was just really disappointed to not be there with them on the last day.

Kallie: So I'm dealing with all this, feeling nauseous, feeling woozy, feeling panicky. So, having anxiety. I hadn't really labeled it that yet, but that's what was going on. And then I still had a dress rehearsal and a concert that same day. And all of this is outdoors.

Gita: Oh, of course. And I'm sure it was hot, too, to compound things.

Kallie: Yeah. It wasn't super hot, but warm enough. And so I was not feeling well. I had been crying and upset. I could barely eat. Nothing sounded good. I tried to eat. Just kind of a mess. And I showed up to the dress rehearsal. And everyone on stage was kind of looking at me like, "Are you okay?" And the principal flutist was even like, "If you need to go, like don't worry about it, just go. We can figure it out." I said, "No, I'll just do what I can. If I need to leave, I'll leave, but I'll just try to figure it out."

Gita: Right.

Kallie: So I'm sitting there, outside, in this amphitheater on stage, and I'm just fanning myself with the music until it's time for me to play. I think I might have been past it on one thing, and the whole time, I was just breathing rhythmically, just fanning, just concentrating on breathing, and just fanning. And just kind of having that methodical approach to distract me, the breathing and the fanning. And I made it through the rehearsal. I felt a lot better immediately, after making it through the rehearsal. So that was a relief. But then I had to do it all over again that night.

Gita: In front of people.

Kallie: Yes. In front of all the campers and counselors, and all the other faculty members from the other disciplines and whatnot.

Gita: And with all that pressure that you had put on yourself, too. I mean, I'm sure in some ways you sort of felt like, not that your career was riding on this, but that this is a big moment for you, right? It's like the final thing you're doing at this camp. You're a professional. You have your doctorate. You're really trying to establish yourself as someone of note in the field. Oh, a musician's pun. Someone of note. There's all this internal pressure, and I think that's where a lot of this anxiety comes from.

Kallie: Yeah.

Gita: And that feeling, even that other lovely flutist telling you, well, you know you could leave if you wanted to. That's not how we roll in the classical music world, right?

Kallie: Right.

Gita: We know that, if you do that, you probably won't get called back to come again. Because there's that don't show your weakness, thing.

Kallie: Right and-

Gita: Which is why I'm so happy to have you here. Like let's open that vault and actually share that, because we need that vulnerability in order to make great art. We have to be okay being vulnerable in front of people.

Kallie: Yeah.

Gita: So here you are. You're in this moment and like, they cue, Daphnis and Chloe starts, you're off to like the fire races with your fingers and your breath, trying to play all these, the kabillion notes that's in that piece.

Kallie: Yeah.

Gita: And boom, what happens?

Kallie: Well, actually playing was kind of a distraction from the anxiety, thankfully. So it was more the anticipation, kind of walking to the amphitheater, waiting to go onstage, sitting onstage. And of course, they had all these speeches that they have to make for the last day of camp. And just sitting through all of that, and all that's in between, introducing the pieces, sitting through all that. So all of that was more anxiety-inducing than the actual playing. And actually, so, you're right, I did feel like I needed to prove myself in the setting. And because it was a summer camp, there's no sub. I couldn't call a sub.

Gita: Right.

Kallie: I mean, I had to be the one to play. So yeah, I just played. And actually, in one of the prior rehearsals, the conductor had decided to have the first flute double me on some of those exposed runs, which was kind of like a shot to my ego, but... Also I should mention that the conductor was a flutist as well, so there's that. There's that piece, too.

Gita: They know every mistake that you're making.

Kallie: Yeah. Which actually, he ended up talking to me at some point, and he was like, "Oh, you know, it's just so hard, so hard. We just need to have some more notes in there." So it wasn't a personal thing at all, you know, having the other person play with me. But it's hard to not take that as you know, by myself-

Gita: Of course. You feel like they're like, "Oh, let me put some training wheels on you, you poor young thing."

Kallie: Yeah. So that actually, it kind of like fired me up a little bit. So I was more motivated to play that part louder and stronger when I got there. So the actual playing was fine. It was a distraction. It was just during the rests and the in-between stuff, where I really had to just... What I did was just kind of tried to keep my energy as low as possible. So I was sitting there in my chair, and I just tried to center myself down, and just trying to think of being grounded, and just trying to keep everything in a lower place in my body, if that makes sense.

Gita: It absolutely does.

Kallie: Rather than keeping everything up high, and like in the chest and in the throat, and feeling high and tight. Trying to keep everything a little bit lower and more grounded. And yeah, so I made it.

Gita: You made it through. And you made it to the other side. And what I find so interesting it's like all of your training carried you through. I think that, for anyone who's listening or watching who's a performer, we know that in those high pressure moments, sometimes we're in the flow state, where we're totally connected to what we're doing, and we're like, we're there, actively creating. And then other times, we kind of go on autopilot, right? All the training takes over, the muscle memory takes over, and your fingers are playing it, but you're sort of just there.

Kallie: Yeah.

Gita: What was it like for you? Did you feel like, wow, like you hit a peak that night? Like you were really performing and connected to what you were performing? Or did you just kind of, the body went on automatic pilot, and you had to manage yourself in between?

Kallie: Yeah, I think the latter. It was just-

Gita: Automatic pilot?

Kallie: When I was playing, it was something to focus on, and I just went. And then in between, it was all about self management.

Gita: Right.

Kallie: But when it was over... I'm sorry, yeah. The principal flutist turns to me and like, "Now you know you can play when you're sick." And like, yeah, and that's kind of been sort of a little mantra for me over the past six or seven months, or however long it's been.

Gita: You can do hard things.

Kallie: I can do hard things. And I've kind of kept that in the back of my mind, whenever things are challenging. It's like, okay, I can play outdoors in a concert, Daphnis and Chloe, while having anxiety. I can do this. I can do hard things.

Gita: What portion of it do you think was physically being ill from the dinner, and what portion do you think that sort of that over-rushing experience of anxiety was more on sort of the mental or physical side of things? Not physical. Which portion do you think was being like sick, just being sick? And which portion was like your mind, your expectations, and all the pressure, and all that buildup?

Kallie: Well, I mean, I think it started with legitimately being sick. Like I ate something; it did not work with me.

Gita: Right.

Kallie: And then, from that, I had this fear. Well, I should say, it wasn't just the being sick. It was being sick and feeling trapped. And feeling like I couldn't just call my husband to come get me. Because my husband was there. He was in our cabin, maybe 20 minutes away from where we were. I could have just said, "Hey guys, I'm so sorry. Not feeling well. I'm going to have my husband come get me." Now I'm like, why didn't I do that?

Gita: Why didn't I do that? I know.

Kallie: So easy. But I felt obligated. And that's something I've kind of discovered is, I will put other people's comfort above my own often. Even if, it would have been totally fine if I'd left, but I don't know, it's something that I've kind of perceived, oh, I can't just leave. It's unprofessional. I can't do that.

Gita: Right.

Kallie: Yeah. So it was actually being sick, the feeling trapped, and then I think the next morning, the fear of feeling sick and being trapped in like the class setting and the orchestral setting. Being in those situations, and feeling sick, and being afraid of that feeling.

Gita: Right. It's like, here I am, in my most vulnerable moments. I'm feeling horrible. And now everyone is going to see me doing that, right?

Kallie: Yeah.

Gita: Like the veneer of my professionalism, and everything that I've built up. This story I have about myself is, you know, I'm Dr. Kallie Snyder, which you are. But I have all these stories and expectations of what that means, and now there's a danger that that could crumble in front of people. It's actually the fear of that was actually more triggering than anything else.

Kallie: Yep.

Gita: Which I think is such a weird mind thing, and I'm sure people listening and watching can relate to that, right? It's like part of why we have so much anxiety. And it is one of the number one mental health disorders, or it's in the top five, for sure, mental health disorders that's going on right now for, particularly Americans, North Americans. Is that like, we're disconnected from ourselves, we're disconnected from each other, and-

Kallie: Absolutely.

Gita: And we feel that vulnerability actually makes us weak. When it's actually the flip. And for us as artists, it's our vulnerabilities that actually makes us really strong, because that is the fuel we're supposed to express the tenderest emotions with our music. We can't even feel comfortable living with our own tenderest emotions, then how can we possibly give that to people who are coming to hear our Daphnis and Chloe performance, for example.

Kallie: Yes.

Gita: But then after the performance, then the anxiety kind of hung out for you, didn't it?

Kallie: Yeah. And that was really the worst part of it. What I was feeling onstage was akin to performance anxiety, a little bit different, but that's something that I at least had some experience with. And when it was over, I mean, immediate relief. Oh my gosh, like okay, we're going home now.

Gita: I'm amazing! It's done. But then, you know, I woke up the next morning, and I felt nervous about eating breakfast again. And so that kind of, that feeling of being afraid of being sick from eating, that kind of lingered. That was sort of the first thing that I was noticing, was just kind of being afraid to eat. I mean, I was eating. I knew I needed to eat. But I didn't want to, because I was afraid that it was going to make me sick, and I just didn't want to feel that way. So I dropped probably ten pounds in like a month.

Kallie: And then, I started getting back into my normal routine. I go to several public schools in central Kentucky and work with the flute sections at those schools during the school day. And I teach private lessons. And I also have a part-time job as well. So as I was going to all these different things, things that I've done hundreds of times, I was feeling nervous and apprehensive, and kind of having a woozy feeling, showing up to all these things. And that was really abnormal for me. And that's kind of when I was like okay, this isn't right. Something's wrong here.

Kallie: And so I was determined to nip it in the bud. I had seen a counselor at various times in the past, and I made an appointment with a counselor. I made an appointment with a doctor. I made an appointment for a massage, you know. It's was kind of like, okay, let's just-

Gita: All hands on deck.

Kallie: One of these things and try to just handle it. But in the process, because when you're getting into a doctor and a counselor for the first time, if you're not established, it can take sometimes a month to even get in those places. And the waiting, the symptoms started to intensify. And when I finally did get to the doctor, she prescribed me an anti-anxiety medication. And she diagnosed me as having generalized anxiety disorder. And just seeing that written on a piece of paper, I just cried, because I thought, wow, I'm broken. There's something wrong with me. And I can't... I was disappointed in myself for not being able to handle it on my own. And for having to result to medication to try to fix it. And I just felt really kind of, just broken.

Kallie: And so I started on this medication, and it was horrible. So I've learned, since dealing with all this, and talking to a lot of people that have anxiety, that finding the right medication can be a real struggle. And some things work for people, some things make it worse. And that first medication I tried made everything worse than it already was. And that was easily the worst week of my life. I would be driving somewhere and would feel like, I need to make sure I am on the far lane, so I could pull over if I need to. You know, things you don't normally think about. And just feeling scared. And it was like a flipped switch in my body, and it's like I wasn't in control anymore. That my brain and my thoughts and my body, they were just doing their own thing, and I had no control. And I just wasn't myself anymore.

Gita: It's almost like you flipped [crosstalk 00:24:31], sorry to interrupt you, but it's almost like you flipped from this sort of relaxed nervous system mode. And then after the concert, you sort of almost went into this prolonged state of fight or flight.

Kallie: Yeah.

Gita: And I'm sure it took a lot of months and a lot of different interventions to return your baseline to where you sort of felt, I hate to use the word normal, but you felt more like yourself, and anxiety wasn't ruling you.

Kallie: Yes.

Gita: Who were some other people that you reached out to? Did you eventually find a medication or a therapy that sort of started to turn the dial for you a little bit towards the positive?

Kallie: Yes. So I had seen a counselor. So I started to see a counselor about every other week, once I was established there. But at first, though, I had to go maybe three weeks in between appointments. And I remember calling the center and being like, "Hey, I need to see someone immediately." Like, if this person isn't available, you need to find somebody else for me. Because like, this has to happen.

Gita: Right.

Kallie: So there were definitely a couple panicky phone calls to the counseling center. And definitely me also walking into the counselor's office and just sitting down and just bawling, just crying. Which that can be hard, even though you're in a safe space in a therapist's office, just essentially walking into a stranger's room and just crying. Just laying it all out.

Gita: Do you know what I love about all this, Kallie, is that you consistently over time, and I think people will really benefit from hearing this, is that you consistently over time, you reached out to people. Even at your lowest moment, you just consistently made the next step to reach out. You made the next step to reach out, even if it was like a misstep, okay, the wrong medication. Okay. Then you just took the next step, and the next step, and the next step.

Kallie: Yes.

Gita: Let's say there's someone listening or watching right now who is in that moment, where they're like, you know what, all day, every day, I'm losing weight, I'm not sleeping well. I constantly feel like I'm on edge. I think I have a problem with anxiety. What would you... Because clearly you've made it through, right? You've made it though.

Kallie: Yes, yes.

Gita: What would you tell someone who is just on those first steps seeking help for anxiety? What inspiration would you give them, or where should they go for their first little reach out?

Kallie: Make an appointment with a counselor or a therapist, number one, is what I would say.

Gita: Beautiful.

Kallie: I think a lot of people are scared to do that. I have been to a counselor multiple times, just kind of throughout my life at different points. Whenever I was in college, you could go to the counseling office for free. That was one of the services provided for students. So I remember doing that. And I only did that because I had encouragement from my parents. My mom, especially, like okay, I think this is a little bit beyond what you can control. I think we need to talk to somebody else. And I think if my mom, and even my flute teacher, if they hadn't encouraged me to go talk to someone, I wouldn't have done it. So take this as me encouraging you-

Gita: I was going to say, people listen to this. Listen to Kallie.

Kallie: [crosstalk 00:27:48] a person. But this doesn't feel right. You don't feel like yourself. Make the appointment. It's a lot, it's scary at first, but it makes a huge difference. Just talking to someone that doesn't know you, that has that kind of impartial perspective, you know. It's different, talking to a counselor versus talking to your mom or to a friend. They have a different perspective, more of an outside perspective on your life. And they can look at things more objectively. So I think that's super vital. And then also, make an appointment with your primary care, with your doctor.

Gita: Amen. Amen, right? It could be something physical going on, right, that's shooting off some hormones in your body, or who knows what. We are complicated machines, aren't we, Kallie.

Kallie: Yeah, and that was one of the things that my doctor was like, she's like, "I'm going to check your thyroid. That's a common thing for women. If our thyroid levels are off, that can cause anxiety." And actually, when I started to post about anxiety on social media, I had people reach out to me through private message and be like, "Hey, do you think you might have a thyroid problem, because I did." People were like, "I was having panic attacks, and it ended up being my thyroid." And then also I've had people say, "My doctor told me my thyroid level was in the normal range, but I just felt like something was still off." And they went to multiple doctors until they found someone that would look a little bit deeper. So that's another thing. We could have a whole other conversation about this too, but one of the hardest things about anxiety is just figuring out what works for you. So I did finally find a medication that worked better for me.

Gita: Amen.

Kallie: Yeah. And I am definitely not anti-medication. I knew that my end goal was to not be on it.

Gita: Sure.

Kallie: Because I felt in my core that I didn't need it as a person for the rest of my life. I felt like I needed it for the time being, to help me, help myself. And I know some people that are on anti-anxiety medication, and they just stay on it, you know. And that's fine. But I just knew, for me, that it was a short-term thing.

Gita: Right.

Kallie: So I did find the medication. And guys, it's like, if you have insurance, it's like a quarter a month, literally. Like a quarter a month for peace of mind, feeling like right in your body again.

Gita: Right. Because if-

Kallie: It's absolutely worth exploring.

Gita: Right, and if you've spiked so far that you're nervous system is just, this is not a medical term but, out of whack, right? You've gone from, like your baseline anxiety was at two, and now you're at like a constant seven or an eight, you might need a little help to get it back down. A little bit of that synthetic chemical to get it back down, while you work on your other, more holistic, interventions, to sort of shore up the other areas of your life. And everyone is going to find-

Kallie: That's exactly what I did.

Gita: Yeah, and you can actually like see it, guys. If you haven't been over to her Instagram, go check it out. What is your Instagram? Is it The Sound Musician?

Kallie: It's The Sound Musician underscore, but if you just type in The Sound Musician, it will pop up.

Gita: She will pop up. Because it's beautiful, and you can see her ongoing sort of quest to be healthy and well. And so we have people now, they've gone to their primary care, they are going to see a counselor, they have figured out if medication is the right avenue for them. What are some other little things that you did, or could recommend for people to do, if they're looking to sort of turn the tide for their anxiety, or just increase their overall sort of soundness, as you say in The Sound Musician?

Kallie: Yes. So one of the major things I did, or one of the lifestyle changes I made was creating a morning routine.

Gita: Amen.

Kallie: Yeah. Prior to the anxiety, I mean, I'm a freelancer, so I don't have to be awake at the same time every day.

Gita: Right.

Kallie: Like some days I need to be up at six, some days I could very well sleep to nine, you know, it would be fine-

Gita: And that's a recipe for a mental health disaster, I can say as a yoga teacher.

Kallie: And that's what I was doing, you know. Still kind of operating in that college mindset where, oh, I don't have to be anywhere until 11 this day, so I'll just sleep until 8:30, or whatever.

Gita: And then I wonder why is my body so out of whack?

Kallie: Yeah. So a couple different things or people that inspired me, one is Rachel Hollis. I don't know if you're familiar with her work.

Gita: Yes, yes.

Kallie: Yeah. So she's a little bit more, kind of, you know, empowering women, like get it done, no excuses. So that might not resonate with everyone, but there are some things that she teaches that did resonate with me. And one of them was, she definitely talks about her morning routine, and she has her Start Today journal which, you don't have to purchase the Start Today journal to do this, and she says that. You can do this in any old notebook that you've got. But I started to write down in the morning five things that I'm grateful for, ten dreams I have for my life, as if they've already happened.

Gita: Wow.

Kallie: So one of them was, I have a blog, The Sound Musician. And I wrote that every day for about 90 days or something.

Gita: I love it.

Kallie: And then I launched The Sound Musician.

Gita: And then I found you! And now everyone else can find you. So exciting.

Kallie: Yeah, yeah.

Gita: Thank you, Rachel Hollis. Woo-hoo!

Kallie: Yeah. And so after that, I think, what's the thing I'm going to work on first? And so for a long time, it was starting my blog, The Sound Musician. I was writing that every day. So I would do that. I would make my list. I was also inspired by Hal Elrod's Miracle Mornings.

Gita: Oh, yeah.

Kallie: I don't do everything that he says, but that was kind of a good starting place for just trying to figure out a morning routine. He has all this stuff that you do, and it doesn't work for me to do everything that he says, but it was kind of just a good introduction what could be in a morning routine. Like the things that you could do. So journaling, that also became much more consistent. I've journaled off and on in my life. I wasn't journaling whenever the anxiety attack happened. And so journaling became a part of my lifestyle again. And I was journaling like twice a day, morning and evening.

Gita: Well it shows in your writing. Sorry to interrupt you again, but it completely shows in your writing, because it's just a very natural style. And folks, if you check her out at thesoundmusician.com, you can read all of her past blog posts. It is, it's just like a friend talking to you. "Here's what happened. Here's what a learned. Here's some stuff you can learn." And then you were brave, and you pulled the trigger, and you launched your blog. And I remember the lead up to it, you kept posting like, it's coming, it's coming, it's coming. And you launched with your story that you just told our viewers and listeners about, your sort of struggles with anxiety, and how you have learned that that vulnerability is actually strength, and you want to share it and sort of break that stigma.

Gita: And today, I just want to encourage people who are listening that, increasing your happiness, decreasing your anxiety, is really embodying what you're doing, Kallie. Because you are creating community. You created first, in the written word, sharing that online. You do it with every Instagram post, you're sharing your story. You're doing it here, talking to me today. And so often, when people are feeling anxious, or they're going through an anxiety disorder, or they just want to feel happier, a lot of the root of that is that they're disconnected, right? They're disconnected from themselves, which is why that morning routine is so beneficial, because you are connecting with yourself in that moment. And then connecting with other people is great.

Kallie: Absolutely, and that's one of the things I felt like I lost. Whenever I was facing anxiety, I felt not connected to myself. So it was really, really crucial and beneficial to carve out that space for myself in the morning. I'm still tweaking my morning routine, and it's not always the same every day, and it doesn't always happen every day. But it's definitely much more consistent, and it's definitely helped me to kind of tune in and be a little bit more centered and more kind of with myself throughout the day. So yeah, I would definitely recommend starting to think about what feels good, what might be of service to you in creating that space for yourself in the morning. If you're feeling a little rattled or anxious.

Gita: I love that. I'm a big fan of the morning routine. You know, as a yoga teacher, that's kind of our jam. One other thing I do want to say as well, over at your website, thesoundmusician.com, you do the lovely newsletter that she sends out on Sundays. And that is a lovely way... I'm just going to plug your stuff here, my friend, because The Sound Musician comes every Sunday, and it's a lovely way to start your day is to read it, because you've done a really nice job of, not only sharing your story, and things that you've been posting about, but you share a lot of resources of just cool stuff that you've found. Different little tools to help you in your wellness, or just different stuff that you read. It's almost like you're curating a site for people to find inspiration, guidance, and some community too. So I just applaud you with that.

Gita: Like you've taken what I'm sure many, many other people have gone through, and a lot of other musicians have gone through. But they've gone through it in silence. And you, my dear, have like flipped that script. You're like, "Here's my stuff. And we're going to talk about it." And that is our super power as musicians, don't you think? That like our vulnerability, and ability to live into that, and literally play into it onstage, is what is going to connect us to our audience, right? I mean-

Kallie: Yeah, I agree.

Gita: This is the vital work of artists now in the 21st century. I told you we were speaking a few weeks ago that I think the role of musicians in society is partly to reflect sort of the gestalt, the feeling of the time. And people look back a hundred years later at the music of the time to figure out how the people were feeling. And if we're not putting our true, most authentic connected selves into our music, then we're doing a disservice to our art form and the potential it has for social change, societal change, and just basic everyday human expression.

Gita: So I am applauding you silently, so I don't overwhelm the microphones. But I am applauding you for all you do. And I just want to say, I hope you'll come on the show again. Will you please?

Kallie: Absolutely. It was really an honor to speak with you today and be a part of this, definitely. So thank you, Gita-

Gita: Oh, it's my pleasure.

Kallie: For having me.

Gita: And I think we're going to recap your little thing is like, go to your primary care, check out a counselor or therapist, start a morning routine, and talk to people that you trust and you love about what's going on. Share it with people that are safe to share it with.

Kallie: Yes.

Gita: And start connecting with people around you, because it's that connection that will help you to transform whatever you're going through, so people can feel more happy. How did I do? Is that it?

Kallie: Yeah. I'll add one more little thing here that we didn't say. Once I started talking about it, so many people opened up to me, either online or in person. "Hey, I've been dealing with this since 2012." Or, you know, "I'm really struggling with anxiety now myself." And it's something that they don't feel comfortable sharing publicly themselves, but just so many people are dealing with it, too. But it's just not something that we advertise. So if you are struggling with anxiety, know that you are not alone and that probably, if you are in a room with ten people, eight of those people have anxiety, too.

Gita: Amen.

Kallie: So I mean, really, even if they're not talking about it, they do. So just, you know, you're not alone.

Gita: And they have us, right? Everybody has us.

Kallie: Yes.

Gita: They can find us. Oh, my dear, this has been just a pleasure and a joy. Thank you so, so much for joining us. Bye everybody!

Gita: Hey friends, this is the Gita Brown Show. Bringing harmony into everyday life. Find me online at gitabrown.com and YouTube at Gita Brown. Also on social, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @gitacbrown. See you there!

Gita: So you guys, you know that you have homework, because I'm a teacher, and that's how I roll. And I know Kallie approves of this homework as well. So if you are going to increase your happiness, if you need to decrease your anxiety, you must find your community. It doesn't have to be a huge group of people. You can start out with just one person that you feel safe with, sharing your heart, sharing what you're going through. And from that one person, you'll gain that courage to be vulnerable. You'll gain that courage that you've been seen and heard. When you share your story, you help other people to express their vulnerability, and we are all made stronger.

Gita: I know it is not easy to share, especially when you are at a moment where you feel low. And you heard Kallie saying she did everything she could to hide her vulnerability in front of that audience, but eventually she broke open the vault. And look at how strong she is today and how many people she's helping. So it's not easy. When you are feeling alone and vulnerable, or you're feeling happy, but you want to be happier, but you feel like, "Oh, I don't feel quite right even asking for that." Ask for it. You're not alone. The world needs your voice. The world needs you to speak your truth. So find your safe person. Communicate your needs today. And increase your happiness with your community.

Gita: So with that, I'm going to close this show with a little chant for peace. After I do the chant for peace, I will give the English translation and give a nice blessing to you, so you can have a beautiful, beautiful day. You may listen to me. If you know this peace chant, chant along. Let's send some good vibes out there.

Gita: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. May the entire universe and you, my friend, be filled with peace and joy, love and light. Hope you have a beautiful day. And guys, if you like this, please share it with a friend who needs some love. You can hop on over to my website, gitabrown.com, for updates, insider tips, and little occasional sales I have for only my little insiders. Sign up with your email there. You can follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, @gitacbrown.

Gita: Thanks guys. Have a very peaceful day. Om Shanti.

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