Stress & Anxiety for the Youth

Link to the Episode

Anshu Bahanda: This is Anshu Bahanda on Wellness Curated. Thanks for joining me on this podcast. My mission is to empower you with health and wellness so that you can then go and empower others. 

Welcome, Anand. Just to give you all a bit of background about Anand. Anand is a success coach, and he works on mental and emotional fitness and he’s worked with all kinds of age groups. But what I have seen him with, which I was very impressed with, because I saw results right there, I’ve seen him work with the youth. But having said that, he’s worked with, I know you’ve done a lot of work with the Indian cricket team. I know you worked with Joss Butler. You work with people like Forest Whitaker. I mean, there’s a whole host of celebrities. You could go on and on and on, but Anand, tell us a little bit. Welcome to the chat and tell us a little bit about what you do and how you help people.

Anand Chulani: Well, my main thing in life is to help people become successful and happy. If I summarize it, that’s what it is. I hate the term life coach because I believe it’s a soft term. And to me, life is the best coach. And there are a lot of people in my industry who present themselves as life coaches. But the question you should always ask any life coach, is two questions: are they congruent in what they say? So if they’re talking about health and their health coach, are they healthy themselves?

AB: Right

AC: The success coach. And they achieve success, and do they get results? Because that’s what you’re ultimately going there for. You’re not going there for some nice warm bath. You’re going there for results and tangible impact. And that’s why I also hate the term motivation speaker because you feel good for an hour and then you forget an hour later. I believe in activating people instead of motivating them. And I believe in terms of helping people be successful in life and also happy because I think we’ve been taught to kind of go for success and that success guarantees happiness. But if that were true, then there are many who we know like Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete, who wouldn’t have been depressed in that kind of state despite winning all these gold medals. You know the people we see, so many Hollywood celebrities who take their life, Bollywood as well, and CEOs. Success does not guarantee happiness. And this path of, what I call the achiever, we’ve all been taught on, my work is really about sustaining happiness and sustaining success, which is what I call the path of the champion. So that’s what I teach. And my mission is to help 1 billion people be on the champion path, whether it be in their passion, as you said, as youth and young people. But I haven’t given up on the old people, too.

AB: I know, if you sort out the old people, then the young people that they bring up will be good, too.

AC: Absolutely. And for me, when the old people think they’re old people, but then actually they realize they’re young people. My grandmother is 83 years old and learning French at the age of 83 and went through cancer in the last two years. So people can shift their mindset in terms of things, but it’s to help people. And I’ve worked with about half a million people. My goal is 1 billion. So I wanted to do this program with you today and to help people find the path of being champions or to answer any questions, to support people, and be mentally, and emotionally fit and strong during a time like this.

AB: So, you’ve got a big task ahead of you.1 billion people. Wow. Okay.

AC: Yes.

AB: So, I will start with a few questions which I’ve amalgamated from what people have said to me over the past months and what I’ve heard from a lot of young people. So in these times of extreme uncertainty and a lot of kids had online learning, and then they had exams. So one, the exams are very stressful to do after online learning because we’re all used to a different kind of learning. And then secondly, the results. Haven’t you heard, there’s been so much chaos about results? Please talk about this and tell us how can we go about that.

AC: Helping them in terms of how to be engaged online or in terms of how to maximize results in a time like this?

AB: The first thing is, how do these young people cope with what’s going on? That’s the most important thing. They’re just not being able, a lot of them are not being able to get their head around what’s going on.

AC: Well, I think that the challenge is trying to get your head around it, because your head will be confused. Don’t get your head around it. Get your heart around it. And the first thing I would say is that right now you’re stressed because your mind is going nuts because you can’t visualize your future. Because everyone’s telling you what the future is, because everyone’s addicted to TV or some sort of media, and the media is telling us how to feel. I watch the news, I make sure I watch the news for 15-20 minutes a day, max. And I only go there to collect information. I don’t go there to collect fear, because you can go there and your mind can be called and you can be sucked into, oh, my God, this is happening in the world, and that’s happening in Lebanon, that’s happening in the US, that’s happening in India, and COVID’s happening and it can feel overwhelming and stressed. Now, can I go to the US right now and change and create equality for people there? I can’t. I’m in the UK, I’m not there. I can support, I can add value, I can do all the things I can. Can I influence Donald Trump? But I don’t know him personally. If I knew him, I could influence him. But by the sounds of it, I don’t think many people can influence Donald Trump. So, the only person who can influence him is him. If I get caught up in all that, I’ll be stressed. Focus on your world, because that’s the only thing you can control. Your emotional world, your mental world, your physical world, your spiritual world. And instead of, the biggest tip, I would say, for young people would be, instead of looking for a reason why you’re stressed right now is that you can’t see your future, which means you’re feeling uncertain. One of the ways to create certainty is to have a vision. And right now, what I always tell people is, get off the television and start telling yourself a vision, telling yourself a vision of what your life is going to look like beyond all this. The mind is so powerful, and if you direct it, I’m sorry, but governments do not direct my mind. The disease is not going to direct my mind. I control my mind. I’m in charge of that. I’m going to be aware of what’s going on and be aware of all the things that happen. I’m going to take precautions. But the disease people are feeling right now is the disease of not being at ease with themselves, right? That’s the one disease we can be at ease with. We can be at peace with our minds, in our hearts, and align ourselves and go, okay, let me take this time to reflect. Let me not live in self-isolation, but let me use this time for self-growth. Let me use this time for self-love. Let me use this type of self-reflection and use this opportunity as a time to become more of who I am instead of less than who I am. And one of the ways is to create a compelling vision beyond this. The brain does not know the difference between what you imagine and what you experience. That’s why dreams feel so real. There’s something called a reticular activating system that literally makes us feel like it’s so real. You can wake up every day and feel that sense of reality. When I work with a tennis player who once won Wimbledon, and I asked that person, I said, what was it like to win Wimbledon? And the person said to me, what do you mean? I’ve been winning Wimbledon since I was four years old.

AB: Wow.

AC: You can win in your mind. And that’s the last thing, tell people to win this in their minds right now. I can’t see my future, but I can win my future in my mind right now.

AB: Okay, so would you suggest people visualize the vision? Would you suggest they make a vision board or how do you suggest they go about doing that?

AC: What did you have for breakfast today?

AB: I don’t eat breakfast.

AC: Okay. What did you do last weekend?

AB: What did I do last weekend?

AC: Yes.

AB: I was in Greece last weekend.

AC: What did you eat for dinner two days ago? Answer this question so I could find out the way you learn. Now, there are three ways of learning: seeing, hearing, and doing. If I’m a visual person, visualizing my future is the most powerful way. If I’m an auditory person, hearing the sounds of my future, what is that sound going to be like when I graduate from college? What’s the sound going to be like when I come home with my first paycheck and my mom and dad say, I’m proud of you? 

AB: Right.

AC: What’s that sound that’s going to pull me to my future? And if I’m kinesthetic, what’s the feeling I’m going to have in my body? What am I going to feel? I’m going to feel joy. I’m going to feel excited. So, depending on your way of learning, connect yourself. If you don’t know which one you are, use all three. Visualize it, hear it, and feel it. And then you’ll connect to it, and you go, that’s real now.

AB: Okay. So, visualize it, hear it, and feel it.

AC: And knowing these three is important because, for example, when it comes to relationships, we all get this messed up, right? If you’re a visual person, you’re a visual person and your partner’s visual. Talking to them on the phone is a waste of time. Get on FaceTime. It won’t connect, right? Talk on the phone. They won’t be emotionally connected to you. If you’re auditory, then telling your partner, I love you means much more. So, it’s the same thing even for us emotionally. If I’m an auditory person, what are the things I’m telling myself every day? If I’m a visual person, what are the pictures I’m creating in my mind every day? Are the pictures making me feel good or do the pictures make me feel bad? Are there pictures of worry and tension and fear? Or pictures of strength and faith and courage and inspiration? Am I telling myself I’m an idiot? Am I telling myself I’m worried? Am I telling myself I could fail? Or am I telling myself, I’ve got this! I’ll find a way I can take charge. I may not be able to control the event in my life, every event, because something is out of my control. But I can always control my experience of those events.

AB: Okay, that’s interesting. Okay, so how do you react to an event you can control?

AC: I call it response-ability. Not responsibility. Response-ability. The ability to respond to something, you know? And one of the things I get told all the time, I did a session for CEOs today, and people tell me, all the CEOs tell me, hey, my wife, my daughter is so emotional. How do I control that? And I look at them and say, you’re an idiot. Every human being is emotional. The stock market is emotional. Emotions are part of life. Our goal is not to not be emotional. Our goal is to decide what emotions we want to live in. I don’t care what size your house is, or if you have a farmhouse in Delhi— if you live in stress and fear every day that’s the house you live in.

AB: Yeah.

AC: The emotion you feel is the home you live in. The emotion you feel is the car you drive in. And if we can choose the emotion, if we can respond to events from the right emotion or a better emotion or an empowering mode. For someone, that’s passion, for another person, the right emotion is calm. For another person, it’s peace. For another person, it’s faith. We all have different wants that are the right home for us. Choose the right emotional home and therefore respond from that place. But that doesn’t mean don’t have fear, but that means being honest to yourself and going, okay, what am I feeling now? I’m feeling fear. I’m feeling stressed. Okay, let me be honest and not just pretend I’m positive. Be honest, be real. I’m a human being. And then say, okay, I’m feeling worried, I’m feeling stressed. Is worrying [about] stress going to help me move forward right now? Decide. I don’t think so. What would be a better emotion to respond to the situation with? Okay, let me come from courage or determination or greater commitment to my vision or passion or creativity to find a solution. What’s the emotion I want to choose? Be honest with your emotion and then find the one that’s the right one, that’s not the right one, not the perfect one, but the one that’s authentic, real, and going to help you and move you forward to what you want in your life.

AB: Okay.

AC: Fear and stress will only move us back. 

AB: Okay. So, I’m going to apply this to what was going to be my next question.

AC: Sure.

AB: And then let’s see if we can give people a concrete tool to work with.

AC: No problem.

AB: So my next question to you was going to be that, you know that a number of college-going students don’t know if they’re going to be going back to college. So, there is uncertainty. So, you’re working with uncertainty. 

AC: Yes.

AB: Can you tell me right now how exactly should they be coping with this?

AC: Well, I think, realize one thing. Uncertainty is not a thing he’s scared of. Uncertainty is actually one of… we have six needs. Uncertainty is actually one of our needs.

AB: Interesting.

AC: Let me tell you something. How many people like surprises? We love surprises. Right? So, we love uncertainty. The uncertainty we like, we call surprises. The uncertainty we don’t like, we call problems.

AB: Right.

AC: But uncertainty is actually where we grow the most. There’s a great book called the “Talent Code” that talks about things about how to be, and how to maximize talent in life. And one of the things is what’s called deep practice. So, just practising is one thing, but the ability to practice in situations where there is uncertainty, that’s why cricket matches, and other sports matches, are so powerful, right? I can hit 100 balls in the net. Me going out there and hitting that ball when the pressure’s on, the lights are on… that’s a deep practice. So, we’re surely scared of uncertainty. In fact, we can look at it as the opportunity to get deep practice, an opportunity to use my courage not in theory, but in reality, and an opportunity to use my resourcefulness in reality.

AB: Right.

AC: And uncertainty is actually where we grow the most. If life is too certain, we may feel comfortable, but I’ll tell you, the biggest challenge is comfort. We may want comfort, but that’s what, we don’t grow in comfort. Our goal in life is to create certainty where there’s uncertainty. That’s what being a leader is. Leading my ship, leadership, when there are tough times, being able to say to myself, there’s uncertainty around me, but I got to create that. And let me tell you something. If you’re a mother or father, you have dealt with uncertainty. Having a child is uncertain. There’s no rule book. If you start a business, there’s uncertainty. If you’ve gone to high school, there’s uncertainty. You’ve dealt with uncertainty in your life. Don’t forget that. You’ve got tools and experience for handling it. What work then could work now? You just have to bring in that mindset. If your mindset before under uncertainty was, I’ve got this, you’d be conditioning that mindset every day. The success of our life actually sometimes leaves clues. So, go back to moments when you felt certain and pulled, who was that person that felt it? Who was that person that handled uncertainty? How do they stand? How do they breathe? What do they believe in? Be that person right now. That’s not a person from your past. That person is in you. Activate that person now and step into your inner certainty to handle the external certainty. 

AB: Okay. So Anand, what about when the uncertainty is quite negative in terms of the job situation for the youth? Some of them have lost their jobs. Some of them have been told we’re not hiring people, who kind of had jobs and have now been told that they don’t have jobs. So, can you give them some tools to cope with it? And this is not just the youth. This is across the board. So many people are losing jobs.

AC: Yes. There are three words that, well, a few words that cause people pain. And one of the words in the world is loss. Anytime we feel like we’re losing something: I’m losing my health, I’m losing a relative, I’m losing a job, I’m losing an opportunity. A sense of loss is what creates stress. What if you look at abundance, what if you shift to that mindset? What am I gaining? Okay, I may have lost my job, but maybe it’s a chance to step back and say, is that the right job for me? Is that what I really want to do in life? Am I a human just following this pattern here? Or is happiness more important than success? I can reevaluate my values and then make a different choice. The other thing I would say to people is, in a world that’s already so uncertain, where there’s artificial intelligence coming in, so many different pieces are happening. The biggest thing [advice] I’d give young people is one simple thing, become a learning machine. In fact, any young person who studies is doing the wrong thing. Stop studying. All of you. Stop studying and fall in love with you.

AB: You know, the mothers on this chat must be freaking out right now. 

AC: Before they have a panic attack, let me stop. Let me be clear. Stop studying, but fall in love with learning. So, the second part of my sentence is critically important. It’s not to stop studying, it’s just capturing information. Just don’t regurgitate and throw it out. No. Fall in love with learning. Become a lifelong learner. Don’t just stay in school or college. Make a commitment to learning in life. Because the more you’re committed to learning, the more you’re going to grow; the more you’re going to grow, there’s more value to you; the more value you have, the more you can contribute; the more you can contribute, the more valuable you are to an organization, to a business, to anything in life. Continuously learn. I don’t care how good you are, I don’t care how many degrees you have. Continuously find a way to learn and be the best you can be, and there’s no end. There are three types of clients that I have. One client is a client who has issues but doesn’t think they have one. The second is someone who’s going through a difficult time and comes to me, I’m here to help you. You’re going through anxiety. You’re going through stress, going through depression, I’m happy to coach you, happy to help you, and happy to support you through that. I can turn this around in a matter of hours. The third client is someone who’s just always looking to grow. I had someone come to me once in the IPL and say to me, I’ve got a dream. And I said, what’s your dream? And they told me that dream, and they said, I’m going to be in a certain position in three years from now, that it was decades away from that position. They knew it. And they came to me at midnight and said, I want to play for my country. I want to do this. And they weren’t even playing for the domestic team, but they had that vision. And at midnight, I woke up, I went down to the lobby of the Taj Hotel in Bombay, and I spent 3 hours with that person, and they achieved their goal two years later.

AB: Wow.

AC: I say that to you because hunger to grow is the most powerful resource right now. Young people, anyone who’s young, any person, hunger to grow, a desire to be a learning machine [is the most powerful resource]. Because if I do that, my value in the world is continuously going up. I’m sorry, but your self-worth should not be based on your achievements, should not be based on the size of your home, and should not be based on your grade point average. Your self-worth should be based on your growth. Growth is self-worth. If I’m growing, that’s my self-worth. Not what I achieve, but continuously adding worth to myself.

AB: That’s a very good point because very often that’s one of the major issues. Very often people are so stressed because they haven’t got the right grades, their kids haven’t got the right grade. It’s all about getting into a college or getting that job with McKinsey or ticking that box.

AC: Absolutely. Look, I went to Harrow School. I got A-B-D and an E in my A levels. I was rejected from every university there was in England, even Polytechnics. I was rejected from every university in America. I got 1100 on my SATS. But in my essays I opened up and I was authentic and I was real, and in my interview as well. And I got into Georgetown, and I graduated from Georgetown four years later; with three degrees: History, English and Psychology. All with honours. National History Honors. And I went from a kid that was a D in History A level to Honors History and National History Honors. And it wasn’t that I became smarter in school, in high school in Harrow, I was focused on studying. At Georgetown, I was focused on learning. And I had the right environment around me. And it should be 120 credits to graduate from Georgetown. I end up being 150 credits. I just wanted to learn, every opportunity to learn …that passion, that hunger. Today, that’s with me today. I’m in my forties today. Twenty-something years from Georgetown with a collection of over 1000 books. Every single day. Even as a coach, I listen to podcasts. I’m listening. Something to feed my mind, so I can be more of who I am, so I can serve this world. 

AB: Amazing. That’s amazing. So, Anand, I will open up to the audience, but my last question to you is what advice would you give young people today? I know you’ve given them lots of lovely advice, but is there anything we want to say before we let them ask you questions? 

AC: Sure. If you’re looking for a perfect life, it won’t happen. Instead of a perfect life, go for an authentic life. Instead of chasing success, be happy with yourself. Feeling secure in who you are is the most powerful thing that’s there. If you’re emotionally secure, you can create financial security. There are a lot of people who are not. They are financially secure, but not emotionally secure and stressed about losing their money. Make being secure with yourself the foundation of success. Don’t think when I achieve my goal, I’ll feel secure. Use security with yourself as the foundation, as the platform to go for that success, to go for that dream. 

AB: Okay. And, you know, there’s one thing which really resonated with a lot of people. I told them because you said that to me when you were talking, and you said that no one should be on medication, and that really resonated with me. You said you can take them off it.

AC: Yes.

AB: Have you done that in the past? Have you helped people come off their anxiety or depression medication?

AC: I’ve done over 200 suicide turn-arounds. We haven’t lost anyone, and we won’t lose anyone. I’ve worked with over a thousand, maybe 2000 right now, depression cases and someone I work with, the beginning of COVID and when I work with this person, this person was on three forms of medication diagnosed by the psychologist, psychiatrist, and three forms of medication was depression, apparently clinically. And I’m a therapist and I’m a coach, so I’m both, and I literally work with this person. And I asked them, I first asked him, I said, how are you feeling in terms of depression? Where are you? Zero to ten. They said eight, nine. I messaged them last week. This is now about a month or two months. I have spoken to them every week for the last two months. I said, where is depression? They said, “What Depression? There’s no depression.” In fact, they’ve gone from three medications down to one, and in the next week or two, they’ll be off that too. So, we can turn around. That is the challenge of psychologists and psychiatrists… I have respect for my peers in this industry, but the challenge is psychologists and psychiatrists are trying to diagnose a condition. So, they’re looking at you and they’re looking at patterns and then saying, what’s the condition? My focus is not on the condition. My focus is on you. You’re not broken. They’re just patterns. You’re running that. If you’re aware of those patterns, we can turn them around— those patterns. You’re not a statistic. You’re not a diagnosis. Your spirit and your heart is greater than any diagnosis anyone can give you. And if you realize that, you can shift everything up. A friend of mine, dear friend of mine, 17-year-old kid born with 49 fractures and at the age of 15, 1034 fractures in a wheelchair. People don’t think you can achieve things in life. Amazing kid. He’s got over a million followers now on YouTube. He’s an Indian boy… singer and rapper, and he just told me that I interviewed him for my podcast. The guy has a six pack now. The guy is in a wheelchair. How is the guy in a wheelchair have a six-pack of abs, right? But that’s the thing. He refuses to believe that anything you tell, science will tell it, and science will diagnose. And science is fantastic. But science does not take into account the human spirit. It doesn’t take into account human emotion. It doesn’t take into account who you are. And you are beyond any diagnosis. Depression is not the cause, it’s a symptom. And a lot of time, depression is there because there are certain things you’re not doing. You’re not loving yourself. So you create a depression in your life as a way to connect with yourself. A happy person and a person driven by self-love will never be depressed. Hurt people will hurt people. A happy person will never hurt someone. Our goal in life is to create secure people in the world because a secure person can make others feel secure.

AB: Right. Very well said, Anand. That was amazing. That actually gives a lot of comfort, because in a place where my daughter’s just graduated from university, and she said to me that 80% of the kids do their own medication, anxiety medication.

AC: Oh, my God! I’ll help out. I’d love to help her. I’d love to help these people. Anyone on this right now who’s going through anxiety, of course, please reach out to me, Instagram me, or direct message me. I’m happy to help you. 

AB: Lovely. Very nice. Thank you, Anand. That was an amazing session. And I will put all your contact details. Thank you so much. 

AC: My pleasure. I love you guys. God bless you. 

AB: Bye-bye. 

Thanks for joining us. Hope you enjoyed the Wellness Curated podcast. Please subscribe and tell your friends and family about it. And here’s to you leading your best life.