Calm, Cool and Connected - The Guide Book to Peace of Mind

Calming Anxiety with Justine Carino

December 20, 2021 Calm, Cool and Connected Season 1 Episode 121
Calm, Cool and Connected - The Guide Book to Peace of Mind
Calming Anxiety with Justine Carino
Show Notes Transcript


Worry, stress, overwhelm, nervousness- we all experience these to some degree or another. There is a certain point though, when we call it anxiety. Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Justine Carino is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and she joins Dr. Fedrick on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected to give us the 411 on anxiety.

Key Takeaways from Dr. Fedrick’s chat with Justine:

• Hear more about Justine’s background in the field, and the work that she does
• Learn how Justine defines and diagnoses anxiety, and when it’s time to seek treatment
• Find out some of the most common causes of anxiety
• Hear how Justine treats her patients who have anxiety
• Learn what the “5 senses trick” is
• Find out some tips to calm your anxiety!

All of this and more, on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected.

Follow Justine on Instagram: @_thoughtsfromthecouch_
Learn more on Justine’s website:

For more information on Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick, visit her website:
Connect with Dr, Fedrick on Instagram: @drelizabethfedrick

Watch the video interview here

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Dr. Fedrick: Hello and welcome to calm, cooling connected. I'm your host, Dr.

Elizabeth. Worry stress, overwhelm nervousness. We all experience these emotions in some way or another, but at a certain time, they start to become what we would call anxiety and everyone experiences anxiety to some degree or another. And it can be really good for us on a lot of ways, because it's been designed to keep us safe.

However, when anxiety starts to surface [00:01:00] without a cause becomes difficult to manage or regularly impedes upon our daily function. It's necessary to seek some help. So our next guest Justine Carino is a licensed mental health counselor who specializes in working with anxiety. Just seeing it's going to provide us with some insights into anxiety when to seek help and some ways to help manage it more effectively.


Justine Carino: Justine. Welcome. Hi, thank you so much for having me. Thank you for joining 

Dr. Fedrick: us. I'm excited to have you here before we jump in. Let's talk a little bit about your background. Tell us a little bit about the work that you're currently 

Justine Carino: doing in the. Sure. So I am an anxiety treatment expert with over 10 years experience doing both individual and family therapy.

I own a private practice in New York, and I'm also the host of the podcast thoughts from the couch. 

Dr. Fedrick: Okay, perfect. And so the work that you're doing currently, is there a specific population or you're saying you work in individual adults, kids, 

Justine Carino: families. Great question. So I specialize in treating [00:02:00] teens and young adults up to like 30 something.

And I do a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps the client take a look at the way. They're thinking how their thoughts influenced their feelings and the choices that they make and their behaviors. And I also combine that with some family systems work and see how the role of someone in their family system may impact their functioning impact their behaviors and their overwhelming.

Dr. Fedrick: Sure. I love that such necessary insights as somebody who's processing through their mental health, what's going on, where's it coming from and what to do about it. So when we think about anxiety specifically, how do you describe anxiety to your clients? How, how do you help them to understand if maybe that's what they're dealing with?

Justine Carino: Right. So as you said, anxiety is a feeling that we're all designed to feel an experience. Cause we need to react to it, to keep ourselves. Sure it becomes a problem. It becomes a disorder when it is consistently interfering with our daily functioning. [00:03:00] So that could look like insomnia, a loss of appetite.

Unable to sit still or fidgety having racing, thoughts, ruminating thoughts, overthinking constant butterflies in your stomach, feeling like your heart is pounding. And sometimes I can even turn into panic attacks for people where they feel like they're having a heart attack or something's wrong, but it's just their anxiety trying to get.

And tell them something. So when people start to feel these extreme symptoms, that's time to 

Dr. Fedrick: okay. Sure. And do people commonly ask, like, where did this come from? Why am I dealing with anxiety? What are some of the common causes of anxiety that you have seen 


Justine Carino: That's a great question for a lot of people, they'll say like, I'm not even stressed.

I'm not even anxious. Why am I having a panic attack? Why did this happen now? And there can be so many different causes to anxiety. It really depends on the person. Well, we have seen over the past two years is this global [00:04:00] pandemic that has really interfered with people's lives. And the changes that come with this pandemic have been very stressful for people.

So when people are functioning at high levels of stress for long periods of. They start to feel very anxious, right? So sometimes causes of anxiety. It could be a traumatic event. It could be a loss, it could be a big life transition. And any of those changes can make someone kind of think about their identity.

Their identity as someone in the workforce, their identity as a family member or friend a loved one, you know, something changes in their lifestyle and they're having a hard time adapting to it. That person can start to feel anxiety about it. Absolutely. 

Dr. Fedrick: And to your point with COVID over the last couple of years, truly being the loss and the transition and the stress.

All wrapped up into one event while people are still simultaneously living their lives and experiencing all the other stressors that they were already experiencing. So I'm sure as an [00:05:00] anxiety expert, you probably saw quite the uptick in your demand. 

Justine Carino: I can't even tell you it's since the shutdown of March, 2020, you know, I've had a wait list consistently.

There are so many people that have been impacted, looking for support on how to manage and adjust to this transition that has affected all of us in so many different ways. It has a trickle down effect. 

Dr. Fedrick: Absolutely. So let's talk about how you help your clients. So somebody is experiencing this repeated discomfort.

They decide it's time to seek help. They come in. Where do you start? Where do you lay the foundation for treating somebody with things like. 

Justine Carino: That's a great question. So one of the places I like to start my clients off is teaching them about mindfulness. So defined by molecular biologists, Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn mindfulness is the awareness that arises from paying attention.

On purpose in the present moment. Non-judgmentally, that's a [00:06:00] big thing to take in. So it's really about becoming fully present in the moment that you're in. And this takes a lot of practice, almost like strengthening a muscle because when we're anxious, we're thinking about the future. We're thinking about the worst case scenarios to come, all the, what ifs happened to our head.

And if we're thinking of the future, we're not in the moment. Right. And when we're in the moment, we can be less reactive to our worries. So you can actually start to teach yourself how to be mindful. And one trick I like to teach is the five senses technique. So I tell a client wherever they are, and they're starting to feel that overwhelming feeling of anxiety, check in with their five senses name.

One thing they can see touch, hear, taste, smell that brings them back in the room. And out of that, Absolutely. 

Dr. Fedrick: Yeah. That's such a good grounding skill for sure. And I, I love what you're saying about it. Strengthening a muscle. I tell my clients that it's innercise so in the same way that they're exercising I encourage them to innercise and to [00:07:00] even just start with a couple minutes of it, I know for me, a lot of my clients say, you know, there's no way I'm going to sit there for 10 or 20 minutes.

And I'm like, I'm not even asking you to just start to 

Justine Carino: build them up. I love that word. Innercise I'm going to borrow that. Yes, absolutely. 

Dr. Fedrick: So what are some other skills that you might start incorporating? 

Justine Carino: Sure. So I think the next step, when someone can start to be present is taking notice of how they're thinking.

And starting to challenge their own thought patterns. So we have over 6,000 thoughts a day, and about 70% of those thoughts are negative or unhelpful or untrue. We were designed this way, you know, to always look for danger, to be prepared, to react for it. So we have a constant narrative going on in our own heads that causes us.

Feel and react certain ways. And much of her anxiety is influenced by these thoughts. And the problem is not all of our thoughts are true and people don't realize that we have to learn how to challenge our thinking. And one thing I like to teach people is ask [00:08:00] themselves is the thought you're having true and or helpful.

Can you prove it to be factual? And is it helpful to you? And if you can't prove it to be true and it's not helpful, detach them the thought, let it pass. 

Dr. Fedrick: Sure. And are you usually encouraging your clients to do this in the moment? Or do you use a thought logs? What, what tools do you use to help them start to track this?

Justine Carino: Yeah, so I would love for them to get to the point where they can catch themselves and do it in the moment in the beginning phases of CBT, it's a lot of backtracking. So I'll ask them, how was your week? Where was your anxiety heightened? And we do something called a thought record and that prompts them to take a look at a situation.

The thoughts connected to it, the feelings that followed and how they reacted to it. And then we kind of think about, if you could go back in time, how could you have thought differently about that problem that would have yielded a different outcome? So it gets people to really reflect and once that starts to build, then people become more mindful in the [00:09:00] moment of how they're thinking and can eventually challenge themselves.


Dr. Fedrick: And what do you see start to shift for your clients when they become more aware of these thoughts and can start reframing. 

Justine Carino: A lot less anxiety because they're able to kind of coach themselves and use better self-talk and affirmations at times. Like my worst case scenario is not true. I've made that up in my mind right now.

I'm safe right now. I'm okay. And I can only react to the present moment. I can't react to something that hasn't happened yet. And so people start to feel a little bit more in control of their emotional reactions to their. Yeah, 

Dr. Fedrick: lots of logical. Self-talk lots of really checking in on what is the evidence to support that thought, that fear.

What about your favorite? Like go-to coping skills? What, what do you often suggest for that? 

Justine Carino: Yeah, so I think there's a two part answer to this one. I love when people can personify their anxious mind and this feels very childish, but it's one of my favorites and my clients love. [00:10:00] I tell people to literally gave, give this anxious part of their mind and name, right?

If your mind, if your anxious mind was a person place or thing, what would it be? What would it look like? Who does it remind you of? What does it sound like in your head as that voice, and really get to know this anxious character, because once you can label. Something separate than you. You can start to feel like you have a choice, whether or not you're going to listen to this anxious part of your mind.

It may seem so silly, but it's very empowering to tell your anxious mind to buzz off. You're choosing not to listen to it today. And then you start to feel a little bit more in control of how you react to these thoughts. 

Dr. Fedrick: I love that. That is such a, such a great idea. That separation of you are not your anxiety.

So empowering that you are not those thoughts, those, those thoughts can be a separate thing. What is the, is that, is there a second part? 

Justine Carino: So part two of [00:11:00] coping for me is figuring out your own personal coping style. That's healthy for you and prioritizing that and setting up your lifestyle to incorporate that.

So my favorite coping skill is the personification of the English anxious mind, but there's other skills that you could do every day, all the time. Such as exercise, accurate sleep, making time for yourself, that you can create a mental health routine for yourself where every day you set aside a little bit of time and you say my one coping skill today is going to be that long run.

So you're kind of scheduling coping skills into your lifestyle to keep you at a healthy baseline. So when you are triggered, you're left. So my favorite coping skills, the personification, but I think coping skills need to be practiced every single day. 

Dr. Fedrick: Yeah. That self-care piece is so important because when you're able to stay just a lot more regulated day-to-day you don't have to be so reactive when these triggers start to come up.

So, yeah, that's [00:12:00] definitely helpful. Where can our viewers find out more information about you? Where are you at online social media. 

Justine Carino: Yeah, so everyone can find me on my website. Corino I'm on Instagram as thoughts from the couch and my podcasts can be found on any pet casting platform.

Perfect. Thank you so much 

Dr. Fedrick: for being here, 

Justine Carino: Justine. I approved. Thanks so much for having me and thank you all for 

Dr. Fedrick: tuning into this episode of calm, cool and connected. Please make sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram and also make sure to rate and subscribe to our podcast so that others can discover our content as well.

Thank you again for joining us in this episode of calm, cooling, connected. .