Do you struggle to find ways to cope with anxiety or wish you knew how to help someone you love who struggles with it?
Corinne Foxx, daughter of actor Jamie Foxx, joins Jay Shetty for a candid discussion on mental health. After being diagnosed with anxiety at age 14, daily life became a challenge, and she knew she needed to take steps to get help. Therapy and coaching have given her the tools to get through some of the most challenging stages of life, and she feels it’s important for her to give back to others.
Foxx is an actress, producer, activist, and the executive producer of Netflix's Dad Stop Embarrassing Me, inspired by her relationship with her dad. She’s also a co-host on the hit television show Beat Shazam on the Fox network. She launched her podcast, Am I Doing It Right? in August 2020.
Through her journey with anxiety, Foxx created a list of things that help keep her anxiety at bay. In this article, she shares those tips and tools with Jay Shetty in hopes that anyone who struggles with anxiety can apply them to their lives.
Imposter syndrome is a crippling mindset that works against you. You tell yourself you can't do something or are not worthy enough, so you don't even try. Corinne Foxx admits she suffers from imposter syndrome regularly, but her father's words give her confidence and courage to push past the voice that says you can't do it.
“My entire life my dad told me, ‘You can do anything, you are so capable,’” Foxx explains to Jay Shetty. “I just heard that constantly. “
When Foxx was offered a role in the movie 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, she heeded her father's advice that she could do anything. One requirement for the part was to know how to swim. She accepted the role even though she didn’t know how.
“I just thought ‘I'll figure it out,’ which is what I did,” Foxx tells Jay Shetty. “It was that instilled confidence that started at a young age, so I felt confident to do it.”
That confidence – and her father’s voice – has stuck with her throughout her life. Foxx recalls dating in high school and being devastated after a breakup.
“My dad told me no man can ever take away your self-worth,” Foxx shares with Jay Shetty. “He would ask, ‘Do you know who you are?’ I don't think he means my last name, but in my essence, and how powerful of a woman I am. That encouragement gave me confidence.”
It's Okay to Ask for Help
There are only so many things a person can juggle before starting to drop the ball on something. If you find yourself in that position, it’s okay to ask for help. Corinne Foxx is a strong believer in therapy, and shares with Jay Shetty that she has had the same therapist since she was 14.
“I feel like many people don't feel worthy of help or don't want to be a burden,” explains Foxx to Jay Shetty. “I think for me when I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at age 14, I was the type of person who wanted to go to therapists. I wanted to do workbooks. I don't want to be held back by this.”
Therapy allows Foxx to work through her traumas. It helps her overcome them, allowing her to continue creating and sharing herself with the world. Realizing she also needed help with things in her creative and work life, Foxx began to seek out support in those areas. She recently hired a life coach, with whom she meets weekly to help her prioritize life.
“Having someone sit down with me and prioritize what I want to accomplish first, and how do we get there and make deadlines, is so helpful,” Foxx tells Jay Shetty. “I think it's just hard when you have so many passions to figure out where to start. It’s easy to start a bunch of little things and then not really get to the end of them. I really needed that structure.”
Jay Shetty adds, “Therapists help us unpack our past. They help us untangle what's going on and move on from our past. And coaches help you figure out where you want to be and help you get there.”
Foxx believes that it is vital to heal your trauma so you don't continue to pass it on from generation to generation. Therapy and coaching can help you improve yourself and your quality of life by creating self-awareness and helping you develop the self-confidence to reach for your dreams.
When Corinne Foxx was diagnosed with anxiety, it was not as mainstream as it is today. There were no hashtags or social media platforms, and Self-care Sunday was unheard of. Foxx wasn't aware her sweaty palms and pounding heart were signs of anxiety. She just knew it wasn't normal, and she needed some help.
“I kept thinking that a plane was going to hit the school,” Foxx recalls to Jay Shetty. “I just have these irrational fears and thoughts and panic attacks. I struggled with panic disorder for a long time. Seventy-five percent of mental health conditions start between the age of 14 and 24, so I was right on par. I've been in therapy ever since.”
Over the years, Foxx has assembled a toolkit full of practices and activities that help her manage her anxiety. Therapy, research, journaling, working out, giving back, spending time with friends, and meditation have become her go-to tools.
The lack of mental health discussions and resources led Foxx to do her research on what anxiety was and what worked for her in treating it. She didn't feel comfortable talking to her friends about it, fearing being called crazy. Over time, she developed a list of specific things she would refer to in anxious moments.
“I just started writing things down,” Foxx explains to Jay Shetty. “I discovered that working out, works. Going to therapy works, and journaling and meditation works for me. I would just keep adding to my list so if I was going through an anxious moment or a tough time, I could reference it. It's hard to remember all of the tools you have in those moments, so it was nice for me to have it in my phone so I could reference it if I needed it.”
Giving back is one of the things Foxx attributes to keeping her anxiety manageable. It wasn't until 2018, when she did an article for Refinery 29, that Foxx revealed her journey with anxiety. After finding her voice, she now uses it in a big way. Foxx lobbied on the Capitol's steps as an ambassador for The National Alliance on Mental Illness and uses her voice on a large scale for those afraid to speak out.
“Thinking outside of yourself helps when you're anxious or depressed,” Foxx explains to Jay Shetty. “You get so consumed and stuck in a rut in your head. When you think about someone else's needs, you're not worried about yourself. You're not worried about all the things that are making you feel anxious or depressed or whatever.”
Spending Time with Friends
Socializing with close friends twice a week is another thing Foxx does to help manage her anxiety. It’s not the kind of socializing out on the town, but more of a focused setting with honest conversations in the company of close friends. Foxx tells Jay Shetty these planned interactions are a great way to force herself to be more outward.
Foxx’s connection to a higher power is something that she learned at a young age. She grew up attending Agape church and still joins the service virtually now. She credits her meditation practice with her ability to lower her heart rate and breathing when experiencing anxiety symptoms.
“I wake up first thing in the morning and let my dog out,” Foxx tells Jay Shetty. “When we get back inside, I meditate.” It started with just sitting for ten minutes and learning how to follow my breath, which is great for anyone experiencing anxiety. When you can lower your breath and heart rate, many of your anxiety symptoms go away. It is an efficient anxiety relief that helps me. I started to love the spiritual side, and it has grown into crystals and sage. It's a whole production.”
This practice sets the foundation for the day and creates an environment where Foxx feels she's in the right headspace. A far cry from the time in her life when she couldn't leave her house, through her research and hard work, she has found the tools that work for her to manage her anxiety.
“To be standing here and championing for somebody else makes it feel like it wasn't all for nothing,” Foxx says to Jay Shetty.
Jay Shetty adds the journey from the 14-year-old girl who struggled to get through the school day to the woman standing on the Capitol steps doesn't happen overnight. It is a journey filled with tiny steps, shifts, and small changes. Those small things led to a big moment where Foxx got to stand up for something she believed in.
Creativity can manifest itself in many different ways, but for Corinne Foxx, creativity piques when she is alone.
“My creativity is sparked when I'm alone, and I sit and get quiet, or in meditation,” Foxx tells Jay Shetty. “That's where my podcasts came from. I was sitting in meditation, and I opened my eyes and thought, ‘I have to do a podcast.’ I kind of just hear things.”
Eliminating distractions helps bolster creativity for Foxx. She takes time to connect with herself before auditions or significant events by taking quiet alone time.
One of the ways she’s engaged her creativity in the past few years is in creating and selling her TV show, a project she’s been working on for over five years.
“I’m the creator, writer, and actor, so this is a new ballgame,” Foxx shares with Jay Shetty. “I'm excited to go down that path. I'm terrified, but I feel I can do it.”
Anxiety doesn't have to limit your life. Find a support system and research for yourself. Make a plan that works for you and work it into your routine. Don’t settle for standing on the sidelines. There is a purpose-filled life just waiting for you to live it.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode with Corinne Foxx on “Coping with Anxiety and Being Kind” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.[social_warfare]