Chloe Brotheridge is a hypnotherapist, coach at The Calmer You and the host of leading self-help show The Calmer You Podcast. She’s also the author of The Anxiety Solution and Brave New Girl. With her strong community of over 31k followers on Instagram, @ChloeBrotheridge is a thought-leader in the mental wellbeing space. We sat down with Chloe to talk calm, community and her future plans:

What is the concept behind The Calmer You?

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Calmer You is dedicated to helping people to become their calmest, happiest and most confident selves. I believe we can all change and make progress with our mental health and my approach with Calmer You is to make it as simple and jargon free as possible with practical steps you can take to improve your state of mind and your life.

What inspired you to start the company?

I had suffered with anxiety from my teens until my mid-twenties but at the time I didn’t believe anxiety was something you could recover from, I just though ‘this is the way I am, I’m just an anxious person’. When I finally got help and started speaking about it, I realised there were lots of other people who felt the way I did. Around that time I trained as a hypnotherapist. I started seeing a lot of similarities in my clients to the things I had struggled with; perfectionism, never feeling good enough and a huge amount of fear and worry. I learned about how common anxiety is, especially in young women.

According to the mental health foundation 22% of women (28% if you look at 18-24 year olds) feel anxious all or most of the time. I wanted to share the things that had helped me and I wanted people to know that they weren’t alone with their anxiety, nor were they ‘broken’ or stuck with feeling how they felt. I wrote The Anxiety Solution which gives you practical, simple steps to manage anxiety, then I started The Calmer You Podcast and then this May I launched my second book Brave New Girl which is all about how to grow your confidence and overcome issues like people pleasing and perfectionism.

What are the primary causes of anxiety in our society? 

Our genetics, our life experiences (such as trauma) and our lifestyle all play a role. We can’t do much about our DNA but we can affect the other two. When I speak to people with anxiety, there is almost always something from their life that is at the root of it. When we think of trauma we often think of big things like abuse or natural disasters, but we have all experienced little traumas that effect us in our adult life. Examples might be being bullied at school, having an absent parent, or even getting shouted at and embarrassed by a teacher in front of your class mates. This can cause us to take on board beliefs and patterns like not feeling good enough, needing to be perfect or fearing what other people think.

Lifestyle factors can include overworking, not taking care of yourself, drinking too much alcohol, or not getting enough sleep or exercise – these can all play a role too.

Have social media and 24/7 tech connectivity fundamentally changed us?

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A big problem with technology is that we never fully switch off. I recently read that we touch our phones an average of 2000 times a day. Social media is addictive in a similar way to cocaine because we get a dopamine ‘hit’ and a sense of reward each time we get a new comment or like or when we receive some fresh, interesting information. It impacts our attention span and it can feel as though there is no escape from comparison and FOMO, which adds to our anxiety.

Despite the appearance of lots of connection online, we miss out on real, face to face connection as a result. Loneliness is now more likely to affect young people than older people, with 10% of 16-24 year olds reporting they are ‘always or often lonely’ (ONS) and it’s worse for our health than obesity and comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

What can we do to regain calmness?

Turn your phone off after a certain time in the evening (or put it on airplane mode) and try to leave it at home one day a week so you can switch off. Use an actual alarm clock instead of your phone, so that you don’t have to have it bedside and you’ll be less likely to check it first and last thing.

Make taking care of your mental health a priority. It’s the most important thing, because without it you can’t be a good friend, employee, partner or parent. Self-care is’t selfish, it’s essential. Find out what feels like self-care for you (it might not be bubble baths!) and schedule it into your diary so you can make it happen.

Many of the symptoms of anxiety are physical so it makes sense to beat anxiety with your body. Exercise helps you to burn off the excess adrenaline and release some of the tension in your body. Yoga might help you to get out of your head and into the present moment. Even taking yourself off to the loos at work to shake your body for a minute or two can help you to release some tension and reduce your anxiety.

Lastly, write down your thoughts and feelings because evidence has suggested that putting our feelings into words helps to calm us down. We also gain more perspective when it’s written in black and white.

How can people engage with Calmer You?

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My new book Brave New Girl; 7 Steps to Confidence is out now in all good bookshop and on Audible as an audiobook. The Calmer You Podcast is free and is available on iTunes, Spotify and on my website. I also have a free anxiety-busting toolkit on my website here.

I’m on Instagram everyday sharing tips and tools and you can find me @ChloeBrotheridge.

What are your future plans?

At the moment I’m launching my book but soon I’ll be creating more online courses, for example one called ‘The Confidence Collective’ which launches in June that people can access from anywhere and after that a membership site and online community.

Who are the thought leaders, authors or inspirations you would recommend to your audience?

I love Rhiannon Lambert of @Rhitrition for down-to-earth nutrition advice, Zanna Van Dijk @ZannavanDijk for her work on the environment and my favourite author is Byron Katie.