Episode 6

Calm the Chaos of Your Stress Response - With Sarah Falk, LCSW

Published on: 24th October, 2021

Calming the Chaos of the Stress Response – Interview with Sarah Falk, MSW, LCSW, Author, Coach

Calming the Chaos welcomes Sarah Falk, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Author and Certified Coach in Illinois. Sarah shares her story about how the chaos of cancer led her to earn a Masters degree in Social Work and land her dream job at a cancer support center. After experiencing crippling panic and anxiety on the job, Sarah took time off to heal. In the process, she learned how to heal her relationship with her stress response by making anxiety her Superpower. She now provides coaching to people around the world to help them do the same.

1.      Introduction to Sarah and her story

a.      Anxiety and first cancer diagnosis at age 17

b.      Anxiety in childhood and “feeling safe”


The anxiety response is triggered by any perceived threat to safety                                                     

Good stress and Bad Stress


2.      The Stress Response

a.      A survival instinct that happens when there is a real or perceived threat to safety in our environments

b.      Our systems react (adrenaline, cortisol, blood sugar, survival instinct)

c.       We are triggered everywhere: perceiving threats everywhere

d.      Tracy’s own description of her stress response today – “My body is activated”

3.      Sarah’s work: How to use the Stress Response as a Superpower

a.      Anxiety is a survival instinct that you need – let’s work with it!

b.      How Sarah had to quit her dream job due to crippling panic and chaos on the job

Identifying Cancer Treatment as a trigger                                                        



Shifting the energy to powerful and positive action vs. actions based on negativity and fear                                                      

“In reality…what control do we really have?”

Move past the obsessing, and toward holding things loosely (“a posture of surrender”) as opposed to holding on tightly to an idea or expectation

c.       You have very little control over situations…and…you have absolute control over what you do in situations

4.      Paths that led you to learn how to manage the stress response

a.      Panic attacks, and a first marriage

b.      Children were born (4 children under 4 years old)

c.       2nd diagnosis of breast cancer – “How will I do this?”

d.      Fearing a lack of support at home and work

5.      How Sarah healed from the crippling panic (tips, tools and techniques to use when in chaos)

a.      Pay attention to what triggers…and soothes you

b.      Making the decision to leave her job (getting support)

c.       Cutting out caffeine and energy drinks, drinks with high sugar

d.      Trying to figure out how to experience my anxiety in a different way

e.      Going back to what she’d already learned…and…learning new things from holistic practitioners, triggers, stimulants in addition to the psychology


The blue light of computers and caffeine: Perhaps go to de-caf coffee and get blue-light blockers for computer use


6.      Finding “Miracles” in the pain

a.      Bone, breast and skin cancer survivor

b.      “We all have pain,” and “Areas we feel broken and chaotic”


“I can stay negative “ (The negativity Track)                                                   

Or…I can throw the switch and throw the energy to positivity

c.       Working with the anxiety

d.      What do I have to be grateful for?

e.      What is working well?

f.       What is the greater purpose within the pain?

g.      How can I move forward within the greater purpose of the pain?

h.      Holding on loosely / letting go of expectations / allow the process

i. “I am healed” 

j.    Claim it and move forward

7.      Re-Defining her life path

a.      Pay attention to your passions

b.      Pay attention to your ability to pursue your passions

c.       Pursue your passions

d.      Go toward people who can help you pursue your passions

8.      Products and services you have to offer:

a.      Website: https://sarahfenlonfalk.com

b.      Social Media Link: @sarahfalkcoaching

c.       Free Pamphlet: 5 Expert Tips to Channel your Anxiety for Working Moms

d.      Books (See Amazon page at https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Fenlon-Falk/e/B079M8Q6J5?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1633472638&sr=8-1 )

e.      Coaching

f.  Online Course

g.      Anxiety and Cancer resource pages on www.sarahfenlonfalk.com


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About the Podcast

Calming the Chaos
Helping You Find Peace in a Chaotic World!
Calming the Chaos is a podcast by Licensed Mental Health Counselor Tracy Kenela, who interviews a variety of professionals around the world in an effort to find different ways to help people (and herself!) find peace in a chaotic world. Each episode contains Information, tips, tools, and resources that come from different schools of thought, and are presented as a fun and entertaining way to help you move toward a more peaceful and enjoyable life.

About your host

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Tracy Kenela

Tracy Kenela is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Eating Disorders Specialist and Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapist in Olympia, Washington. As the Host of "Calming the Chaos" Podcast, Tracy has made it her mission to help people (and herself!) find peace in a Chaotic world! Her podcast interviews, YouTube Channel and short videos are an entertaining way to find self help for all things that cause you chaos!