The Happy Engineer Podcast

017: Social Anxiety Society with Mark Metry

Are you shy? Why do so many engineering leaders struggle with social anxiety? Did you know your biochemistry may be working against you when it comes to being social?

In this episode, witness the power of complete transformation in our guest, Mark Metry. He went from social anxiety slave, to total freedom, being fully himself in front of huge audiences all over the world. Mark shares his incredible journey, and the science behind social anxiety that is rarely discussed.

If you have ever felt uncomfortable in a social setting, you must listen to this!

Now, Mark hosts the Social Anxiety Society podcast, and is the bestselling author of “Screw Being Shy: Learn How to Manage Social Anxiety and Be Yourself in Front of Anyone!” Mark has been featured in Forbes, TEDx, HuffPost, Mindvalley, Inc and has spoken alongside Olympian Athletes, New York Times Bestselling authors, and Fortune 500 CEO’s.

Go with us on a journey of how to be yourself in front of anyone, not be shy with proven neuroscience, best mental health practices, and stories from the world’s most successful people.

So press play and let’s chat… and stop letting social anxiety limit your career.


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“I went from someone who had no idea I had social anxiety… to realizing that your brain is this algorithmic system and if you have social anxiety it’s like a virus that gets installed into your software and your hardware and corrupts it. And you can learn to uninstall that, and learn to restore it.”

Talk about courage and an incredible transformation story. Mark Metry knows his stuff and has the courage to be honest and vulnerable. How social anxiety impacted his life and what he’s done to create a new life since then is amazing. And it’s no joke. Mark speaks on some of the biggest stages out there. He’s got an incredible Ted talk TEDx and his podcast is fantastic. You would never suspect social anxiety was ever a part of his story.

Remember that it’s entirely possible that up until this moment, you simply were not aware that social anxiety and this virus in the software of your mind and brain is not working correctly. I think it’s so interesting that Mark said, yeah, it wasn’t until I looked back that I realized all this was going on.

I didn’t know until that first time I got drunk, and all of those systems shut down and I became a completely different person. Now, please, don’t go out and get drunk to test whether or not you’re struggling with social anxiety. Although my hunch is you probably already know from that particular test, my point being don’t underestimate the importance of what Mark is talking about. And even if you are healthy in this space, we can always do more to continue to balance the hardware and correct any of these behaviors. So let’s go back and re-cover these four key tips from the study on serotonin that Mark mentioned, because I think it’s incredibly simple and actionable for you to get started.

Number one, sunlight overcomes that vitamin D deficiency. Make sure that you’re supplementing. If you need to, and you’re getting outside all that you can throughout the day.

Number two, movement. I work with my engineering clients on this all the time. And it’s amazing how often a breakthrough in your career begins with a breakthrough in taking care of yourself and something as simple as movement connecting the mind and body, getting yourself up and actively exercising. 

And did you catch how important the six hours of stillness test is? Let me recap this, I think this is huge because I know for a fact that so many engineers are living exactly like this. If you sit down at your desk at your computer and you go 6, 8, 10 hours with no desire or urge to get up and move other than to grab another cup of coffee or use the restroom, that is a problem. There’s a part of your own psychological hardware that is not running at its optimal point. So take a look at that. If you can do that, just sit down for six hours straight, that’s a red flag.

Number three, your diet. Mark unloaded some great tips. Go back and listen to that again if you need more clarity on exactly where to begin, but I think the key point that I want you to hear from that whole discussion on diet is that the things you need can’t be produced. They need to be consumed. If you’re not eating the right balance of nutrients and amino acids in your diet, your brain, the hardware of your psychology is not going to get what it needs. So it’s not something that’s optional if you want to perform at your peak. And I say all the time to the leaders that I coach a strong mind exists inside of a strong body. It is not optional – If you want to have peak performance in your mind to make sure that you are also pursuing peak performance in your body. 

“This is more-or-less a brain-health issue that has robbed you and taken hostage of your mind.”  Mark Metry


Number four, therapy, meditation, coaching, and the things of the mind getting into that space, let’s connect that to Mark’s final question. Thinking back to the first time in your life, that earliest memory and childhood, where you felt an inability to be yourself. Maybe you were a teenager, maybe you were older. Connecting those two ideas, that meditation and therapy, and this idea of cognitive behavioral questioning is such an important thing.

The process of inquiry, let’s get into inquiry on this. When was the first time that you felt the inability to be yourself? Meditate on that question, reflect and think, give yourself more time, more time than you usually would. With meditation, you gotta get through the crust around your brain, those automatic scripts and soundtracks that play in your mind all the time.

If you give yourself 20 or 30 minutes, I’ll challenge my clients to go for two hours with no inputs whatsoever. No journals, no phones, no conversations, just you alone. Ideally outdoors (let’s get that sunlight) alone with your thoughts, meditating and getting present to that. If you’ll start taking small, simple actions in all four of those areas and really get serious about what may be going on in your own life.

When Mark mentioned that quote he had picked up, “Whatever you don’t understand, is trying to understand you.”, I found it very interesting. It’s a great reminder that just because something seems normal, doesn’t mean you have to accept it as such. Our brains and bodies have clever ways of relaying information to us, but we have to take active measures to tune in and pay attention if we’re to gain anything from it. So pay attention to those weird quirks you have, the parts of you that you’ve never been able to figure out, or fully understand. Instead of just accepting that it’s an inherently “you” problem that you just have to live with forever, try something new. Think about it as a broken line of code you have to go find and fix. Use some of your time of reflection and meditation to dig deeper into the parts of you that you don’t understand, and maybe you will find a way to debug your system and start operating more optimally.

If you are struggling from social anxiety, begin to take action now. I promise you’re going to see incredible results. Maybe it’s not super extreme, that’s okay. Still take action. All four of these areas are areas in my own life where I’m continuing to optimize and improve because it’s not simply coming out of an inability to operate, if social anxiety has you totally handcuffed and unable to be authentic and be yourself, but it is also taking it to the next level and strategizing for how you’re going to reach peak performance and be the absolute best engineer, the best husband or wife, the best father or mother, the best version of yourself.

Mark has incredible content out there. I definitely encourage you to go check it out. If you need support in how to apply this specifically into your engineering career, OACO and myself, we’re here to support you. But the main thing is, like always, knowledge without action has no value. So go implement, go decide what’s the first thing you’re going to do as a result of hearing this conversation today, and it has been an absolute pleasure to share this with you. Let’s do this!


Previous Episode 16: Personal Socrates with Marc Champagne




Mark Metry studied computer science and spent his entire life in the hell hole that social anxiety had dug for him.  He broke out of that prison, and went on to become an entrepreneur, author, creator, mental health advocate, coach, teacher, keynote speaker, podcast host, and most important… a loving human being.

Mark has interviewed over 300+ top leaders around the world from billionaire philanthropists, to neuroscientists, professional athletes, New York times bestselling authors, philosophers, and innovative disruptors on his Top 100 Humans 2.0 podcast, which NASDAQ, and Yahoo Finance placed in the “Top 21 Growing Podcasts you must listen to..”

Now, Mark hosts the Social Anxiety Society podcast, and is the bestselling author of Screw Being Shy: Learn How to Manage Social Anxiety and Be Yourself in Front of Anyone! Mark has been featured in Forbes, TEDx, HuffPost, Mindvalley, Inc and has spoken alongside Olympic Athletes, New York Times Bestselling authors, and Fortune 500 CEOs.

Go with us on a journey of how to be yourself in front of anyone, not be shy with proven neuroscience, best mental health practices, and stories from the world’s most successful people.





Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: engineers. Welcome back. I know you just got to hear all about our guests today. Mark Metry and the intro, but I’ve got to say again, if you haven’t seen his stuff on his podcast, social anxiety society, formerly known as Human 2.0. Check that out. It is so incredible. But Mark, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for making time to be with us today.

[00:00:28] Mark Metry: Of course, man, I appreciate your reaching out to me, and thank you for creating this platform, man. You’re helping a lot of people and it’s just the beginning of the beginning for you. 

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:37] Zach White: I appreciate that. And Mark, what I want to do your story?

[00:00:41] Uh, it’s incredible from start to finish and for the engineer listening, I really encourage them to go check out the entire. Story and journey of mark from the beginning. But for today, let’s Cannonball right into the deepest. Is that all right with you? 

[00:00:58] Mark Metry: and if I can preface that with one thing that I think would give some context.

[00:01:01] Um, so for me as a kid, like, I always had social anxiety, but I still want it to be social with people. And so for me, I remember like, you know, learning about social media, learning about YouTube, playing video games, learning how to code, uh, learning how to make websites, making apps like way back in the day when I was a kid.

[00:01:19] Um, and I really think that helped me on many different fronts. It’s not what I do now. Um, and then, yeah, when I was 18, I go off to college and my major was computer science at the time. And for me, I was basically just sort of starting to connect the dots in my life. And I was like, you know, if I’m going to . College to get a degree in computer science, And I hate all of these classes that I’m in.

[00:01:43] Like I hate learning. Literally. It feels like I’m, I feel like radioactive. Um, not necessarily because like, I think there’s something wrong with like, learning that stuff at all. But for me, I felt like I was too good at it. For me. I felt like I had put all my life’s energy. And like learning how to code, learning, how to do these things.

[00:02:02] And I mean, definitely paid off. Like I was making six figures, like when I was a teenager through this stuff online. Um, and so it was definitely helpful, but to be honest with you, it felt like I was living someone else’s life. And eventually, like that led me to. Like being filled with so much pain of just like going to class and then coming back and then just like playing video games and then going back to class and then like eating all this crappy food and then coming home and then just taking out my pain on like video games and ordering takeout food, and just like watching random things that I just sort of felt like my, my life story.

[00:02:38] I was just going to be stuck like this forever. And I reached this point to where it felt like I was trying to map. Like my problems, it felt like I was trying to mass my problems by like distractions by like getting validation from other people. And I just like knew deep down that, like what I was doing, this was just fundamentally not it.

[00:02:58] And like, I couldn’t tell at the time, but I just like had this feeling that like there was something wrong. Um, and so for me, like I tried to. The social and like, I try to connect with other people, but if you, like, if you have social anxiety, that’s like a mental health issue. And so even if you want to do it as much as you can, uh, and like you motivate yourself and you use your mind to do it, your brain, your nervous system.

[00:03:22] We’ll hold you back and you’ll be filled with so much pain and intention, if you don’t resolve the root cause. And so for . Me, this is really interesting. 

[00:03:29] Zach White: Mark, let me, let me stop right there. This story. I know the engineer like yes, yes, yes. Like they’re probably nodding their head. They get this, you said something that really struck me a moment ago though.

[00:03:39] And I’m curious, you said I had social anxiety as a kid and that sort of set the stage. Where you just went, but did you know that when you were young or is that something that looking back now, you see it, but I’m curious, like when you were little, did you feel that, or did you actually have that awareness of like I’m a socially anxious 

[00:03:59] child?

[00:04:01] Mark Metry: Thank you so much for asking this question. I literally had no idea. I literally had no idea. I literally just everyone around me would say, oh, you’re shy, you’re shy. You’re an introvert. You’re an introvert. You’re shy. Um, and I literally had no idea and like, literally what would happen is every day I’d go to school or every day I’d try to be socially.

[00:04:16] My brain would like go through this entire what I call like an algorithm, like all of a sudden, like, you know, the night before I would try to go to sleep and then my brain would be like, oh, but you have this thing to do. Oh, you know, what, what are you going to say to this person? If they say that to you tomorrow?

[00:04:31] Or what happens if they say this to you and you don’t know the answer and you embarrassed yourself. And so my brain the night before would always run the simulation, the social anxiety simulation, and the next day. I would wake up pretty tired, pretty kind of like depressed probably because I wasn’t sleeping.

[00:04:48] Right. And they’ve also done studies and they show that if you have a history, Of anxiety or depression that gets stored as tension in your body, through the specific nerve called the vagus nerve, which is actually partly what wakes you up in the morning. And so if you have all this tension, like an elastic band, you wake up, it’s too overwhelming.

[00:05:08] You’re like depressed. You’re like, shit, how am I going to do this? I got to chug this red bull, or I got to do this thing before to like, pretend to be myself or to get myself ready. Um, and yeah, I had no idea and like, literally. I would go to school. I try to be social. And then even though I would try to be social, even though I would try to speak up every single time my brain would just shut me down.

[00:05:28] Like all of a sudden I would just feel like out of control, like my biochemistry would just shut it down. And then every single time that happened, I would just walk away and be. What’s wrong with me, I guess I’m like stupid. I could never talk to people, I guess I’m just like, born like this. Um, and so yeah, I had, I literally had, no, 

[00:05:46] Zach White: that is so interesting to me and this theme, I know it’s going to come up multiple times today.

[00:05:51] Probably the connection between what we individually are experiencing in our mind and what’s actually happening in the body and. Yeah, engineers listening. We’d like to know why things happen. You’re not just crazy in your thoughts. There’s real things in the physiology here. So, mark, when was the moment in that journey where you actually became aware?

[00:06:14] I have a social anxiety issue here and it needs attention. Like when did that. 

[00:06:21] Mark Metry: Yeah. The first time where I actually realized it was the first time I ever got drunk at a college party and I got drunk. And as we all know, like when you get lit, uh, um, you know, alcohol shuts down the part of your brain, that factors in social judgment.

[00:06:37] So then all of a sudden I was like, Like I just poured this, drink down my body. And then all of a sudden I can like, do whatever I want without feeling this like, need without feeling like the sense of judgment without feeling like my nervous. System’s about to kill me. And I remember the day after. I remember being like, wait, what the hell just happened?

[00:06:55] Like, how did I just pour this liquid, this chemical down my body that literally caused my psychology to be different. And so when that happened, I was like, I just like started Googling and I was like, uh, uh, shot. Uh, I can’t talk, um, you know, uh, you know, I remember my heartbeat would always raise my mind would always just go blank.

[00:07:15] I just like thought I was stupid or like, I just thought other people were better than me. And then I was like, oh, this is like this whole algorithm that’s happening in my nervous system. I kind of, I call it like a, like a virus. It’s like an AI that like gets installed usually by the time you’re 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 years old.

[00:07:33] That’s the average age. And then it’s sort of like invisible. But then it impacts every kind of like step of your thoughts, your emotions, your behavior. And then next thing, you know, like you’re 18, 19 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25. And you know, you don’t have that many friends or like, you feel like you can’t be yourself or you’re using too much alcohol or next thing, you know, like you’re depressed or you gain weight or, you know what I mean?

[00:07:57] All these different issues start to happen. And I, I definitely think like a huge part of it, the root causes, social anxiety, which goes back to. How your nervous system initially shifted. So I answer this, if you would like me to, 

[00:08:13] Zach White: um, this is, I know the engineers listening are going to want to geek out on, on this.

[00:08:16] And so let’s, let’s do that. I mean, I know we don’t want to go through the entire PhD class that mark could give us today on, on this, but, but do tell us, like, what is it about. Formation period that happens. What’s going on in the mind. And it gives us at least the high level for, I know people are going to want it out.

[00:08:30] Like, come on, mark, give us the juicy, the nerdy stuff. We’re we engineers. So go ahead, man. 

[00:08:36] Mark Metry: Yeah. So, you know, believe it or not, nobody is born socially anxious. You can be born as an introvert. There’s nothing wrong with that, but nobody is born socially anxious and really what happens is, uh, According to the most of the data I’ve seen, it usually has to do with the combination of, um, if you face some sort of like discrimination or racism or abuse or bullying, that’s usually the big ones.

[00:08:58] Usually what happens is, um, and then there’s other factors too, from like your family, your genetics, your brain structure, but usually what happens is you experience this some sort of an event that completely just shifts your nervous system. And what happens is basically imagine like, Imagine someone shifts it from like drive to to neutral.

[00:09:17] It can’t move. So . , that’s what happens. And what happens is, you know, a lot of the times we think that, oh, you know, things early on in our lives, you know, they don’t, you know, who cares, like whatever that was the past, you know, whatever. But this is what happens, whether it’s bullying, whether it’s racism, whether it’s discrimination, what happens is like, you’re just living your life as a kid.

[00:09:35] And then someone judges, you, you get kicked out of your friend group, you feel like you’re the only person in the world who experiences this. And then what happens is it’s not even the event itself it’s has nothing to do with like the actual bullying or the discrimination. But what happens is the way that you experienced.

[00:09:54] Hmm. So I know for me, one of the big ones was, um, like moving to a small town where nobody around me looked like me. And then all of a sudden facing discrimination because of my skin color. And I literally remember, I don’t remember much because most of my brain has like this associated. And that’s another helpful tip too, of like, if you have lived a lot of your life with anxiety or depression, Your memories is like messed up.

[00:10:17] And it’s because a lot of the times you were disassociated you weren’t in the present moment because your brain would rather to now than to like tune into what’s actually happening. And I remember. Like that first feeling of, it’s almost just like you just like sort of shrink and you like get smaller and then all of a sudden, like your beats, like, boom, boom, boom, boom.

[00:10:38] And like you hear no other noise and all of a sudden, like you’re just sort of left in like maybe your leg is tapping. Maybe your throat is like very tight. Maybe you stutter a little bit. And then a lot of the times too, there’s also physical health. Uh, issues that often happen, like you’ll have an issue with your stomach or you’ll have an auto-immune issue like asthma or like rashes.

[00:11:00] A lot of these things are very common with social anxiety. And so it becomes like this entire algorithm that really just locks you into your place. And what happens is if you’re stuck in that algorithm for like 10 years, and you have no idea that it’s happening. What then also starts to happen is then your brain like installs this algorithm as its hardware.

[00:11:21] Yes. So instead of just going from software of like, oh, these are just my thoughts, my emotions, it literally becomes the hardware of your brain. And then it gets to that point to like, you’re in a, you’re a young adult, you’re an adult. And like, you want to do things and you say you’re going to do things, but then you’re still not doing them.

[00:11:36] Or like you’re still too dependent on alcohol or caffeine or red bulls. I know that one was a big one for me. And so it really becomes like this, the way that I describe it, it’s like this biochemical prison. Wow. And it goes past your conscious . Mind. Yeah. 

[00:11:51] Zach White: Software hardware thing makes a lot of sense to me as an engineer.

[00:11:54] Like I, I get it. It becomes part of the operating system built in. So mark, take us back then. You’re in college. Experiencing this, you you’ve had this program running this, this AI behind the scenes of social anxiety in your life for all this time. And you described that rock bottom moment to the depression, you know, physical symptoms and obesity and autoimmune, and you know, the social isolation, those pieces of your journey.

[00:12:22] What was that period of life really like for you in kind of the darkest places before you becoming the man that you are today, but when you were right there, just describe that. What was it really like? 

[00:12:35] Mark Metry: I literally had no idea what was happening. Like the best way to describe it was I just like fell in my brain broke and it’s, I felt like my brain broke and I was in so much pain.

[00:12:43] That I just didn’t know what to do, but to do whatever would come to me in the path of least resistance, whether it was drinking alcohol, um, or whatever it was. And for me, like I started to basically be like, Hey, I need to kill myself. Um, and for me, like, what I did was I started to go for walks in like very dangerous neighborhoods at night.

[00:13:03] And so for me, I just like would fantasize about someone walking up to me, trying to mug me, trying to kill me. And I remember. On one of those nights, you know, I would, I was walking, walking, walking, and I remember getting to the spot where there was like an, like an interstate highway bridge. And so normally during the day, you know, this is the interstate highway.

[00:13:21] There’s like four lanes of cars on either side. It’s usually very noisy, but I remember walking and. All of a sudden, just like looking up and hearing silence. It, it was so much silence. The point of like, it felt like someone hit the mute button, like on a remote control, I guess, as if it was that level of silence.

[00:13:39] And I remember when that happened, it made me look up and I just like, sort of looked around and it literally felt like I was the only person on the earth. There was no cars, there was nobody. And what happened in that moment? Was I actually gained like some sense of like clarity. I gained some sense of like, my mind was finally clear, but I remember before I looked up before I heard that silence, my mind was just inundating me with thoughts, with thoughts, with thoughts, with thoughts, um, Again, I don’t, I don’t a hundred percent like remember, um, and it’s not like I was like hearing voices.

[00:14:12] That’s not what I’m saying, but I could just feel like my brain was just pushing me to think these thoughts. And they were generally speaking around the lines of like, I suck, uh, you know, I’m a bad person. I have no value to give to the world. Nobody likes me. Nobody loves me. I’m never going to be able to be who I actually want to be.

[00:14:31] Um, I’m stuck. Um, and then like, literally what it is is like you literally start to see the world as like black and white. Like, you know how like in movies, like when someone’s depressed, like they changed the color scheme of it’s black and. That’s actually a hundred percent correct. like, they’ve actually done studies and they’ve shown that, um, like you have a neurotransmitter in your brain called serotonin and part of that modulates your eyesight and they have literally shown if part of this neurotransmitter is dysfunctional as a result of having anxiety for 10 years, to where your brain is wired, like wrong and correctly, you will literally see the world in a different.

[00:15:06] And so it was a very dark world. And, and, and honestly, it’s one of those things where I look back at and I’m like, wow, like how did that not happen? Like, I, I feel like it’s super lucky. I feel like some sense of responsibility as to why I’m even talking about my story today was like, I just happened to not be one of the 850,000 people every single year who commits suicide.

[00:15:28] Um, and our 

[00:15:28] Zach White: last that’s really powerful, man. I appreciate you being so vulnerable with that and that silent. The clear kind of breadth of clarity on the other side of that, was there a new thought or something that triggered? 

[00:15:45] Mark Metry: Yeah. Yeah. I was getting to that. I totally free. So, so I faced this sort of like clarity, but I remember the moment before my brain just sort of being inundated with these thoughts.

[00:15:53] And I remember when I had that moment of clarity, like thinking back to my thinking and thinking. Like wait, who is thinking that? Because like, I don’t think that about myself. Like, I don’t think I’m a loser, even though my brain was thinking that. And so all of a sudden I start to be like, wait, where did that thought come from?

[00:16:08] Like, where did these thoughts come from? And all of a sudden, like I start to trace it back and. I haven’t heard that stuff in the time I was like bullied and I was discriminated against when I was a kid. And then you actually like, look at the science and you realize that your brain is basically a survival thought generation machine.

[00:16:25] And basically what it does is. Early on in your life. It like downloads all the data, all of the information around you, all, what your parents said, all what everyone says around you and it internalizes it. And it’s like, yo, we have to follow this if we need to survive. But then if you internalize the wrong voices, the wrong opinions, all of a sudden, like you hate yourself, you’re depressed.

[00:16:48] You’re anxious. And for me, like one of the biggest things that I realized was that. Oh, I don’t actually hate myself. Those are just the thoughts that my brain is like randomly generating as like this like broken computer, like this broken algorithm that can barely function correctly. And so for me, when I realized that, um, it was like a very crazy experience because looking back at it, I think that was like one of the first few times where I actually got in the present moment of life.

[00:17:17] And I think a lot of the times. Part of the issue with anxiety and depression is that you’re never in the present moment. And what I’m saying is that like, you know, you show up to work, um, the next day. And if you have social anxiety, if you have anxiety and your brain is like running that simulation, you’re showing up with the days before is like nervous system baggage.

[00:17:36] That’s like spitting out faulty code. At you. Um, and then what happens is you bring that to all of your interactions, to all of your situations. And you’ve been doing that since your entire life and very few times, are you ever going to be in the present moment? It’s usually like when life slaps you across the face or like you hit some moment of rock bottom to where like your brain literally has to force itself to like be in the present moment.

[00:18:03] ’cause a lot of the times you’re not, you’re stuck in the past. You’re stuck in the future. And a good way to kind of tell this is like, if you drive to work the same on the same route, the same pathway, you like get in your car and then you start driving and then you get to work or you get to wherever.

[00:18:17] And you’re just like, wait, what was I just thinking about? Like, what was that you’ve been doing in my mind for 25 minutes that I just blocked out. And it’s because like, once your mind the texts, oh, this is an environment that we’d been in before. We don’t have to think anymore. And it just puts you back in the algorithm that you’ve had throughout your entire life.

[00:18:36] And so for me, when I realized that it completely changed my life it went from like this is like the big shifts that I had. It went from. Oh, mark. You’re you’re a loser. You suck. Nobody likes you because you can’t talk to people to like, oh, I have like this, uh, like this this sort of like faulty, biochemical machine that’s in my head that nobody ever taught me to use correctly.

[00:18:58] And what happened was all of a sudden, when you have that perspective, you start to experiment. You go from like, oh wow. I’m like this moral failure and I’m going to be stuck like this forever. And I have no hope. Oh, I can just remove this crappy code out of my brain and I can experiment and I can try new things.

[00:19:16] And then, oh, all of a sudden my life is better. Oh, all of a sudden my brain is better. All of a sudden I can, I can think better. Oh, all of a sudden I have more confidence. And so that was like the big shift, looking back at it of like, I went from someone who. I had no idea I had social anxiety. And so it was just like, wow, people hate me.

[00:19:33] I suck. I’m terrible too. Realizing that your brain is like this, you know, algorithmic system. And if you have social anxiety, it’s like a virus that gets installed into your software and your hardware that corrupts it. And you can learn to uninstall that and you could learn to like restore it, you know, so that your brain isn’t always like overheating and overwhelming.

[00:19:55] And like you can install. More Ram, you can install a new mothership. You can install a new, you know, that’s, that’s the big 

[00:20:02] Zach White: thing. I want the engineer listening to this, to just pause for a moment and appreciate what mark is sharing, because that shift that mindset shift for. I hope this conversation is stirring up in you some awareness to some of the symptoms, some of the signs, some of the things that maybe for your whole life, you’ve just been writing off as the way it is who I am.

[00:20:26] I don’t have a choice. And even the example of driving to work, you know, completely disassociated from reality for half an hour. And you just show up like what happened? We might write that off as well. It was just driving to work. It’s no big deal, but you know, looking for. Behavior that symptom in other areas of your life, like where else is that happening?

[00:20:45] If you go to a meeting and the meeting’s over and you barely even remember what happened because you were running a script in your mind the whole time, but what does everybody else in the room thinking? Or what am I going to say if they call on me or, you know, I hope they don’t ask me that question because I don’t have anything to say.

[00:20:59] And, you know, your head is in a whole nother place the entire time, you know, just, just to be encouraged that there is in fact, a past. To rewiring and, and replacing that hardware. And so I think it’s a perfect point to ask then, mark. Yeah. What is the first step? If, if somebody is hearing this and saying, yes, I believe I need that replacement of the hardware and the code in my psychological operating system.

[00:21:30] Yeah. Where do I begin? Yeah. What 

[00:21:33] Mark Metry: would you. Yeah. So so the way that I describe it to people is, and I think a lot of the times in this space, Most of the time, why I think people are stuck is because they’re told that like, oh, you just have to use your mind.

[00:21:40] You just have to use your mind. And like, again, I think your mind is great, but I would even argue and say your mind, isn’t, isn’t the problem. In most cases, or your mind can easily be adaptable. What I think for the vast majority of people, the issue is the hardware. I want to go back to the software hardware, like analogy and explain it.  So imagine like, imagine you have an iPhone, right. And like, the hardware is like the actual phone. It’s the chips that’s in here. So the camera, the software is like iOS. Right? And so imagine that. Imagine like you have like the original iPhone or like you have the iPhone two, or you have the iPhone three super slow, super outdated.

[00:22:18] And you know, you have like the best software in the entire world from apple, unlike, like, let’s say that your software is your mind. Your hardware is your brain. Like your you’re a brain. Is the physical organ that houses your mind, that houses your mindset. And so what I tell people is like, even if you have the world’s best software in the entire world, but you’re trying to install the latest version of iOS on like the iPhone to.

[00:22:46] You’re probably not even gonna be able to install or you’re going to be hitting that install button, they, oh, why isn’t it working? Why isn’t it working? And then maybe even if it does work, nothing changes. Like you’re still stuck. It’s still super slow. It’s still super outdated. And so I think a lot of the times you have to fix your brain first and then your mind will follow.

[00:23:03] And a lot of the times, like what I’ve learned when it comes to mental health, is that. This is more or less like a, a brain health issue that has robbed you and it’s taking hostage of your mind. And that’s the best way that I learned, like how to describe it to people. And so the first step in how to do that, obviously everyone’s different.

[00:23:20] Not everyone has, uh, you know, the best approach, but I think the most important thing by far is like looking at your brains. Neuro-transmitters and so what I mean specifically is a lot of times with social anxiety, um, there is this neurotransmitter called serotonin. I mentioned it before, and basically this does a lot of different things in your brain, but basically this is.

[00:23:41] Uh, type of mechanism, a type of vehicle that your brain uses to control your mood, to control how you sleep at night to control your vision. And also, this is the part of your brain that actually. Specializes in how other people perceive you and where it thinks you are based on the social hierarchy. And then based on that, it will then create other neurotransmitters that will control your mood that will control how you see to create that reality.

[00:24:09] Whether your brain is right or wrong in terms of its prediction. The journal of neuroscience in 2017, came out with a huge study and they found that there are basically four main ways to improve, increase, uh, make the serotonin receptor neurotransmitter healthier. The number one thing on that list, not necessarily an importance, but the number one thing on that list was sunlight.

[00:24:31] It turns out that if your cells cannot get vitamin D, which is you get largely from the sun and then some other like animal based products and mushrooms, then your cells and your neuro-transmitters can not function properly. And so in a world where I grew up sitting inside. First part of my life. I grew up in the hood, very dangerous going to go outside to then playing video games, watching YouTube, all that stuff is great, but I was stuck inside all day.

[00:25:00] I like didn’t even understand the importance of going outside and, uh, on my podcast, I interviewed this, this guy who you could debate, he was like the number one mental health doctor. His name is. Dr. Daniel. Amen. he, yeah, he helped. He like he’s Justin Bieber’s mental health doctor, Miley Cyrus, a lot of other people.

[00:25:17] Um, he says that the number one, uh, commonality that he’s seen in all mental health issues is a vitamin D deficiency. Uh, and so, and so that’s one. So like in this study they said, uh, sunlight isn’t is number one. Number two is like moving. Exercise, like, believe it or not, your brain’s number one function is to control your motor skills.

[00:25:37] Right? So like the same way that, um, you know, like you’re, you’re the harder one. Like in a computer, like the Ram controls the memory on the software side, your, your movement controls your brain and your brain controls your movement. And so I’m not saying to like, do something crazy, like go run a marathon or do CrossFit, like literally just using your body and more importantly, connecting your mind and body.

[00:25:57] cycle together. It’s a feedback loop. And what I mean is this, like when you experienced trauma and I said that like your nervous system shifts from like a car that’s gone, that’s stuck on D and it goes to the gear. N what happens is usually there’s a dissociation to your body and that this association to your body, that’s one of the mechanisms that your mind uses to try to do.

[00:26:22] With problems with struggles, but if you’re not connected to your body, then you’re just going to be stuck in your head for the rest of your life. And you’re going to have much more anxiety. And so usually what happens is early on as a kid, you actually disconnected from your body and, and, and I, and especially if you weren’t that active or if you didn’t play any sports, this is a huge thing I know for me, because of my social media.

[00:26:44] I never played any sports for the most part. Um, I like biked around and did some things like that, but, um, that’s a huge thing of like moving your body and connecting with your body, um, is very, very important 

[00:26:55] Zach White: mark. Before we go into three and four, this is awesome stuff. But on this point around movement and the body, if an engineer listening is unsure, do I have a problem?

[00:27:06] Like, oh, I, I exercise sometimes that’s me or that’s not me. They’re not sure what would be a way to like check yourself for tests. Like is my movement and mind, body connection, strong or weak in the context of this point, 

[00:27:24] Mark Metry: I would say, uh, if you sit down and you go to work for six hours and you don’t have a need to get up, there’s something.

[00:27:32]  and so a lot of the times it’s sort of like, it’s a factor that helps with like the dissociation. It’s like what helps you play video games for four hours long? It’s what helps you watch Netflix for like six hours? Um, well, this is, this is 

[00:27:43] Zach White: huge. I love this point. You’re making, if you can sit down at the computer at work for six hours straight and never even have the urge or the thought, like I got to get out of this chair.

[00:27:56] That’s a red flag, like engineers, like listen to this. Cause I know that a lot of the people listening, like that’s every day, mark that’s normal and we just blame maybe not even consciously blame, but we just say isn’t that how work is in a knowledge society. So keep going, like if that’s life for you, red flag.

[00:28:15] Mark Metry: Yeah. I w I w I would even sit in it, like, I would say everyone has this issue and I don’t even see that. Um, even, even if you, even if you, um, even if you go to the gym every morning, but you come back and you sit down for six hours, uh, the same problem. And so for me, what I advocate for is like, I recommend trying to just like regularly move throughout the day.

[00:28:32] And so obviously, like, there’s different limitations with this. It depends on like where you are in your environment. But like, for me, for example, if I ever have a meeting. That’s not on video. That’s not a podcast that I don’t need to like look at it. A lot of things, I will always take that outside. I’ll go for a walk.

[00:28:50] I’ll take it outside. Uh, first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is I go for a walk, uh, in the middle of the day after lunch, I go for a walk in the evening. I go for a walk. Um, I do, I do all kinds of stuff, man. I, uh, I do yoga. There’s also this thing, uh, That I do called the vagus nerve stretches.

[00:29:06] Um, this can be huge for some people. So, so basically, um, so did I mentioned the gut microbiome. I’m sorry, I’ve been on a lot of 

[00:29:10] Zach White: mark. You’ve given us so many golden nuggets. I don’t even know which ones you’ve given us. So we talked about the Vegas nerve earlier and that the connection that, that has the hardware ship, but we didn’t talk about the biopsy.

[00:29:10] Mark Metry: Like, so basically, yeah, there’s like a physical nerve in your body called the vagus nerve. This is what I would say. Like the biggest connection between. Your mind, your brain to like the rest of your body. Um, and then, and then the way that you can sort of imagine this as, um, it’s sort of like an elastic band.

[00:29:24] So imagine. if someone gives you an elastic band and then just naturally, they’re like, just continue to pull it apart slowly, slowly, slowly. And you’re holding an elastic band in your hand. What you’re going to notice is that the more you pull it apart, tight, the tighter it’s going to get, you might start shaking your last name.

[00:29:40] I start shaking when that starts shaking. That’s when anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, addiction, that’s when that stuff is more likely to happen. Um, and so basically. Or just a human, this is just naturally always like being pulled at all times. Um, but basically what they found is that there are ways where you can physically stretch this and it will mentally change your state of mind because it is the biggest nerve that is in your entire body and it’s connected to your brain.

[00:30:09] Um, and so, I mean, you, people can just look it up. It’s called vagus nerve stretches. Uh, but like for example, one of them it’s very, very simple. One of them is to. Sit sit like crisscross with your legs. And then what she want to do is like, you want to feel a part of your. Um, like, like let’s say on the right side.

[00:30:22] And then what you want to do is you want to like slowly be able to like, put your head down in the middle, like look down and then slowly like shift your head to the right. But pull it as if like you feel a nerve and you’re using that nerve to pull it. So you’re not, you’re not using like your head muscles, but you’re using your neck muscles.

[00:30:41] And then what you do is like, if you can do that,

[00:30:44] And you sort of like shift your heads to the side. Basically what you can do is you take your head just like that. And then what you do is you take your eyes and then you look in the opposite direction. Look in that. And then what you want to do when you’re doing this is just breathe normally, but you want to focus on your breath and if you do this, literally doesn’t take that much time.

[00:31:03] Like there’s three exercises that you can do each one for a minute, three minutes. If you do this, all of a sudden, what you’re going to notice is you might actually start crying or you might feel very, very emotional. Um, and this is very common. Um, it doesn’t happen to everybody. Um, but when you do this, you can literally start to shift your state of mind by using your.

[00:31:23] Um, and again, if you don’t, if you don’t have this connection, it may be hard, you know? you know? And so the main thing to realize is that you just have to keep trying, you have to do whatever it takes. Walk, stretch, go outside, get a massage, do yoga, go swimming, go take a bath, like use your body to feel. And like that’s a huge, huge.

[00:31:41] So you’ve 

[00:31:41] Zach White: got homework engineers, go look, these stretches up and start taking action. Mark. Let’s hit three and four. Cause I didn’t. I said, uh, for serotonin and then, you know, . What kind of land the plane, but this is amazing for somebody who’s looking to create a shift in their own life in this space. So sunlight movement, the body what’s number three.

[00:31:58] Mark Metry: So I would say three is probably the biggest one it has to do with. And that’s because basically, um, when you look at the chemical composition of your neuro-transmitters, they are made out of these amino acids. Okay. And basically these amino acids are largely found in the foods that we eat. Um, it all kinds of foods, mostly like in protein and fats, but it’s also like in green tea, for example.

[00:32:21] Um, and basically the thing about this is that if you don’t eat this, your brain and body can not produce it on. And so it’s sort of like, imagine you have a car and you go to the gas station and you just don’t refuel it. Or you just like refill it with like Kool-Aid and Oreos. And like, even if you literally have like a Lamborghini, like literally if you have the world’s best car, but you don’t give it the right gas, it’s not going to function properly.

[00:32:44] And if you don’t know that you’re going to be like, oh, what’s wrong with my car? Or what’s wrong with my car? It’s not your car, bro. You know? And so, the biggest thing is that your diet is the main source of your amino acids. And if you don’t have these amino acids, your, these neuro-transmitters literally cannot rebuild.

[00:32:58] You literally cannot grow more people talk about, oh, I want to grow my mind. Well, it’s like, Hey, if you don’t give your brain. The raw resources to literally grow new brain cells to grow nutrient Nutra new neuro-transmitters, you’re always going to be stuck, even if you’re reading the best books, if you’re listening to the best podcast, whatever you’re still going to be stuck.

[00:33:17] Um, and so what I would say in terms of that is like, I advocate for eating like a totally natural. Um, I don’t think there’s anything as like a universal, healthy diet of like, oh, everyone has to go keto. Everyone has to go vegan. I don’t believe in that, but generally speaking, I’m trying to eat just like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and eating like dietary fat, because your brain is mostly made out of fat and then also like protein.

[00:33:42] That’s huge. And then the big one, unfortunately, is. And again, like everyone is in a different position with this. The unfortunate part about this is that when you eat things like sugar, you eat processed foods, which is like everyone in America. Um, the issue is, is that it’s not only like. Not the best for you.

[00:33:58] It’s not only like gives you no nutrients. It actually blocks your neurotransmitter’s ability to actually absorb the other amino acids from the healthy food that you eat. And so that’s kind of like the, the issue. So like if you consume sugar, alcohol, processed foods, artificial things, it’s terrible. Um, you know, and so  then there’s also like different.

[00:34:18] Like supplements that you can take, for example, to, um, it depends on the kind of supplement. I mean, I think, I think one that works for most people and I know they did a study. It’s like the most important for mental health. Generally speaking is like, you can take, uh, an omega three. Fish oil, vitamin D supplement pill that is just made from, um, like fish and like fish has the highest source of bioavailable.

[00:34:42] Omega-3 essential fatty acids that your brain knows how to use straight up. Uh, and then if you don’t want to eat fish, you can take that supplement. But I would probably do both. Oh man, we’re getting a 

[00:34:52] Zach White: masterclass from like rapid fire from mark on all these tips. And I hate to cut you off, but just to respect your time.

[00:34:58] Yeah, go 

[00:34:59] Mark Metry: ahead. I’m sorry. So, so like soda, right? Odd who would like drink a soda, right? Here’s the thing. Soda destroys your gut destroys your brain. Check this out. So there’s this company it’s called Ali pop. Okay. They sell it at all whole foods. They sell it. A lot of grocery stores is this is grape soda.

[00:35:17] They also have a Coca Cola. They have a Sprite version. This, this stuff is not only no sugar, no artificial chemicals. It also, if you look in the ingredients, it also has like about eight or nine. Literally different vegetables and different supplements that are natural, that literally help rebuild the prebiotics, all the stuff from your gut microbiome.

[00:35:38] So if you like drinking soda and you want to do it easy and you want to feel better, this is huge. And actually if you drink this, this will actually decrease your social anxiety because of like that whole gut microbiomes. So that’s the last thing I’d 

[00:35:52] Zach White: mentioned and actually just the heartbeat of what you’re saying.

[00:35:56] Start with simple decisions. Just change one thing, right? If you’re so here at mountain Dew chugger, you just switch it for Ali pop and we’ll put a link to that company in the show notes and make sure people can find it. Uh, I mean, there’s going to be a hundred things you could do coming out of this conversation engineer, but pick a couple and just start taking action.

[00:36:15] But mark land the plane for us. What’s number four on your. Yeah. 

[00:36:18] Mark Metry: So number four, like in this study, it’s not my list. I wish it was my list. Sorry, basic 

[00:36:24] Zach White: markets. Mark’s amazing list from this study. 

[00:36:27] Mark Metry: Yeah. I mean, that’s the thing, man. I always try to look at science. I always try to look at the studies because that stuff is proven, you know, for the most part, the fourth one on the list is basically just like. Therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and meditation. Those four things have also been shown to like, change the structure of your brain to change the structure over time of these neurotransmitters. So, yeah. 

[00:36:51] Zach White: That’s so good. So man, mark, I just like a hundred things. I’d love to ask you coming out of this.

[00:36:56] And, but one thing I want to make sure we leave the engineer with some clarity around a couple of terms that we’ve been using today a lot. And if they’re unsure, you know, where they’re at on this and in particular, would you be willing to clarify and maybe you’ll know better than me? What direction to take this?

[00:37:15] You know, am I an introvert? Am I shy or do I have a social anxiety issue? Like, and what are the differences and how do you define some of these things? Can you just kind of walk us through that really quick? Yeah. So 

[00:37:27] Mark Metry: being shy, it’s a, it’s a totally normal, natural human emotion. Um, I have a niece of mine.

[00:37:32] She’s about to turn two next week. And for example, What I’ll notice is that if we go somewhere or like we’re at our house, and then there’s someone new who she’s never seen, there’s like this like two minute, three minute, four minute, five minute period where she’s sort of like standoffish, she sort of like is watching she’s silent.

[00:37:50] She’s looking that’s totally normal. when it comes to being an introvert, basically all that an introvert means this is like, so miss, miss, you know, destroyed on the internet. If it’s understanding all being an introvert means is. Basically the way that your brain works is your brain has a natural tendency.

[00:38:02] Your mind has a natural tendency to focus more inward. You you’re more introspective. You think more about your thoughts, your ideas, your emotions, whereas extroverts, there are people who their brain just has a natural tendency to focus more on the external environment, how other people are, you know, our, our existing, the, the trees, whatever.

[00:38:22] And so that’s said. You know, a lot of times introverts are more susceptible, I would say to anxiety, because if you’re just living in your mind, it can get very overwhelming, especially if you don’t have the right skills to deal with that. Um, and then basically social anxiety. That is like, you’re shy and you don’t want to be shy.

[00:38:43] Um, that’s basically like you walk into a scenario or even not even socially, but you are at night or you’re just existing in your life. And like you have this like inability to just be yourself. And like, even though. You want to be yourself? When you hop on the phone, all of a sudden you just feel your nerves and you just can’t do it.

[00:38:57] You just shut down. Um, and so a lot of the times, like the social anxiety, it’s, it’s, it’s like obviously the, the bad one out of those, it’s like the one that’s harmful. It’s also what can be the most sort of hard to detect. Um, you know, and there’s like this, this quote that says. When you’re in the picture, you can’t see the frame.

[00:39:16] And it’s like, if you’ve been surrounded by something your entire life, a lot of the times you have no idea, you know? And so a good way to do this as like, look at your limits. Like, do you want to have friends, but you don’t. And, and every time you try to do that and you talk yourself out of it, or you do something that’s social anxiety, it’s controlling your life.

[00:39:34] Zach White: Perfect. Yeah. Thank you for clarifying. And I have that conversation around. Introversion, you know, what is that? Is this some big problem? It’s like, whoa, let’s separate the terms. And so mark, I, I know people are going to want to hear more from you and there’s so much we could cover, but let’s finish here.

[00:39:52] You know, you do this with how you coach and train and help people with social anxiety and your world. And what I do with coaching engineers. You know, like great coaching. I really believe your questions lead and answers follow, and it’s the same here, you know, asking the right questions. And so if an engineer listening to this conversation, they want success.

[00:40:15] They want to be happy in their life, but they feel stuck or they don’t know what to do. What would be the best question you would lead them with today? 

[00:40:29] Mark Metry: So to, to piggyback off this entire conversation, what I would say is

[00:40:29] what I would say is think back to as much as you possibly can. And I know that when I ask this question, some people may be like, dude, what the hell are you talking about? Um, or like, I can’t remember that far back. Try to ask yourself, like when was the very first time that I ever felt this feeling that I couldn’t be myself.

[00:40:48] When was the first time I ever felt where other people made me feel badly, or I felt like I was embarrassed to be who I am. And a lot of the times, like when you can think back to that, in the first like three minutes, five minutes of you thinking about that, your mind may give you. Like a logically sound, answer that pleases you and sounds correct.

[00:41:09] But a lot of the times, like if you are able to ask yourself that question without any distractions, give yourself like half an hour, put your phone in a different room. You can cover lot about your past. And a lot of the times, like these problems stem from unaddressed issues that happen to us a long time ago that we feel like has nothing to do with our lives now.

[00:41:28] And we’ve moved past it. And there’s this code that says whatever. You don’t understand is trying to understand you. Wow. And so like, if you think about that, like, whatever you don’t understand is trying to understand you. Um, and thinking about that first time where you feel like you weren’t able to be yourself, like trace back to that and really think about that.

[00:41:51] And a lot of the times what will start to happen. Yes. You can start to create like an accurate storyline of like who you actually are. Because a lot of the times, like I used to say myself, like I would say, oh, I don’t have. Nah, bro, you do have a story and your brain is creating a story. Like the reason why we do everything is because our brain is printing a story about who we thinks we are.

[00:42:15] And especially if you have social anxiety, that story is probably incorrect. So you need to start the process of rewriting your story, and that will really help to unlock not just the software, but also the hardware and give you that motivation, give you the steps, um, to do that. And yeah, the last thing that I would say too, is that.

[00:42:33] You know, I’m definitely not famous. And I really hope people, you know, reach out to me. And if I said anything that isn’t clear, or if anyone has any questions or anything like that, feel free to like, get in touch with me. I’m on Instagram, my first and last name. Uh, but probably the best place for people to check me out is if you go to my website, Mark.

[00:42:51] Metrie M a R K M U T R Um, there will be like an email box. And if you put your email in there, you’ll be automatically subscribed to my email newsletter, where I send out two, three, purely educational articles, all about social anxiety, introvert, your mental health. Um, and then if you get one of those emails, you can respond back to that email and it’ll go directly to me.

[00:43:15] And I respond to all of that. So I want people to know that I’m very, very, 

[00:43:20] Zach White: please. I cannot say enough about the value that mark is creating around this space engineers. So please take him up on that. And also mark, just give us 30 seconds on your podcast and where they can plug into that for people to listen and catch more of that content as 

[00:43:36] Mark Metry: well.

[00:43:37] Yeah. So if you search social anxiety society, on any part of class platform, uh, every week, same thing I put out to, uh, Educational episodes. Um, and yeah, I mean, you could lose just go through the entire podcast and it’s like an entire masterclass on social anxiety. So it really, 

[00:43:54] Zach White: it really is. I’ve, I’ve loved it.

[00:43:56] And I’ll tell you, you know, if you’ve listened to this whole conversation and you’re still not really sure if you struggle with social anxiety, but it’s been just interesting. Maybe you’d just like to learn. I don’t personally feel that I struggle with that at all. And Mark’s content is still incredibly valuable for your life.

[00:44:13] So it’s not just, if . You’re deep in this, you know, the throes of depression, like we described the dark place, that rock bottom, there’s so much value here as well as if you’re an engineer. I promise you, you’re surrounded by someone at work who is struggling with this, and it’s going to help you to understand and empathize with them.

[00:44:31] And, you know, maybe you can share these resources with those people who need it as well. So, mark I, again, thank you so much for the time. And you know, we went a little long here, buddy, but there’s so many golden nuggets of, of action and ways to really create a meaningful shift in the lives of these engineers listening.

[00:44:47] So thank you again so much for. 

[00:44:50] Mark Metry: Dude is literally my purpose. Why wake up every morning. So thank you for letting me do that. And, uh, and Zach, I appreciate you. Thank you for creating this platform and, um, and yeah, man, you’re, you’re doing so much and thank you for having me, man. I appreciate it.