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Morning anchor conquers anxiety, reaches new 'heights'

  • Story Highlights
  • HLN's Robin Meade's new book describes how she overcame anxiety attacks
  • Her book is called "Morning Sunshine! How to Radiate Confidence and Feel It Too"
  • Meade talked to CNN's Virginia Cha about self-confidence, skydiving with president
  • Watch "Morning Express" weekdays on HLN from 6-10 a.m. ET
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(CNN) -- CNN.com's Virginia Cha spoke to HLN "Morning Express" anchor Robin Meade about overcoming anxiety and her new book, "Morning Sunshine! How to Radiate Confidence and Feel It Too," published by Hachette Book Group.

HLN's Robin Meade was plagued by panic attacks early in her career.

HLN's Robin Meade was plagued by panic attacks early in her career.

Virginia Cha: Looking at HLN anchor Robin Meade, you would probably think she's never had a care in the world. She's been a beauty queen -- no surprise -- a reporter, she's gone skydiving with the president. Someone like that obviously has unfailing self-confidence, right?

Well, you might have trouble believing this, but it wasn't always that way. In her new book, Robin shares a story of a time in her life when she actually suffered from anxiety attacks, and she talks about how she worked through her problem. She has come on over from the HLN set to talk to us. The book is called "Morning Sunshine! How to Radiate Confidence and Feel It Too." It's so good to see you.

Robin Meade: Thank you so much. I appreciate it, Virginia.

Cha: Is it weird being on the other end of an interview?

Meade: Absolutely. Absolutely. Exactly -- because you want to throw questions out, but I'm here to answer them.

Morning Express with Robin Meade
Robin Meade anchors "Morning Express" on HLN Monday through Friday.
6am ET.

Cha: A lot of people would look at you and say, "Yeah, easy for her to radiate confidence -- just look at her." You have this great job and family and everything. How does it work for someone who doesn't have those things?

Meade: In the book I talk about how I think for a lot of people, their confidence is based upon what they perceive as their outer appearance. And for me, my self-confidence was built on -- and maybe falsely so -- the feeling that people liked me.

That was my power in the world. I had to be liked. So if I felt maybe I wasn't in a position to be liked, my power was gone and therefore my opinion didn't matter as much as a person who perhaps didn't like me.

Read an excerpt from "Morning Sunshine!"

At one point in my career -- about right here. (indicating photo of herself at anchor desk) ... You can't tell, but that's the face of anxiety that you're looking at.

You get a lot of bosses in and every one of them is trying to make their mark and do good journalism and they might say, "Do your job this way." And you've probably experienced this. And so you fill the prescription of whatever they think it is that a good newsperson or whatever it is that you do for a living.

You prescribe, OK, you're going to fill whatever they have said, you must do this. Well, I did it so much that I kind of lost my authentic self.Video Watch Virginia Cha's interview with HLN's Robin Meade »

Cha: Just a few months ago you jumped out of a plane with President Bush -- former President Bush 41 for his 85th birthday, right? Can you talk to us about that?

Meade: Yeah, it's funny. ... Here we are with the Army's Golden Knights, and we're getting ready to jump. It was his 85th birthday and I got invited to go along.

And he's cool as a cucumber because he's done this before. One of the newspaper reporters asked me, "Well, if you had any anxiety issues before, didn't you have anxiety here getting ready to jump out of a plane?" Most of us would, right?

Well, lucky or unlucky for me, however you look at it, I was not able to put my mind on the actual jumping-out part because I had to think about the interview beforehand. And then as we were jumping there were live cameras rolling so I had to think about, as I'm falling to earth, what I would say when we landed. There would be live cameras. So, lucky for me I didn't actually have to go, "I'm falling now!"

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Cha: Exactly. So the key here is to have your mind on other things.

Meade: I was distracted. But I think it was a nice complete circle of where I've been on my journey through self-confidence and anxiety. To actually jump out of a plane and not really have to worry about panic.

All About Anxiety and Panic DisordersGeorge H.W. Bush

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