In this episode, I talk with David Stone author of the book "Unsubscribe from Anxiety". In spite of a successful career in international marketing, David worried himself into homelessness. He found a way out and now he teaches others to get their lives back by recovering from fear, worry, and anxiety.
Topics Discussed...w / Time Stamps
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David Sandstrom 0:00
Here's a sample of what you'll hear on this episode of holistic health matters.
David Stone 0:03
What essentially I learned is that worry and anxiety and again, absent genuine mental illness, but we're in anxiety, our mental choices that we all make.
David Sandstrom 0:20
Welcome to the holistic health matters podcast where it's all about maximizing our health potential by aligning our lives more fully with God's designed for spirit, mind and body. I'm your host, David Sandstrom, naturopathic doctor and biblical health coach, and this is episode number 41.
David Sandstrom 0:44
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David Sandstrom 1:31
Today we have in the show, David stone. David is the public face of I-fearless. He's a life coach and transformational speaker dedicated to helping people overcome the anxieties, worries, and self doubts that helped keep us all from achieving our highest potential. He guides others to live fearlessly through books, workshops, keynotes, and blogs. His latest book is unsubscribe from anxiety, opt out of the myth that worry is required, and take charge of your own life. David, welcome to the show.
David Stone 2:03
Thank you very much, David too. I'm thrilled to be here because I love sharing this message of how to stop worrying.
David Sandstrom 2:13
It's it's a great message. I think there's a lot of people out there, they're going to really be blessed by this episode. Tell us a little bit how you got into this field. I know that you had struggled with anxiety for many years, but you found some solutions. And you've now overcome and I'm really curious to know a little bit about your journey.
David Stone 2:29
Well, thanks. Yeah, I, I did go through a journey and it and one of the things I want to clear up right out right out of the gate is that I recognize that there is such a thing. And there's plenty of genuine mental illness where people have some cognitive disorder or they have some neurological disorder is something that had that brings about anxiety and for that I'm just so grateful that there are healthcare professionals, medications and such that can help deal with that. I found myself being a worrier, all my life, but I also know that I don't have any kind of mental illness, it was simply something that I you know, it was a go to mental habit that I had, I found that I've spent my entire life I was 55 years old before when I suddenly came to the conclusion that I'm still waiting for my life To begin, you know, okay, as soon as I get this thing sorted out, then everything will be alright. And the fun can start as soon as that happens and and I was spent my life with this To Do List worrying about Okay, if I'm what happens if this doesn't happen? What if that doesn't happen? And
David Sandstrom 3:44
I want a stop you right there. I think that phrase right there. What if, if you're using that phrase a lot in your self talk, you may have an issue with anxiety.
David Stone 3:52
That's exactly right. That's exactly right. And so I actually worried myself into homelessness.
David Sandstrom 4:02
David Stone 4:02
Which was a strange thing, because simultaneously, I was a marketing consultant, international marketing consultant with clients all over the country and all around the world. And I was making a very healthy six figures. But nonetheless, here I am living in my car, waking up every morning with my leg wrapped around the gearshift and then going off to serve my clients. Now. While I think that this you know, the story behind that is a story in itself. Maybe I'll make a hallmark movie one day, but the point is, I suddenly found myself there. And I have this belief that the universe nudges us regularly on lessons that we're supposed to learn. Now, here's the here's an important thing for you, David, you're supposed to be learning this, but if you ignore them nudges long enough. Eventually the universe says, All right, you you've been ignoring us long enough. I need to smack you upside the head with a two by four and For some people, it's a heart attack some people, it's a divorce. For me, it was landing homeless. And I finally said, Okay, I get it.
David Sandstrom 5:08
That's a wake up call. So how long were you sleeping in your car?
David Stone 5:12
Only about a month. But how long do you have to sleep in your car Before you? think there's Okay, there's something wrong. And of course, my first instinct was
David Sandstrom 5:22
David, I would like I would like to add this one thing, you know, he said the universe sometimes beats us upside the head. I would replace that with God.
David Sandstrom 5:29
Absolutely. I use that. Because different people use different words for it. But you're absolutely right. God ups is smashed upside and said, hey, you've not been listening. I need you to listen here.
David Sandstrom 5:40
Yes. He's not an impersonal force. He's a real he's he's a real being. And he loves us very much. And he loves us enough not to let us stay in remain in the state that we're in. But anyway, go ahead.
David Stone 5:53
Amen. But the thing, my first instinct was to look for whose fault it was, all right, who can I blame for my condition? And look at, oh, maybe it's the government's fault. Or maybe it's the economy's fault. Or maybe it's my clients fault, whatever. And the more I looked around, the more I realized that in every single action, every single circumstance that had led up to it, there was one and only one common denominator, which was me. And finally had to look myself in the mirror and say, okay, maybe it's you. And maybe, you know, obviously, not maybe, obviously, whatever I've been doing, has not been producing the results I want. And I remember very clearly waking up one morning in the car, and shouting out to God and said, Alright, you know, my way is not working. I'm wide open to hearing some other ideas.
David Sandstrom 6:54
Excellent. And you know, that hats off to you, because that takes courage. And you're in a state of fear. That was a big step for you. I know that because if you're in a state of fear, you're paralyzed. And for years to come to that realization and come to that point, say, Hey, it's me. I gotta take a look at myself. That takes a lot of courage,
David Sandstrom 7:14
huh? Yeah, it really does. But the it? I read a thing just the other day, and it was it said, being broke is hard. Practicing financial discipline is also hard. Choose your hard. Yeah, and fessing up to the fact that it might be need is hard, but continuing to live a very dissatisfying life is also hard jobs, your hard?
David Sandstrom 7:44
Yeah, I got you.
David Sandstrom 7:46
So it was very interesting, because at that time, as I said, I was still serving my clients. And so what I would do is wake up every morning and I drive to the local library, because they had Wi Fi and I could sit there and get my work done. And so I'm working in the library and I have to go to the washroom. So I get up and I'm walking through the book stacks to on the way to the men's room. And literally, this book fell off the shelf on front of me and landed on the floor. And being a, you know, a tidy kind of guy. I've bent over to pick it up. And it was a book by the late great Dr. Wayne Dyer. I don't know if you've heard of
David Sandstrom 8:23
I have iron. Yes. Okay. He's just like, oh, he's, you know, he's a psychologist?
David Sandstrom 8:28
Yes. Yeah, he was he passed away a couple of years ago, okay. But I started flipping through this book, and the book was the power of intention. And basically, it said, you know, your thoughts create your reality. You know,
David Sandstrom 8:44
David, the late great Zig Ziglar put that same message in different words, this, what he said, You are, who you are, in what you are, because of what's gone into your mind. You can change who you are and what you are by changing what goes into your mind.
David Sandstrom 9:00
Yes, that's sort of the essence of the message of it. And so I thought I started flipping through it and I thought, okay, you work fast. Cuz here was first thing in the morning, I said, All right, please. And there it is. And so that was the first of literally hundreds of books that I have read. And because I wanted to study my mind, I wanted to study my behaviors. I wanted to study how I got there and how people who don't didn't land where I landed, what do they do different?
David Sandstrom 9:34
Well, there you go. You know, you you responded to that what some people may have interpreted as a serendipitous event, you know, just simply coincidence. But you somehow something your spirit, you knew there was something more to it than that.
David Sandstrom 9:47
Oh, I don't believe that there is such a thing as coincidences. Yeah. So I started reading it and I started saying, Wow, okay, there is there's ways out of this. And fast forward. What is Essentially I learned is that worry and anxiety and again, absent genuine mental illness, but we're in anxiety, our mental choices that we all make. And we have in the face of an adverse situation in the face of a challenge. We choose how we respond to that. And I had been as many, many many of us do, choosing to respond to it with worry and anxiety, and be and when we do something long enough, it becomes a habit. And so this worry and anxiety had become for me a mental habit and any habit we do it for so long, it drops below the level of our consciousness. And so what happens is it begins to feel normal to us. Well, that's just the way it is. And we hear people say that well, sorry, no worries, just a fact of life, you got to deal with it.
David Sandstrom 11:04
And what can I do right there, I just want to add to that, you know, what we're talking about here, what you're talking about is brain neuroplasticity. Yes. And our brains are literally wired. And we can wire them in certain fashions. And because they are moldable, and they have the capacity to be shaped, we can shape them with our thoughts. And a good metaphor for that is this, if you were standing by an open field full of grass, and you walked across the field in that same direction, a couple of times, you'd see a few blades of grass, pressed over, but nothing much be hard to tell you walked across it. But if you walked across that same path 10,000 times, you'd see a well worn groove. And right, that's exactly what happens to our our neural connections in our brains. When we have a habit of thinking a certain way, we have a well worn groove in that record. And we've got to somehow get ourselves out of that groove.
David Stone 11:59
That's exactly right. And so what I did is, and this is what I talk about in my book, and in the coaching and the courses are that I do now is I decided to take a very scientific approach to this. And I said, All right, I have this worry thing, this worry, this anxiety thing, I want to learn everything I can about worry and anxiety. And I, I imagined myself as a scientist in the laboratory with a white lab coat on and this blob of anxiety sitting on my laboratory bench. And I said, Okay, I'm going to dissect this, I'm going to look at it under a microscope, I'm going to learn everything I can about it. And the things that I learned, as I said, number one is that anxiety and worry are mental choices that we make. And we can make other choices if we prefer. But we've been making these choices for so long that they have as your example of the path across the field, they have worn a groove in our mental pathways. And so we simply fall into that groove over and over again. And that feels normal to us. Now, the other thing that goes on is that it'd be one thing if I was the only one that does it. But so many people, in fact, the vast majority of the world, also worry and they reinforced my worry. And so we are taught from the youngest age, that worry is a fact of life. We're told to worry about things you know, as children who don't touch that you'll get germs, Oh, don't you know, watch out for strangers, stranger danger, and all these things that were trained as children that were so the world is a fearful place that we have to be worried about. And that becomes part of our psyche. And then on a daily basis, it gets reinforced when we turn up what you walk through airports regularly, they got those screens going with CNN or Fox News or whatever. And we have those anchors that says, Oh, where's breaking news? Here's what you need to know right now. Oh, no, what do I need to know right now. And you know, it's hyped up with the drama that reinforces in my brain that I'm supposed to be worrying. So this is what I learned about it. And by the way, you know, it turns out as I pay attention that what I need to know right now is that there's a typhoon on the opposite side of the planet. And yet, it's the drama that gets me hooked on it. And so I said, Okay, I bought into this, it's become a habit, what if I could replace it with a different habit? What if I could choose to respond to challenges in a different way? So that led me to study fear, and learning all about fear. And what I discovered was something very interesting.
David Stone 14:56
Fear is a very useful Full biological response to a real and present danger. So and it's been in our built into us for millions of years because the saber toothed Tigers used to want to eat us for lunch. But today, let's say I'm walking along the street and I want to cross the street, I turn step out into the road, and I look and there's a bus coming at me. Now what happens right in that instant is my brain registers this danger, my body responds, and it's it's designed to respond and adrenaline pumps into my system, cortisol pumped into my system, my heart rate goes up, my breathing rate goes up, and it Prime's, my body to take action, my muscles actually get stronger, my reaction times get faster, and I jump out of the way of the bus, the bus goes by and the emergency is over. Now that's really, really useful. And when we're in those emergency situations, isn't it great that we have that system and but our, our, our fear response systems are kind of like the fire department, it's really great that it's there. But the best days are the days when we don't need to phone the fire department, right. And so what I discovered then, is that anxiety and worry which are kind of a subset of fear, they are responses to what we perceive as a threat, but it's more vague, and often the distance somewhere and we're not really sure what to do. So when I step out in the street, and I see the bus, I know exactly what I need to do, I need to jump out of the way. But if I'm sitting there and I'm thinking about my finances in retirement, or I'm thinking about all this lump that I see on my arm, this little mole that's growing on my arm, it's it's more vague, I don't know if it really is a threat to me in some way. But I don't know what to do. But my brain is telling my body that there's a challenge. And my body responds the way it's designed to respond. And my adrenaline goes up in my court. Yeah.
David Sandstrom 17:10
David, let me let me summarize just a bit for the double Hm, community people listening. Yeah, what you're referring to is our sympathetic nervous system, where it just kind of jumps into gear when necessary. And if we got to jump out of the way of a bus, or we have to, you know, run away from a hungry lion, it serves us well. But it's designed to work designed to press into stress, and then back out, if we stay chronically in that sympathetic dominance, we're going to create some health problems for ourselves, correct?
David Stone 17:40
That is exactly right. Because when we have chronic stress or chronic anxiety, and this and cortisol is one of the real culprits here, when that is in our system on a regular basis, some really nasty things start to happen to us such
David Sandstrom 17:57
as elaborate on that what what can happen when we're in that state too much what can happen to us physically?
David Stone 18:02
Well, there's a long list of things Number, you know, high blood pressure, hypertension can happen to us, we can get gastrointestinal disorders, we can get diabetes, we can get well, there, it literally weakens us, our muscle strength weakens us, there's a wonderful demonstration called the muscle test that I can do, once COVID is over and we can be in each other's presence, we can see that when I introduce a worrying thought into your brain, you actually get weaker. And then I can introduce a joyful thought into your brain and your strength comes back.
David Sandstrom 18:41
Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree with that.
David Stone 18:44
So yeah, so there's a very long list. And of course, chronically, some of these diseases can become permanent, and they can kill us.
David Sandstrom 18:54
Yep. You know, I think the actual manifestation is different, different strokes for different folks, we all have our own weak link. You know, for one person, it might express itself as an ulcer, another person might express itself as migraine headaches for another person, it might express itself as something like the doctors would call Fibromyalgia which is just a fancy Latin term for you have nerve pain. Yes, you know, and it just, it's, it's different for different people.
David Stone 19:24
It is and that that anger, the stress, the stress always shows up for the anxiety and the worry shows up as a physical manifestation in your body and at times, it's just tension. And my go to was my neck and shoulder area. They were always stiff and tight. For some people, as you pointed out, some people it's their abs, you know, their stomach, their intestine, some people, it's their jaw, some people it's their head and they've got migraines and such, but the point is, it's manifesting in your body. Yeah, as dis ease,
David Sandstrom 19:57
right. You know, in my understanding of that is Is that when someone gets, they can deal with these words, some thoughts because as you said earlier, it just feels normal. I feel actually comfortable to be in that state because they've been in it so long. But when it transitions into a physical symptom, you don't maybe it's irritable bowel or something like that. That's when somebody is more motivated for change.
David Stone 20:19
Yeah, I found for in my studying, I found for really good reasons to as my book, The title of my book says unsubscribe from anxiety.
David Sandstrom 20:32
Yeah, like, we mentioned it right here. It's a unsubscribe from anxiety, opt out of the myth that worry is required, and take charge of your own life. Now, I love that title. Love it.
David Stone 20:44
Well, thank you. And the title was chosen specifically, because you know, we all get junk emails and stuff. And it's really easy. Just click on unsubscribe, and they'll stop bothering you. And we make that choice to know I'd really rather not get these emails from you. Thanks. And click and it's done. anxieties are exactly the same. If you make the choice that you'd rather not have it in your life. Great. Here's how to get rid of here's how to opt out of it.
David Sandstrom 21:10
Okay, so here's the $64,000 question. And how do we do that we've got, we are we've recognized we've got an issue, we are tired of the symptoms, and we're motivated for some change. What would you say to that person? What do they do? I would step one,
David Stone 21:25
step one, is that realization I had waking up in my car that morning, and that is to take 100% responsibility for everything that goes on in your life. Now, that's the toughest step of all. But here's why that step is important. And here's what makes it easy. When we look around, and so and we all have challenges, there's not a person on the face of the earth that doesn't have some kind of a challenge or a stressful situation. But when we look around, our typical response is to look to who's who to blame for this. And whether it's COVID, or whether it's the government, the economy, my, my old girlfriend, my, my boss, there's a million people,
David Sandstrom 22:16
You know, like playing the victim is easier.
David Stone 22:19
It's much easier. However, as long as the as long as it's built the fault, or the cause of your troubles is in my hands. You know, if you're blaming me say, for whatever troubling you, then until I decide to change what I'm doing, you're stuck. And if I'm blaming you, and I want to change until I can convince you to change what you're doing, that's affecting me, then I got, I have no power, by taking 100% responsibility for every single thing that goes on in our lives, then, suddenly, I own the power to make a change in my life.
David Sandstrom 23:06
David, that is a huge, huge point. My wife and I have been leading marriage groups for the last seven years. And we take nine months to take about a dozen couples through a book called intimate encounters. And it's about enhancing your relationship in a marital context. And one of the things that they talk about there is that we explain it to the couples on the first night, because every one that comes to a marriage enrichment group, they want to get their spouse fixed. We have to explain to them, no, no, actually, the only person you can change is you.
David Stone 23:41
David Sandstrom 23:42
you can focus on that. And if you both can focus on that. That's those are the couples that we see succeed with this material. Those are the ones that make progress. And I gotta tell you, over the years, we have so many testimonies, people saying, you know, I was a little skeptical when I first started this group, you know, you were talking about this stuff, and you told me to trust the process. And you know, after about three months or so, the light bulb started coming on, you know what this stuff really works? It really does.
David Stone 24:06
Yes, absolutely. And that taking responsibility is the massive first step. And once you're over that, it's then it's kind of downhill from there. It's it's easy from there, but you have to decide that I'm not going to blame I'm not going to complain. I'm going to own the power to change in my life.
David Sandstrom 24:27
There you go. You know one more thing I wanted to say about power. You said a moment ago when you're thinking angry thought you lose your strength. But when you think a joyful, loving, peaceful thought you gain strength. Yeah, well, when you choose to dwell on these, these negative thoughts, and you allow these negative emotions to dwell too long to linger too long, you're giving away your power. And literally, you literally are.
David Stone 24:49
Yeah, so from there, having made that choice, and, again, the preamble to all that is learning about anxiety and worry as well. We've talked about the nature where it starts from and all the rest of it. So then what we do is we say, Alright, what are the specific things that I worry about, and that's unique to the individual, my go to worry, through my entire life has been money. I grew up in a family that while we weren't technically poor, the ratio of kids to income was disproportionate. And I remember very, very clearly, as a kid growing up once a month, my parents would sit at the kitchen table with a stack of bills, and they'd had these terribly worried looks on their faces. And oh, how are we going to do this? And how are we going to juggle that, and, and I was brought up to believe that money doesn't grow on trees, and the only people who can be wealthy and prosperous, or you're either crooked or lucky. And so I had these self limiting beliefs in my head,
David Sandstrom 26:00
you know, that's a really good point that you're, you're dropping so many value pawns here, I just dropped. But I have to add to that, yeah. When, when we, as children, when we hear those comments shared in the home frequently, we really don't know how to process it. And we can start making sweeping beliefs, these life long, sweeping beliefs that affect the rest of our lives, if we choose poorly. So as adults, a lot of times we have to look at some of these beliefs that we have, we have to do some serious self examination, you know, either with a good friend or perhaps a professional counselor, and say, what is it that I believe what why am I choosing to act this way?
David Stone 26:41
Yeah, that's exactly right. And in my case, you know, I carried this self limiting belief long enough that it became a self fulfilling prophecy, hence, I land in my car, sleeping in my car. And so we want to identify, and everybody has their own go to worries and their go to anxieties. And, and so then we want to examine them. And I am a big fan of journaling. And that was one thing I taught myself as well, I want to write this out. So I would write out the story of my financial upbringing, and would write out the story and everything about it and what I felt about it. And there is something about writing. And when I say writing, I mean, literally, with a pen and a paper, I like to have a journal that I can use. If you were to, there's something kinesthetic about actually writing that allows the anxiety, the worry the thoughts to kind of literally flow out of your arm and through the pen and onto the paper.
David Sandstrom 27:42
Absolutely, there's something very, very powerful about that. And with this often comes up when I talked with various guests, but when you when you have that intangible thought in your mind, and you turn it into something tangible, that you can now see, and you can now touch, you can pick up that piece of paper and feel it. There's something very powerful about that that transformation process.
David Stone 28:03
Absolutely. And the thing that I discovered that is powerful about it is you have now externalized it and removed it. And so now instead of it owning you, you own it, and you now get to decide what would I like to do with this now?
David Sandstrom 28:22
David Stone 28:23
there's a language thing that we use, that's an important to, to understand that we, and again, it's all subconscious, but this is part of what I discovered. When let's imagine where you're in the kitchen making dinner, and you're chopping vegetables, and the knife slips and you cut your finger. Now, it hurts out, that really, really hurts. But it's my finger that hurts, my left foot feels just fine. And I go to the bathroom, and I grabbed a band aid or some neosporin, whatever, and I fix it up. And it's going to hurt for a while. But I know that two or three days from now, it'll have healed up and everything will be just fine. And so the language I use is really important. We say I have a cut, maybe even a more important one, I have a broken leg or whatever. But that language implies that, you know, this isn't me this is you know, it's just a temporary condition. But when we talk about worrying anxiety, we say I am worried, I am anxious. And we've gone to from this thing that is a temporary condition to this is this is my identity. This is who I believe myself to be I believe myself to be worry, I believe myself to be anxiety. And so I also in this process of externalizing and objectifying our anxieties. I encourage people to say okay, yes, I have some concerns. I am currently facing some challenges. Great, just like we all do. Now, let's Take those outside of ourselves and decide what we want to do. Because the problem with worry and anxiety is they tend to own and control us, rather than us owning and controlling them and deciding what we're going to do
David Sandstrom 30:15
absolutely sounds like you and I have been very reading a lot of the same books and listen to the same people because I have a chapter in my book on fear, anxiety and worry. And my book is called the Christians guide to holistic health. And I really feel very, very strongly that there's nothing that will trigger our stress response more quickly than fear. And as you said, a worry and anxiety are simply symptoms of fear. And, and we've got to get it, we got to get a handle on this, this can really own us when we should be owning it. And I think a much better way instead of saying, I am anxious, because those I am statements are very powerful,
David Stone 30:51
aren't they? That is the most powerful statement in the world after the opening. You know, what's the opening line of the Bible In the beginning was the Word and the words that we speak our creative powers?
David Sandstrom 31:08
Well, I would suggest that somebody needs to change that phrase into. I'm feeling anxious right now. Yeah. So I have this feeling. But it's not who I am is a huge difference.
David Stone 31:19
That's exactly right. Right now, I'm have some I have some anxious feelings. Great. Yeah. Yesterday, you didn't then tomorrow, you won't, but right now, yeah. So then what we so we work with that and get people to identify it. And then I take people through a visualization process. And how that works is, again, we talked before about how this anxiety shows up in your body. For me, as I said, it was always in my shoulders and my neck, that was the area that was so tense. And I would visualize and I could almost imagine that there was this iron bar that ran from one shoulder tip to the other. And it was just sort of this rigid thing that was in my body. And so what I would do, it would spend, oh, 15-20 minutes, and I visualize this thing. But I would then start with my imagination to take control of it. So it was this iron bar, that's like two feet long shoulder chip to shoulder tip, however, distance that is. And I'd say okay, now with my imagination, I'm going to shrink it down. And now instead of being 18, or 20 inches long, it's six inches long. And now I'm going to stretch it and it's going to go out through my shoulders and touch both sides of the room. And now I'm going to take it from being a bar to make again into a ball shape. And now I'm going to magine that color is this thing, well, it's sort of gray, black, well, let's make it green. Let's make it pink. And let's make it fuzzy and all of this with my imagination. And now instead of being up in my shoulders, I'm going to move it down to my right foot. Now I'm going to move it out to my left hand and sort of an in through this entire process, what of course is happening is I'm taking control of it, I'm deciding what's going to happen with this. And eventually we get it and I imagine it's like a baseball, and I've got it out in my right hand, and I'm tossing it up and down, and I set it down on the floor and look at it and then I pick it up, and then I with my imagination, I turn it into this sort of dust ball, and then I turned it into a ball of nothing but mist. And then I just take a deep breath and I blow it away. And in my workshops, I take people through this exercise, and you can see them sitting up straighter after this is after this exercise because they have literally removed the anxiety from their bodies.
David Sandstrom 33:46
I love the Dave. It's really good. And you know, I think a lot of people listening, they may be inclined to say, Oh, that sounds like the power of positive thinking, you know, you can't just think your way out of a huge mental challenge like that. But I would disagree. And I think that what you're explaining here is a tool that you can have in your tool belt to help move you through this process a step at a time, you know, actually read the book, the power of positive thinking, I thought it was junk. I didn't like that book at all. But But the Bible says that the words of a man's heart are deep waters. And when you you rehearse these phrases in your mind these more productive phrases as you describe, taking this, this thing that's really hard to manage in and starting to get a handle on it. It helps us experience that brain neuroplasticity and that rewiring of our brains and the rewiring of our thought lives in when our brains work better, our bodies function better because there's a connection there.
David Stone 34:45
Yes. The other thing that it's doing and it's this is working on many levels, but one of the things it's doing is restoring our self esteem. Because when we are suffering from worrying anxiety, our self esteem is extremely low. We don't believe ourselves to be worthy. We don't believe ourselves to be capable. We don't believe ourselves to be confident in anything. But when I can start to start to say, No, I'm taking control here, then we start to restore those things. Now, you know, we go through this little exercise, and I'm the first one to say that tomorrow morning, it'll want to come back because it's a habit, like any habit wants to come back, right. But I, you've now experienced, hey, I've experienced for maybe even only 10 minutes what it feels like to not be worrying, not be anxious, and digital like that. Oh, yeah, I felt great. Great. Okay, then let's go through this little exercise every day. But the third step is the really important one. And that is, let's introduce a new set of mental habits to replace the old mental habit of worrying. Because as you well know, any habit we can replace any habit, we want a good habit, a bad habit, but you can't just eliminate it, you must replace it with something else. Yeah, nature abhors a void. So as long as there's a void in our brain, something will come in and the old, the old habits will come back.
David Stone 36:20
So there are three absolutely critical new mental habits that we want to start practicing that we're going to use to replace the worry and anxiety. Number one, and I'm sure you'll agree with this one is gratitude. And I want to start creating a habit, a mental habit of gratitude. And so the first thing I did was I started a habit that every single morning when I would wake up first thing before you can get out of bed is quick, David five things for which I'm grateful for right now. And it's really easy to, you know, to use the sort of generic ones I'm grateful for my life. I'm grateful for my family. Yeah, we all are, but get specific. All right, I'm grateful for this really comfortable pillow that I just spent the last eight hours sleeping. I'm grateful for that Sunbeam that's coming in through the blinds right now. I'm grateful for the coffee that I know is waiting for me or the you know, the yogurt and blueberries that are waiting for me for my breakfast, we have to work at it. Because again, that's way entering a new groove to train ourselves to recognize the things that we're grateful for. And so you start off with that first thing in the morning, and then you start adding it. So now lunchtime, we'll take a little gratitude break. And then before you go to bed, and then what happens after a while is you start having gratitude as a daily, hourly mindset. Like right now here, you and I are talking. I'm incredibly grateful for the fact that you had I mean, I had a bit of a problem with my computer, you had an alternative for us. Yes. And I've been so looking forward to chatting with you. And I thought for a moment that it wasn't going to work. And yet you came up with a solution. I'm so grateful for that. I'm grateful. Yeah, yeah, exactly. I'm grateful for that I had this backup computer that I can use because I foolishly spilled a little water on my, my main one. So you know, in any moment of the day, when we turn our minds and say, What am I grateful for right this very instant, that develops this habit? Because here's an interesting thought. It is impossible, mentally to hold a thought of gratitude, and a thought of worry at the same time. You cannot do those two things at the same time. They're mutually exclusive. Yes. And so the more I fill my head with thoughts of gratitude, there is absolutely no room in there whatsoever for worry and anxiety.
David Sandstrom 39:06
David Stone 39:07
So that's the first mental habit that we want to cultivate. The second mental habit that we want is something that I call replace it with purpose. Now, what does that mean? Every single one of us, I believe, was put here on the planet for a specific reason. I heard a great phrase and it said the two most important days of your life are the first one is the day you're born. And the second one is the day you figure out why. And I love that phrase, because each of us has a purpose here in in, in your life. I mean, the funny thing I was 60 years old before? Well, no, I'm 64 before I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up and why I came here. And now I'm just I'm launching my next 40 year career and I'm just so excited about that because I wake up every day with I've got this thing to do. I, you know, I know what worry feels like, and it feels awful. And I can help other people get rid of that that's really important,
David Sandstrom 40:10
You know, bring up one point there. Dave, I think that's a really good point when we have a purpose. Our purpose is, I believe our purpose is common to all human beings. And that is, we bring glory to God with our lives. Now your calling can be something different from that there, your calling involves more of your passion is more of an individual thing. You know, the Bible has a verse that says, perfect love, casts out fear, perfect love, we have to look to God for that. And God loves us unconditionally. The Bible says that, while we were yet sinners, God died for us. So and Jesus said, Greater love has no man than this, that he laid down his life for his friends. So perfect love is very, very others centered is not focused on ourselves not focused inward, it's focused on others. And I think that's what you were talking about right there. When we get in touch with our purpose, we get in touch with our calling, we have a strong desire from the inside out, to serve other people and to make a difference in other people's lives. It's not about, you know, finding the most fun recreation we can find or how many toys we can accumulate that really, that stuff is pretty insignificant compared to investing in other people's lives.
David Stone 41:21
That's exactly right. And I have a lovely example of that, that I really love to share with people. And that is, my wife had an aunt, who she passed away a couple of years ago at the age of 99. Just those wonderful, wonderful woman and her passion, her calling her reason for being. And her way of honoring God, as you say, was that she knitted. And she and she lived in this eldercare home and assisted living home. But she would knit all day every day. And what she would knit was the little caps and booties that they put on the preemie babies in the hospital, the prematurely born babies, yeah, to keep them warm. And she would crank these things out by the dozen. And to see the look on her face while she was doing that. It just, you know, she, this is why she gets up in the morning. This is what she has to do. And you know, did it solve world hunger? Did it you know, reverse climate change? No, nothing like that. But boy, oh, boy, did it help these particular people?
David Stone 42:31
Absolutely. You know, service to others. Sounds inconvenient on the surface. But the truth of the matter is, we are blessed in the process.oOh, absolutely. And your you know, your personal calling doesn't have to be huge and earth shattering, it can be very, very small. And we all get have to get a little quiet and listen, to listen to that quiet inner voice. It'll tell you this is where your passion lies. And you know, if we find ourselves doing it out of guilt or out of off twos and shoulds and all this will look good on my resumes, then you've missed the point. Yeah, they're all called. And we're all called to do something very specific.
David Sandstrom 43:14
Excellent. David, that that's a really good place to to wind things up. But I do have one more question for you. Actually, I'm going to save that question. And I want to ask you this. If someone wants to get ahold of you what's the best way?
David Stone 43:26
The best way right now is to go on Facebook, and look for the fearless living and growth society. I have a Facebook group that I that I use and its mission is to help people stop worrying and learn to live fearlessly live and step up to the life that they were meant to live.
David Sandstrom 43:51
Excellent. The fearless living and growth society Facebook group. Yeah,
David Stone 43:56
that's a great place to find me. I'm there every day. And there's somebody wants to, you know, direct message me I will always reply personally.
David Sandstrom 44:04
Okay. Excellent. All right. Here's my last question, David. I'm thinking there's got to be somebody listening, that is so used to that comfortable feeling of being in fear and the anxiety worry that comes along with it. And it's hard for them to imagine a life without it. So speak to that person, help that person visualize what life would be like after they recover from this train of thought.
David Stone 44:30
All right, I have. I know exactly what to say. Imagine that your fairy godmother showed up. You know, we've seen her on Cinderella and all that. So your fairy godmother pops into the room one day, and she grants you one thing, not a wish. You didn't wish for this but she waves her magic wand and suddenly you are incapable of worrying about anything. You're incapable of being afraid. Now she didn't give you a million dollars. She didn't give you an IQ of 180, she didn't guarantee that everything will ever work out that you try. The only thing that she did was wave her wand and make you incapable of being afraid to try anything. What would you do next? What would you try? And we all have our list, we all have that list of Oh, if I wasn't afraid, I would, you know, ask that girl out, I would quit this dead end job that I'm in, I would have that difficult conversation with my spouse, I would go into marriage counseling, I there's all these, we all have this list of things that we would do, if only I weren't afraid to try. And so that's what I would suggest with people to to do this little mind thought mind experiment of what would it feel like? Well, imagine that your fairy godmother removed your ability to be afraid of anything you can't be. You're not afraid to look foolish. You're not afraid that somebody else might judge you. You're not afraid to try. You're not afraid to fail. You're not afraid to succeed. You're not afraid of anything? What would what would be the first thing you would go out and do? I love it. That's what it feels like to be to live fearlessly.
David Sandstrom 46:18
Yeah, that is a great question. Just real quick. We're running out of time. But back in about, let's see, this would have been about 2003. Three, I think, yeah. 2003 ish. I attended a four day retreat that was put on by john Eldridge, and the ransomed heart team out in Colorado Springs. And john Eldridge wrote the book Wild at Heart. And the retreat was based on the book. And I showed up to that retreat, saying, Well, you know, I read the book twice, actually. And I kind of think I have this message. But man, I got my socks blown off of this this weekend. And, and at the end of the weekend, john, get up in front of the group, there was probably three or 400 guys in the room. And he said, I want to leave you with these parting words. When you're thinking about what you're going to do with the rest of your life, don't go home, and you know, quit your job tomorrow. But when you think about what you want to do with the rest of your life, if success were guaranteed, what would you do? Yeah, and I think it's very, very similar. Very related to the to the question you just asked, and a lot of people in the room had no idea. Here. I am a professional airline pilot. And I didn't have to think more than five seconds, I knew exactly what I'd like to do. I'd like to write books and speak about it. That's what I wanted to do. And the reason why we're doing this podcast today is because I took that that question seriously. And I now have a book. And I now talk about what's in the book. And I'll tell you why. It's very rewarding. People think, oh, you have a great job. What a cool job. You fly airplanes, you know, fly the big jets. Yes, the big ones. But yes, it is a cool job. But it doesn't float my boat like this does.
David Stone 47:55
That's exactly right. Well, I went through the same process at the age of 64, as I was winding, you know, deciding I didn't want to do what I want to do, and he had been doing for 30 years anymore. But I have no, I don't have any interest in retirement. I don't know what to do if I retired but, and I started to say, Well, what do I want to be when I grow up? What do I want to do? And so I started to pray about that and meditate about that. And the voice was very, very clear. Because I would ask, I'd say, Okay, what does the world need? And the voice was so clear. And it said, The world needs to stop being so afraid of everything. And you can do that you can help them. But you know how to do that. And I said, Okay, there it is. I had no idea how or why or I knew why. But I didn't know how or what or anything, but it was just okay, I have to do that.
David Sandstrom 48:46
Excellent. Thanks, David. We've been talking with David stone. He's an author. He has a great Facebook group, and he wants to help the world Stop being so scared. If you have an issue. With that, I encourage you to get in touch with him. David, thank you for being here today.
David Stone 49:02
My pleasure. Thank you for having me on.
David Sandstrom 49:05
Well, I hope you enjoyed that episode with David stone. He is a wealth of knowledge, and he has overcome what a lot of people struggle with worry, fear and anxiety and it feels very, very paralyzing when you're in the middle of it, and he has some of the keys to unlock the freedom that's available to everyone when they get past their anxiety. So I highly encourage you to check out his facebook group. And don't forget this episode is brought to you by nice town blackout curtains. Think of sleep as you would a nutrient because it is we should all be taking steps to improve the quality of our sleep. Why not start with some low hanging fruit. No other investment gives you more bang for your buck than blackout curtains because God designed us to sleep when it's dark out. Go to my website, David Sandstrom.com forward slash resources. Click on my affiliate link for nice town blackout curtains and Don't forget to buy the curtain rods I've curated there for you as well. When you make a purchase from one of my affiliates, you're also supporting the show financially. You won't pay any more, and I make a small commission, so thanks in advance for your support. For more, go to David Sandstrom calm. in the show notes for each episode, you'll find links to all the resources that were mentioned, as well as a full transcript with timestamps that you can download for free. In addition, I always include a content upgrade with each show, which is a free download that is designed to help you go deeper with that subject. Once again, thank you for listening, and I'll talk with the next week. Be blessed
Transcribed by https://otter.ai