Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.
Scott DeLuzio: Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today my guest is Annie White. Annie is the author of the book, the Calm Code, which provides readers with a step-by-step method to dramatically lower stress and anxiety. And we’re gonna get into that in just a minute. But first welcome to the show, Annie.
Scott DeLuzio: I’m glad to have you
Dr. Annie White: here, Scott. Thanks for having me on. I
Scott DeLuzio: love your show. Yeah. Absolutely. Thanks so much. So before we get started, for the listeners maybe who aren’t familiar with you and your background, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Dr. Annie White: I am a girl from St. Louis, Missouri. So I grew up in the Midwest and I somehow [00:01:00] found myself Going down the road to get a doctorate in traditional Chinese medicine.
Dr. Annie White: So yeah, you should have seen the faces of the people doctors in Shanghai who were teaching me , like who is this girl from Missouri learning our medicine? But I love it because it, you know, it treats the mind, body, and spirit, but it also gets to the root cause and it’s all natural. So all of those things really appeal to me.
Dr. Annie White: I’ve been practicing that for a long time, and I saw in, you know, in my office, so many of patients’ issues were rooted in stress and anxiety, and I knew that if I didn’t get to the root cause and figure it out, they’d never be happier, healthy. So
Scott DeLuzio: brought me here. Excellent. Yeah. And so, so much of our lives is stressful especially when you talk.
Scott DeLuzio: Military service members and veterans they’ve dealt with a lot of stress stresses of combat deployments, being away from your family for extended periods of time. You know, just the [00:02:00] rigors of the training regiment that you might be going through. Just there’s so much stress involved and that’s why I wanted to have you on Talk about how we can manage our stress and anxiety, because there’s a lot of that involved as well.
Scott DeLuzio: And so you’ve done a lot of research, you’ve done a lot of work around stress and anxiety, and you’ve written this book, the Calm Code. And so tell us about the book and what prompted you to write it.
Dr. Annie White: I had been researching, like you said, for over a decade. Why do we get so stressed? And I see stress and anxiety as kind of on a continuum.
Dr. Annie White: You know, it’s like the stress gets worse and worse and worse, and it be, it can become an anxiety state. And I was researching the science of the brain and when I came upon neuroplasticity, which is scientifically speaking, States that every thought, action and emotion wires or trains our mind along those pathways.
Dr. Annie White: So if [00:03:00] we keep having thoughts of the same type i e, stress or worry, that will wire or train our mind to actually be more worried and more stressed. And I can give you an analogy, which is, which I enjoy because it really simplifies this and it gives you a good picture of how this works in your brain, if you want me to.
Dr. Annie White: Sure. Yeah. Okay. Play along with me. Okay. You just got a job at American Airlines. Okay, Scott, you are in charge of scheduling the flights. You don’t have to worry about snacks or comfy seats. Thank goodness you only have to worry about flight schedules. Your boss. Says, all right, Scott, I don’t know what is happening, but everyone is going to this place called stressful.
Dr. Annie White: You’re like, oh my gosh. I have to make connections and pathways in order to get all of those passengers to stress fill. Now, in our analogy, the passengers are your thoughts and [00:04:00] the flight pass in their connections. The neural pathways in your brain and their synapses, which are the connections between them.
Dr. Annie White: Okay. So every new passenger that comes, it builds up that demand. And what the demand does is it makes us have to have more pathways and connections. Got it. Okay. So then your boss comes in and says, wait, something just happened last week. Everyone has transitioned to this hippo called calm. So you have to then get pass and connections to Calm Town.
Dr. Annie White: And what’s interesting in the brain is that when you don’t have as many passengers or thoughts going to stress bill anymore, those paths and connections start to disintegrate. Just like you wouldn’t need ’em anymore if you were at American Airlines and your brain works the exact same way,
Scott DeLuzio: right? You wouldn’t need that flight or as many flights going to that.[00:05:00]
Scott DeLuzio: Previous destination, if not as many people, if the demand decreases and not as many people want to go there, you don’t need that many flights. You can reroute those planes to more in demand places. And so same idea with this, and I love this analogy. I always try to make analogies, especially when I’m trying to learn something that’s out of my comfort zone.
Scott DeLuzio: Like this is not my area of expertise. And so I, I try to relate it to something that I do understand. And flights is a good example as a matter. I fly quite often with my job, and so that, that makes sense to me. You know, all of this. So, I think that is a great way of breaking it down.
Scott DeLuzio: For the listeners who maybe aren’t familiar with this type of stuff either. It’s a, just, to me, I think it’s just a great way of just making that Yeah, concept a little more concrete and clear. That’s
Dr. Annie White: good. And you know, I have to tell you, most people that I talk to are like, Annie, what are you talking about?
Dr. Annie White: Neuroplasticity. And I mean, most people, I’d say 97% of people. And so I like to break it down [00:06:00] because, and it took me, you know, 10 years to break it down. I had to really dive into it and understand it. It wasn’t like I read four articles and I was like, oh yeah, this is how this works. I mean, it took me a long time.
Dr. Annie White: And the second part of that is, you know this because you schedule so many flights for your job. So when you go online to schedule those flights, if stress bill is more popular than calm town, getting those flights is so much easier. So thinking those thoughts, you go straight to stress bill cuz it’s so much easier because the brain works on a path of least resistance.
Scott DeLuzio: Right. Okay. Yeah, that’s true too. And the other thing. I just do this whenever I’m talking to somebody, especially on this podcast, because there’s a lot of times when someone like yourself comes on and there’s a concept that I’m just not completely familiar with, but I try to, Make it make sense in my mind as they’re talking to me.
Scott DeLuzio: And so the initial analogy that I came up with in my head was kinda like a stream that, that’s flowing along and it’s just flowing along. But you [00:07:00] want to divert some of that water to another area. And so you dig a little trench and along the side of the stream, then the water starts flowing that way.
Scott DeLuzio: And initially that little trench. That deep. It’s not that big, the not that much water is able to flow, but over time it’s wearing down that, that pathway that it’s that you’ve, you started and more and more water eventually start flowing in that direction. And it just makes it easier for that water to flow.
Scott DeLuzio: And so that, that’s the initial analogy that I came up with. The airlines and the flights. That’s a great example as. Yeah,
Dr. Annie White: like your one too. It works well. Yeah. Or some people have said, you know, hiking path, if you do a new hiking path and you know, and if you don’t go back to that hiking path for a while, it’s gonna get overgrown again.
Dr. Annie White: So you have to reestablish it.
Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. Yeah. So there’s a lot of ways to think of this, but going back to it, we’re talking about our brains and how our brains work and how everything’s wired up in there. . And it, it makes sense that [00:08:00] the more negative thoughts that you have, the easier it’s gonna be to think negative thoughts.
Scott DeLuzio: The more positive thoughts that you’re gonna have, the more, the easier it’s gonna be to think positive thoughts as time goes on. So I’m guessing this is kind of a central theme to the calm code. You know, where did you figure this out and what got you into writing this particular. Well, because
Dr. Annie White: I didn’t actually set out to write a book, I set out to figure out how to help my patients.
Dr. Annie White: But what I found was there wasn’t a step-by-step method that dealt with neuroplasticity out there. And this took me a really long time. But I was just tossing exercises out to my patients that I knew had been scientifically proven. To work. And what I did was I researched all the scientifically proven ways to train your mind to be calm and happy.
Dr. Annie White: And I combine them into tools so that you’re using at least three and [00:09:00] usually more of these tools in each exercise that I give. Does that make sense? So for instance, and I’m gonna teach you a couple today. One is you can u look at positive pictures. You can use gratitude, you can use visualization, meditation, best possible self exercises, affirmations, I can go on and on and on.
Dr. Annie White: But I combined all of those into tools that people can use and I would just give them to my patients. It wasn’t like we sat down and I said, we’re gonna work on your neuroplasticity. They were stressed and anxious, and I said, And they’d always say, oh, oh, Dr. Annie, I lo, these are great. I like these. But I mean, I was like, oh, okay, good.
Dr. Annie White: They’re working for you. But then I got to a point where I got extremely stressed and I spiraled into the anxious and even the depressed place and I had to use myself. And then once I found out that they worked and I knew that they worked, that’s when the book came about. Cuz I just wanted to get ’em to people who [00:10:00] needed.
Dr. Annie White: Yeah, and
Scott DeLuzio: I’ve found that with a lot of people that I’ve talked to, especially authors on this podcast that they go off in one direction not expecting to get to where they ended up. You know, they may be a person like yourself who went down this rabbit hole trying to research and figure things out for one purpose trying to help your clients and.
Scott DeLuzio: All of a sudden, boom, here you go. Now you have a book. And, but it’s a great it’s a great tool to have this in a written format that people can go back and refer to. Because like anything, if you’re not practicing this day after day, it’s a probably a perishable skill that you may start to forget some of the steps you may.
Scott DeLuzio: You may not remember everything that you need to do. And so, you know, having something to go back to as a reference is useful. So,
Dr. Annie White: it’s, and you know the book, we start with three minutes, twice a day of the exercises you build to eight minutes twice a day. And then my advice is that people do five minutes a day, but here’s what happens, and here’s [00:11:00] what I found with my patients.
Dr. Annie White: When people are feeling so much better, they. So it’s just like what you’re saying then if they start getting stressed and anxious again, they’ll wanna go back to it.
Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. Yeah. And that’s what I mean, because we all have different, we all have different seasons in our lives where things are going great and why do I need to worry about my stress and anxiety when I don’t have stress and anxiety?
Scott DeLuzio: So we, I’m not worried about that at this point. And, but then this, inevitably things happen. Life is stressful things come up and Then you need to go back to it. And if you haven’t been practicing it all along because things have been going well, then you may need to go back and refer to it Exactly.
Dr. Annie White: At eight minutes,
Scott DeLuzio: twice a day. Exactly. Yeah. Get back on the horse and and figure it out.
Dr. Annie White: 16 minutes a day is not bad. If you think about it, you know, we
Scott DeLuzio: can fit that in. Exactly. I think an anyone, I don’t care how busy you are, you can squeeze in eight minutes. Here and there, and then you can find another eight minutes someplace else.
Scott DeLuzio: 16 [00:12:00] minutes really is not that long of a time. You know, even if it means you gotta wake up another, you know, few minutes early, just set the alarm a few minutes earlier and then just do it first thing in the morning. If that’s how your schedule works out, you know, just, but find the time to do it, I guess, is the point.
Scott DeLuzio: Now the tagline on the book, and you sent me a copy of the book, which I appreciate. Thank you very much for this copy. The tagline at the top of the book says, six Weeks to a Calmer, happier You powerful method to lower stress and increase happiness. So Six Weeks to a Calmer, happier You is the point that I wanted to talk about there.
Scott DeLuzio: Could you walk us through what the readers can expect from the book and what they’ll experience over those six weeks? I love that
Dr. Annie White: question. That’s a great question. The first part of the book is the science. I’m a y person and people, you know, you don’t have to read that part, but I want people to know exactly how it works.
Dr. Annie White: I mean, I have 30 pages of reference section to this book, so it’s very heavily scientifically [00:13:00] researched. So the science then I talk about, there’s a chapter on how to make this a habit because sometimes people have a hard time getting this. Have it into their day. So then we do that. Then we have six weeks of tools, and I give you a new tool every week.
Dr. Annie White: And you start with three minutes, twice a day, you work up to eight minutes, twice a day. And at the end, I teach people how to combine all of the tools so they’re even stronger. But at the end of the six, They’re going to feel better, are they gonna be exactly where they wanna be after six weeks? I don’t know.
Dr. Annie White: It depends on where you start. For me personally, I know I felt better after six weeks and it took me three or four months to really get to the point where, you know, I went to my five minutes a day. Okay.
Scott DeLuzio: So, what are some of the tools that you offer in the book to. To work [00:14:00] through you know, as you’re going through these six weeks,
Dr. Annie White: well, the first week we do, I call it happy Sparks.
Dr. Annie White: So I’m gonna give you, what I can do is give you the basics because if I try to get into all the intricacies, we just won’t have
Scott DeLuzio: time. Yeah, and I don’t want to go into so much detail that no one buys a book either. So I wanna have just kind of a, an overview of the concepts that, so that way people kind of understand what they’re getting into if they choose to get the book too.
Scott DeLuzio: So Absolutely. Sort of an
Dr. Annie White: overview help. I wanna, you know, I wanna help, I wanna give Oh, for sure. Yeah. I just wanna say, okay, so the first one is called Happy Sparks, and what you do is you find pictures that make you feel positive. . Okay. And sometimes you can do any sort of positive emotion or you could do one for peace.
Dr. Annie White: You could do one for happy. You could do whatever you wanna do, and you group them together. And what’s important about these is that you don’t pick any pictures that could trigger anything [00:15:00] stressful or negative. Why? Because of what we were talking about earlier. Those pathways are so strong, they’ll just take right over.
Dr. Annie White: So we don’t even wanna give them a chance. So you pick these great pictures and you flip through ’em. You can do a slideshow on your phone or your computer, which is actually pretty easy to do. Or you can get physical pictures and you flip through them for three minutes and you really strongly feel the positive emotions that go along with those pictures twice a day.
Dr. Annie White: Okay? And that’s your first tool, and then it gets into more. It gets into more advanced stuff when we start talking about doing the slideshows, about maybe things that you want to manifest or a trip you wanna take, a house that you wanna have. Something like that, you know, because then we’re tossing in some visualization.
Dr. Annie White: We’re getting some best possible self in there. You can also put gratitude on top of [00:16:00] it, so all of the, it’s all worked in, but that would be the first. And then the second week we do, I combine all these tools into gratitude. Okay. And my favorite, I think you, you get five of them, but my favorite one is thank you statements.
Dr. Annie White: So there is huge power in saying thank you three times. Okay. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And I found this with so many of my patients, especially because my fertility patients are the ones who actually really listen to me and do what I say. So cuz they do, they’ll, you know, they’re like, oh Annie, I’ll do anything.
Dr. Annie White: So what they do, so many fertility patients have trouble conceiving because it’s stressful, right? So they do, thank you, thank you, thank you for my happy healthy baby as many times a day as they can. And what that does is a, it makes ’em feel better in the. B, it stops the stress because you can’t be stressed and happy and [00:17:00] grateful at the same time.
Dr. Annie White: And c, it develops those pathways. It makes those pathways in your mind, the common happy one, stronger every single time you do it. There’s a great morning tool. I don’t advocate just very simple gratitude lists for this reason. I did gratitude lists for a long time and I, I’m not trying to dis on gratitude.
Dr. Annie White: But what I found was it can become a really rote exercise. Right, right. Thank you for world peace. You think, you know, thank you for my so or whatever. Do you know what I mean? I you need additional I’m gonna say tools and elements on top of that to really activate those pathways in your brain. Cuz that’s our.
Scott DeLuzio: Because if you’re just writing down a list of things that you’re thankful for or grateful for, whatever word you want to use to describe that like, yeah, you can come up with a lot of things and some of them are these really extremely big, broad topics. And you [00:18:00] may just be checking the box. Okay, I wrote it down, but I don’t feel any better.
Scott DeLuzio: you know, what is that really accomplishing at that point? Really, it’s just wasting paper . It’s as you’re writing these things down,
Dr. Annie White: right? It is. And I mean I, if people like gratitude list and they really work for them, I’m not trying to say don’t do them, but what I am saying is this, is, this is very different from other things people have tried before.
Dr. Annie White: And then the next step is breath. And I wanna teach you this breathing technique. I’m gonna simplify it a bit, but I’m gonna give you three steps because if I give you all the steps, you’re not gonna remember it just in this, right? Cuz it’s audio right here. Sure. So let’s do three steps, but I’m giving the most powerful parts of it.
Dr. Annie White: First step you say to yourself throughout this entire exercise, I am safe. I’m not in a life or death situation right now. I’m. As long, I mean, if you’re in a life or death situation, you’re not gonna be doing [00:19:00] this breathing right. Okay. So, but in saying that, you’re calming your mind down and your mind can’t fight against that.
Dr. Annie White: Right. Okay. So I’m safe. I’m not in a life death situation. Take your left hand, put it on your lower belly, and as you breathe in, feel that hand go out toward the opposite. As you’re saying to yourself, I’m safe. I’m not in a life or death situation right now. Okay, third step, take your right index finger and cover your right nostril.
Dr. Annie White: As you’re doing this breathing technique, breathe in and out only through your left nostril. Studies have shown that that activates your calm or parasympathetic nervous system and it calms you down. Interesting. It’s scientifically proven. Mm-hmm. , and it’s I, and this is a good way for people to remember it, but I say pick your nose the right way.
Dr. Annie White: It sort of looks like you’re picking your nose and the right way because it’s only the right side, because the left side activates that calm nervous system. [00:20:00]
Scott DeLuzio: It’s funny when you, as you’re doing that. And so for the listeners who are not watching the video on YouTube you know, I, she’s sitting there and she’s putting her finger on her nose, on the side of her nose.
Scott DeLuzio: She’s not actually picking her nose. But it reminds me there’s a Seinfeld episode old Seinfeld episode where he is Jerry Seinfeld, he is driving in the car and he had an itch on the side of his nose and his girlfriend pulled up alongside of him on the other side, and he’s doing this, itching his nose, but it looks like he’s picking his nose and she’s all appalled and she’s disgusted by it and everything.
Scott DeLuzio: It’s hilarious. But that’s, Again, I sometimes I sit here and I, my mind goes into, you know, different places. I, that, that’s the first thing I, that came to my mind. It’s, so I’m thinking to myself, okay, someone’s pulling up on, on the side next to me. The right side is the side that I’d be touching.
Scott DeLuzio: So, so now I have that visual in place. And so that’s the breathing aspect of this yep. This exercise,
Dr. Annie White: right? Yep. Next is meditation. Now, I don’t teach people how to meditate, so what I [00:21:00] do is I give you all of the health reasons. It’s good for you. I tell you about all these great famous people who do it, and I really am of the opinion.
Dr. Annie White: If you’re highly stressed out, trying to meditate is almost impossible. And most people think meditation is like emptying their mind, but okay, it’s not. I recommend guided me. For three to five minutes. If somebody is really stressed out or if they’re just starting I have some on my website. Or if you go on to Google, you can go to YouTube and you can type in meditation, stress, meditation, anxiety, meditation, relaxation, whatever you want, and find what resonates with you.
Dr. Annie White: And all you have to do is listen and breathe. And studies have shown that those type of guided meditations actually work just as well for.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and I’ve done some of those. I have not made it a consistent practice for myself to, to do those, but at first, when I first [00:22:00] started trying it, it was one of those things where I was like, I just can’t possibly see how this is going to help me.
Scott DeLuzio: And it was almost like I was working against it. Like, I, I didn’t, yeah, because I couldn’t grasp the concept. I didn’t want it to work. And so I, it was like, Ah, no, this isn’t gonna work. But then I was like, okay let me just stick with it and give it a shot and give it a chance. And over time, eventually it did actually start to calm me down and reduce stress, anxiety and stuff.
Scott DeLuzio: And it was really bizarre how it worked because I just couldn’t. Conceptualize why it would work. Because it’s building your pathways. It is. And now that we’ve had this conversation, it makes total sense why it would work. Right. But at the time I couldn’t figure it out. Yes, right. Because it takes
Dr. Annie White: at least two weeks and probably four to really start seeing results after you’re consistent.
Dr. Annie White: You said a few Very key.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, the consistency is definitely key. I found with that it does take time. But if you do it [00:23:00] once today and don’t do it again for another two, three weeks and then don’t do it again for another month or so you’re probably never gonna see the benefits from it.
Scott DeLuzio: I would imagine,
Dr. Annie White: you know? No. It’s just like, if you wanna get into good shape and you went to the gym once every month, it’s not gonna work.
Scott DeLuzio: Right. .
Dr. Annie White: Exactly. So it’s the exact same.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Okay, so we got the happy sparks finding those pictures. We got the gratitude, breathing, and meditation. Now,
Dr. Annie White: okay, so this next one I love.
Dr. Annie White: So I call this one Imagine It, be It because there is such power in visualization. So what I have people do is pick an area of their life that they would want to improve and. You know, write down all of the ways that they want it to look and feel and act, and then to toss in some affirmations. And I teach you how to do the affirmations.
Dr. Annie White: And then I actually have people go down a path to their future [00:24:00] self who this has already transpired, okay? And have a conversation with that future self. So you learn how to do all these things. The next one. A visualization technique that I love because I know there are a lot of them out there.
Dr. Annie White: There are things, you know, you might have heard of the Secret or there’s a lot of it, but I think they’re doing it wrong. And I’ll tell you why. We don’t really want things, we don’t really want situations. We don’t really want people, like, I don’t really want a relationship. I want how I wanna feel in that relationship.
Dr. Annie White: I want the emotions that all of these things are gonna give me, right? Yeah. So I say you start with the emotions that you want from this stuff, right? So if it’s a new relationship, how do you wanna feel in that relationship? That’s what we target first, because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. if someone is good looking or blah, blah, blah, or smart, [00:25:00] or blah, whatever, right?
Dr. Annie White: All of these external things, if they’re mean to you and they cut you down, or you know, even worse if they physically or emotionally abuse you. So let’s start with what we really want, the real stuff, and it can work for everything. A new job, house, whatever you wanna manifest. And then I take through all of the steps.
Dr. Annie White: I like people to get into the present moment of it already having happened. So you do the visualization as if you’re in that relationship. I’m just using relationship as an example. So you imagine scenarios that you’re feeling all those emotions in the present moment, in that relationship, doing different things with your person.
Dr. Annie White: Yep. And I toss in gratitude. I think I toss in affirmations. So that’s one I really like. So that’s the end of the six weeks.
Scott DeLuzio: So those six weeks [00:26:00] are seem fairly structured and I like the idea of breaking things into little chunks that you can. Tackle one at a time as you work your way through this.
Scott DeLuzio: Because if you’re to say, okay, now start doing all of this stuff, gratitude, breathing, meditation, do all of these things all at once, it becomes overwhelming and probably more stressful than it needs to be . So, that, that would be counterproductive. But I like the fact that you break it out into those smaller chunks, so that way you just really have the one thing to focus on as you’re working through and.
Scott DeLuzio: Each one kind of builds upon itself. And right. You can progress from there. Just the way you learn anything. You know, in school you gotta learn how to add before you can learn how to multiply and, you know, all that kind of stuff, right? So, you can build up upon this as the six weeks go on.
Scott DeLuzio: And then now you have these tools that you can carry forward and use. As needed. You know, ideally, like you said, twice a day is where you want to be. And really it’s just a few minutes a day. It’s not really that long that you’re talking about. [00:27:00] So, you know, there’s no excuse not to be able to find that kind of time to fit that into your day.
Dr. Annie White: And I gotta tell, and I gotta tell you, every single one feels good. Yeah, because you’re activating the parts of your brain that feel good. Sure. So it’s fun. I mean, after it’s fun.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And you’re, if you’re doing it first thing in the morning you’re starting your day off on the right foot.
Scott DeLuzio: You know, you’re feeling good walking out the door on your way to work or school or wherever it is that you’re going. Things are good. Like you’re starting off the day on the right foot so that’s. To me just makes sense. And you know, just thinking about my day-to-day it might be a good way to relax yourself before going to bed, so that way if you had a stressful day you can kind of work some of that stuff out before going to bed so you’re not going to bed all stressed and anxious and worried about whatever happened throughout the day or what’s gonna happen tomorrow or anything like that.
Dr. Annie White: Yeah, and I [00:28:00] agree, and I think it’s very powerful to be able to really shut down those stress and worry and negative pathways in the morning and at night so that you can activate the common happy ones so that you can have a great day and use sleep better. Right,
Scott DeLuzio: exactly. I know a lot of times military veterans are so used to operating at 110.
Scott DeLuzio: Dealing with life and death situations. And that can be difficult to turn off that mode when everything isn’t life and death. And you don’t need to constantly be hypervigilant and alert all the time and worried about what’s gonna blow up or what’s gonna pop around the next corner. You know, Walking through a grocery store, you’re not worried about you know, a landmine blowing up as you’re going down the produce aisle or whatever you shouldn’t be anyways.
Scott DeLuzio: But a lot of times veterans come back from overseas. They are [00:29:00] still dealing with this stuff, and their stress, their anxiety levels are through the roof high. This is, to me seems like a way to help start reducing that that stress and learning how to not constantly be going, going, going at 110%.
Scott DeLuzio: Always alert, always aware of everything. And I’m not saying you need to be complacent and not pay attention to what’s going on around you, cuz yeah, bad things can happen no matter where you are but there’s a relative scale here, right? Chances are you’re going to the grocery store, you’re not gonna be dealing with a terrorist with an AK 47 who’s popping around the corner.
Scott DeLuzio: But it happened. Yeah, sure it could. Is it likely? No it’s not. But you know, learning how to manage this. Slowly get back into a normal level of of stress and awareness of the things that are going on around you I think is critical to being able to get back into [00:30:00] society after spending so much time.
Scott DeLuzio: You know, in the uniform where you’re, this is your day to day, you’re dealing with life and death you know, on a regular basis.
Dr. Annie White: Yes. I mean it’s, you said that so well, and I do wanna say military. First of all, everyone is so grateful to you guys. What would we ever have done without you? And two, there is a good reason that you feel that way.
Dr. Annie White: I mean, any human who goes through those circumstances is gonna come out feeling that. You can’t help it. It’s how our minds are hardwired. And if you think about this whole neuroplasticity aspect, when you’re put into that situation, which is truly a life or death situation, all the time, you’re wiring your mind day after day after day.
Dr. Annie White: So it’s no wonder that people come home like that because it’s how the mind works,
Scott DeLuzio: right? Yeah. Yeah. And it [00:31:00] makes sense too, because. The way we, you were describing the airline example before and the stream that I talked about it’s something that you’re doing constantly o over the course of, you know, deployment that might last a year.
Scott DeLuzio: Every single day you’re constantly on alert. You’re looking out for threats. You’re right. And so now that part of your brain that is saying there’s potentially danger around the next corner, and you need to be alert and aware. It’s easy for your brain to just go into that default mode because just like water, it flows through the path of lease resistance, that those thoughts are gonna travel to the path of lease resistance, which you’ve made really easy to go down because you’ve been thinking about that constantly, nonstop for over the last year or however long the deployment was.
Scott DeLuzio: And. It’s really easy for your mind to just go back into that, especially when you’re back in a safe area. And that’s why some of these things that you were talking about where you [00:32:00] tell yourself that you’re safe and that you’re not in danger, right? Y you’re telling yourself you’re basically making that new connection, right?
Scott DeLuzio: So that you’re not going down that, that path of, oh my God, I’m in danger. The world’s on fire. Everything’s bad. You’re now starting to go down a different direction and you’re ma carving that path to get yourself to a calmer, safer right place to be.
Dr. Annie White: Well, and that’s also why I say set aside time, specific time.
Dr. Annie White: Don’t depend on doing this stuff when you’re feeling stressed because you need to actually rebuild those other parts of the. And so then you have a fighting chance, then it’s not like your default mode anymore. Mm-hmm. , which of course it would be, you know, coming home from a situation like that. So if you build that, the common happy parts in a concentrated effort, then your brain can become more balanced over time again.[00:33:00]
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that’s great. And I think the key aspect there is just to recognize that this is something that does take some time. And depending on, like you said earlier, depending on where you started from you may be starting from a place where you have a lot of work to do to get yourself back to that kind of baseline, normal, what you may have been before.
Scott DeLuzio: But the, but if you keep. Eventually you’ll start to see those results and that that new pathway will start to open up and it’ll be easier for those thoughts to travel down that pathway as opposed to the previous pathway, which now is potentially starting to get overgrown. And like the hiking trail you’re talking about where you don’t use it for a while, it gets overgrown and you know, eventually not to say it disappears, but it’s less worn down.
Dr. Annie White: Yeah. And it’s like when you’re in the grocery store and something sets you off. If you’re, if that isn’t as strong, if that isn’t as dominant, you have a minute [00:34:00] to be able to decide. Right. Whereas if your mind is wired that way, and experience, I didn’t go to war, so I cannot tell you that I experienced anything like this, but I did wire my mind to be very, very stressed and.
Dr. Annie White: Myself and I did. I was, I, mine was different. It was, I was very irritable or I was anxious, or, you know, my husband fell down the stairs and wasn’t breathing. And I was like, if I’m not staying on this planet if he doesn’t wake up right now. You know, so if your mind is wired to, to dominate with those thoughts, then those thoughts are gonna dominate.
Dr. Annie White: It’s just as simple as that.
Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. This conversation, I think, has been really insightful. I think for me just making sense of how negative thoughts will just facilitate you to create [00:35:00] more negative thoughts and how positive thoughts can have that same effect where the more positive thoughts that you have will eventually create more positivity and more positive thoughts in your mind.
Scott DeLuzio: And so this really solidifies a lot of the things that, that people have been talking about for years and years. You know, meditation and affirmations and all those kinds of things that will help you feel better, less c stressed, more calm just to get you in that right mindset. Understanding the why to me, I think was kind of that missing piece where it’s like, yeah, okay, everyone tells me I should practice meditation or focus on my breathing and all the, all this other stuff.
Scott DeLuzio: And it really understand why prior to, to to any of this. And so, It really made it difficult for me to wrap my head around like, why am I wasting my time doing this stuff? You know? And so I feel like there might be people out there who are listening who might be in the same boat. It’s like, I don’t need to do this [00:36:00] wishy-washy stuff.
Scott DeLuzio: I like, I don’t need to do any of that stuff because what is it really gonna help? But, Now that I kind of understand a little bit more about how the brain works and how these positive thoughts can create their own new pathways and divert some of the attention away from the negative pathways.
Scott DeLuzio: It, it makes a ton of sense to me now. I’m
Dr. Annie White: so glad, and so many people don’t know this. I feel like we should be teaching this in grade. Right. I wish I had this stuff in grade school. My whole life would’ve been different, you know?
Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. I think, yeah, look, looking back, you know, years and years, like this is such an easy concept to visualize.
Scott DeLuzio: You know, it’s obviously you’re talking about someone’s brain and that’s a whole kinda worms that you don’t want to go into with a kindergartner or a first grader or anything like that, right? But but you can make this concept is pretty. Easy to break it down to their level. Using simple examples like the ones that you said, like the [00:37:00] flights or the the river or the hiking trail or things like that.
Scott DeLuzio: You can make that make sense to a kid. And once when you get this concept, that’s something you can easily carry with you forever. Why wouldn’t we do this? Right. Forever.
Dr. Annie White: Well, and the other thing, you know, the pandemic has been interesting because the pandemic has proven this. Mm-hmm. , the pa, you know, studies with this pandemic it.
Dr. Annie White: The stress of it not only increased depression and anxiety, it caused it for so many people. And now we have, so they’re saying that the mental health crisis is our second. Following, you know, this initial pandemic because we couldn’t help. Just like when you’re in a life or death situation in war, you cannot help thinking those thoughts.
Dr. Annie White: So, so many people were constantly thinking, am I gonna die? Is someone close to me gonna die? You know, and it’s, I’m not trying to compare this with fighting in the [00:38:00] military at all, because I know that’s much more extreme than this. But what we did see with this pandemic, The same, not the same outcome, but mental outcomes that were wired Basically
Scott DeLuzio: drained.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, exactly. And you may have been dealing with someone who maybe had some mild mental health issues going into this, and then you lock them away from people and, you know, lock them in their homes ba essentially, and. They have nobody to talk to, nobody to see. They’re worried about things and then just telling
Dr. Annie White: them, you know, all these people are basically dying.
Dr. Annie White: Yep. And if they go outside without a mask, they can, right. Yep. I mean, it’s,
Scott DeLuzio: that was, and so yeah, things like that are not really, not helpful as far as the mental health things go. And I think that definitely could have had a significant negative impact on, on, on great number of people.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And like you’re saying, [00:39:00] it really did. So, so
Dr. Annie White: can I give you a quick statistic? Sure. So the American Psychological Association just did a study. 77% of Americans have stress levels so high, it’s damaging their physical health. And 73% of Americans have stress levels so high, it’s damaging their mental.
Dr. Annie White: So, yeah. Yeah,
Scott DeLuzio: that’s three’s, that’s too much. I mean, just look around. If all the people who are around you seem like they’re calm and they’re happy and everything’s good to go, then chances are you’re that person. And so , you might have that, you might have a little bit of work to do.
Dr. Annie White: And no judgment.
Dr. Annie White: I’ve been there, so I get it.
Scott DeLuzio: No, absolutely no judgment. I’m just stating the facts here. , no. That I’m disagreeing with. Yeah, exactly. So with that said where can people go to get in touch with you and get a copy of your book? If all of this stuff has been resonating with them and they’re realizing that they are the one out of the four who [00:40:00] is the three out of four?
Scott DeLuzio: Oh, sorry. I’m sorry. The other way around. The three out, one of the three. Yeah,
Dr. Annie White: exactly. They’re not alone. They are definitely not alone. They’re not alone. So, yeah. So the book is on Amazon. It’s on Barnes and Noble. It’s on Audible, iBooks, IndieBound. If your local bookstore doesn’t have it, they can get it for you.
Dr. Annie White: And I’m at my website is D O C T O R, Annie. Com I, on the site I have, you can get the first chapter for free if you want it just to test it out. I have free meditations, I have free visualizations, I have a bunch of stuff on there for people. So.
Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. And I will have links to all of this in the show notes, so people who are looking to get a copy of the book or check out your website to get that, that first free chapter, the meditations and other things that you have on your website which your website is great by the way.
Scott DeLuzio: I definitely check it out. Check out the show notes. You’ll have links to there to easily get access to all of this stuff. Annie, [00:41:00] it’s been a absolute pleasure speaking with you today. Thank you for taking the time to join me and share with me and the audience.
Dr. Annie White: Thank you so much for having me on, and thank you for your show.
Dr. Annie White: It’s an important show and I was just honored to be here, so thank you.
Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.