>>Dr. Amen: Welcome back. We want to talk
to you today about some of our own stressful experiences so you know that we know that
it’s not only from our professional standpoint but from a personal standpoint.
>>Tana: We know you’re watching this for a reason and so we’ve both struggled. Everybody
struggled with stress at some point and these are some of the strategies we’ve used to
overcome and we like to teach these strategies.>>Dr. Amen: So when we first met, we’re
on a drive up North and we went through Huntington Beach because there was too much traffic on
the freeway and all of the sudden my heart stopped because we past
>>Tana: Yeah. You got teary. I remember that.>>Dr. Amen: the cemetery where my grandfather
was buried.>>Tana: And I didn’t know what it was at
first and I looked at you and you were very emotional.
>>Dr. Amen: Well, the saddest day of my life was when my grandfather died. So I was named
after him. He was my best friend growing up. And I was in medical school when he died and
he’d had a heart attack and then he had another one and then he got depressed. He
was a candy maker and everybody’s friend and all of the sudden this man I looked up
to was sad and would cry and couldn’t sleep. Looking back on it, what I learned later is
60% of people who have a heart attack will develop a major depression within the next
18 months and people really weren’t paying attention to that and for many years, as soon
as I would think about his death I would just start weeping. You know, I’ve internalized
him because now I’m a grandfather but dealing with that and really working through it was
challenging. You’ve probably lost somebody that you love and what for me that work just
so well was focusing on the joy because my best memories were standing at the stove making
fudge and pralines. I’m one of seven children. A lot of people don’t know that and I’m
third. My mother actually had four children in four years. She was a busy girl and so
she would dropped me off in my grandfather’s house and when she’d come to pick me up
I would grab his leg and say, ‘Don’t let the woman take me,’ because, you know, there,
there was attention>>Tana: Sort of get attention when there’s
a bunch of kids running around.>>Dr. Amen: there was when you’re part
of a brood.>>Tana: So, we should talk about the stress
of being one of seven sometime. It’s like there’s some trauma.
>>Dr. Amen: Well it has its challenges when you have five sisters. I actually wrote a
whole book about it.>>Tana: Now it’s one of the reasons that
I actually love you. I have to tell you. He came fully trained and house broken. There
was nothing that stresses this man out when it comes to dealing with women. So I love
your sisters for that.>>Dr. Amen: So, think about what you’ve
lost and how do you deal with it. I mean for me I anchor my soul really in my relationship
with my grandfather but when I then think of my grandbabies, I know how important that
relationship is. So I use the sadness, if you will, to fuel the connection and I certainly
focus on what I love about him and don’t remember just the depression, although I remember
it because it helps me to be a better psychiatrist. What about you?
>>Tana: So, I think a lot of people have heard the story about when I had cancer when
I was young and it metastasized and I had to drop out of school and file for bankruptcy
and quit my job. I became very depressed during that period like we’re not kidding depressed
and anxious. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life and I felt very lost. I
actually had no, literally had no idea what to do but I remember talking to someone very
wise at that time and they said something so profound to me that really helped me. So
there were two things that happened. Two quick exercises and we actually teach one of them
now and I love it. One of them, so this person said to me, ‘How much responsibility are
you willing to take for the situation?’ And I was stunned because I thought to myself,
‘What do you mean take responsibility. I have cancer.’ Like how do you take responsibility
at 23 years old for getting cancer? I thought it was such an unfair question but see that’s
a victim mentality right there and without saying that, that’s what this person was
trying to point out. So, he drew a circle on a whiteboard and he’s cut it in half
and colored it in one side. And he said, ‘Are you willing to take 50% responsibility?’
I didn’t ask you if it’s your fault. I ask you if you were willing to take responsibility
for any of it because the word responsibility means the ability to respond. It doesn’t
mean you have to take blame. And the minute he said that, he said if you take responsibility
for half of this, it means you have 50% chance of changing it. You have control over 50%
of it to change it and I was stunned. I just sat there with my mouth open going, oh my
gosh. It was like someone threw water on me and I went, ‘I don’t want anyone having
control over the outcome of my life. I will take 100% responsibility since it doesn’t
mean it’s my fault.’ I sort of got that. I internalized it and I just immediately took
responsibility for my life because it meant I had the ability to respond because I never
want to feel like a victim. For me, it’s repulsive, that feeling. And that was one
thing. That was one of the exercises. The other one is one that we teach and I really
love it and it’s an exercise where you’re literally the fork in the road and you meditate.
So, I really did a deep meditation on this and I wrote it all down. I mean I journalized
for hours and hours like in detail. If I go down one road, the road I was on and I stayed
there, what would my life be six months from then – my finances, my relationships, everything
in my life. How would I feel? What would my weight be like? Where would I be a year from
then? Where would I be five years from then? Where would I be ten years from then, twenty
years from then? And I remember I was in this meditative state. When I woke up I was like
slumped over. I was like feeling miserable. And I thought oh my gosh. I cannot do that,
like I cannot do that and I will be this horrible person but then I went on the other side of
the road. So I did the same exercise. If I make these changes, I was very clear about
the changes I needed to make, simple changes but I made the changes and I became a warrior
for my health which is what we want for you watching and I made some simple changes and
I went down. What would it be like six months, a year, five years, twenty years? And I wrote
it down in detail – my finances, my relationships. Where I would live? What I would look like?
And I literally, it just snapped me into gear like it was just that powerful. I was not
willing to go down the other road.>>Dr. Amen: So you have a choice in how you
respond to the stress in your life. I had a choice. I could be a victim of the sadness.
You could have been a victim of your cancer. But that’s not what we want for ourselves
and it’s clearly not what we want from you.>>Tana: We want you to be a warrior.
>>Dr. Amen: It’s a great exercise that Tana did. We call it ‘The Fork in the Road.’
So if you just keep your life where you’re not really thinking about it. You’re just
going along with society has for you, you know whether it’s fast food or being addicted
to another gadget or you know watching hours of hours of TV
>>Tana: Instead of getting up and exercising.>>Dr. Amen: or going down the brain warrior’s
way. So that’s the street. We call it the Brain Warrior’s Way where you’re really
focused on your health, you’re focused on what you want and you’re acting out of love
– love for yourself and love for the people you care about.
>>Tana: That’s what we want for you. We want you to feel empowered with these tools.
So, in fact, why don’t you do this exercise? So all you have to do think of your life right
now, where you’re at. You can either close your eyes and meditate on it or put some great
music on. You can write it down in detail. I actually like to do both personally. So,
I like to meditate on it and then really journal it out because for me the active writing is
very powerful. But stop. Think about where you are. Be very clear about the place that
you’re in at this moment then think of a road going to the left. Okay. And I want you
to write out where you’re life will be in six months, in one year, in five years, in
ten years, in twenty years and be very detailed about what it would be like – your finances,
your weight, your relationships, your career, the house you’ll live in, your health, everything.
Then come back to where you are now but notice when you’re on that road, notice how you
feel when you open your eyes or when you stop writing.
>>Dr. Amen: So that’s if they don’t really care.
>>Tana: That’s if you’re not making changes. So when you open your eyes, when you stop
the exercise, notice how you feel inside. It doesn’t feel good. Then come back to
now. Come back to the fork in the road, notice how you feel, start over and then do the same
exercise. Write it out, meditate on it or do both like I do and then you want to actually
be very specific going six months, one year, five years, ten years, twenty years down the
road if you go down the brain warrior’s way, if you go down that street and you make
the changes that you know you need to make. You start exercising. Do some simple things.
Change your nutrition. Follow the tips and tools that we’re giving you all along the
way. Just subscribe and follow us. We’re giving you those tips and tools to become
a warrior. And if you make those changes, notice where you’ll be twenty years from
now. Do that and leave it posted. Post it for us down below.