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I’m in a text thread with my family and a few weeks ago, my aunt Monique sent a funny YouTube video that came out a while ago. It was called “Stop It” by Bob Newhart and anyone who remembers Bob Newhart like me probably isn’t doing Tok-tok videos either. I watched it and laughed but then afterward I thought, that was funny but it's also SO true.

In the skit, there is a scene of a woman going to a psychiatrist (Bob Newhart) to deal with her problem. Her major issue is fear of being buried alive in a box, which some might call "claustrophobia on steroids". At the beginning of the session, Dr. Switzer (Bob Newhart) tells his patient that he charges $5 for the first 5 minutes and then generally nothing after that. The patient says, “that seems too good to be true” and Dr. Switzer replies “I can almost guarantee our session won’t go longer than 5 minutes”.

Dr. Swtizer asks the woman about her problem, and she states, “I have this fear of being buried alive in a box” to which Dr. Switzer replies “has anyone ever tried to bury you alive in a box?”. No, the patient replies but it does make my life horrible. Dr. Switzer instructs the patient, “I’m going to say 2 words to you and then I want you to take them out of the office and try to incorporate them into your life, you ready? “STOP IT, S-T-O-P new word I-T”. The woman seems confused and asks, “what are you saying?”. She seems perplexed as if he's speaking Yiddish. The doctor asks "you don’t want to go around thinking that you’re going to be buried in a box, do you?". She states, "I can’t stop it, it’s been with me since childhood". No, no, no, Dr. Switzer says we don’t go there… Just stop it. The session took all of 3 minutes.

This video made me realize that most of our fears and phobias are self-inflicted wounds that we carry around with us throughout our lives. For some, they make life a living hell and they may pass that living hell on to others. We’ve all had things in our lives that weren’t fair and some that were unimaginable and unforgivable. However, I believe that constantly replaying the same thoughts doesn’t serve us in the long run. My aunt uses to say, when you are having a negative thought that doesn’t serve you or tortures you, quietly tell yourself, CANCEL, or in this case, STOP IT. I remember when I had a fear of flying. I would get anxious and start sweating the moment I got on a plane and if we hit turbulence, holy crap, my heart would beat out of my chest. Then one day, I was speaking to a good friend who was a pilot for American Airlines and he said "Dane, do you honestly think I would do this for a living if it wasn't safe?". It radically changed my perception and in one moment, my fear went away. I travel a lot now on planes and I don't have any fears or anxiety around flying anymore. I STOPPED IT.

Life isn’t fair and I don’t believe God set it up that way. Life is difficult. But I’ve learned that most of the pain or misery in my life is self-inflicted. We do things that don’t serve us initially because they feel good, insert any of your vices here. However, these same thoughts, behaviors, and actions eventually become habits that keep us from living the dream we imagined life should be. Short-term gains sometimes create long-term destruction. So, the next time you are ready to engage in a behavior or thought that doesn’t serve you or those around you, STOP IT!

Best in health,

Dr. Dane

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