A touch of fear is natural and can be beneficial. It serves as your defense mechanism, alerting you to potential dangers and helping you make safer choices.

But always worrying about something 24/7 can be detrimental in the long run. That’s why you need to deal with your fears the right way.

The key to facing your fears successfully is to take gradual steps. Rushing or attempting overly intimidating actions without giving them much thought may lead to unfavorable outcomes.

In this episode, we’ll explore cultivating the courage to confront long-standing fears, stresses, and worries. You’ll find practical exercises and techniques to empower you to address certain challenges. 

Ann will guide you through devising a strategy to transform your concerns, facilitating positive outcomes on your own terms.

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Key Points From This Episode:

  1. Many times, we avoid things as a defense mechanism.
  2. Stress and worry are the halfway house to your solution.
  3. Ann’s two biggest fears, how she worked to change her story and limiting beliefs, and the strategy she developed.
  4. Learn to reflect on the excitement and the journey you went through to achieve your goal.
  5. Document your limiting beliefs by writing it down.
  6. Utilize your creativity, opportunities, and resources to make things happen. Innovate fun and creative ways to have amazing experiences with your loved ones.
  7. Continuously ask yourself, “What is my ‘why’?” and work on achieving your goals one by one.
  8. Instead of jumping into the solution, focus on improving your physiology before addressing the problem.

Tweet This!

  • “I am powerful enough, I am disciplined enough, and I am intelligent enough.”
  • “I have everything I need to be happy in this life, and everything else is just the icing on top.”
  • “Stress and worry are just the halfway house.”
  • ”Everything we need is already within us now.”

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode


It’s Not Rocket Science Show website

Ann Tsung on Facebook

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Ann Tsung on Twitter

About Ann Tsung, MD, MPH

AnnTsungImageAnn Tsung, MD, MPH is a physician who is triple board-certified in emergency, critical care, and preventive/aerospace medicine. She is the podcast show host of It’s Not Rocket Science Show, and a real estate investor. Her mission is to help people create time, vitality, and deep relationships so people can achieve peak performance and fulfillment in life. Her passions include mind-body medicine, functional nutrition, longevity, productivity, and human optimization. She firmly believes that everything we need is within us now.



Please note the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein belong solely to the speaker, and not necessarily those of the speaker’s employer, organization, government institution, or medical program. This show is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing, or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this show or materials linked from here is at the user’s own risk. The content of this show is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard, or delay in obtaining, medical advice for any medical condition they may have and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions. Please assume that any links leading you to products or services are affiliate links that I will receive compensation from. I only mention products or services that I have used and believe would add value for you. Please note that I have not been given any free products, services, or anything else by these companies in exchange for mentioning them on the site.

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Full Transcript


00:06 Announcer If you’re struggling with your vitality, energy, mood, focus, or sleep, this podcast is for you. Your host Dr. Ann Tsung, ER doctor and aerospace flight surgeon, will help you reach for the stars and remove the barriers or blockades that have been holding you back from living your best life. If you’ve been challenged by your health, relationships or productivity, then it’s time for a breakthrough. So here’s your host Dr. Ann Tsung.

00:43 Dr. Ann Tsung Hello. Welcome to It’s Not Rocket Science Show. I am your host Dr. Ann Tsung. In today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about how to have the courage to face the fear, the stress and the worry that you’ve had for a long time and that you’ve been avoiding, how do you have the courage to face it head on and come up with a solution. We’ll talk about how you can change your state, change your story and your limiting beliefs, and then come up with a strategy to solve whatever you are worrying about. Let’s go ahead and dive in.

01:16 Because a lot of times, we have these financial stressors perhaps or health stressors, maybe emotional stressors, professional stressors. The common defense mechanism is that, “Okay. I just don’t want to think about it,” or we start worrying and worrying and then we just drop it. Because our defense mechanism is, a lot of times, avoidance. I heard this great quote from a Mindvalley course. It was actually on the emotional intelligence of money, because we’re stressed about money all the time. It’s stated that “stress and worry is actually the halfway house to your solution.” I’ll repeat that again. “Stress and worry is actually the halfway house to your solution.” That struck me greatly because I thought about that. I was like, oh, you’re right. We’re already halfway there. You start thinking about it. You start thinking about the situation. You’re stressed about it. You worry about it. But we don’t go all the way through to play that scenario out to come up with a solution. It’s very similar to Tim Ferriss’ what he calls fear setting. Essentially, it’s you think about all of the worst-case scenarios that could ever happen with this case, and then you come up with a solution against it. I heard it from the course that Richard Branson actually does that as well. That’s how he’s so successful in his companies. But he doesn’t seem worried, apparently.

02:50 So I want to share with you two of my fears and how I went around to change my state, change my story, limiting beliefs, and how I came up with a strategy. A lot of times, we talked about it’s a halfway house to the solution. The most common next defense mechanism is, “Okay. I’m just going to go dive in to strategy, to solution. What can I actually do to solve this problem?” That’s very, very common. Actually, what we need to do is we need to first change our limiting beliefs, our identity, what we think about that situation. And in order to change our story, our limiting belief about that situation, we actually need to change our state, our physiology. We change our state with physiology.

03:40 I’ll tell you the two recent items, actually, two of my biggest fear and worry, and how I went about to actually progressing through changing state story and strategy. Number one was that my first real estate investment for two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit in Vegas, two of the tenants — the two tenants I inherited — they stopped paying rent. Essentially, I had to go through months of eviction process. Thankfully, my property management company helped me a lot. They organized everything. They organized the lawyer. They essentially set all the notices for me, though the rent wasn’t coming in. That was a financial stressor for me. I just kept worrying and worrying. I still had two other tenants. So thankfully, I didn’t really have to front that much money. I was under the impression that I would be successful already, being cash flowing already when I made this purchase. And I wasn’t cash flowing. I was just putting it a little money just so that I can pay the mortgage, pay the insurance. I was stressing and worrying about it. Like what would happen? I need to make money. How long would I have to pay for this? And if I went so far, oh, well, I am a failure because I failed at this investment. I’m evicting two people already a few months, less than six months after I purchased a property. So that was my story. I don’t have enough time to work. I have to front money. I shouldn’t have to front money, et cetera. And therefore, I am a failure.

05:14 And so my second worry that had been stressing me out: I have not had a lot of time to work. I had been in Russia to work as a flight surgeon to assist with training, so I was out of the country for many months. Before that, I was training, doing a flight surgeon training at NASA. So I haven’t had time to work in the ICU or the ER as much to keep up my skills. So when I came back, I had a shift that was offered to me. I took it. Because usually, whenever I feel fear, that’s when I dive in and I just do it. I took that shift. But before that, I was worried. I was super worried. I was like, “Well, I don’t have enough experience. I haven’t worked for so long. I’m not going to be fast enough in the ER. I’m not going to be able to see so many patients, et cetera, et cetera. I’m going to let other people down.” Those were my fears. It’s jus day after day, as the shift started getting closer, I just kept worrying and worrying. I didn’t do anything about it. Then finally, closer to end of the New Year, I went through a Tony Robbins breakthrough challenge. It was a free five-day Facebook event, three hours a day. Essentially, he reignited the “change your state, change your story, and then you come up with a strategy and a solution.” So that’s what I did. I learned all of those skills. Unleash the power within, back and do with destiny. I knew those things, but it’s different when you actually go back and start listening to those things again. You remember. You actually change your physiology. Then you can change. If you just sit there and think about it, nothing is going to change. It’s not going to change how you feel and your identity and your fears.

07:01 What I mean is that the number one thing before you even come up with a solution, you change your state. You’re either in the energetic, hopeful, excited state, or I was in a fearful, worrying, just feeling not enough type of state again — something I’m always dealing with, with impostor syndrome, et cetera, et cetera. Now I recognize it. For me, how I change my state is either I take a cold shower. I dance in the cold shower, a really cold shower. You’re like dancing, and you’re moving. That gets me in state change in just two minutes. I would jump on the trampoline. I listen to music to get me into a different state. The next thing I would do is, I would do the priming exercise. You can Google it. If you just type in “Tony Robbins’ priming,” I believe it’s probably 15 minutes or less. It gets you to think about the things that you’re grateful for and even things that you have. Think about in the past, the obstacles that you have overcome, the challenges you have overcome, a goal that you have achieved that took you a long time. Think about the excitement. Think about everything that you had to go through in order to achieve it. Think about those qualities that you had, the action steps that you took to achieve that really hard goal or a challenge that you overcame. Or any sort of meditation. You don’t have to do the priming but any sort of meditation that gets you to think about that. It will get you to be in that state. I did all of those exercises.

08:33 Before that, I had a story. You will also, what you want to do is get a pen and a notepad. Write down your limiting belief or your old story. My old story with the real estate is that I do not have enough money. I don’t have time to make more money. I am a failure. I don’t know how long it’s going to take them to get evicted. I’m not going to find a tenant, et cetera. All the tenants I’ll find later on might be all bad. How am I going to screen them? This is long-distance investing, et cetera, et cetera. Then my old story limiting belief with the ER is: I don’t have enough time to work enough to gain the experience. Everybody else has more experience than I do because they’ve worked in the ER and ICU more frequently than I have. I just worked two to four times a month. So therefore, I am going to be incompetent. I am not going to be as fast. I don’t have enough knowledge compared to other people. That was really, that was my limiting story. It sounds terrible. You will never speak like that to your friends, right? But we don’t show ourselves enough self-love to speak to ourselves kindly with compassion.

09:44 So after I changed my state, I wrote down — there’s a piece of paper that I actually wrote down that day — that I changed my story to the new story. I have the creativity, the opportunities and the resources to make any thing happen. I will use all the help to help innovate fun and creative ways in order to create the most amazing experiences with loved ones as well. Because I went back to think about my why. Why am I doing everything I am doing? It’s really to achieve the five freedoms that I’ve talked about before: financial, emotional, location, time, et cetera so that I could spend time with my loved ones, with whoever I want, however long I want, and go wherever we want. That’s really the end goal: to have joy and happiness. I forget about that. I also told myself that I have the ability to focus on the long-term goal, and do every step with that long-term goal in mind. I have overcome all types of challenges. I have the intelligence. I have the emotional stability. I have the discipline to learn whatever I need to learn, to absorb whatever I need to absorb in order to be a successful real estate investor, in order to be a successful ER and ICU doc. I have all the support around me to draw off on. I have a whole real estate team. I can utilize my property management team, contractor team. I have a business and a physician coach. I have my friends who are supportive, my husband who is supportive. I have all these resources I can draw off from. I am powerful enough. I am disciplined enough. I’m intelligent enough. I already have everything I need right now to be happy in this life, and everything else is just icing on top. Everything I need is within me now.

11:45 After I did that exercise, I just felt everything would change. I was very hopeful. I was able to come up with strategies to action. Then the last step is strategy. I was able to come up with strategies to deal with these fears. So stress and worry is just a halfway house. Then you change your state. You change your story. Now you’ll come up with a solution. So why? I told myself for real estate, I actually went out and calculated out. Okay. So what if I don’t get a tenant for the next six months? Because I still have to trash the house— they left a lot of things — to get tenants or renovate and then get tenants. So if I don’t get tenants for the next six months, how much money would I have to front? It turned out it wasn’t as much as I thought it was going to be. I was like, oh, okay. I have that money. Actually, it’s not that bad. If that is the worst-case scenario, then that’s fine. Really, the roadblock is myself. Because it’s time. I found out that it takes time for me to get people to go there to give me estimates and have it approved, the estimates. I’m learning through experience. I was also out of the country at the time. So learning that I am the roadblock to this timeline was really key for me. That really put my worries and fears at bay. I said I’m going to read up on rehab costs and learn details about rehab. I’m going to utilize my general contractor’s expertise, property management expertise. Really, the financial stress, after I calculated out total, the worst case how much I have to front was like that, my worries and stress went away. Because I already have a solution.

13:21 Because the next solution, which goes along with my next fear, is my fear of not remembering enough medical knowledge or fast enough. I told myself that I have learned so much through med school, through residency, through multiple fellowships. I’ve acquired new knowledge all the time everywhere. I could do this again. This is not new knowledge. This is just refreshing old knowledge. The best way to really get back into the game is to work more shift. So I said, I’m going to make sure I sign up for two to four shifts at least a month. And every single day, I’m going to pick a topic that’s relevant in emergency medicine. Say, the stroke protocol or what they call the stroke scale, NIH scale, I’m going to review it. I’m actually going to do it. You have to stand up and actually do it and say it because that’s the best way to learn. Every day, I’m going to review the algorithm. I actually reached out to my old fellowship at Barnes Jewish Hospital. I got the online resources that they have, all their lectures, all their protocols in the ICU. I’m going to review the — I have been reviewing their protocols and refreshing my memory and learning. After doing that, I’ve already worked a few shifts and I’ve already started reviewing some of the protocols, my stress and worry before the shift just went down drastically. The shift went fine. The next shift also went fine. Understandably, I wasn’t as efficient or fast because I was still trying to get used to the system, though I got more and more comfortable. I knew that before going into the shift, I told myself I was going to give my presence. I was going to give them my time to each patient and listen to them, and care for them for as much as I can. If I had done that, then that would have been a worthwhile shift. I would have met my intentions for the shift. Because it’s all about the patients really. It’s not about rushing through the medicine. It’s not about seeing the next one, the next one, the next one but doing it just 50%.

15:32 Those two stories are my fear setting story, my stress and worry for the past four or five months probably. I just wish to share that with you. If you have something that you’re worried about like a presentation or something in a job, something you fear that you’re not doing enough, or something with your family perhaps, or something financial that you’re not making enough, that you don’t have time to make enough, just don’t go to solution first. Number one thing: get into a good physiology dance, a cold shower. Meditate. Think about all of the things that you have ever accomplished. Celebrate those moments. Think about the things you’re grateful for. Then write down your limiting beliefs. Write down your new identity and your new belief after you’ve changed your state. Then you think about those stressful things, and then you come up with a solution. Sometimes when you’re meditating or when you’re visualizing, you come up with a solution yourself where you can sleep on it and the next day, the solution will come to you. So I really want to thank you for your time and attention today. I hope this was really helpful. I’m going to send the links in the show notes. Please go to itsnotrocketscienceshow.com. It would be really helpful also if you can leave me a review on iTunes, or Google, or Spotify so that I know how to up level this podcast for you. So thank you. Remember, everything we need is already within us now. Thank you.

17:00 Announcer That’s it for today’s episode. Head on over to iTunes and subscribe to the show. One lucky listener every single week that posts a review in iTunes will win a chance in the grand prize drawing to win a private VIP Day for a health and life makeover with Dr. Ann Tsung herself. Then be sure to head on over to itsnotrocketscienceshow.com, and pick up your free gift from Dr. Tsung. Then join us on the next episode.


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