The Three R's: Reduce, Recover and Reframe
first step we talked about is how do you reduce stress now you can google anything but you will not find this T shirt. It had to be Photoshopped because quitting is anathema for high achieving adults. Particularly Americans, I think. But sometimes quitting is the right thing to do. So sometimes you gotta quit some stuff. So what can you quit doing that? It is not core to who you are, What you need to dio What? Can you defer? What could just put off? What? Can you delegate? What? Some stuff that you just don't have to do. I'll tell you something that I delegated. I actually I quit. Technically, I used to live in a house with a big yard in a pool. Juan driveway, I So I had a shovel item. Oh, I had a trim. I had a plant stuff I had to do pool chemicals and I had to maintain the interior of the house as well. And now I live in a condo and I don't know any of that has about three hours a week of productive time back in my life. I don't shovel. I don't know. I don't maintain anything that dr...
yer broke the other week and I just called the guy. You came and fixed it. I didn't have to do anything, so that might not be for you. Might like those things. But what can you quit doing? What can you delegate? What can you defer? The other step here is how do you spend more time in your areas of strengths, of your areas of talent? Some good research that suggests said, if you spend at least 1/3 of your day in your area of strength, have tripled the willpower of people that don't. And we're going to spend a whole module on this later this afternoon of how do you design your life for your strengths? But the more time you can spend in the things you do well, the more willpower have, the more resilient you will be. And how do you know if in your area of strengths, well, there's this notion of the flow state, and Stephen Cutler has a great class on this in a great book, but we'll just touched on it briefly. Here, the flow state looks a lot like the Yorks does and curve, this is your where your level of challenge in any task or activity, Meet your level of skill. There's a narrow channel here, the flow channel in the middle. If your level of challenges to lower relative to your skills, your board and engaged. And if your level of challenge is too high relative, your skills, your overwhelmed and anxious. And if you're in the middle, though, you have this chance to move into your peak performance zone, the flow state runners called Runner's High. There's all kinds of name for this, but there's a really critical are bigger of what the flow state feels like. It's when time shuts off. So if you feel that your relationship with time has suddenly shifted in any particular activity to be a conversation of sport music, then you're probably in the flow state and you'll say something like. And where did those three hours ago or time stopped? Or both? Because when you're in the flow state, you actually stop measuring time. So if you have those moments were you stopped measuring time, you're probably in the flow state, and if you're in the flow state, then you're in your air of strengths. So we have a threat thread through that and start to do more of whatever that is and stop doing the other things that are your area of weakness. The design around weaknesses don't try to fix them. We all have them. And if you've got one and you know what it is, stop doing it. It's not gonna do you any good to keep playing. Whack a mole with weaknesses. That's the first step. Reduce your stress so you can get some balance back. So then you can then move to step two, which is proper recovery. Now, daughter, to sort of dig into this, I'm gonna share some research through a guessing game that I played with Actually, the guy who shared this information, Dr Ari Levy from Chicago. We're sitting having a coffee when he expressed this research research to me and and he played this game with me and play with you. What do you think? The top three ways that adults recover from stress are and they are on this list so you can choose from here. Just give me a couple sleep. Low grade exercise diet. OK, sleep, diet, low grade exercise. We got one another three of the top three. I guessed red wine, meditation and sleep. And Dr Ari simply said wrong does No, those top three. So here they are in reverse order. And ah, they're kind of striking, actually. So we got the one right, which is located exercise. Apologies for the box. But low grade exercise is a way that we metabolize stress. We metabolize dressed through movement. If you don't have enough movement in your day, you're not going to be able to reduce your course on, get back into some balance, and so movement is essential. Now, if you have a job like a FedEx guy or if you work in a production capacity, probably get this. Naturally. We usedto all get it 100 years ago because he walked everywhere. Walking is just fine. It doesn't have to be spinning at rpm's in the spin bike. Just movement enough movement of day to metabolize that physical stress is step Number one is the third most important. The second most important is social intimacy, and this is kind of struck me out at first. But we actually metabolize stress through being with people that love us and that we love it helps bring all of our levels down and get you more centered and ready to attack the challenges of the next day. If you if you defer this which I did for about 10 years, I didn't go to have that cocktail with a co worker. I didn't have dinner with that other couple. I came home another in my nuclear family. I worked because I had so much to do that I don't have time to spend time with friends. And as it turns out, that's extraordinarily maladaptive. It might be adaptive in the short term. It's OK if you got a sort of catch him stuff for a week or something. But when you start moving into months or years of not having that social intimacy in your life, you're actually going to be a worse husband, wife, leader, follower, brother husband so forth. So having that social interest in your life is really critical to metabolizing reducing your levels of stress and recovering, the last one kind of threw me. I didn't see it coming, but the number one way, according Dr Ari, that we metabolize and reduce and recover from stress is through physical intimacy of any sort from petting a puppy. That being with your partner, we are wired for touch. All mammals actually are. And it took me a little while to get my arms around this until they remember the studies of Recess Monkey's we've done a couple decades ago where they they kept them from touching their mother, and they never adapted to the environment. They couldn't function properly. And then in the nineties, there was the orphans brought over from Russia that were never touched. His babies, and even for a few months of no touch, never could really recover from that lack of touch. The stress levels sort of overwrought their brains and they never recovered. So touches really, really essential. This reason they bring dogs into crisis situations that people can touch them touch will help people calm themselves. So and this is where it gets really interesting, Dr Ari, Then pause. And he's like, Oh, by the way, John, I think that stress is way down from 100 years ago, I was like, what? We just talked about the pace of change. Technology is Yeah, but the you can't die from Mr email. You could have died 1000 years ago when a machine swatted you out of the way at the workplace or you died on the way to work or you got run over or you froze to death or you had heat exposure or you died of typhoid or your Children dial that childbirth like there's so many ways to die 100 years ago because the world was a dark, cold, hot, dangerous place. And now, with air conditioning and all of our safety measures at work in all of our modern medicine, we've reduced and removed a lot of those really dangerous, dark, scary things. And instead we're dying of death of 1000 email on. But that's actually happening. Why is that? Well, he then made a comparison. He's like Think about a 30 year old 100 years ago and a modern millennial work. Okay, so they probably work on the family farm family business so physically active, most addicts walking anyway, and they're probably lifting things and moving around. So they got number three covered. They were probably working with family on the business, so, therefore, with friends and loved ones all day social intimacy, check the box. They probably live 3 to 4 generations per household. There's probably animals in their lives. They've got plenty of physical intimacy. Three kids to a bed, small small rooms in their hallways, lots of touching their life. Check the box on number one. They've got a great recovery mechanism for all this danger and unknowns that were in the world 100 years ago. Fast forward to the millennial worker. They quit the softball team because they don't have time. They're not physically active there. At the computer all day, I checked with Dr Ari. Instagram and Facebook do not count for social intimacy, so they are mostly digital in terms of their interactions and relationships. They don't have social intimacy. They don't have a puppy or a boyfriend or girlfriend because they're too busy on Beulah. We've got a recipe for disaster. In fact, anxiety, depression, suicide are way, way up in this generation, just in the last 20 years. So he's probably right. It is potentially death from 1000 emails because if you get your cortisol levels up and don't find a way to reduce them, cortisol causes inflammation. Inflammation leads to all kinds of bad things, heart disease, cancer, you name it. It can actually kill you. So we need to bring these things back into our lives. How hard is this really? So I'm asking to spend more time with people you love that love you pet a puppy and go for a walk like this is super easy stuff. But a lot of people have inadvertently designed it out of their lives. So really quick fix to get recovery back in your life. But the second most important in terms of how to recover and regain resiliency. The most important is reframing your relationship with stress. And there's sort of two ways that I'll go through here. There's probably more of these air, two really important ways. The first is practicing mindfulness. Now, some of you might be familiar with mindfulness or meditation. Meditation. Some you might not be, but it is a really essential practice to recovering from stress. And why is that? I'm gonna bring up my friend Phil Harriman. He's gonna teach us all how to do it the first time. Just give the simplest explanation that I know why this is effective. So we have very little control of our parasympathetic nervous system, like our blood flow heart rate those things can't really control. But we can control our breathing. Our elephant is also a parasympathetic thing. We don't necessarily control our emotional responses to stuff. It happens so fast that we we can't rationally control it unless we train ourselves. So I think of mine from this or meditation is simply putting reins on the elephant. You learn to put more and more controls in place to keep the elephant from rearing up on a maladaptive response to stress. And how do you do that? Well, if you control your breathing, you take control of one of them easiest ways to control your parasympathetic system. When you get good at that, you can start to control how you respond to all of these perceived threats that could get your elephant reared up, and instead you hold it back and you say, Wait, snarky email. Should I go scream at them? Maybe not. Maybe I should just be curious and go over and say, Sally, I'm curious about the tone that I'm hearing from the semen. Can you help me understand what's going on? Much more adaptive to those kinds of stresses than shouting or getting escalated. Same with toddlers. Same with your loved ones. Managing higher. Respond through the practice of mindfulness. Really powerful tool here to teach us in 30 seconds or so is Phil Blasier. Phil, come on up and share with us your three by three method. Thanks, John. So you're a parent. Great. Yep. You have a parent, and parenting comes with it. All kinds of stresses that maybe, you know, I didn't know we're coming. So my daughter is about a year old and I couldn't quite get control my stress level rushing from this thing too. That thing etcetera. And so I started trying different breathing exercises, which Jon's totally right. It's a great way to get control of your parasympathetic nervous system, calm things down. But the brain kept going right. It wasn't enough. So I started to try thought techniques. I started to pair different things and it wasn't working particularly well until it kind of got onto this one path that led me to the three by three method. And I did some heart rate testing some different things to try and understand what was happening, and it's very, very simple. Essentially, what we're doing is we're Khoumba finding a single breath along with naming something in the physical environment to ground us. So if you're sitting here watching John's presentation, But you're worrying about what's going on at work or you're worrying about where you're gonna get for dinner, if there's going to be traffic, you're not here, right? Your stress is going up. All you need to be doing is paying attention and learning. So the three by three method very simply, is your naming a physical object. You're taking a breath and you're repeating it three times now, Everyone that I've ever showed this to thinks that I'm not That's too simple. It's silly. It's crazy until you try it. All right, so here's how it works. So we're just going to drive? Yeah. OK, perfect. So will pick this screen. We'll pick this screen, um, this table and will use this remote. Okay, So all I'm gonna do is I'm gonna name the item the remote, and I'm gonna take a breath. Don't you do this with me. Okay. So I'll name this stuff. You just stay in your head and then take the breath. We'll see if it works. Okay, that's a remote. That's a screen. That's a table now. Does anyone feel a little bit different? Little bit, right? It works now. I challenge you to try it. Try it. Just the three breaths. Or try just naming three things and see if you have the same. The same response. You won't, but I'm open to being proven wrong. Thanks for having me out. Thanks, man. That's awesome. Great job. I was reading one of my favorite books by Jonathan Hate The hate, the happiness hypothesis and in There he talks about uses the metaphor of the writer in the elephant. He says that there's really only three ways to control the elephant. The first is to distract. And if you have kids, little kids in particular, what do you do when the baby's crying? It's bright, shiny object. It's food is distraction. Just take the attention away from whatever it's ruminating over to give it something else to think about, which is exactly what the naming does. It's sort of I'm ruminating role. I can't ruminate cause I'm naming this thing, so you distract. Then you take control of your parasympathetic nervous system by breathing and voila! You've just done a two step to really control for that situation, he says. It's distract Train, which that is also distracting train. The third is Medicaid. Well, can't really do that here, but sometimes that's appropriate as well. He makes the metaphor in the book that some people haven't imbalance. Right? If you don't have oil in your oil tank in your car, it's not gonna run right. And some people do need help to get their balances right now. Do we have over overprescribing things like that probably sell, but some people actually need number three as well, but the 1st 2 are more powerful, and that's such a great tool. I use it all time now, so thanks, Phil. So we've got a mindfulness or meditation 32nd version. Super easy to practice when you feel yourself getting overwhelmed. The next, and potentially even more important, is reframing how you view stress to begin with. So stress that goes to your animal brain goes to your elephant. Often treated as a threat, emits cortisol and cortisol is perfectly adaptive to certain situations, causes a narrowing of focus, gets you hyped up ready for action. And that's great if the next murder is coming at you or a lion roars in the jungle less effective if what your stress needs is problem solving If you stress if complex, stresses coming at you and need a problem self narrowing your focus and hunkering down and not asking for help is exactly counter adaptive. So how to shift your neurochemistry? Well, if you can figure out a way to gamma phi your stress, treat your stress as a game versus the threat as an opportunity and challenge versus a negative threat you actually switch from court is all too oxytocin and D h e a dhe actually lowers your blood pressure causes you to calm decreases, inflammation and oxytocin the hug hormone cause you'd ask for help. So you brought in your focus, you calm and you look for opportunity and ask for help. So powerful, relative toe narrowing and hunkering down, usually maladaptive. So how to game if I stress well, you know, I think sis office really is a great example. Sister Fist was cursed by the gods to roll a boulder up the hill Let it roll back down for all of eternity. This was the worst thing in the world that the gods could think of to curse this poor man who had slighted them. Uh, but frankly, it's not any different than bowling. You roll a boulder down a hallway, you have to go get it 30 times and somehow that's fun. And we pay to do it versus sis. Afis was cursed by the gods for all of eternity. How? What's the difference? The primary difference is one is a game. Now, if sis, if it's had decided to become the best Boulder roller in the world, set up an obstacle course, timed himself and invited other people to compete suddenly that curse would have been actually a joy. I mean, think about it. Speeds getting is my sport. There's nothing worse in the world than going to cold countries in winter to goto artificially refrigerator environments in the dark to turn left on Lee on ice for hours, on and on. Lee left like what worse torture. The God should have done that desist office, but instead that was awesome. Why? Because it was a game. It was an opportunity was the challenge. There was a ways to improve ways to leverage your strengths. And that's what we can do with stresses in our lives. Now that it sounds easy in sports, sounds easy with physical things. How do we do that in the realm of our worlds? Well, I'll give you an example. We talked before about some conflicts that I had with my teenager. Was that a mystery? Was it a mystery that I might face some emotional hormonal moments with the teenage child in the house? No. Everybody warned me, Right? Starting at like age. 12 days like it's coming. Wait for it. Wait till you get there. Yeah, 13. 14 Right around there. And then it happened. This is before the story told before, but the first sort of like a big emotional outburst was over. Something that to me, was I'm Old Hill, right? It was this little thing she walked in. She talked about and I was like, Oh, it's nothing. And my dismissal of this mole hill became amount Islamic door in a room on her phone. I'm the worst father in the world, and she said those words she said, I hate you like I didn't expect that and So what happened? Her elephants reared up, running into the room and my elephant gets reared up to and I'm chasing after her now, completely maladaptive, by the way, I pushed through the door. I'm yelling into the room. Is this leading to anything good? Not all right to reared up. Elephants are not going to lead to any good outcome. So I calmed down and eventually I got control of my elephant. And then I used the distract function on. I've actually used a number of times. I hope you never watches this. Then she'll be onto me. But she's kind of outgrown it anyway. But, uh, I started cooking something that smelled really good because she loves food. She loves to cook. And so eventually I got the what you making so distraction, James Subject. We didn't dress it right away and and eventually I was able to ask curious questions to get underneath what the root of this thing was, because it really wasn't the thing. She said it was back to the sort of the nail in the forehead. It was an issue masquerading us. Something else. So after that, and realizing that I teach us for living, and I couldn't even do it. I said, Okay, wait. I don't gamma phi this situation, okay? I think I've got a one in five chance of having an outburst when she gets home from school each week. So? So if I don't, it's already better. Pretty good day. And if I do Well, okay. I had a 15 chance it happened. There's my one in five. Okay, What I'm gonna do about it. Well, actually, nothing has nothing really to do you wait, Just wait it out. Did you get over? It will be along fine. And so I've been able to actually manage myself really well by just gain defying that situation and not overreacting to something that for sure was coming my way anyway. And that gets back to Dave Evans and gravity problems, right? Conflict between people is an inevitable to pretend that it's not going to happen ever with your spouse or your child or your Tyler is going to happen. So how do you manage yourself by realizing it's just part of the game? All right, So how do you do it work? All right. Maybe you have a real jerk as a co worker or as a boss, or that works for you. Okay, so So Sally's awful. Okay, How often is Elie? Awful. Whoa, 50% of the time. All right. So you gotta wanting to chance today of having a bad day with Sally. OK? She was reasonable. Say alright, already a good day. Okay? Sally's doing the thing. Sally does gravity problem. Cancel. But I can't change her. So what am I gonna do? I'm going to say, Oh, that was coming. That was expected. I'm going to manage me. I can't change her. It's just a game. Anyway, I'm OK with it. Oxytocin Ask for help. Dhe A calm down. Much better response than court is all where you get up in it. And now you're in conflict so you can game. If I anything I think of like Elon Musk like that guy. So much going on, I am sure whether he's doing intention or not that the whole thing is a game for him. I don't How many companies goblets saves, got 15. All right, so to fail. So what? 13 more. So when you could treat all of these big challenges as part of the game. You change your your chemistry, you change your response and it's much, much, much more adaptive and frankly, much healthier in the long term. You're gonna live longer if you could do this.