Let me tell you how I really failed to reduce stress, in a pretty spectacular way!
I’d been working my balls off for a few weeks now…
I loved the feeling of adrenaline everyday as I smashed off my to do list…
The 4 hours of sleep a night before my eyes popped open and I was up and off again…not so much.
However I was smashing through my To DO list every day (and each day doing a few things that weren’t on there just to keep myself entertained).
I mean what’s not to like about those levels of productivity?
This was back in the days before my adrenals gave up, when I thought I was just a high performance human…
How little I knew.
About the time I was talking to a friend who expressed concern at my hectic schedule…
“Maybe you should just slow down a bit, breath, maybe try a bit of meditation…you seem really stressed…”
Immediately I felt my blood rise…what the hell did she know? Fucking mediation! I mean what the hell?
She wasn’t a bio hacker, a performance coach like me, she didn’t do the 100’s of little things I did every day to ensure I could do all this…I knew exactly was I was doing and I was going to prove it to her…
“I’M NOT FUCKING STRESSED”
I yelled at her…slammed down my coffee cup (the 6h of the day) and stormed out to smash some more tasks off my to do list.
Every week in our online community I take one the questions asked there and go into more detail in answering it…
This week Jeff asked, “How do I reduce stress…I already meditate and do breath work but find, when I actually do it, it just doesn’t take the edge off..is there anything else I can be doing?”
Before I answer this we have to understand what stress is. Stress is when or body goes into fight or flight…it’s that simple.
Now whenever I look at the body I tend to break it down into Hardware and Software…
- Hardware is our meat
- Software are the processes which run on the meat (thought patterns, behaviours etc)
Fight or flight response is the most hardwired response in our biology, we share it with lizards and it hasn’t changed in millions of years.
Most people see it ONLY as a mental thing, a software thing…
- Your boss shouts at you
- You get cut up in traffic
- You can’t pay the rent this month
Because it’s a software problem most solutions to reduce stress and anxiety focus on software cures…meditation, breathing, do something relaxing, trying to control the processes.
The problem with software solutions?
You have to think about them…
Now I don’t know about you but when I’m super stressed and someone comes and tells me meditate I’m as likely to explode as I am to actually listen to their advice!
Reprogramming your software also takes a lot of effort. Just like in real life, programming software is a hard and long task, taking many, many man hours and changing our thought patterns is often the same.
However stress isn’t just a software problem, many other things place stress on the Hardware:
- Junk light
- Crappy diet
- Not enough or too much exercise
- Parasites or viruses (!)
- Lack of laughter and human contact
- Parabens in beauty products
The list goes on and on.
And the body only has one response to stress…
Fight or flight.
Now just like a computer if we upgrade the hardware…put a faster CPU in, we can run the software much faster…allowing much more bandwidth for other programs to run concurrently. Its also a much quicker operation and once it’s done its done.
So if I’m dealing with someone who wants to reduce stress or anxiety…the first place I start is with the biological causes of stress. The hardware.
By reducing stress on the the underlying hardware we can give a person much more resilience as we reduce the amount of baseline stress the body is under on a minute by minute basis.
Think of your ability to tolerate stress as a cup.
If you were totally stress free the cup would be empty.
Each time your boss shouts at you, or you get cut up in traffic, or you eat a food which doesn’t agree with you, or you sit in front of a computer for hours…in short each time you force your body to do something which causes it to work harder than it wants to… little bit of liquid gets added to the cup.
Now the body has its own system for emptying the cup…but as we add more and more liquid to the cup this system struggles to clear the liquid fast enough.
Think of the remaining empty part of the cup as your resilience to stress….it’s how much more stress you can take before things start to go wrong. Once the cup overflows you start to have real problems.
By improving the hardware we increase the size of the cup whilst also increasing the efficiency of the system which empties it.
But the real advantage of treating hardware is that rather than requiring thought to implement like. A software solution, upgrading hardware often only requires a simple lifestyle shift to reduce the stress the body is coming under.
And when the shift is made it’s there for life.
For example, a starting point for dealing with stress might be to look at what deodorant the person uses.
Bear with me I’ve not gone mad!
Most deodorants contain a shit load of chemicals which forces the liver to work harder to detox them…in other words they place it under stress.
So by simply changing the deodorant person uses to one what actually helps the body we can immediately lessen the amount the stress the body is under. Doing this requires no more thought than remembering to pick up the right deodorant next time you’re at the shops…no fancy techniques, no mind games.
Now am I trying to say that you can cure someone suffering from being stressed out and anxious by changing their deodorant
Stress and anxiety is a death by 100 cuts, of which deodorant is just one small cut…but if we can make enough small shifts, eliminate enough of these cuts we can eliminate stress with out ever needing to meditate…
But what you’ll find is as you start to reduce stress on the Hardware you have much more bandwidth for software solutions such as meditation, breath work and mind games.
Interested to learn more?
I’ve written en entire book about how to improve your performance after 40 and start your journey to reverse the natural mental & physical decline…click here to grab your FREE copy >>